ketones in urine

I’m Not On A Ketogenic Diet So Why Are There Ketones In My Urine?

The presence of ketones in the urine is a common complication of diabetes. If you’re sure that you don’t have diabetes, it’s the body’s normal adaptation to starvation. However, in an individual with diabetes, this situation is dangerous and life-threatening.

What Are Ketones?

Ketones are acids that the body makes when it burns its own fat. They’re made when glucose, the primary energy source, is short in supply. This occurs overnight or during dieting or fasting.

The liver converts fatty acids into ketones, which are then released into the bloodstream for use as energy. In people with diabetes, high levels of ketones in the blood can result from taking too little insulin, and this can lead to a particularly dangerous condition known as ketoacidosis.

diabetes

Ketoacidosis is very risky for someone with Type 1 diabetes because they can develop dangerous levels of ketones. Ketoacidosis can also occur in someone with Type 2 diabetes if there is a major increase in insulin resistance, such as from an infection or treatment with steroids, or a reduction in insulin release from the pancreas.

Ketones can be tested by blood or urine. You can quickly check the ketone levels in your urine with Vivoo strip.

Related: Vivoo Ketone Box

What Causes Ketones in Urine Without Ketosis?

Ketones in the urine can be caused by several factors. These may include:

1) Diet

Dietary Preferences: People who are not on a ketogenic diet but prefer high fat and low carbohydrate foods may have ketones in their urine.

Fasting: In a person without diabetes, ketone production is the body’s normal adaptation to starvation. Starvation starts when you haven’t eaten for a prolonged period of time, for example 14-20 hours. This can occur at night or when fasting.

Eating disorders: Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa can also cause ketones to appear in the urine. In these individuals, starvation is one of the causes of severe ketoacidosis, even when the patient denies diet restriction. 

2) High Amounts of Exercise

ketones in urine

Post-exercise ketosis was first described by Forssner. When someone overtrains, the need for respiratory fuel increases, and blood-glycerol and plasma-free fatty acid (FFA) levels rise. The increased concentration of FFA and the depletion of glycogen cause an increased rate of ketone body formation in the liver. During exercise, the extra ketone bodies serve as fuel for respiration and don’t accumulate. After exercise, the raised concentration of FFA results in post-exercise ketosis. 

3) Excessive Alcohol Consumption

ketones in urine due to alcohol consumption

Drinking too much alcohol is another reason for ketones in the urine. Alcoholic ketoacidosis can develop when you drink excessive amounts of alcohol for a long period of time. The overconsumption of alcohol often causes an inadequate intake of nutrients as meals may be eaten irregularly. People who drink too much may also vomit, further depleting the body of nourishment. Not eating enough or vomiting can lead to periods of starvation, which can then lead to alcoholic ketoacidosis. 

4) Other Factors

Other causes of ketones in urine are:

  • illness or infection
  • pregnancy
  • fever
  • medications, such as corticosteroids and diuretics
  • prolonged vomiting and diarrhea
  • eclampsia

Prevention

Ketones in urine can be caused by many factors. If you have ketones in your urine, the first place to look is at your diet. What you eat and drink is very important. You may be able to remedy the situation by making dietary changes, or there may be a more serious cause. See your doctor immediately if you think you might have ketonuria.

Lifestyle Suggestions

Suggestions for ketones in urine:

  • Monitor your blood glucose levels.
  • Test your ketones regularly.
  • Reduce your alcohol consumption.
  • Follow a healthy diet plan.

Related: The Top 3 Ways That You Can Improve Your Health Using the Vivoo App

 

12 Healthy Recipes to Use Up Thanksgiving Leftovers

12 Healthy Recipes to Use Up Thanksgiving Leftovers

The best part of Thanksgiving Day is the day after when it comes to using the leftovers! Instead of just heating up leftovers, add a twist to make some flavorful dishes. In addition, using these leftovers will help reduce food waste. There are many various leftover ideas to use turkey, stuffings, sauces, mashed potatoes, and many more. Try one of these Thanksgiving leftovers recipes – you won’t regret it!

1.Thanksgiving Leftover Sandwich

Wanna try a sandwich with brie or bacon? Add some cheese or crispy toppings and you have a simple, flavorful, and easily customizable meal.

Get the recipe!

2.Turkey Casserole

casserole

If there’s too much turkey leftover, try it in casseroles. Casseroles are delicious, filled with vegetables, and a great way to use leftovers.

Get the recipe!

3.Leftover Turkey Pasta

Comforting, hot and easy to bake. Put all that leftover turkey and combine all the ingredients. Your friends and family will love it!

Get the recipe!

4.Turkey Wrap/Pita With Veggies

An overstuffed, saucy turkey sandwich will give your stomach a feast. You could fill a pita  or a wrap with turkey and any leftover food you want.

Get the recipe!

5.Mashed Potato Croquettes

Who doesn’t like potatoes? Crispy and also creamy, mashed potato croquettes are a  favorite leftover treat. Try it, as it tastes better the second time around!

Get the recipe!

6.Winter Panzanella With Stuffing Croutons

letover panzanella

Since stuffing gets soggy overnight in the fridge, baking a second time will create the crisp all over again. Complimented by a salad, this is truly a winter delight!

Get the recipe!

7.Ramen With Turkey Broth

ramen

With some of that leftover turkey stock you’ve made, combine with some leftover turkey, a jammy egg, some vegetables, noodles, and optional kimchi.

Get the recipe!

8.Thanksgiving Stock

thanksgiving stock

Making stock before or after Thanksgiving will spread the joy and benefits throughout the year. Make and just freeze it.

Get the recipe!

9.Leftover Sweet Potato Kale Frittata

Leftover Frittata

This delicious and easy to make frittata is perfect for breakfast or brunch. The sweet potato adds a little sweetness while kale makes it fresher and greener.

Get the recipe!

10.Leftover Turkey Enchiladas

leftover enchiladas

Pumpkin seeds, cilantro, and spicy chiles will give your turkey an extra kick of flavor. These enchiladas are worth trying!

Get the recipe!

11.Spicy Cabbage Salad With Turkey And Peanuts

leftover salad

After a heavy thanksgiving meal, this recipe will spread freshness with a little bit of spice. In addition, vegetables and peanuts will give a final crunchiness!

Get the recipe!

12.Cranberry Pie

leftover cranberry pie recipe

You can transform your cranberry sauce into a delicious pie that everyone will love.

Get the recipe!

 

 

Chamomile Tea

6 Drinks That Will Help You Sleep

More than 50 million Americans suffer from some sort of sleep issue. This unfortunate reality impacts people of all different ages and can greatly affect their everyday lives. From falling asleep at work to feeling irritable and anxious, sleep issues are not to be taken lightly. Of course, there are prescription medicines to help with this issue. However, many people do not like the idea of taking medication to help them sleep and would prefer to use natural remedies.

In fact, certain drinks can act as natural remedies for some sleep issues. If you are currently experiencing sleep problems and are looking for something that isn’t a prescription medicine, keep reading to learn about six drinks that have been proven to help induce sleep.

Drinks to Consume to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

A good night’s sleep is an important component of health. If you aren’t getting the proper amount of sleep, your entire life could be affected. An expert from a community that specializes in independent senior living in NJ pointed out that sleep issues are common for people of all ages, especially adults and seniors.

If you or someone in your family is suffering from sleep issues, here are six easy-to-prepare drinks that may provide some relief.

Warm Milk

warm milk

Warm milk has been used as a sleep-enhancing drink for hundreds of years. The idea behind warm milk as a way to relax the body is based on the theory that milk contains tryptophan. When released into the brain, this amino acid produces serotonin, a serenity-boosting neurotransmitter. There is some speculation behind this. Some people claim that tryptophan will reduce anxiety and help you sleep while others claim that it does not produce a hypnotic effect at all. However, ingredients can be added to the warm milk to ensure that it does the job. Some of these include:

  • Strawberries – Strawberries contain B6, which will regulate melatonin.
  • Lavender –  Lavender is a mild sedative and will promote relaxation.

Almond Milk

Almond milk

Warm almond milk is an outstanding drink to help you fall asleep naturally. Almonds are a rich source of magnesium, which is a mineral that is important for a good night’s sleep. In fact, many people have a hard time falling asleep because their magnesium levels are too low. Unfortunately, many people don’t think to check  their magnesium level and this cause of insomnia is often missed.

Before you go to bed, have a glass of almond milk, warm or cold. You will fall asleep faster and feel more relaxed as you will get the proper REM sleep your body needs. Consider adding honey or one of the ingredients mentioned above to your nightly glass of almond milk.

Cherry Juice

Cherry Juice for a better sleep

Cherries are naturally rich with melatonin so drinking a glass of ice-cold cherry juice before bed will help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep for longer. Why? Because cherries contain tryptophan and anthocyanins, two compounds that help the body create melatonin and lengthen its effects.

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile Tea for a better sleep

Chamomile tea is one of the most well-known drinks to help you fall asleep at night. It produces calming effects which are attributed to an antioxidant called apigenin. Apigenin binds to receptors in the brain that decrease anxiety and stress and initiate sleep

Chamomile tea bags can be bought in almost every grocery store or supermarket, and all you have to do to prepare this sleep-enhancing drink is boil water.

Valerian Tea

Valerian tea for a better sleep

Like chamomile tea, valerian tea is known to induce sleep for some people. It increases the body’s production of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).. When the GABA level increases, it can produce feelings of tiredness. This increases sleepiness and reduces anxiety, making valerian tea a drink worth trying to help your body fall asleep naturally.

Lemon Balm Tea

Lemon Balm Tea for better sleep

Lemon balm tea has been used to bring on sleep since the Middle Ages for the same reasons as valerian tea: they both increase levels of GABA. This tea is part of the mint family and is a great aromatic bedtime drink to sip on while you curl up on the couch just before bed.

Get The Good Night’s Sleep You’ve Been Dreaming About

Most drinks that have tranquilizing potential can be prepared with simple ingredients. Consider trying a few to find out which ones help you sleep the best. These sleep-enhancing drinks are a good place to start and are easy to prepare. They are also affordable and can be conveniently found in most grocery stores. It may also be worth your while to contact a doctor or holistic specialist to learn about more sleep-inducing foods and drinks that can be incorporated into your life to help you fall asleep naturally.

 

Related: Meditation For a Good Night Sleep

 

The Surprising Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

The Surprising Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a staple food in many parts of the world. They are versatile and delicious and are good sources of fiber, potassium, vitamins, and other essential nutrients.

They can offer a variety of health benefits, including some surprising ways to support a person’s health.

1. Nutrition Facts:

Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamins and minerals. One cup  (200 grams) of baked sweet potato with skin can meet the following daily requirements:

  • 26% of dietary fiber.
  • 769% of Vitamin A.
  • 65% of Vitamin C.
  • 26% of Vitamin B6.
  • 27% of potassium.
  • 50% of the manganese.

sweet potato

It’s important to note that a medium sweet potato contains an average of 24 grams of carbohydrates, 53% of which are starches. Sweet potatoes have a medium to the high glycemic index, ranging from 44-96. The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly your blood sugar levels rise after a meal, and it is noteworthy as foods with a high GI may not be suitable for people with diabetes to consume in large quantities.

Cooking methods can affect a food’s glycemic index, with boiling and baking achieving lower GI values ​​than frying.

2. Promotes Intestinal Health

Sweet potatoes contain two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Each of them has different functions in our body. As soluble fiber dissolves, it creates a structure that facilitates digestion and can lower blood cholesterol and sugar. 

Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, draws water into your stool, making it easier to pass through your intestines. Both of them work together to help support intestinal health.

3. Supports Immune Functions

Baked sweet potato

One cup of baked sweet potato provides almost half of your daily vitamin C needs while providing 700% (!) of your daily vitamin A needs. Both vitamins are vital for supporting immune function, which is especially important during flu season.

4. Reduces Cancer Risk

Sweet potatoes are a good source of beta-carotene, the provitamin of vitamin A. Diets rich in carotenoids are associated with a lower risk of stomach, kidney, and breast cancer.

5. Supports Eye Health and Healthy Seeing

Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A in our bodies and used to create light-detecting receptors in the eye. 1 cup (200 grams) of cooked sweet potato provides more than seven times the average daily amount of beta-carotene needed, thus highly supporting eye health.

How can we add sweet potatoes to our diet?

There are easy ways to add to our diet.

sweet potato salad

  • You can mash them and make a side dish for your meat.
  • Sweet potatoes can be added to your soups and sauces.
  • They make a great addition to a seasonal salad.
  • Crispy, spicy baked slices can satisfy your craving for french fries.

With Love,

Vivoo Nutrition Team

Enrich a vegan diet

How to Enrich a Vegan Diet

You may think that veganism is just a diet without eating any foods that come from animal origins. But veganism is a way of living that respects all animal’s right to life. It advocates that we do not have the right to use or consume the meat, milk, and skin of any living creature, especially when alternatives are available. Veganism also says that animals should not be used as test subjects in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. The vegan lifestyle dictates that all living creatures have the same right to live. It’s not just a diet. So how can we enrich a vegan diet?  

enrich a vegan diet

Imagine that you decided to become vegan. Where do you begin? Being vegan means giving up wearing leather shoes, making sure that your cosmetics and beauty products were not tested on animals, and reorganizing your eating habits. 

At this point, you will face a harsh reality: foods from animal sources hold a huge place in your diet. They are found in almost everything, from candy to salad dressing! For this reason, foods like pasta, chickpeas, and rice will become more prevalent in your diet after you make the switch. However, this kind of eating system is now sustainable as finding vegan foods is easier than it used to be. 

Vegan Lifestyle Impacts

Americans used to get 60% of their protein from animal sources. Since 2014, the number of people who have changed to a vegan lifestyle in America has increased by 500%. According to an article published in 2017, consuming meat products may contribute to premature death due to the nitrites, nitrates, and iron additives used in ready-made meat products. It is much better to choose healthier food alternatives instead of animal products.  As a result, the vegan lifestyle has increased, both in terms of lifestyle and diet.

As we mentioned above, the variety of food decreases after moving from a diet including animal products to one where foods from animal sources are not consumed. It is possible, and necessary, to enrich a vegan diet so that you get all the nutrients that your body needs. That requires some inspiration from nature and plenty of plants. Here are our best tips for making sure that a vegan diet meets all of your daily nutritional requirements.

Use Sprouts!

sprouts

Sprouting is an easy method that you can use at home to increase the nutritional value of plants. You can grow these antioxidant-rich, anti-inflammatory microgreens from legumes, seeds, grains, and beans. Sprouts contain significant amounts of protein as compared to their mature forms and are rich in vitamins and minerals. Sprouts are also rich in digestive enzymes. And they are also unbelievably delicious.

  • Broccoli Sprouts

Broccoli sprouts are rich in sulforaphane, an antioxidant that is naturally found only in broccoli sprouts.

  • Mung Bean Sprouts

Mung beans have a detoxifying and anti-inflammatory effect. They are an important source of bioavailable potassium and contain isoflavones, which could help lower bad cholesterol levels.

  • Lentil Sprouts

Lentil sprouts are rich in the nutrient thiamine. They contain two essential amino acids, cysteine, and methionine, that are not found in unsprouted lentils.

You can consume sprouts as a snack or add them to your salads. This will increase both the flavor and nutritional value, enriching your vegan diet.

Use Spices!

We use spices in many dishes, but it’s often just a habit. Spices have many nutritional benefits, too, and can be used to enhance a vegan diet. All spices are plant-based and have some benefits, but some are more significant than others.

1. Turmeric

turmeric
Turmeric is a new spice in Western cuisine. However, it has been used in the East for thousands of years and is an incredibly useful and healthy spice. It has potent anti-inflammatory properties, and you can easily add it to every meal. Using turmeric with black pepper or oil increases its absorption.

2. Asafoetida

asafoetida to enrich a vegan diet
 Asafoetida is a spice that tastes and smells like an onion when used in cooking. This spice used extensively in Asia and India regulates the digestive system and has a sedative effect. Just be sure to saute it lightly in oil before adding in other ingredients instead of sprinkling it on at the end.

3. Cumin

cumin seeds to enrich a vegan diet

Cumin is one of the best-known spices and is used in many cuisines. It has several medicinal benefits, including improving digestion and reducing flatulence. It can be especially useful when paired with legumes as they naturally release gas when digested, resulting in bloating.

4. Saffron

saffron to enrich a vegan diet

Saffron is used extensively in Middle Eastern cuisine. Thought to have cancer-fighting properties, it can be added to pilaf or used to brew as a tea.

A vegan diet is not just another trendy diet that you give up after losing weight. It is a complete change in lifestyle. Although becoming vegan can be challenging nutritionally, there are many small changes that you can make to help enrich your diet. Remember, all living creatures have equal rights!

 

Related: Vegetarianism: Why Are Plant-Based Diets on the Rise?

 

6 Things Your Urine Can Tell You

6 Things Your Urine Can Tell You

Your urine has a lot of hidden information about your overall health, so you need to take a closer look to identify this. Basically, urine is the filtered residue of wastes, extra water, and excess substances from your blood. Your kidneys filter the excess material from your blood and that’s why you can see what is more or less than needed in your body from your urine analysis. Urine analysis provides you information on urinary tract infections, your hydration level, kidney health, liver health, your diet, exercise level, and much more. If you want to dive into the secrets of your urine, here are the topics we have prepared for you.

1) UTI

Urinary Tract Infection is the overall name for an infection in your kidneys, bladder, ureters, or urethra. The cause of UTIs is generally bacteria entering the urinary tract and multiplying in the bladder. If you have bacteria in your bladder and urine analysis, it means you have an infection. 

The symptoms that you can notice are:

  • Having the urge to urinate frequently
  • Pain during urination
  • Frequent and small amounts of urination
  • Cloudy, red, bright pink, or dark-colored urine
  • Strong urine odor

If you have these symptoms for a period of time you may consult your doctor for a suitable treatment.

Things to do to prevent UTIs

  • Drink water: The more you drink, the more you will flush out bacteria through urine.
  • Drink cranberry juice
  • Wipe from front to back to prevent bacteria from passing after a bowel movement
  • Empty your bladder after intercourse
  • Don’t use irritating feminine hygiene products

2) Hydration

Hydration

Urine analysis gives information on your hydration level and there are several indicators. Color, clarity, and specific gravity gives hints on your level of dehydration. If you don’t have a primary disease that affects your urine, urine color is also an indicator that can show your hydration.

  • Yellow and light yellow are considered normal, 
  • Transparent is over hydrated 
  • Orange and darker colors are dehydrated. 

If you are dehydrated or over hydrated your electrolyte balance in your body can’t be sustained. When you over hydrate, the electrolyte content of your body is diluted meaning sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium, and calcium concentration drops in your body. On contrary, if you are dehydrated, your body lacks water and the concentration of electrolytes is higher than normal. Overall, this can lead to kidney and urinary problems.

The second step is the urine analysis test that checks your urine specific gravity. This test compares the density of your urine with the density of water. This way you can find out the dilution level of your urine and kidney function. If the concentration is too high, it means you are not hydrating well or your kidneys are not functioning properly.

Tips to hydrate:

  • Carry a reusable bottle and add lemon to your water
  • Increase fruit and vegetable intake
  • Reduce salty and sugary food intake

3) Kidney Health

Kidney Health

Kidneys are the organs that filter our blood and excrete excess materials via urine. They filter waste and impurities, regulate pH, salt, and potassium levels, and produce hormones. So maintaining kidney health is very important for overall well-being. Unfortunately, kidney diseases can remain hidden very well because there are no observed symptoms until at an advanced stage. However, urine analysis can provide insights into your kidney health. Albumin (protein) and creatinine ratio tests will be helpful in identifying and tracking kidney diseases.

Kidney diseases are not 100% preventable as genetic factors are dominant but you can reduce the chances:

  • Manage conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, that may lead to kidney diseases
  • Quit smoking 
  • A balanced diet contains, vegetables, fruits, grain, dairy, protein sources, and healthy fats.
  • Reduce alcohol intake
  • Exercise to lower your blood pressure and reduce the chances of kidney disease
  • You may get regular check-ups if you are at risk of developing kidney disease

4) Liver Health 

Liver for Urine

You can also learn more about your liver health from your urine analysis. The substance that will give you this information is bilirubin. Bilirubin is made while the body breaks down red blood cells, which is a normal process. A healthy liver can remove most of the bilirubin from your body, but if your liver isn’t functioning well, the bilirubin can leak into our blood and then to urine. So if you see bilirubin in your blood analysis, you might have a problem with your liver.

Another substance in urine analysis that you should check regarding liver health is urobilinogen. When the amount of bilirubin reduces, urobilinogen forms. Normally urine has some urobilinogen but if this amount goes beyond the normal range, your liver might not be working well. 

Liver health and tracking an existing liver problem is very important for your health. Watch out for these symptoms of potential liver disease and consult your doctor before it reaches a life-threatening level:

  • Skin and eyes become yellowish
  • Swollen abdomen, legs, and ankles 
  • Abdominal pain
  • Itchy skin
  • Urine color becomes dark
  • Pale stool
  • Nausea and feeling tired
  • Loss of appetite 

Some advice to follow in order to reduce the risk of liver disease:

  • Limit your alcohol consumption
  • Use medication wisely
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Maintain a high level of hygiene

5) Diet Tips

Diet Tips for Urine Health

You can change your lifestyle in order to enhance the excretory system and liver health. One major change would be reshaping your nutrition. There are some cases that you might need to change your diet a little bit different from generally recommended diets.

Ketone in Urine Analysis

If you see ketone in your urine this means that your body is burning fat for energy because you don’t have enough glucose. Normally the body uses carbohydrates for energy, but when your body lacks carbs, fats become the number one fuel. If you don’t follow a ketogenic diet and you have high ketone levels, this could be due to:

  • Metabolic abnormalities like diabetes mellitus, renal glycosuria, or glycogen storage 
  • Fasting 
  • Skipping meals 
  • Starvation for long hours

You might consider to arrange your meal times or increase the carbohydrates in your diet

 Urine pH

If the Ph of your urine is outside the normal range, you might consider changing your diet. The body excretes excess substances via urine. So if your urine is too acidic this means that you consume high amounts of acid and if your urine is too alkaline you consume high amounts of alkaline food. The optimal urine pH range is 4.5-8.0. If you are below this range, your urine is too acidic so you can switch to more alkaline foods. On the contrary if your urine is above this range, your urine is too alkaline and you need to consume more acidic foods.

Acidic foods:

  • grains
  • fish
  • sodas
  • high-protein foods
  • sugary foods

Alkaline foods:

  • nuts
  • vegetables
  • most fruits

A balanced and healthy diet will help you to reach the average healthy urine pH of 6.0-7.0.

 

Related: Making Your Urine More Alkaline Naturally

 

8 Healthy Halloween Treats You'll Want to Make

8 Healthy Halloween Treats You’ll Want to Make

Yes it is finally Halloween time! But the truth is refined sugar, artificial colors and much more is everywhere this holiday. This equates to our kids consuming much more sugar than normal. This isn’t a healthy or fun habit.

While it’s difficult to eat healthy on Halloween, it doesn’t have to be that way. Choosing healthier options can be a fun twist. Check out these healthy treats that don’t diminish the Halloween spirit.

Try these cute, spooky, and healthy treats to get kids excited about eating healthy on Halloween.

1- Bat Bites

8 Healthy Halloween Treats You'll Want to Make

(Nutrition profile: Vegan, Lactose-Free, Gluten-Free)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 scoop (1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon (32g)) chocolate protein powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Coarsely chop the chocolate into small pieces and set aside.
  2. Combine: In a large bowl, add the coarsely chopped chocolate, 1 cup creamy peanut butter, 1/2 cup honey, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, 1/8 teaspoon sea salt, 1 scoop chocolate protein powder, 1 and 1/2 cups old fashioned oats, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Using a hand mixer, beat until the mixture is well combined.
  3. Scoop: Using a cookie scoop or 1 tablespoon measuring spoon, scoop even-sized amounts of dough and roll into balls. Place on a parchment paper-lined plate and freeze for 15 minutes before eating.

2- Frozen Banana Mummies

8 Healthy Halloween Treats You'll Want to Make

(Nutrition profile: Vegan, Gluten-Free, Lactose-Free)

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 large bananas
  • 3 tablespoons gently melted, cocoa butter
  • Candy eyes, chocolate chips, currants or raisins
  • 3 tablespoons powdered coconut sugar

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Peel and slice the bananas into 1-1/2″ chunks. Skewer bananas with lollipop sticks, or use kebab skewers. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze.
  2. For the candy coating; in a small bowl, mix the melted cocoa butter with the powdered coconut sugar.
  3. Spoon a little drop of candy coating on a frozen banana and stick on an eye (or two, or three). Using a spoon, have the kids drizzle candy coating over the bananas in all directions, avoiding the eye.
  4. An egg carton turned upside down with little holes poked in the bottom made a good stand.
  5. For the “Things”; add the orange shredded coconut by mixing a few drops of yellow and a drop of red natural colors with some unsweetened shredded coconut.
  6. To assemble the “Things”: Attach eyes with a dot of candy coating. Drizzle candy coating on to coat front, avoiding eye(s). Sprinkle it with coconut. Drizzle to coat back. Sprinkle again. Drizzle to coat top. Sprinkle again. You gotta work in stages as the candy coat hardens real quick on the frozen bananas.

3- Frankenstein Kiwis8 Healthy Halloween Treats You'll Want to Make

(Nutrition profile: Vegan, Lactose-Free)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 kiwi
  • 2 pretzel sticks (and thicker “dipping sticks,” if desired)
  • 2 mini chocolate chips or dried wild blueberries

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Slice one end off the kiwi, so the kiwi sits upright and flat.
  2. Beginning at the cut end of the kiwi, use a vegetable peeler to remove some of the kiwi’s fuzzy skin. As you get toward the top third of the kiwi, pull the kiwi’s skin away in little jagged bits so that the skin remaining at the top of the kiwi will look like messy Frankenstein hair.
  3. For the mouth: Break a pretzel stick into a small piece (roughly about 1/2″ to 3/4″ long), and gently push that piece lengthwise into your kiwi to make a mouth.
  4. For the bolts: Break another pretzel stick (or a thicker pretzel “dipping stick”) so you have two end pieces that are each about 1/2″ long. Shove those into your kiwi (broken end first), one low on each side of your kiwi, to form the bolts in your Frankenstein’s neck.
  5. For the eyes: Use two chocolate chips or two dried wild blueberries for eyes, gently pushing each into position above the pretzel mouth.

4- Silly Apple Bites

8 Healthy Halloween Treats - Silly apple bites

(Nutrition profile: Vegan, Gluten-Free, Lactose-Free)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 green apples, each quartered
  • sunflower butter
  • 32 sunflower seeds
  • 2–3 strawberries, sliced
  • 1–2 homemade googly eyes per apple bite

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cut the middles out of each quarter of the apple to create a mouth. Don’t worry about perfection, you are filling this gap with sunbutter anyway so if you cut too deep, you can always just cover it up and no one will know.
  2. Coat the inside of the cut gap with a filling of sunflower butter.
  3. Place 4 sunflower seeds on the top of the “mouth” for the teeth.
  4. Place 1 sliced strawberry inside the mouth for the tongue.
  5. “Glue” each eye above the mouth with a dab of sunbutter to stick.
  6. Serve with a smile.

5- Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake ParfaitVegan Pumpkin Cheesecake Parfait

(Nutrition profile: Vegan, Gluten-Free, Lactose-Free)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in 3 cups water for at least 1 hour
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons activated charcoal powder (optional for black color)
  • 1/2 a package of Simple Mills Crunchy Toasted Pecan Cookies

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add soaked cashews, pumpkin, syrup, milk, pumpkin spice, and salt into a blender. Blend on high until smooth and creamy. In a separate bowl, whisk together the yogurt and charcoal. Finally, add the cookies into a small plastic bag and crush into chunks.
  2. Assemble the parfaits with a layer of pumpkin cheesecake, yogurt, and cookies. Repeat until you’ve used all your ingredients!

6- Mini Pumpkin Vegan Cheesecake Jack-O-Lanterns

Mini Pumpkin Vegan Cheesecake Jack-O-Lanterns

(Nutrition profile: Vegan, Gluten-Free, Lactose-Free)

INGREDIENTS

For the cheesecake:

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Flax meal
  • 3 Tbsp + 2 tsp Warm water
  • 1 1/4 Cups Roasted cashews* covered in water and soaked overnight
  • 2/3 Cups Pumpkin puree
  • 5 Tbsp Coconut sugar
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp Unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp Maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut oil melted
  • 1/2 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice

For the crust:

  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil at room temperature (it should be the consistency of softened butter)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Maple syrup
  • 6 Tbsp Coconut flour sifted (31g) 
  • 1 Tbsp Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt

For The Face:

  • 2 Oz Dark Chocolate dairy-free for a vegan option
  • 1/4 tsp Coconut oil melted
  • Mint sprigs for the stems

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flax meal and warm water and place it into the refrigerator to gel while you make the cheesecake.
  3. Place the soaked cashews into a high-powered blender (make sure you drained the water into the sink first!) along with all of the other ingredients for the cheesecake. Puree until thick, smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides as necessary. Set aside while you make the crust. Note: you want to be able to pour the cheesecake onto the crust as SOON as it’s out of the oven, which is why it’s best to prepare it first.
  4. In a large bowl, beat together the coconut oil and maple syrup for the crust, until smooth. Stir in the coconut flour, cocoa powder, and a pinch of salt until well mixed.
  5. Divide the dough by lightly heaping teaspoons between a 12-cavity mini-cheesecake pan, pressing out evenly.
  6. Bake until the crust just appear set, about 5 minutes
  7. When the crust has about 2 minutes left to bake, transfer the cashew mixture into a large bowl and pour in the flax eggs from the refrigerator. You want to leave them in the refrigerator as long as possible, so they can really gel up. Stir until the flax is evenly mixed into the cashew cream.
  8. Remove the crusts from the oven. Your crust will most likely have risen in a few spots. Just use a small spoon to pack it back down flat, making sure you don’t leave any cracks.
  9. Immediately fill each cavity, just over 3/4 of the way full, with the pumpkin cashew mixture.
  10. Bake until the cheesecakes have slightly risen and the outside appears set and firm, but just a small circle in the center still appears slightly jiggly, about 11-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on the counter. Then, cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours to overnight to completely set.
  11. Once set, place the chocolate and coconut oil in a small, microwave-safe bowl and melt in the microwave using 30-second intervals on half power, stirring between each interval, until smooth and melted.
  12. Drizzle the chocolate over each cheesecake to create a Jack-O-Lantern face (I put my melted chocolate in a small squeeze tube to make it easier.)
  13. Stick a mint sprig at the top of each pumpkin to create the stem.

7- Chocolate Covered Strawberry Ghosts

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Ghosts

(Nutrition profile: Vegan, Gluten-Free, Lactose-Free)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pint of fresh strawberries
  • 6 oz. white chocolate melting wafers
  • a small tube of black icing

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Place white chocolate wafers in a small bowl.
  3. Put in the microwave in 30-second increments until chocolate is melted and smooth.
  4. Dunk strawberries in the chocolate and place on the prepared baking sheet.
  5. Continue the process until all strawberries are covered.
  6. Place in the refrigerator for 5 minutes to let the chocolate harden and cool.
  7. Remove from the oven. Using a small tube of black icing, make two eyes and a mouth with the icing.

8- Paleo And Vegan Witch Finger Cookies

Paleo And Vegan Witch Finger Cookies

(Nutrition profile: Paleo, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Lactose-Free)

INGREDIENTS:

For the cookies:

For the strawberry jelly:

  • 3/4 Cup frozen strawberries thawed and roughly chopped (170g – measured when fully thawed and soft)
  • 2 Tbsp Honey

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large bowl, using an electric hand mixer beat together the honey and coconut oil and smooth and creamy. Add in the vanilla and almonds extracts and beat once more.
  2. Add the coconut flour and salt into the bowl and stir until well combined, and a wet dough forms. Scrape the dough onto a large piece of saran wrap and wrap it into a flat, thin disc. Place into the refrigerator until firm and roll-able, about 25-30 minutes.
  3. While the dough chills, preheat your oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  4. In a small saucepan, combine the chopped berries and honey and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook the berries, stirring frequently, until they become very thick and smooth, about 13-14 minutes. Make sure to really keep an eye at them near the end of cooking time, so they don’t burn.
  5. Transfer the berry mixture to a bowl and mash with a fork. Place into the refrigerator to set up.
  6. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll 1 Tbsp sized balls into 4 inch long finger-shapes, that are about 1/2 an inch thick. Place onto the prepared baking sheet and firmly press a sliced almond into the tip of the finger, to create fingernails. Remove the almond before baking. Then, using a small, sharp knife, make several horizontal, shallow cuts just under the fingernail, and then in the center of each finger, to represent knuckles. Lightly press in the dough on either side of the knuckles to shape them. Place the whole pan into the freezer for 10 minutes.
  7. Once frozen, bake the cookies until golden brown, and lightly crackly (the cracks are normal, don’t worry!) about 12-13 minutes. Let cool on the pan COMPLETELY.
  8. Once cooled, dip the bottom of the finger into the strawberry jam, so it looks like it’s been cut off. Then, fill the fingernail space with a dollop of the jam, and press in a sliced almond.

 

Related: 5 Must-Try Halloween Recipes

Lifestyle Factors That Affect Your Liver Health

Your liver is one of the most vital organs in your body. The liver is only found in vertebrates and is necessary for digestion and growth. Your liver is crucial in living a healthy life, so much so, if you have a bad liver you will likely need a transplant or your life could be at risk. However, many people don’t take the time to understand how different organs in their bodywork. In fact, it’s very common for people to now know much about what is going on in their body, which can put them at serious risk. If you are unfamiliar with liver health, its functions, and what affects it, this post will act as a brief guide for what you need to know.

Understanding the Liver

It’s crucial that you know how different organs in your bodywork and how to keep them healthy. By understanding the basic functions of organs, you will be able to preserve your health while also knowing when something could be going wrong. It’s important to understand the liver no matter your age, but as you get older, you become more at risk for liver disease and issues having to do with the liver.

For example, an expert from a company that handles in-home senior care pointed out that seniors over the age of 65 who have been diagnosed with a Hepatitis C viral infection (HCV) are at a higher risk of liver fibrosis than a younger adult who was diagnosed with an HCV infection. This is because HCV infection causes liver inflammation. With that being said, here are some things you should know about your liver.

Liver Health

Where Is the Liver Located in the Body

The liver is located in the upper right abdomen in the human body, under the diaphragm, and overlies the gallbladder. This vital organ is reddish-brown and is wedge-shaped. The liver typically weighs about 3.3lbs and is connected to two large blood vessels.

What are the Duties of the Liver?

One can not live without his or her liver this is due to its crucial functions in the human body. The liver is an accessory digestive organ that produces bile and alkaline fluid that contains cholesterol and bile acids which help breakdown fat in the human body. A majority of the duties of the liver are carried out by the liver cells. The liver is estimated to be a part of up to 500 functions within the body. The most notable being:

  • Blood supply
  • Biliary Flow
  • Carbohydrate, protein, amino acid, and lipid metabolism
  • Lymph production
  • Blood reservoir
  • Breakdown of insulin and hormones

What Affects Your Liver Health?

Because your liver is so crucial to living a healthy life, it’s important that you know what can affect it. This is particularly important when it comes to liver disease. Though the liver disease is often inherited, it can also be caused by a number of other outside factors, such as the few listed below.

Liver Health

Your Diet is Key

Overall, your diet is key in living quality and long life; this is especially true when it comes to the liver. A balanced diet is best when it comes to maintaining a healthy liver. A balanced diet should typically include:

  • A variety of fruits and vegetables
  • Meat, fish, and eggs
  • Unsaturated fats and oils
  • Foods that contain probiotics such as yogurt and kefir
  • Beans
  • Starchy carbohydrates such as potatoes, rice, and wholegrain pasta

Yoghurt for Liver Health

 Liver-Friendly Foods to Consider

Some specific foods to try to incorporate into your diet in regards to your liver include:

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Grapefruit
  • Blueberries and cranberries
  • Cruciferous vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Olive oil
  • Fatty fish

Healthy Liver Foods

Foods that Negatively Impact the Liver Health

When it comes to food that can negatively impact your liver, you should do your best to avoid the following:

  • Red meat
  • White bread/pasta
  • Salt
  • Fried food
  • Food that contains added sugar
  • Soda

Certain Cooking Methods

Preserving your liver health when it comes to diet is mostly controlled by the types of foods you are ingesting, so when it comes to cooking methods, it’s best to simply choose the healthiest option. A few cooking methods to try in order to preserve your liver and overall health include:

  • Cook with olive oil
  • Eating raw vegetables
  • Grilling rather than baking
  • Broiling your meat
  • Steaming veggies and fish

Healthy Food

Your Level of Activity

Obesity is one of the main causes of liver disease; so in addition to eating a well-balanced diet, one must make it a point to stay as active as possible to avoid obesity. Likewise, obesity and fatty liver disease are also associated with hypertension and high cholesterol.

Staying active will improve your overall quality and longevity of life as you will also avoid diabetes, heart disease, and many other ailments that are associated with being overweight.

Sports for Liver Health

Your Social Behavior

Alcohol consumption is also strongly associated with liver disease, and heavy alcohol consumption can damage the liver significantly. Because the liver can only process a certain amount of alcohol at a time, when someone frequently has too much to drink, the liver cells begin to break down. It’s also important to know that you should not combine any medications with alcohol as this can severely damage the liver as well.

Smoking can also cause severe damage to the liver as toxic chemicals cause inflammation and eventual cirrhosis.

The Use of External Drugs and Supplements

Certain medications, both over the counter and prescribed, can cause toxic liver disease which can be life-threatening. To prevent this, follow the advice given by your doctor. Some drugs that have been known to cause liver damage include:

  • Antifungal drugs
  • Arthritis drugs
  • Antibiotics
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Acetaminophen
  • Antiviral drugs

It’s important to also point out that certain supplements can also damage the liver. If you need to take any of them, you should follow your doctor’s control and advice.

Liver Health

Preserve Your Liver Health and Function

In order to live your life to the absolute fullest, you must make it a point to take care of your entire body, both internally and externally. After reading this post, hopefully, you have a better understanding of your liver and its function. Be sure to watch out for some of the signs of liver disease or damage, such as:

  • Fever
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Jaundice
  • Pain in your stomach
  • Weight loss
  • White or gray stool
  • Nausea
  • No appetite

Being aware of these common symptoms could potentially save your life, or someone you love’s life. Be proactive and do all that you can to protect your liver and your overall health and wellness.

 

Related: 5 Ways to Detoxify Your Body

 

 

Top 10 Foods That Are Good for Healthy and Beautiful Skin

Top 10 Foods That Are Good for Healthy and Beautiful Skin

Your diet has a huge impact on your skin. The right foods slow down the aging process and make your skin look good and glowing from the inside out. No matter how good your skincare products are or how much you use, they won’t work by themselves. You have to eat well. Take a look at the top 10 foods for beautiful and healthy skin. The foods on this list will help your skin to stay young and glowing.

1. Salmon

Salmon is a fatty fish that is excellent for healthy skin. It is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for your skin. Omega-3 fatty acids keep the skin thick and moisturized, reduce inflammation, and inhibit UV radiation. Salmon is also a good source of vitamin E, which protects your skin against damage from free radicals. So don’t forget to eat salmon once or twice a week!

Salmon for healthy skin

2. Walnuts

Walnuts are a good source of essential fatty acids, which are fats that our body cannot produce. It is one of the nuts that contain high amounts of omega-3 and omega-6. Walnuts also contain small amounts of zinc, selenium, and vitamins E and C, which promotes healthy skin. Try to eat walnuts at snack time.

Walnuts for healthy skin

3. Avocado

Avocados are also high in healthy fats that help your skin to look moisturized and glowing. They support healthy aging by protecting you from sun damage. UV lights damage your skin and cause wrinkles. Avocados are also a good source of vitamin E, which is one of the most important antioxidants for your skin. Try to eat a quarter of an avocado for breakfast to gain the benefits.

Avocado

4. Flax Seeds

Flax seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for your skin health. You can add flax seeds to your omelets, yogurt, or granola.

Flax Seeds for healthy skin

5. Olive Oil

A diet that includes healthy sources of oil keeps the skin moist and healthy. Since cold-pressed extra virgin olive oils are unprocessed, they are very effective on skin health. Olive oil is also rich in vitamin E. Getting enough vitamin E is essential for protecting your skin against damage. Try to cook and eat your foods with olive oil.

Olive Oil

6. Berries

Overexposure to sunlight can damage the DNA in your skin. Eating foods high in antioxidants can help. Berries like cherries, strawberries, blueberries and grapes are a good source of antioxidants and can help protect skin cells and prevent early-aging. Next time, try to eat berries for your daily fruit portion.

Top 10 Foods That Are Good for Healthy and Beautiful Skin

7. Dark Leafy Greens

Dark leafy greens are full of nutrients like vitamins A, C, and E, beta carotene, and chlorophyll, which are good for healthy skin. They are water-rich foods that help our skin to hydrate. You can add arugula, spinach, kale, celery, and broccoli to your salad to increase your intake of dark leafy vegetables.

Dark Leafy Greens for healthy skin

8. Bone Broth

Bone broth is a good source of collagen which has an important role on skin’s elasticity. 

Collagen is a protein that supports tissues in our body and keeps these tissues alive and flexible. You can add it to your smoothies or drink bone broth soup.

Bone Broth

9. Water

Water is one of the most important elements for healthy skin. It hydrates your skin and removes toxins from the body. Try to drink at least 2 liters of water for healthy, glowing skin. 

Water

10. Green Tea

Green tea is a powerful herb that is high in antioxidants. It contains a compound called catechins, which helps to protect your skin against sun damage and reduces redness. In addition, green tea improves hydration and the thickness and elasticity of the skin. Try to drink at least one cup of green tea per day.

Green Tea for healthy skin

The Bottom Line

While studies about diet and the body are ongoing, it is clear that what you eat has a big impact on your health and the aging of your skin. The antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals found in sources like fruits and vegetables and essential fatty acids like omega-3 are great for beautiful, healthy skin. Make sure you’re getting enough of these foods to protect your skin.

 

How to Reduce Screen Time and Be More Productive 

How to Reduce Screen Time and Be More Productive 

Today, we do almost anything you can think of through the use of screens. Shopping, socializing, meeting with friends, writing, working, even painting, reading a book, entertaining, exercising, and much more. Are we aware of the damage that we cause ourselves by such intense exposure to screens? Moreover, do we know that excessive screen time not only affects our body’s health but also reduces our productivity as well? Let’s take a look and see how we can reduce screen time responsibly.

How to Reduce Screen Time and Be More Productive 

Effects of Overdose Screen Time on Our Body

Screen time overdosing has numerous negative effects on us both physically and mentally. According to a CNN article, most Americans spend half of each day on screens. The numbers are so shocking. Although you may think that this is a necessity of modern times, uncontrolled screen time results in more damage than one may realize.

The most widely known and proven damaging result in high exposure to screen time is that it causes obesity. Moreover, as you can guess, screens directly affect our eyes. The short wavelength and blue light of screens can cause eye strain. Furthermore, sleep quality is also directly affected. The blue light that screens produce stimulates our body and hormone levels which help us sleep actually decreases. So our sleep and it’s quality go south as well.

For all the above reasons, it is important to reduce screen time not only to be more productive but also for our overall wellbeing over the long run. Here are some suggestions on how to reduce screen time.

1. Observe Your Screen Time

If you do not know where to start in reducing your time in front of a screen, first start off by paying attention to how much you time you are actually in front of a screen. Maybe you can not exactly measure the time you spend watching TV, but you can make a note about when you sat down in front of it. Most probably most of your time is spent on your smartphone. You can go to your smartphone’s settings options and you will likely find an option for ‘digital balance’. There are various apps that also offer this tool if your phone doesn’t have the option. Using such an app can show you how much time you spend on the phone in a day and which apps you use the most. After you determine how much time you spend, you can begin reducing it.   

2. Remove and Organize Apps

When you find out which apps you spend the most time on, you can first try limiting the use of these apps only during working hours. Another option could be to delete it completely as well which is digital minimalism. You could also begin by deleting apps one at a time. You will immediately recognize that your productivity is increased. Also, you will probably feel more energetic and serene. In addition to all, organize and folder your apps by categories. This will be helpful in preventing you from surfing more than necessary.

3. Set Your Alarm to Reduce Screen Time

Setting an alarm is a good solution to help reduce screen time. You can set an alarm for 10 p.m. and when it goes off, switch your TV and mobile phone off. This will prevent your body from being stimulated with an overdose of blue light and your body will start releasing melatonin Basically, your sleep quality will improve and your sleeping hormone levels will stabilize. Furthermore, your productivity also will increase indirectly because of improved sleeping quality.

4. Turn Off Notifications to Be More Productive

Notifications are one of the most distracting things in our lives. Most of us know that, when a notification comes out of nowhere, it immediately gets our attention. Whether it’s a like on Instagram or a comment on Facebook, the desire to know what it is inevitable increases. So disabling notifications and checking them out in your free time is also a good option to reduce screen time and increase productivity correspondingly.

5. Schedule Your E-mail Times

This tip may seem quite challenging since we live in a world where everything goes on by e-mail. But just like pop-up notifications, responding to each mail as soon as possible also interrupts our attention. That’s why scheduling when you pay attention to emails is another helpful way to reduce your overall screen use. You may think that it does not make sense during working hours in terms of reducing screen time since we work on computers. However, by better managing and limiting your time on screen, you will find that your productivity increases. In addition to that, this habit will influence your daily life and you start to check the screen less often.

6. Eat Away From the TV and Your Mobile Phone

Since it is a very well-known fact that eating in front of the TV causes obesity, being away from all screens while eating and giving your full attention to what you eat is an important thing for your wellbeing. Moreover, mindful eating may lead us to enjoy each taste. You may start to realize exactly what you eating because you are paying more attention to it instead of being distracted by whatever is on the screen. Furthermore, once you notice what you eat, this can help you set aside a special time for eating as well. Automatically your screen time will be reduced. In addition to those things mentioned, giving yourself a break to eat renews your energy and concentration and you will be more efficient when you get back to what you were doing.

eating with phone

7. Find a Hobby Without any Screen

It is undeniable that we spend most of our spare time on the screen -whether it be lying on the sofa or in front of the TV. If we encourage ourselves to reduce screen time, we may discover a new hobby. Spending some time on that hobby is one more way to improve ourselves as well as reduce overall screen time.

at-home hobby

 

Related: 10 Fun Things to Do at Home