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Ikigai: The Japanese Art of Happiness

Ikigai is a very popular concept in Japan.  Almost every Japanese person is said to have an Ikigai or to be seeking it. The art of Ikigai is a passion or desire that provides a kind of long and happy life. This passion can be a profession or hobby or some other interest. Each of us has an Ikigai, and we must look inside to find it.

What is the art of Ikigai?

The art of Ikigai is summarized as the reason for getting out of bed joyfully each morning. It’s about finding a purpose in life. Ikigai is the secret of a happy and long life of continuing to do something enthusiastically.  It has its origins on the Japanese island of Okinawa, which is one of the so-called “Blue Zones” of the world. “Blue Zones” are places where people often live to be more than a hundred years old. Ikigai is believed to help people in these areas, like a secret for living a longer and happier life. Studies have shown that people on this island also suffer from chronic diseases much less than many populations.

ikigai

Because they have a purpose, there is no such thing as ‘retirement’ for Japanese people. Ikigai is where your passion, your job and your mission in life all intersect, leaving you with the desire to continue for as long as you possibly can. The results are less disease and a longer life where you enjoy every moment. So how can we find our Ikigai?

How to Find Your Ikigai?

According to a diagram by Mark Winn in the book, Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life, there are four basic questions that you should ask yourself to find your Ikigai.

  1. What do you love?
  2. What are you paid to do in your job?
  3. What are you good at?
  4. What does the world need?

The intersection of these four questions will be your Ikigai. Once you find it, happiness and health will come through your life and you’ll have a chance to live longer.

Maybe you have asked yourself these questions but still can’t find your Ikigai.

That’s okay. The book also mentions several other ways to help find it. Living meaningfully or creating circumstances to live happily are simple methods of finding our Ikigai.

Advice for Living Happier and Longer with Ikigai

  1. Exercise not only physically but mentally as well.
  2. Avoid stress when possible.
  3. Meditate to filter out the chaos from the outside world.
  4. Stay active. Walking to work is a good place to start.
  5. Be social. Meet up with your friends instead of sitting in front of the TV.
  6. Pay attention to your diet. Switch junk food for fruits, and increase your calcium intake.
  7. Spend time in sunlight.
  8. Try to sleep for 7-9 hours every night.
  9. Play with pets or kids.
  10. Be aware of your daily routine.

Japanese Koi. Original public domain image from Wikimedia Commons

Go with the Flow to Find Your Ikigai

The concept of going with the flow is another thing to help you recognize the art of Ikigai. Going with the flow can be described as being in the present moment while doing something, experiencing only that thing you are doing without being interrupted by anything else.  Owen Schaffer from DePaul University of Depaul offered seven steps to creating a state of flow:

  1. Knowing what to do.
  2. Knowing how to do it.
  3. Knowing how good you are at doing it.
  4. Knowing your path.
  5. Recognizing the challenges.
  6. Perceiving your skills.
  7. Staying away from distractions.

If you work on these seven steps, it will help you become more productive as well showing you how to find your own Ikigai. Then it becomes easier to answer the next question: What makes you so happy that you forget all of the anxiety of the world?

Diet Principles of Ikigai – ‘HARA HACHI BU’

The people who have found their Ikigai on the island of Okinawa live very balanced lives. One of the secrets of living a happier, longer life is, of course, having a well-balanced diet and healthy eating habits.

Hara Hachi Bu:  ‘Hara hachi bu’ is a Japanese term that gives us an important clue for our wellbeing. It means eating until you are 80% full. This cultural habit helps them to prevent gorging and creates mindful eating as well. Eating slowly while focusing on what you eat can contribute to a longer, healthier life.

Vegetables and Fruits: Eating different kinds of vegetables is an important part of their diet on the island.  Unlike the fast-food culture, Okinawan people consume about 18 different types of food every day. At least five portions of fruit and vegetables can be found in their daily diets, and about 30% of their daily calories come from vegetables.

Cereals: Cereals like rice are the main dishes of daily life.

Less Sugar: Their diet generally includes no sugar. If they do eat sugar, they prefer sugar from a natural source, sugar cane.

Antioxidant Foods: Another reason why Okinawan people lead vigorous lives is that their diets are packed with antioxidant-rich foods. These foods include tofu, tuna fish, carrots, cabbage, onions, soybean sprouts, sweet potatoes, jasmine tea and pepper.

Teas: Drinking green or white tea every day helps Okinawans reduce the amount of free radicals in their bodies.

Exercises for Ikigai

It was discovered that the people who live in Blue Zones don’t do cardio exercises. Instead, they are usually very active in their daily lives. Many of their preferred exercise types can also help us to find our balance and focus our attention on the present moment. Exercises such as yoga, rajio taiso, tai-chi, qigong and shiatsu all teach practitioners to look within. Once you begin to practice, you will become more aware of how you feel in each moment of your life and start to enjoy the beauty of it.

the art of ikigai

Finally, whether you are working on finding your Ikigai or have already found it, the most important thing to do is to keep going. Don’t resist the changing conditions of life. Go with the flow, no matter what the circumstances. Don’t forget to take care of your body by exercising and paying attention to your diet. Once you find your purpose, a happy and longer life will come from simply following your dreams.

8 New Year’s Resolution Ideas For You to Stay on Top of Your Health

2020 became an interesting year for everyone all around the world. We became distant from our loved ones, we turned our homes into offices and classrooms, our whole schedule was changed and we learned to do new things that we never had time for before. Most importantly we better understand the importance of both mental and physical wellbeing. These changes have opened a new chapter in our lives and they will shape our New Year’s resolutions. We as Vivoo have gathered 8 New Years Resolution ideas to welcome the new year, enhance your overall wellbeing, and have a healthy year.

1. Cook at home

Cook at home for a healthy year

This year we tried new things that normally we wouldn’t have the time or energy for, one of them is cooking new recipes. Normally we would order, reheat something precooked or make the easiest recipes for ourselves. This year with plenty of newfound time for ourselves, we were motivated to try out the dishes that we had seen online or on a TV show. Next year try to cook new, delicious, and healthy recipes for yourself at least once a week. This way you will feel more confident while cooking and use healthier ingredients in your meal. Here is Deliciously Ella app for plant-based recipes that will satisfy your appetite and curiosity. 

2. Read books/Listen to audiobooks

Read book

Many of us got into the habit of reading while we have been stuck at home. As we have plenty of time to ourselves we can feed our imagination by reading books from various genres. This way we will step into someone else’s shoes, inform ourselves further on known topics, or even find a new subject of interest. If you are having a hard time concentrating on reading a book you can listen to audiobooks while commuting, doing chores, or even jogging. You can try an audible app where you can access books on various topics. 

3. Do yoga

Do yoga for a healthy year

Doing yoga has been one of the most popular New Year’s Resolution for several years, so why not give it a try it out and commit to doing so for the new year? If you are new to yoga you can follow a yoga video channel or practice yoga with a friend or online to encourage yourself. We can guarantee that you will feel mentally and physically powerful after regular yoga practice. Here is a gift idea for yourself and your yoga friend, that will bring you closer to yoga and a healthy year.

Related: Yoga for Beginners: 6 Yoga Practices for the Beginner Yogi

4. Increase your water consumption

Increase your water consumption

The number one health advice of the year is to, drink more water. There are plenty of benefits of drinking water, for example, your energy level will go up, your brain will work better, your gut health and kidney health enhances and it facilitates weight loss. To start off right this year, increase the amount of water you consume, and why not try adding fresh peppermint, cucumber, or lemon to your water for a different taste? 

5. Meditate

meditate for a healthy year

Mindfulness becomes more important as we lose ourselves in this fast-paced life of modernity. It is the most effective way to feed our spirit and turn to ourselves. That’s why meditation is a new habit to add to our healthy year plan. There are plenty of proven benefits of meditation such as; sharpening attention, reducing stress, and improving relation quality. You can start meditation with a Meditopia app that will facilitate your adjusting process to mindfulness. You can listen to personalized meditation or guided meditations and start this year off with more awareness and vitality.

6. Sleep well

Sleep well for a healthy year

Sleep is one of the major sources of fuel for your body. You will become more productive, physically energetic, reduce weight gain heart disease risk, and prevent depression. That’s why you need to get enough sleep to sustain your physical and mental wellbeing. You can get help from the Sleep cycle app. It tracks your sleep cycle and wakes you up in your lightest sleep. This way you will wake up easier and get your sleep better.

Related: Meditation for a Good Night Sleep

7. Declutter

Keeping too much stuff in your living space, in wardrobes and cabinets can be an extra and unnecessary load for you. So this year, as a new year’s resolution start decluttering. Keep your house tidy and get rid of the clothes, kitchenware, and home objects that are no longer essential and contribute to the clutter. You can donate to a charity and maybe bring good to both yourself and your community. 

8. Reduce your phone usage

Reduce screen time

Social media and applications may facilitate our lives but sometimes we lose track of time and don’t have enough time to spend with our loved ones. That’s why you may try to limit your phone usage this year for a healthier way of living. Use social media to your advantage by adding a time tracker or set the alarm on your phone for time away from technology.

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

 

10 Fun Things to Do at Home

 Many people are stuck at home since Covid-19 has emerged. We’re all bored and sometimes the idea of being stuck in the same environment makes us feel more depressed. But just because we are physically stuck at home doesn’t mean that we have to be stuck psychologically. We can use this time not only for working online but also for trying fun things that we didn’t have not enough time for before.

Here are 10 fun things that you can do at home.

1. Decorate Your Home

Each of us has a kind of design taste. Some of us are keen on boho-style decorations while others like Scandinavian decoration at home. But the hardest thing is to find the time in our busy daily schedules to reorganize or redecorate our homes. Thanks to Covid-19, many of us have a lot of spare time nowadays, and this may be the chance to design our homes to suit our own tastes.

It may seem irrelevant since we are stuck at home to protect ourselves and the others, but we can also have fun with some decorative activities. We might not buy new furniture, but changing its location can be one way to enjoy our time at home.

10 Fun Things to Do at Home     

Painting the walls is another method of changing things up. We’re lucky to have so many amazing design ideas available on Pinterest when it comes to home decor. Pinterest can be your guide to redesigning your space, and this activity can definitely change the atmosphere and your mood as well. Explore a new color scheme or paint an accent wall with a bright color. Shop online for new home accessories or use what you have to create a warm and inviting space where you love spending time.

2. Travel with Google Earth

We’ve all started to plan the places we want to go once the pandemic is over. Until then, traveling around the world without paying any money can be another fun thing to do at home. Google Earth uses geographic data on a 3D globe to allow anyone to explore new locales using their web browser. Just spin the globe, pin your guy in the city or country you want to see, and zoom in to take a tour.

3. Try a New Haircut

If you’ve never had the courage to try an edgy new haircut or an off-beat hair color, this is the best time to give it a go. Shaving a beard or hair, growing a mustache, or dyeing your hair a unique color during this time will give you the opportunity to try a new look but still limit your exposure if you decide it’s not for you.

Marie Kondo-ing

 4. Marie Kondo-ing

Marie Kondo is a Japanese organizing consultant, and her books have been sold all around the world. The main idea of her “Konmari method” is to allow people to live with the items they cherish while passing on those that don’t inspire joy. And if Konmari isn’t for you, there are several other organization methods that can be used to tidy up your living space. If you are interested in organizing and decluttering the things you don’t need, trying Marie Kondo’s method could be a great way to reorganize your home and have some fun, too.

5. Join a Digital Sports Class

Although we’re trying to pay attention to our nutrition while being stuck at home, many of us are gaining weight. Even if you can’t go out, practicing a sport you like may be helpful in boosting your metabolism. Many yoga, pilates, and Zumba. studios are now giving online group classes or you can try one-to-one lessons as well. YouTube also has a variety of workout videos that can be done at home with little space and no equipment.

10 Fun Things to Do at Home     

6. Draw and Paint

If you’re really bored or have lost your motivation, why not let your creative juices flow? Drawing or painting can be a fun and artistic way to spend your time at home. Whether you think you’re talented or not, there are many different types of expressive art that you can try.. A search of YouTube can bring up hundreds of watercolor, oil, and acrylic painting tutorials. If creating from scratch isn’t your thing, you might want to try coloring books to explore new color combinations. With books being produced especially for adults, coloring isn’t just for kids anymore. And research has shown that coloring mandalas not only entertains us but helps us achieve a greater state of relaxation as well.

7. Instagram Your Hobbies

Now is definitely the time to use social media as a means of socializing. There are different ways to use Instagram to communicate with people you have never met before. Although it’s a tool for sharing photos and videos, you can use it to share your hobbies as well. You can create your own hobby account and then share it with the world. Who knows, maybe your hobby will be your future business.

Instagram Your Hobbies

8. Indoor Gardening

We may live far away from nature in a high-rise building or be lucky enough to have a small garden outside our door. Even if you think your home doesn’t have a suitable space, that doesn’t mean you can’t create a garden of your own. If you don’t have the time or motivation to raise a plant, now might be the time to give it a try. There are many indoor plants that require minimal space, are easy to keep alive, and don’t even need a lot of sunlight. No matter what your skill level, there is a plant just for you. Your indoor garden is about to become a reality. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

9. Design Your Website or Portfolio

This might be the time for you to review your website or portfolio. With so much going on in our daily lives, we rarely find the time to perform these tasks. If you don’t have a website of your own, now is your opportunity to build one. There are tons of how-to videos on YouTube, or you can use free website builders as well.

10 Fun Things to Do at Home     

 10. Learn a language

Always wanted to learn a foreign language but never had the time? Maybe you started to learn one before but never have a chance to practice it. Since we’re all stuck at home and can’t socialize physically, this could be a good chance for you to try again. Thanks to the internet and numerous apps that have been built just for learning different languages, it’s never been easier to start attaining that goal. If you don’t know where to start, here is a quick guide to get you motivated.

This shortlist of 10 fun things to do at home can be used as a starting point, but there are many other things that you can do as well. But don’t feel pressured to be productive all the time. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed when stuck at home and feel the need to keep busy Do not forget that doing nothing and enjoying the present is also the best activity.

 

Related: Tips for Meeting Your Vitamin D Needs While Indoors

 

What Is The Impact of Social Media? Positive & Negative Effects

Social Media Day is observed every year on June 30th. It was launched by Mashable in 2010. This day’s main purpose is to recognize social media’s impact on global communication and to bring the world together to celebrate it.

Social media is a way of communicating. It’s how people interact and share things with their family, friends, and the world in a simple and fast way. Moreover, it has become a big part of our lives and many of us use it every day.

Social Media Day: What Is The Impact of Social Media? Positive & Negative Effects

3 Facts About Social Media

  1. Young adults spend more time using social media than doing any other activity. 
  2. Sixty-five percent of all American adults and 90% of young adults in the U.S. now use social networking sites.
  3. According to a University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine report, the participants who spent the most time on social media throughout the day had 2.2 times the risk of reporting eating and body image concerns, compared to their peers who spent less time on social media.

Effect of Social Media on Our Eating Habits and Diet 

Around 40% of the world’s population spends an average of two hours every day using social media. With social media playing such a big part in our lives, how does it affect our well-being and eating habits? Does it trigger emotions like anxiety, stress, depression, low self-esteem, and loneliness? Or does it make us feel better about ourselves and the world around us?

Social Media Day: What Is The Impact of Social Media? Positive & Negative Effects

Did you know that the most-liked photo on Instagram is an egg, and pizza is the most Instagrammed food? Food is a big part of social media. Moreover, it’s nearly impossible to scroll through any feed without seeing pictures of food, recipes, and food-related videos. Have you ever wondered how all of this exposure to food affects your eating habits?

Related: A Guide to Intuitive Eating

Positive Impacts of Social Media

Social media can have many positive effects on our eating behaviors.

  • It can give you the opportunity to reach out to anyone. For example, you can connect with life coaches, doctors, or dietitians via direct messages.
  • Social media helps us express ourselves through what we cook or eat.
  • It makes us creative and allows us to share with other people.
  • Viewing social media inspires and motivates us to try new things.
  • It gives us easy access to healthy recipes.
  • We can learn more about nutrition and diet from social media.

Social Media Day: What Is The Impact of Social Media? Positive & Negative Effects

  • It can be a great way to relax, which can also be positive for your mental health and well-being.
  • Social media helps us to find other people like ourselves. This can be especially important for people who are dealing with eating disorders or body image issues as it allows them to build a community.
  • It can connect you with similar people, which can make you feel accepted and support you emotionally.

Negative Impacts of Social Media

There can also be some negative effects of social media on our eating behaviors.

  • Social media is directly associated with negative body image and the idealization of thinness, which is associated with eating disorders.
  • You can experience bullying or harassment about your body image on social media.

Negative Impacts of Social Media

  • Inactivity caused by excessive viewing of social media can increase body weight, which can lead to obesity. Studies show that television viewing time is positively associated with BMI (Body Mass Index).
  • If you compare yourself to social media models, it can make you feel inadequate and lower your self-esteem.
  • It may increase the use of laxatives, diet pills, or diuretics to lose or control weight.
  • Social media can take over your world and distance you from real-life and in-person communication.
  • Not all online information is true. It is easy to be misled by false information found on social media.

Positive Impacts of Social Media

  • Staying online instead of doing other important things like eating, sleeping, spending time with others, or exercising can have a negative impact on your health.
  • Social media can lead to feelings of depression or anxiety, which can cause emotional eating

Conclusion

Social media makes our lives easier and has both positive and negative effects. It would be wrong to say that it’s only bad for us. However, it affects people differently, depending on conditions and personality traits. Just be sure to spend a low to moderate amount of time on social media. Therefore, don’t let it take up the major part of your day or your life. If you feel that it has a negative impact on your life or you are experiencing feelings of depression or anxiety, talk to someone or seek professional help. You don’t have to deal with this on your own.

 

Related: Steps to Building a Strong Relationship with Food

 

National Country Cooking Month

If you love traditional home cooking, let’s celebrate National Country Cooking Month this June! It’s all about creating simple, healthy home-cooked meals and is the perfect month to try something new.

For National Country Cooking Month, why not try cooking something from scratch every day? For instance, you can grow your own vegetables and fruits in your garden and use them in a meal. It’s a great experience and much tastier and healthier. Or you can try to use new techniques, like making bread by hand instead of using a machine in this Country Cooking Month!

Recipes to Try for National Country Cooking Month 

1. Green Gazpacho

Try this dazzling take on the classic chilled Spanish soup with green vegetables, herbs, and yogurt.

Green Gazpacho - National Country Cooking Month

Ingredients:

  • 3.5 ounces of baby spinach
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 large cucumber, deseeded and chopped
  • ½ green chili, deseeded
  • 1 small bunch parsley
  • ½ small bunch basil
  • ½ small bunch mint
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 4 spring onions
  • 7 ounces of yogurt
  • 2 tbsp of sherry vinegar
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Handful of pea shoots
  • Edible flowers and ice cubes

Method:

  • Put all the ingredients, except the oil, pea shoots, and ice cubes, into a food processor with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Blitz, adding enough water to get a soupy consistency. Taste, and add a little more vinegar and seasoning if necessary.
  • Chill for up to 24 hrs or for at least 2 hrs.
  • To serve, divide between shallow soup bowls, float a few ice cubes in each bowl and add a scattering of pea shoots and a drizzle of oil before serving.

2. Beef Stew

This stew is an easy and super healthy way to add some protein to your diet…

Beef Stew

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced
  • 2 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 10.5 ounces of beef, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 14-ounce can of chopped tomato
  • Handful of rosemary and olives

Method:

  • In a large saucepan, cook onion and garlic in olive oil for 5 minutes until they soften and turn golden. Add the beef strips, pepper, tomatoes, and rosemary, then bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes until the meat is cooked through, adding some boiling water if needed. Stir in the olives, and serve with mash or polenta.

3. Tabbouleh Salad

Tabbouleh is a super fresh herb and bulgur salad, with parsley being the number one ingredient. It’s refreshing, light and packed with healthy ingredients. It is also a great recipe to try for National Country Cooking Month.

Tabbouleh Salad - National Country Cooking Month

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup bulgur
  • 1 cup diced cucumber (1 small-to-medium)
  • A large diced tomato (1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
  • 3 medium bunches curly parsley
  • ⅔ ounce (⅓ cup) chopped fresh mint (optional but recommended—you can chop it in the food processor with the parsley)
  • ⅓ cup thinly sliced green onion
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice, to taste
  • 1 medium clove garlic, pressed or minced

Method:

  • Cook or soak the bulgur until tender according to package directions. Drain off any excess water, and set aside to cool.
  • Meanwhile, combine the diced cucumber and tomato in a medium bowl with ½ teaspoon of the salt. Stir, and let the mixture rest for at least 10 minutes, or until you’re ready to mix the salad.
  • To prepare the parsley, cut off the thick stems. Then finely chop the parsley and remaining stems—you can do this by hand, but it’s much easier in a food processor. Process 1 bunch at a time (it should yield about 1 cup chopped), transferring the chopped parsley to a large serving bowl before proceeding with the next.
  • Add the cooled bulgur, mint (if using), and green onion to the parsley. Strain off and discard the cucumber and tomato juice that has accumulated in the bottom of the bowl. (This ensures that your tabbouleh isn’t too watery.) Add the strained cucumber and tomato to the mixture.
  • In a small measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the olive oil, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, garlic, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Pour it into the salad and stir to combine. Taste, and adjust if necessary—add another tablespoon of lemon juice for zing or salt for more overall flavor.
  • If you have the time, let the salad rest for 15 minutes before serving to let the flavors mingle. Otherwise, you can serve it immediately or chill it for later. Tabbouleh will keep for up to four days in the refrigerator if covered.

4. Ratatouille

This recipe for Mediterranean-style ratatouille is perfect for a super healthy dinner.

Ratatouille

Ingredients:

  • 2 red onions
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 eggplants
  • 3 zucchini
  • 3 red or yellow peppers
  • 6 ripe tomatoes
  • ½ a bunch of fresh basil  (about 15g)
  • Olive oil
  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 14 ounces of plum tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • ½ a lemon

Method:

  • Prep your ingredients before you start. Peel and cut the onions into wedges, then peel and finely slice the garlic. Trim the eggplant and zucchini. Deseed the peppers and chop into 1-inch chunks. Roughly chop the tomatoes. Pick the basil leaves and set aside, then finely slice the stalks.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large casserole pan or saucepan over medium heat, and add the eggplant, zucchini, and peppers. (You may need to do this in batches.) Fry for around five minutes, or until golden and softened, but not cooked through. Spoon the cooked veggies into a large bowl.
  • To the pan, add the onion, garlic, basil stalks, and thyme leaves, using another drizzle of oil if needed. Fry for 10 to 15 minutes, or until softened and golden.
  • Return the cooked vegetables to the pan and stir in the fresh and tinned tomatoes, the balsamic vinegar and a good pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
  • Mix well, breaking up the tomatoes with the back of a spoon. Cover the pan and simmer over low heat for 30 to 35 minutes, or until reduced, sticky and sweet.
  • Stir in torn basil leaves and finely grated lemon zest. Adjust the seasoning, if needed. Serve with a hunk of bread or steamed rice.

5. Raw Date and Hazelnut Brownies

These brownies are gooey, chocolatey, and oh so delicious. Perfect for when you need a sweet treat.

Raw Date and Hazelnut Brownies

Ingredients:

For the brownies

  • 3 cups medjool dates, pitted
  • 7.7 ounces blanched hazelnuts
  • 5-6 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 2 tablespoons date syrup
  • Pinch of sea salt

For the frosting

  • 16 medjool dates, pitted
  • 2.1 ounces cacao powder
  • 7 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 cup  almond milk

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, fan setting.
  • Roast the hazelnuts in the oven for 5-10 minutes until golden. Remove from the  oven and leave to cool.
  • Once cooled, blend the roasted hazelnuts in a food processor until they form a crumbly mixture.
  • Add the dates and blend again before adding the cacao powder and date  syrup.
  • Place the mixture into a baking tray (we use 8 in x 11 in) and refrigerate.
  • While the brownies are in the fridge, place all of the frosting ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth.
  • Spoon a smooth layer of the frosting over the top of the brownies.
  • Place back in the fridge for 3-4 hours to allow the brownies to set.

 

National Men’s Health Week

On the 10th-16th of June, the world celebrates National Men’s Health Week. This week’s main goal is to raise awareness of preventable health issues that affect men and focuses on early detection and treatment of diseases.

Top 3 Health Facts Men Need to Know

  1. Men live 4.4 years less than women because of health risks and must be more careful.
  2. The top cause of death in men is heart disease.
  3. Other death causes are cancer, injuries, stroke, HIV, and suicide, which is higher in men.

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the number one cancer among men in the United States (according to the National Cancer Institute). About 30,000 men die of prostate cancer each year.

Prostate cancer occurs in the prostate, which is a small walnut-shaped gland in men that produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm.

Some men are at higher risk than others. These risk factors are age, race, family history, and obesity.

Obesity Among Men

Weight is one of the important factors in men’s health. Men generally carrying weight around the stomach area have an increased risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and some cancers, including kidney, prostate, and bowel cancers. According to an American Cancer Society study, obesity increases the risk of future prostate cancer.

If you have a waist size of over 102 cm (about 40 inches) or if your BMI is higher than 27.5, you are at a higher risk.

Alcohol

Alcohol consumption is higher in men, which risks the general quality of men’s health. Regularly drinking more than 14 units a week risks damaging your health and can contribute to an increased risk of cancers, heart disease, and stroke, liver disease, brain damage, and damage to the nervous system.

National Men's Health Week

To keep health risks low, you should:

  • limit the total amount of alcohol drunk
  • switch to lower alcohol percentages, like wine or gin-soda
  • drink slowly, with food, and alternate with water

Exercise

Increasing physical activity has potential effects on improving physical and mental health. It also helps to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, improves sleep, helps with stress management, and weight maintenance.

National Men's Health Week

Exercise recommendations for adults are:

  • at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, plus muscle-strengthening activities on two days or more of the week.
  • OR 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, plus muscle-strengthening activities on two days or more of the week.
  • OR a combination of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity every week, plus muscle-strengthening activities on two days or more of the week.

Related: 12 Best At-Home Workouts You Can Do Without Any Equipment

Top Tips For Men’s Health

1. Maintain a healthy weight – being overweight or obese is a risk factor.

2. Eat more fiber – add oatmeal, wholewheat pasta or bread, brown rice, beans, and legumes to increase fiber intake.

3. Keep track of your red and processed meat intake – aim to eat red meat less than 2-3 times a week. Instead, add chicken, turkey, and fish.

4. Reduce saturated fat consumption– reduce or cut out packaged foods like biscuits, cakes, pies, chocolate and cream, and fried foods. Choose unsaturated fats, such as avocado, olive, or coconut oil.

5. Eat more fish – try to eat at least two portions of fish a week.

Celebrating the National Mediterrenean Diet Month

6. Eat more fruit and vegetables – try to eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day.

7. Watch your salt intake – aim for less than 5 grams a day. Check the nutrition label on foods, and don’t add extra salt at the table.

8. Stay active – aim for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate activity.

9. Limit alcohol intake – If you drink alcohol, try to drink no more than 14 units a week, with several alcohol-free days each week.

10. Seek help if you need it – if you are worried about any aspect of your health, don’t keep quiet. Speak to your doctor.

 

National Women’s Health Week | May 10-16, 2020

National Women’s Health Week is an awareness week that encourages women of all ages to become conscious about their health. In 1983, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) decided to identify important women’s health issues. A committee was established under the leadership of the Public Health Service, and this committee started working on all issues related to women’s health. In 2000, HHS launched the National Women’s Health Week to help women become aware of their health

1. Visiting Health Professionals And Health Screening

Visiting your doctor every year is an important way to stay healthy. Well-woman visits include complete check-ups rather than treatment. These visits are of great importance in that they include early medical tests and scans that contribute to treating diseases.

National Women's Health Week | May 10-16, 2020

There are different methods used in the diagnosis of diseases, including serious diseases such as cancer. Physical examinations check for general health issues, such as looking at any unusual symptoms. Laboratory tests use samples of tissue, blood, urine, or other substances in the body to detect anomalies. Medical imaging procedures create pictures of the areas inside the body. Genetic tests are laboratory tests in which cells or tissue are analyzed to investigate changes in genes or chromosomes.

2. Prevention from Diseases

We have realized how important it is to avoid disease due to the COVID-19 virus. Now that we understand the importance of preventive care, we can gain awareness about diseases due to National Women’s Health Week.

Cardiovascular (Heart) Diseases

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women in the USA. It affects 42.1 million women over the age of 20 in the U.S. and is the number one cause of death in women. According to the Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics 2007 update, 1 out of 30 deaths in women can be attributed to breast cancer, while almost 1 in 3 women died from cardiovascular disease. It is theorized by specialists that particular issues found only in women, such as menopause, PCOS, and lactation can also trigger cardiovascular disease.

National Women's Health Week | May 10-16, 2020

Breast Cancer

According to available data, 12.8% of women born in the United States will get breast cancer during their lifetime. The risk of developing cancer is an age-dependent factor. The risk of breast cancer is 1 in 208 people at the age of 30, 1 in 65 people at the age of 40, 1 in 42 people at the age of 50, 1 in 28 people at the age of 60, and 1 in 25 at the age of 70. These data clearly show how important screening tests are for women. 

Stroke

Stroke affects more women than men, and the death rate for stroke is higher in women. There are several factors that may explain this discrepancy, including pregnancy, hypertension during pregnancy, and the use of birth control pills. It is very important that you practice good self-care. Be sure to get plenty of rest, eat the right foods, be physically active, and don’t smoke. 

National Women's Health Week | May 10-16, 2020

Obesity

Obesity is a well-known metabolic disorder and is one of the most important causes of diseases such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, and cancer. In general, obesity is an indication that you are not at a healthy weight. Finding your Body Mass Index (BMI) is an easy way to find out if you are at a healthy weight.

Remember that obesity can cause metabolic diseases (cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer) and try to reach your ideal weight. If you are in the normal weight range, continue your physical activity, and balance your meals to maintain your weight. If your weight is below the ideal weight, contact your dietician for healthy weight gain advice. 

3. Exercise

Being physically active is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Every woman should try to exercise for at least 30 minutes every day for her health. Physical activity or exercise will help you feel better and be healthier. It protects you from diseases such as cancer, diabetes, stroke, and mental problems. It also protects you from severe pain during the menstrual period of exercise.

Related: Yoga and Menstruation: Poses to Avoid and Poses that Help

You should also pay attention to your diet for weight loss, which is the best-known benefit of exercise. Exercise alone may not work if you do not reduce calories. You must be realistic in your weight loss process. Achievable goals such as losing 1-2 pounds per week and gradually increasing the intensity of exercise will motivate you.

National Women's Health Week | May 10-16, 2020

4. Mental Health

Good mental health is essential for women. More than 20% of women in the United States have experienced depression or anxiety. Many mental health conditions, such as depression and bipolar disorder, affect more women than men

The preventive daily routines mentioned above, such as losing weight, eating healthy, and exercising, are also very beneficial for your mental health. In addition, you need to add sufficient and restful sleep to these routines. Changing hormones during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause can affect how well a woman sleeps. Restless legs syndrome or sleep apnea are other factors that can cause sleep deprivation. Creating certain routines before your sleep, keeping the place where you sleep dark, not drinking caffeinated beverages in the afternoon, and stopping food consumption at least three hours before sleeping are some suggestions that will help you get the rest you need.

Related: Meditation For a Good Night Sleep

Mental health is not just anxiety, stress, or bipolar disorder. Problems such as body image disorder, eating disorders, alcoholism, insomnia, and trauma due to sexual assault are all sub-topics of women’s mental health.

You may be wondering what is considered to be “normal” mental health. For example, when does sadness become depression? At what point is “attention” called obsession? When does “control” really become a problem? A mental health professional can help you understand the tipping points. Treatment is available, and many women who have sought help have been able to recover.

5. Importance of National Women’s Health Week

National Women’s Health Week is a very important week for helping raise awareness about the most common diseases for women and the importance of preventive care. Be sure to visit your doctor, and do not forget your scans. Keep in mind the prevalence of metabolic disorders in our country and do not neglect exercise, good sleep, and healthy nutrition. Do yourself the favor you deserve! Health is possible at any age. If you agree with the importance of this week, use the hashtags #NWHW and #FindYourHealth on your social media posts! 

 

Related: Vivoo UTI Box

International Women’s Day: Importance for Us

Who is your role model?

This is a question we hear a lot in our daily lives. It’s a question that makes us think, dig deep, and is borderline existential.

Who is truly your hero?

What if your hero is YOU?

The person who gets up every day, looks in the mirror, and decides to keep going with goals that you’ve set for yourself no matter what?

The woman trying to stay healthy while maintaining a body-positive outlook and finding the motivation to keep going
despite the plateaus, slips, and bad days?

What if this level of empowerment comes from within to help you maintain a balanced outlook into body, mind,
and emotional wellness?

level of empowerment comes from within to help you maintain a balanced outlook into body, mind, and emotional wellness

As a group of women founders who worked so hard to strike that balance, that’s exactly how we define wellness at Vivoo. And that’s how we would like you to start viewing it, too.

We want wellness to be personal. Because, we understand that the body, mind, and emotions of an empowered woman vary in definition and practice from one woman to another.

We insist that wellness is not just about finding the right diet or losing pounds. It’s about taking control of your health, being proud of your body, and being motivated to move on. Even when you think you’ve slipped.

 

women's day, women empowerment


Wellness, just like empowerment, is a journey that we all take very personal routes to fulfill. That’s why Vivoo is here for you. To help you fulfill this journey, live your best life, and enjoy each moment to the max. We’re here to support you in your decisions to take charge of the one thing you have full control over. That combination of your amazing body, unique mind, and empowered emotions that will help you get the most out of life.

 

Today, on International Women’s Day, we celebrate the amazing you, the empowered you, the one, and only you. As a group of women scientists and business professionals who decided to break the generic stagnation of health and wellness advice,
democratize it, and take it to the next level of personalization, we wish you and all the women in your life a very happy

International Women’s Day.

 

In health, empowerment, and prosperity,

 

Your Vivoo Team

 

3 Basic Steps to Start Your Own Sexual Wellness Journey

So you have started your wellness journey, and all of your efforts towards understanding, balancing and growing a healthy lifestyle are starting to pay off. Everyone’s journey is different and should progress according to their needs in both physical and emotional wellness. But did you know that your sexual wellness is important, too? Let’s take a look at three basic steps for starting your sexual wellness journey.

Know Your Body and What It Needs

1- Know Your Body and What It Needs 

The first, and most important, a step towards starting your sexual wellness journey is to know your body and its needs. We all have a desire to know and grow. As our knowledge expands, we become more confident. 

Think about the time you spend understanding your sexual wellness. If you feel like you have been procrastinating, it is probably the right time to try to discover it. First, try to expand your knowledge about your body parts; their anatomy and their functions. The more you learn about them, the more confident you become. “Together with, here’s the link of an online book we suggest you take a look.”

As you learn about your body, your growing confidence will allow you to become more creative when responding to your sexual needs. The challenge is not to hesitate, but to try new methods with yourself. Discover what pleases you sexually. 

 

2- Take Care of Yourself  in Your Sexual Wellness Journey

The second step to sexual wellness is all about making time to take care of yourself. There are different methods you can practice to increase it.

The most well-known physical activity for both men and women is Kegel exercises. Introduce Kegel to your daily routine and you will see an increase in your sexual performance. These exercises are all about tightening your pelvic floor muscles. 

take care of yourself

Another non-pharmacological practice is yoga. Yoga is well-known for increasing your mental wellness, but it has actually been shown to improve your sexual wellness, too. The ancient Ayurvedic yoga (ayus=life, veda=knowledge) texts claimed that yoga is a useful method for treating sexual dysfunctions. Take a look at the following articles describing yoga as an effective way to increase sexual wellness; Yoga in Female Sexual Functions & Yoga in Premature Ejaculation

Related: Mental Health is Just as Important as Physical Health

 

3- Communicate to Grow Sexual Wellness

The best way to grow sexual wellness awareness in a relationship undoubtedly requires partners to mutually respect and honor each other’s safety. Moreover, couples can sometimes drift from a healthy relationship environment to one where they start to intimidate each other. The crucial part here is to admit the discomfort caused by this drift. The discomfort can be emotionally, physically, or mentally challenging for you, but it is time to start talking with your partner. Communication is the key to both your mental and sexual wellness. 

sexual wellness and communication

If you are interested in learning more about strengthening your relationship, we reading at “Mindful Relationship Habits” by S.J. Scott and Barrie Davenport. The book suggests practices for couples to grow a deeper connection in ways that honor each other’s safety. In this way, you can start enjoying intimacy without discomfort. Begin exploring each other’s needs and start a respectful sexual wellness journey. You and your partner will be glad you did.