Balancing Your Health and Lifestyle

There is a lot more to being healthy than seeing your physician once or twice a year. You also need to work on your eating habits and your physical activity. Don’t expect to end up with the body of a supermodel if all you do is eat bon-bons and sit on the couch. On the other hand, you shouldn’t expect to end up with perfect health just because you have a slim and toned physique. The best way for you to achieve your dreams of good health and the perfect body is to keep working on the different aspects of your life that contribute to your overall health.

Self-Acceptance Is Crucial

No matter where you are in your health journey, you need to feel completely comfortable with yourself at all times. There may be many reasons why your body does not look the way you want it to, some of those reasons may beyond your control. Either way, you need to accept your body now so if you do undergo some kind of metamorphosis later on, you’ll be happy and accepting of the new you right away.

Your self-confidence has a major impact on the way you eat, live, and view life. People who have low self-confidence are more likely to suffer from depression and engage in bad eating habits and live a sedentary life. If you don’t feel very happy or confident about yourself now, start doing daily affirmations in the mirror to help build your confidence up.

Exercise to Improve Moods

It is not necessary for you to resort to the use of recreational drugs or bad habits in order for you to feel good. Exercising is one activity that can boost the feel good endorphins in your brain naturally. The more you work out, the better you’ll feel mentally and at some point physically as well. If you are not comfortable starting off on your own, ask a friend to be your workout buddy. If you can’t find anyone willing to step up to the challenge, there are fitness coaches and trainers at your local gym for you to hire. Of course, if you aren’t used to exercising, it is best for you to start off slow and work your way up to the frequency and intensity that you want. You may also experience a little muscle fatigue and soreness as your body adjusts to your new routine.

Eat for Your Health

With all of the changes you are making so you can live your life better, you need to make sure you don’t neglect your eating habits. You have the option of changing your eating habits slowly or practically overnight. No matter which way you choose, try to remember that you may not like how things taste right away. Initially, you may feel tempted to sneak and cheat on your new diet. You may even feel like giving up altogether. Keep your eyes on the prize and you’ll persevere through.
Incorporate more lean red meats, fruits, veggies, and plant-based foods into your daily diet. Look for products from popular food producers, like Hampton Creek. Even though their foods are made from plant-based ingredients, most people who eat them don’t notice a difference in taste.

Get a New Crowd

One challenge you may encounter if you keep dining out with your usual group of friends is the urge to ditch your healthy eating habits. You don’t need to ditch your friends completely, but you should work on hanging with a new crowd that has similar health and eating goals. You need support and motivation in order for you to see any success and to stick to your resolve. You may have a challenging time getting those things from your usual group of friends and find that there is a steady abundance of them from your health-conscious peers.

As you become more comfortable with your new life, don’t forget that in order for you to sustain growth you need to evolve. Stay aware of the latest developments in the health food industry and don’t forget to look into the supplement side. You need to think of your health as a work in progress so you’ll be motivated to do what needs to be done to improve it. All throughout your life, your health and nutritional needs may change. As long as you are aware of what they are and what you can do to meet them naturally, you’ll be able to live a quality life.

No Insurance for Physical Therapy – How to Get Affordable Treatment

Physical therapy has benefits that go well beyond aches and sprains. Treatment can help patients live healthier lives when they have greater access to a physical therapist. Maybe it’s simply the warm touch of a kind person, but physical therapy does help people feel better, even if it doesn’t always cure the treated condition. A recent study shows that insurance companies who allow patients to see a physical therapist without a doctor’s referral have fewer illnesses and end up costing insurers less money in the long run. Some call this direct access physical therapy. Not only does it save insurance company’s money, it saves uninsured individuals the cost of an initial doctor’s visit.

Direct Access Care

With direct access, patients no longer need to see the primary care physician for a referral before seeking the help of a physical therapist. This helps in many ways. First, patients are quicker to schedule appointments when they are in pain, treatment muscular conditions more quickly before they turn into major problems. However, direct access care is not available everywhere. In many states, the law requires that a physician, nurse practitioner or dentist prescribe any physical therapy treatment regiments. Given that physical therapy can do much good and little harm, many states are changing those regulations, with certain limitations.

For instance, some laws require a therapist to be licensed for at least three years before a patient can come for treatment without a doctor’s order. Others require a doctor’s visit if the patient seeks physical therapy for an extended time or for a specified number of visits. Once that threshold is reached, the patient cannot gain further direct access care without visiting a doctor first.


How to Save on Physical Therapy Treatment

Although a physical therapist salary is high, and therefore the cost of treatment can be high for the average person, there are ways to get physical therapy treatment at a reduced cost. To understand why you can get cheaper services, it’s important to understand how health insurance works.

Physical therapy bills are high, around $150 for an initial visit and evaluation. Subsequent visits run around $75 depending on the specific treatment and your condition. However, the insurance company doesn’t pay anywhere near that. They have an agreement with just about every physical therapy office to pay a reduced rate. Therapists accept the lower rate because it guarantees a swift payment from the insurance company, instead of chasing patients for the bill. You can get the benefit of a lower rate in exchange for guaranteed payment by paying cash at the time of your visit. While not all therapy offices work this way, the health insurance crisis has spurred huge growth in cash-paid office visits.

You won’t know if your physical therapist gives discounts in exchange for cash unless you ask. Some offices will mention the option to you when you book your first appointment and tell them you have no health insurance. If you have a pending appointment, call now to find out if you can pay cash to save money. You’ll be able to afford the care you need and live a healthier life in the long run.

TherapistSchools.com provides information about physical therapy and therapy careers for students seeking the best schools for their individual career paths. Visit the site for more information on physical therapy and other therapy careers.

How To Give Up Caffeine

Back in 2006/2007, I was quite addicted to caffeine.

3 Cups of Tea

Photo credit: Mat.teo, Flickr

Tough to say, but there’s really no way to sugar coat it.  Thinking about it now, I kind of recoil in horror about the amount of caffeine intake I had.  I would regularly wake up and have a coke for breakfast (horrible, I know), and then it would be a few hour break from caffeine (and all liquids, actually), then I’d get home, relax and make some dinner and then start on my homework/work and have another cup of tea (or 2).  This tea was typically green or black, but on occasion I considered my caffeine intake and switched to white tea (but only if I was planning on going to bed soon).  It wasn’t good, and not only was the consumption outside this world, the rate at which I consumed a cup was astounding.   Either way, it got to a point where even I started to realize my consumption was high, so I decided to make an effort to cut back.  Here are some of the BEST reasons I found to give up caffeine:

  1. Caffeine has a half life of 4.9 hours for healthy adults (women taking oral contraceptives, it’s 5-10 hours, dont ask me why)
  2. Caffeine hogs your liver.  When you drink caffeine, it gets broken down into 3 parts in the liver (Paraxanthine 84%, Theobromine 12% and Theophylline 4%).  When your liver is breaking down these things that you put into your body knowingly, it cant break down toxins that are in your body that you don’t know about.
  3. Caffeine has been linked to miscarriage, with women who consume more than 200 mg a day (2 cups drip coffee) doubling their risk.
  4. It will make it harder for you to fall asleep, and you’ll wake easier
  5. We all know about the feeling a few hours later when you crash.  Coffee is a lot like credit cards in this way – you can keep having fun, but eventually you’ll have to pay the piper.
  6. It will dehydrate you.
  7. The acidic nature of caffeine drinks has a negative effect on your body by preventing other nutrients from getting absorbed.
  8. The “Latte Factor” (or soda factor) It doesn’t really matter how much you do or don’t drink of the stuff. It will add up no matter what, and lets face it: Water is free & better for you.

You’re probably addicted to the stuff (Just like I was), depending on the amount of caffeine you drink.  Lets work out how long it could take.   1 shot of espresso from starbucks has 75 mg of caffeine in it.  Given our half-life formula, that 1 espresso shot (or drink) will stay in your body for the next 31.5 HOURS, Give or take a few hours depending on how healthy you are.  At 4pm tomorrow, are you still going to be thinking about that espresso shot you had at 8am today?  I didnt think so either.  It’s probably time to give it up.

Like I mentioned in a previous post, something as simple as getting a waterbottle to fill can help you out.  The soda can/tea cup I used to reach for was replaced by a water bottle, and I didn’t really notice the difference at first, then I started to feel a lot better after a while.   Once you start switching to water during the times that you typically blindly reach for a caffeinated beverage (read: at your desk) you can start doing the difficult part: purposefully avoiding it at restaurants, in bars, etc.   But, please, don’t try both of these at once.

I suggest starting with having your morning coffee ( and if you started out drinking 3+ cut it down to 3, then to 2, then to 1).  While you’re doing this, start replacing the coffee you’re not drinking with 2x the amount of water.  It will fill your stomach up and leave less room for the caffeine.  You’ll also rehydrate yourself in doing so.  Once you get in the habit of doing this, you can move on to the next step!

Good Luck.

Healthy Routines

Im back to health again after long time focusing mostly on finances and the environment.  Like I say everywhere in the blog, these things are quite interconnected, and some of the rules that apply to your finances can apply to your health.

The one I have been thinking about most recently is the automation portion.  Every morning when I get to the office, I park in the farthest parking spot that I can from the door.  Im typically one of the first ones there, so I do have my choice, but choose to park quite far away.  So, I walk a bit further to get into the door, and feel nice and energized when I get there.

However, I dont think you need to do this ALL the time.  One example for me is target: I swear, whenever I go in there it rains or snows, without fail.  That, coupled with the big-box store mentality of parking close to the entrance, I typically try to find a parking spot as close as I can to the front door.  To me, this isnt a big deal at all.  I go to target about once every week and a half or two weeks, so not taking the extra steps is not that big of a deal.  However, I go to work EVERYDAY.  Taking those steps everyday will create a solid routine for the future, and will also add up over time.

Just like with saving money, in health, Every little bit counts.

This solution also works well with messages you need to take around the office.  You could use the phone, but you’ll probably feel better if you walk up a few steps to talk to whomever you need to talk to.  I’ve never worn a pedometer or tried to count steps, but if you’re interested, you can get them for cheap or probably get a free one.

Another healthy routine to get into is eating breakfast.  I know you heard it from your mom everyday, but it’s the truth.  I usually dont have mine at home, but I eat it while at work.  I just keep a box of blueberry flavored granola in my desk and have a cup when I get to work every morning.  Couple this with a bottle or 2 of water, and I’m set for the day.  (I’m not all that dependent on caffinene, and with the granola, I dont really need to be.  Its very energy dense, and keeps me going through lunch.)

The Five Eco Principles – Healthy Environment

While in Chicago in April, I had a chance to visit the museum of science & industry.  The experience was great, and my friend and I thoroughly enjoyed the museum.  We were both intrigued enough to pay the extra ~$25 or so to see the smart house.  We were not disappointed, and left with some good ideas about things to re-use and things to purchase made from re-used items.  Recently, I thought it would be a good idea to share the principles with the readers, and figure out how you can best take advantage of them.  Today is the fifth one, focusing on a Healthy Environment.

Ensuring that you live in a healthy environment is paramount.  You are in your residence a significant portion of time, so if something potentially harmful to you (or your loved ones) has the potential to cause problems at best, and can be lethal at the worst.  There have been some spectacular incidents that can illustrate this problem perfectly, and show you a few:

  1. Asbestos – This used to be used in multiple products in the home (floor tiles, roofing, fire retardant) and elsewhere around the home (brake pads).  Asbestos poses no threat until its been disturbed.  During a home remodel or other disturbing event to the asbestos, the fibers can become airborne and inhaled.  This is obviously not good for you, and can lead to serious lung problems in the future.  Asbestos is no longer common in building materials, and is currently regulated by the EPA.
  2. Lead – This used to be found in gasoline and paint.  Poses huge risks to our children (those six & under), and can cause learning disabilities, behavioral problems and possibly death.  This is also something that you dont want floating in the air in the place where you spend most of your time.
  3. DDT – Probably one of the most infamous products ever used in or around the home.  Typically, it was used to kill mosquitos carrying malaria.  This chemical became very popular around the home, and was eventually linked to multiple problems, such as appearing in humans, thinning eggshells of wildland creatures and showing up in the fats of fish.  It was one of the first major environmental campaigns, and was brought on by the book Silent Spring by Rachel Carson.

There are also plenty of modern day examples.  One of the current ones is VOC Paints.  VOC (aka Volatile Organic Compounds) are in some paints, and can seep out after the wall has been painted.  Something else that could pose a problem is your granite countertop.  Some granite countertops house uranium, which is not only radioactive, but can release radon gas, which can cause lung cancer. The amount of uranium that is most likely contained in your countertop is not suspected to be enough to pose a significant risk to your health, but are you willing to find out the hard way if that ends up not being true?

Now, think about how much time that you and your loved ones spend inside your home.  There are a few things to think about when it comes to these type of pollutants.

  1. How worried do I need to be about these products? No one really knows what the long term effects of these chemicals will be.  Do you want to be one of the first to file a lawsuit because you found out?
  2. To what degree do I want to protect myself and my loved ones? – Many of the things that can mitigate potential sickness cost more.  How much more  are you willing to pay?

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