Social Media Is Your New Workout Buddy –

Social Media Is Your New Workout Buddy -



Social Media Tips to Pump Up Your Workout Motivation

1. Sweaty selfie time!

Research shows that snapping a selfie can help with your weight loss goals. In particular, before and after photos can motivate you to stick with healthy habits.

Tone It Up (TIU) users share evidence of their exercise and diet achievements. “On days when we need extra motivation, we turn to our community on Instagram @ToneItUp. We scroll through the check-ins for #TIUteam to see their sweaty selfies and healthy recipe pics — there’s nothing more inspiring!” says Katrina Scott, co-creator of TIU.

2. Join a community of goal-oriented people.

Not everyone has a cheerleader in their corner IRL. And that’s OK, because social media is there to provide a virtual one. Online communities on Instagram, Facebook or even within certain apps let you connect to people all over the world and share your journey in a relatively anonymous platform, one which is available 24/7. New research found that sharing ups and downs with these online communities can be key to dropping pounds.

These online support groups can be an incredible resource for overcoming those been-there, done-that challenges and pitfalls.We created Tone It Up because we envisioned a community where women can come together and support each other to reach their fitness goals, and social media plays a huge role in that,” says Karena Dawn, co-creator of Tone It Up. Whether you just nailed a full push-up or need someone to motivate you to get up and get sweating, people in the group provide the positivity.

3. Post it publicly.

If you have a workout goal, target race pace or even just a hard workout on the calendar, make it public. Knowing that you’ve committed to a work out, a training cycle or an upcoming race, and that others will be following your progress online can motivate you to get out the door even when you don’t necessarily want to.

4. Join a challenge.

“Encouragement from others is perhaps the greatest strength that social media can offer all of us.”

Speaking of a little healthy competition, it never hurt anyone, right? Fitness and health-related challenges are everywhere on social media from #30DaysOfYoga to #runstreak, to Whole 30 and it can be a good way to kick-start a new habit or routine, while keeping you accountable.

5. Check in.

When you’re working out alone and don’t have someone to share your ups and downs with, it’s easy to lose your mojo. Instead, regularly update your social media friends on your progress and milestones. During Daily Burn 365, the live chat function allows members to discuss the day’s workout in real-time, including struggles they overcame and how strong they feel mid- and post-sweat.

6. Stay positive.

Social media doesn’t just build your physical fitness, it can help improve your mental muscles too. One of the easiest ways to re-train your brain? Affirmations.

Luckily, Instagram is full of positive self-talk. Choose from any of the hundreds of previous affirmations to turn inward, and shift your perception. Save your favorite affirmations, and share with friends to spread the love.

7. Set limits.

While social media does fire up the competitive juices, it’s important not to go overboard. Our advice? Create your own guidelines for the total length of time you allow yourself on social media each day.


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How – and Why – We All Need Melatonin –

How - and Why - We All Need Melatonin -


You may think of melatonin as simply a sleep supplement. It is, to an extent. Melatonin can do so much more than aid you in getting a good nights’ sleep.

Your Melatonin Primer

Melatonin is produced by your brain – everyone has it. Some of us have less than our optimal levels, causing our sleep cycles to vary. Proper levels of melatonin help our circadian rhythm, which helps our bodies adjust to our day-to-day wake/sleep times. Too much light can disrupt it; too much dark can do the same.

Melatonin can also play a huge role in our everyday lives – from our athletic abilities to our menopause relief.

Decrease The “Bad” Menopause Symptoms

Menospause sucks – and many women over 50 know this all too well. The hot flashes… the moodiness – they can be troublesome not only to those suffering, but also to their friends and families. Melatonin can help decrease these “bad” symptoms. While it won’t totally cause them to cease (it’s Mother Nature, after all, to go through this change), it will dramatically reduce them.

Chronic Pain & Fibromyalgia Relief

A randomized, placebo-controlled study of 101 patients with fibromyalgia syndrome evaluated melatonin’s effectiveness at reducing symptoms. It found that patients experienced a significant reduction in their symptoms when they took a melatonin dosage either alone or in conjunction with the antidepressant fluoxetine (Prozac).

Decrease Exercise Fatigue

A recent study conducted at the University of Seville Medical School in Spain looked at the effects on oxidative stress, immunity and fat metabolism of taking melatonin before intense exercise. Athletes took either 6 milligrams of melatonin or a placebo 30 minutes before completing an hour of continuous intense training. Upon completion of the study, the authors concluded that the melatonin supplement significantly increased blood-total antioxidant activity and decreased exercise-induced oxidative stress.

So whether you are a hot-flash hating grandmother, or a cyclist in need of a training boost, melatonin can help your life for the better.



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Top 10 Nutrients Cyclists Need Most –

Top 10 Nutrients Cyclists Need Most -


You eat lots of produce and lean protein, so you’re probably all set with vitamins and minerals, right? If you’re hitting the gym on a regular basis, that may not be the case. Certain nutrients are vital for your muscles to work efficiently, and, “moderate to vigorous exercise increases the loss of some minerals, mostly through sweat,” says Kelly L. Pritchett, R.D., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Translation: Being active could mean your stores are totally tapped out. Read on to learn which of these essentials you might be missing and how to up your intake to help you perform at your peak.

1. Vitamin B

Lacking the energy to push out those last few reps? Chances are you’re low on this group of micronutrients, which includes vitamins B6 and B12, thiamin, riboflavin and folate. The body uses these to convert protein and sugar into energy and to produce red blood cells. Athletes with low levels performed worse during high-intensity exercise, according to research published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.

Get more from: Tuna, black beans, lentils, peanuts

2. Calcium

Milk does a body good — the commercials didn’t lie. Each additional cup of skim milk consumed per day reduced runners’ incidence of developing a stress fracture by 62 percent, according to a study from the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. The calcium, along with vitamin D, potassium and protein in the dairy drink significantly increased participants’ bone density — and a strong skeleton is key for any high-impact activity.

Get more from: Milk, yogurt, leafy greens, beans, fortified cereals

3. Vitamin C

Up to half of people who work out in chilly conditions suffer from some degree of exercise-induced asthma. Good news: The citrus that’s in season all winter, like oranges and grapefruit, might help. Vitamin C can reduce coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath during and after exercise, according to recent research from the University of Helsinki in Finland. It also significantly decreases the likelihood of active people coming down with the common cold.

Get more from: Oranges, strawberries, bell peppers, kale

4. Vitamin D

Soaking up some sun doesn’t just boost your mood — it can pump up your power, too. In a new study from Newcastle University in England, patients reported less fatigue after receiving a dose of vitamin D. Why? Without enough of this nutrient, the mitochondria in muscle fibers can’t adequately regenerate energy after your muscles contract, making you feel tired more quickly.

Get more from: Milk, salmon, trout, egg yolks

5. Vitamin E

If you’re a gym devotee, you can slash the chance of becoming sick by consuming some of this oily antioxidant. Taking the vitamin lowered risk of pneumonia by 69 percent among nonsmokers who exercise, according to a study published in the journal Clinical Epidemiology.

Get more from: Sunflower seeds, almonds, peanut butter

6. Iron

To help your muscles work efficiently, you need to pump some iron — literally! An hour of working out could deplete 5.7 percent of your level of this mineral, which helps red blood cells carry oxygen to muscles. Losing too much of your stores can result in iron-deficiency anemia, which causes fatigue and zaps your endurance during lengthy sessions.

Get more from: Beef, eggs, spinach, broccoli, fortified cereals

7. Magnesium

This mineral is a powerhouse for weekend warriors to pro endurance athletes alike. “Magnesium is a component of more than 300 enzymes involved in energy metabolism, plus it plays a role in bone formation,” says Pritchett. Improved bone density is important for protect yourself from stress fractures during high-impact activities. You lose magnesium through sweat, so munch on some good sources of it before a hard weight-training session or long run.

Get more from: Leafy greens, almonds, halibut, quinoa

8. Potassium

There’s a reason marathoners grab a banana after crossing the finish line: Its high potassium content helps nix cramps and speed up recovery. How? The mineral works with sodium to help your muscles and nerves work properly. Plus, says Pritchett, “It’s the primary electrolyte in intracellular fluid, meaning it plays a big role in balancing water content throughout the body.” Consider it essential fuel following a tough workout or a strenuous outing lasting more than an hour.

Get more from: Sweet potatoes, bananas, avocados, tuna

9. Sodium

It seems like “sodium” is a swear word in the health-o-sphere — and with its prominence in processed and take-out food, it’s true many people need to cut back. But if you’re into endurance events, by sweating out sodium and hydrating with water alone, you could experience heat cramps or hyponatremia, a low concentration of sodium in the blood that can be fatal in extreme cases. “Salty sweaters (who notice a white film on their skin after a workout), heavy sweaters (who produce a high volume of sweat during exercise), people working out in hot, humid temperatures, and endurance athletes need to pay close attention to their sodium intake,” advises Pritchett. For long or grueling sessions, stash some salt packets in a pocket or FuelBelt and eat them mid-workout.

Get more form: Gatorade, pretzels, salted nuts

10. Zinc

Loading up on carbs while limiting protein and fat causes deficient levels of zinc in up to 90 percent of athletes. This can zap your energy and endurance. Likewise, recent research from the United States Department of Agriculture found that limiting zinc intake lessened cyclists’ oxygen uptake — leading them to fatigue more quickly. Make sure you have enough of the mineral for a challenging session by ordering a side of meatballs during your pre-race pasta dinner.

Get more from: Red meat, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, quinoa

Going overboard with some nutrients can be as detrimental as skimping on them, so talk with your doctor before changing your diet or reaching for any supplements. Figure out the right balance for you — then go out and set a new personal best.



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Should You Be Taking Pre-Workout Supplements? –

Should You Be Taking Pre-Workout Supplements? -


Fueling for your workouts can require a little education, planning and practice to amplify results. You probably already know what to do post-workout, munching on a mix of protein and carbs within an hour of your sweat session. And you might even have some go-to gummies or gels for extra long gym sessions or training runs. But what about your pre-workout routine?

Pre-workout supplements, in the form of powders and pills, now saturate the sports nutrition supplement market, boasting benefits like increased energy, power and endurance to help you push harder and gain more. But they’re not for everyone or every workout. Read on to find out the pros and cons of pre-workout blends and whether they’re right for you.


The Pros and Cons of Pre-Workout Supplements

PRO: You might feel more energetic and alert.

“A big part of most pre-workout supplements is their stimulatory effect.”

Many pre-workout mixes pack a big dose of caffeineto add a little bounce to your step. “Caffeine’s proven to help [with energy], because it stimulates the nervous system, which makes your exercise feel less taxing and makes you feel more peppy,” says Matthew Kadey, RD, a registered dietician in Ontario and author of Rocket Fuel. “The huge thing you have to pay attention to is the dose.” Kadey recommends aiming for two to six milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of your bodyweight. And make sure to give your body enough time to digest it before your workout. “It takes 45 to 60 minutes for coffee to reach its peak in your blood, so have it at least 30 minutes beforehand,” he says.

CON: The drink could make you jittery.

Forget about blasting through your sweat session if you feel like your heart is about to beat out of your chest. “Some people can have adverse reactions to stimulants,” says Kadey. Your best bet, he says, is trial and error. Be especially cautious with drinks that add a second stimulant to the caffeine, like guarine.

“A big part of most pre-workout supplements is their stimulatory effect, and it’s common for them to use multiple stimulants,” says Kyle Pfaffenbach, PhD, assistant professor of nutrition and exercise physiology at Eastern Oregon University and nutrition consultant for the Brooks Beasts Track Club. “Many times, ingredients used are on the banned or high-risk list from USADA and WADA.” Not ingredients you want to get used to sipping pre-sweat. Check here or here for more info on specific words to look for on labels.

PRO: They can enhance your power and help you push it for longer.

Some pre-workout supplements have creatine, which can pump up your power and improve training results, particularly during anaerobic drills. Though it sounds like something that would appeal to bodybuilders only, creatine has also been shown to boost the performance of endurance athlete. It helps them reach peak power output by potentially delaying fatigue, says Kadey. The fine print? Keep in mind, experts and researchers still debate timing and optimal duration of use.

CON: You don’t know what you’re getting.

“For the average population, the extra sugar could be worrisome.”

Sometimes you’ll notice an icon on a product’s label designating that it’s been certified by a third-party, like the NSF (National Science Foundation). But typically, these supplements aren’t regulated by a government agency and don’t need to meet strict guidelines for what goes into the product. “Oftentimes these workout supplements use a ‘proprietary blend’ of ingredients,” says Pfaffenbach. “It’s important for athletes to know exactly how much and what is going into their body. And with these drinks, we often don’t have that exact info.”


PRO: They can help deliver more oxygen to your muscles.

Seek out the words “nitric oxide” on a supplement’s label. This ingredient may help you go strong through a tough session likely by widening the blood vessels, which, in turn, delivers more oxygen to your muscles so you can perform at your peak, explains Kadey. You can also look for mixes made with beets, as this vegetable contains nitrates that then convert to the compound in your body.

CON: You might gain weight.

Part of the energy boost packed in these pre-workout mixes comes from a big helping of sugar. “The sugar is beneficial and necessary for really high-level athletes, but for the average population, the extra sugar could be worrisome,” says Kadey. He notes that the added sweet stuff and high calories of these drinks could easily wind up on your waistline. If you’re going for a pre-workout drink, opt for one with no more than 100 calories per serving. Or instead, stick to a small snack like a banana with a spoonful of peanut butter half an hour before you exercise, suggests Kadey. “That’s enough to tide you over and top off energy stores for your workout,” he says.


PRO: They can reduce muscle breakdown.

Another common ingredient in pre-workout drinks: amino acids. Some research has shown that these protein compounds can reduce the amount your muscles break down during exercise, so you can bounce back from an intense session faster. Similarly, drinks with tart cherry juice can benefit your muscles by helping to reduce soreness. Look for these if you’re doing a workout with a fair amount of impact, like CrossFit or a long run, advises Kadey.

Finding the Right Pre-Workout Mix for You

If you want to give pre-workout supplements a go, look for ones with natural ingredients on the label — like green tea, beets or tart cherry juice. (Garden of Life Sport Organic Plant-Based Energy + Focus or Dr. Axe Bone Broth Protein Burst are just a couple good options.) And don’t take it for the first time before a race or other important workout, warns Kadey: “Never try these right before a marathon. The number-one rule is experiment carefully and work up to full doses, especially if [the mix] includes stimulants.”



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Caffeine and Exercise: The Right (and Wrong) Way to Use It

Caffeine and Exercise: The Right (and Wrong) Way to Use It


Caffeine has long been hailed as a performance enhancer. In fact, from 1984 to 2004, the International Olympic Committee tested athletes for high levels of the stimulant they deemed could provide an unfair edge. (Since then, of course, stronger drugs have entered the stage — or snuck backstage.) But for your average Joe, caffeine still […]

The post Caffeine and Exercise: The Right (and Wrong) Way to Use It appeared first on .


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Yes, You Can Be Allergic To The Sun. –

Yes, You Can Be Allergic To The Sun. -



An allergic reaction to the sun occurs when changes take place within the skin, and then that area is exposed to the sun. The immune system mounts an attack against what it perceives to be as “foreign” within the skin.

Sun allergy symptoms include a rash, tiny blisters, or a skin eruption. The symptoms appear in as short as a few minutes after sun exposure to several hours later.

The causes are not totally clear, but there are several risk factors for sun allergies. Those risk factors include…

  • Genetics. If you have a family member, like your mom and brother, with a sun allergy, then you are more likely to have it as well.
  • Race. Caucasians and Native Americans are more likely to develop a sun allergy.
  • Exposure to substances. Substances that irritate your skin like unnatural fragrances, chemicals in sunscreen, or disinfectants can alter your skin, which then primes you for a sun allergy the next time that area of your skin steps outside.
  • Other skin conditions. If you have any other skin condition like dermatitis increases your likelihood of having an allergic reaction to the sun.
  • Medications. Certain types of medications can make your skin more sensitive to the sun and lead to a sun allergy.


There are four primary types of sun allergies.

1) Polymorphous Light Eruption (PMLE)

This type of sun allergy appears first as an itchy rash. After sunburn, it’s the most common sun-related skin problem that doctors see. An approximate 10-15 percent of the population is affected by this type of allergy; women more so than men.

PMLE is less common during the winter months, but it appears as soon as you spend more time outdoors in the spring and summer. The more time spent outside and in the sun allows you to become less sensitive to the light with rashes being less severe as the summer wears on.

2) Actinic Prurigo

Actinic Prurigo is a hereditary form of PMLE seen mostly in the Native American populations. It’s common for several generations to display the same sun allergy, which begins early in childhood. The symptoms for this type of sun allergy are generally more severe.

3) Solar Urticaria

Young women are most often affected by this form of sun allergy. You may experience large hives that are itchy and red after being exposed to the sun. This is a more rare form of a sun allergy.

4) Photoallergic Eruption

This kind of sun allergy occurs when you expose skin to sun that has been affected by some form of chemical, like fragrance, sunscreen, antibiotics, or cosmetics.

Certain medications cause the skin to be more sensitive to sunlight, leading to this form of sun allergy. Medications like antibiotics (sulfonamides) or even common over-the-counter pills like ibuprofen and naproxen can lead to this form of sun allergy.


No one wants to deal with a sun allergy during the long days of summer. You’d rather be enjoying the outdoors with friends and family than wrapped up inside (that’s what winter is for!). If you’re living with a sun allergy, here are the best ways to prevent a reaction.

Wear sunscreen.

Not just any sunscreen. Be sure to use high-quality, natural sunscreen. It needs to be at least SPF 15 with broad spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays. And you need to apply it 15 to 30 minutes before you plan to be outside. Also remember to apply sunblock to your lips with sunscreen chapstick.

Avoid peak time.

In the continental U.S., the peak time for sun is between 10 am and 3 pm. Try to stay indoors during these hours.


Make sure your sunglasses offer ultraviolet light protection.

Avoid sudden, long exposure to sun.

If you have a known sun allergy, then you’re most sensitive in spring and early summer when you start to spend more time outdoors.

Plan ahead to spend small amounts of time outdoors. Gradually increase how much time you spend outside so that your limit the severity of your reaction. Spending the first sunny, warm day outside for several hours is sure to cause a severe reaction.

Wear protective clothing.

Via Sutton Dermatology

If you are super sensitive to the sun, then protective clothing is a must. Long sleeves, pants, and a hat will cover most of your skin.

Beware of chemicals.

Via healthnutnews

Look into swapping your fragrances, cleaning supplies, and other body care products to products that offer natural ingredients. The less exposure you have to harsh chemicals the less likely you’ll be to have a reaction to the sun.


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You’re Sabotaging Your Metabolism With These Everyday Tasks… –

You're Sabotaging Your Metabolism With These Everyday Tasks... -


You might complain about the endless rush of daily life and meditate for a few minutes during the day, but there’s one thing you typically don’t want to slow down — your metabolism.

Think of it like an engine: Your metabolism is those series of chemical reactions that convert what you eat and drink into energy that your body can use. Your metabolism is influenced by your age, sex, body size and composition. That means men typically have faster metabolic rates since they tend to carry more muscle and less body fat than women. Your metabolism also decreases with age (more on that below).

While you know that sitting around all day can cause your metabolism to plummet (and exercising regularly can boost it), there are other simple things you may be doing to clog your engine. Here are seven ways that you’re slowing down your metabolism.

7 Common Mistakes That Slow Down Your Metabolism

1. Fasting for too long.

While you probably have heard that skipping meals isn’t great for your metabolism, leaving big gaps between your meals doesn’t help either, says Lauren Antonucci, RDN, owner of Nutrition Energy and certified sports dietitian. “You get a thermic boost every time you eat. Your metabolism revs up to process the food you’re eating,” she says.

But when you eat breakfast at 5 a.m., lunch at 4 p.m., and dinner at 9 p.m., you’re not doing your metabolism any favors. Instead, Antonucci suggests eating every two to three hours to keep your metabolism humming. All about intermittent fasting? While it can help decrease your calorie consumption, the drawback is that if it isn’t done with correct guidance, it can lead to unhealthy eating choices and weight gain. Our recommendation: Call in the pros.

2. Avoiding the weight room.

You’ve heard over and over that muscles burn more calories — and it’s true. Studies have found that strength training revs your resting metabolism rate. That also explains why your metabolic rate declines, as you get older. “Your muscle mass decreases over time because you’re typically not doing as much resistance training,” says Antonucci. Schedule regular strength training sessions as part of your workout schedule.

3. Eating inconsistent daily meals.

If you eat breakfast first thing in the morning some days and don’t eat until lunch on other days, then you might be wrecking your metabolism. Whether you eat three meals a day or nine seems like it should be NBD, but a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutritionfound that an irregular meal schedule might negatively affect your metabolic health. Instead, aim to eat a consistent number and schedule of meals each day.

4. Not eating enough.

If you want to lose weight, you should just eat less, right? It’s not quite that simple. Antonucci says that chronically dieting or consistently eating just a little less than what your body needs, whether inadvertently or on purpose, can wreak havoc on your metabolism. She sees this often in her athletes, especially those training for endurance events like Ironman triathlons. “Their caloric needs can be ridiculously high and they don’t eat enough,” she says, which can also lead to fatigue and injuries.

“Guessing your metabolic rate is a shot in the dark,” says Antonucci. That’s why she recommends metabolic rate testing for anyone who’s having trouble losing weight or athletes who are constantly injured or fatigued. “It’s like a VO2 max test except you just sit and breathe into a mouthpiece for 15 minutes,” she says.

5. Skimping on your zzzz’s.

Sure, dark circles and a long-standing caffeine habit are downsides of skipping sleep, but they’re not the only ones. Researchers have found that sleep deprivation can significantly impact your metabolism — and not in a good way — by decreasing energy expenditure. Plus, when you’re sleepy, you don’t move around as much, says Antonucci. “Studies have shown that people who sleep less move less during the day. You may not exercise or you may choose to take a cab rather than walk because you’re tired,” she says. So be sure to get a full night sleep regularly!

6. Neglecting protein.

A calorie is a calorie, right? Not quite. Your body requires different amounts of energy to process the various macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins and fats. “The cost of processing protein is higher than the cost of processing fat,” says Antonucci. “You need protein to increase muscle mass and to fuel your metabolism.” A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that a higher protein diet increased resting energy expenditure.

But Antonucci also advises that it’s not a license to eat only protein. A balance of macronutrients is key. “You need enough carbs to have enough energy to move through the day. And you need enough good fats to keep you satiated,” she says.

7. Stressing out.

You know that stress is bad for your health, but it turns out that it’s also bad for your metabolic rate. Researchers from Ohio State University found that stress affected how women metabolized food. Those who experience one or more stressful events the day before eating a high-fat meal burned 104 fewer calories in the hours following the meal compared to the non-stressed women. While that may not seem like a lot, researchers said that over the course of a year, that could mean an 11-pound weight gain. Just one more reason to chill out!



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11 foods that may not be what they seem… –

11 foods that may not be what they seem... -


Much has been made in recent years about whole food, slow food and organic fare, which is being sold for a premium in many supermarkets and restaurants across the United States. But how can you tell what’s real and what’s not so real?

You may be saying to yourself, “Why is this a big deal?” but the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sends out scores of alerts each year warning consumers about foods that are being sold as mislabeled, misbranded, adulterated and even contaminated.

Common ‘fake’ foods list: Are you buying these unaware?

There are common foods we buy on a regular basis simply because we believe that they have a level of quality that — gasp! — in many cases can’t be proven. With that in mind, here are several edibles that deserve a closer look in determining whether they’re really what they say they are.


Reports in recent years have pointed out that much of the honey we buy in our favorite supermarket isn’t pure honey at all, or at least not much of it. While the FDA allows adulteration of honey, any additives must be expressly declared on the label. The FDA’s guidance says that, “Identifying a blend or a mixture of honey and another sweetener only as ‘honey’ does not properly identify the basic nature of the food. You must sufficiently describe the name of the food on the label to distinguish it from simply ‘honey’.”

Kobe steak

You don’t see Kobe steak on a whole lot of restaurant menus, but when you so, tread carefully — it might be a scam. The fact is that not much of Kobe steak, which is super-expensive, leaves Japan. Kobe beef is taken from purebred Japanese cattle and is strictly regulated in that nation. Exported only since 2012, the meat has to be certified by the Kobe Beef Marketing and Distribution Association.

On that agency’s website, which you’ll need to translate from Japanese, it says that the cattle are so well-taken care that there may even be small herds that are reared listening to music. Talk about exclusive!

Soy sauce

There are different variations of soy sauce, particularly the distinct ways it’s produced in Japan, China and other Asian countries. But you’d be surprised how much soy sauce is watered-down or downright fabricated. In 2016, FDA inspectors concluded that more than half of randomly selected soy sauce products failed government standards, according to the Taipei Times.


Fraud is rampant in the global seafood industry. Earlier this month, the Associated Press reported one of the world’s most reputable seafood distributors was pulling a tuna ruse on what consumers and buyers thought was “local, sustainable” fish. Turns out the fish were from halfway around the world, caught by poor fishermen working 22-hour days. Aside from affecting the supplies of some of the nation’s top chefs and restaurants, the repercussions are still rippling across the industry.


What was uncovered in the investigation “throws quite a wrench” in the narrative that these tuna catches come from small fishing villages that make their living by it, award-winning TV chef Rick Bayless was quoted as saying. To make matters worse, much of what’s purported to be tuna on the world market is actually escolar, a fish the FDA says can contain toxins and should be avoided.


Ah, tilapia. Despite being the fourth-most popular fish in the United States, tilapia is a species much maligned by conspiracists and people who like to share dubious memes on Facebook. Contrary to those well-circulated claims, tilapia is easy to farm but can also be found in the wild. According to researchers with the MIT Sea Grant Program, the fish originated from the Middle East and Africa, but was introduced to the United States, particularly the Southeast, for weed and insect control.


Now that we’ve got that out of the way, tilapia is one of those fish that many people associate with nefarious Chinese farms. It’s true that the USDA has previously warned against eating seafood from those origins because of some of the practices of China’s fishermen, but in recent years the agency has avoided making generalizations about that country’s farm-raised species. Still, here are the FDA’s warnings to its inspectors about tilapia imports.

Olive oil

We’ve told you about how one of the most popular brands of olive oil was recently involved in a class-action lawsuit due to its claims of selling “extra virgin” and other issues. Turns out, for olive oil to get the elusive “extra virgin” status, it has to pass lab tests administered by the Madrid-based International Olive Council.

According to Forbes, a food fraud study published in the Journal of Food Science showed that olive oil was “the single most commonly referenced adulterated food of any type” over a 30-year span ending in 2010.

‘Plumped’ chicken

That big, healthy piece of chicken you’re eyeing in the meat section at the grocer is likely full of water, especially if it’s frozen. That’s because of “plumping,” which is the common practice of injecting your chicken with water and other ingredients. Not only does this make it look bigger — and meatier — than it really is, but plumping adds up at the cash register when you pay by the pound. A video that purports to show a worker at a processing plant plumping chickens with a solution went viral in 2015. Injecting chickens with water is legal, as long as the ingredients are on the label. Just know that you may be paying for a chicken who owes as much as 30% of its weight to water.

Pink salmon

Think that farm-raised salmon you watched the fishmonger cut for you is naturally pink? Not likely. “Almost all farmed salmon are fed feed that contains artificial color additives,” according to a bulletin from the Seafood Products Association. Indeed, the FDA has rules that expressly address the color sometimes added to the feed of salmonid fish to enhance the “pink to orange-red color” of the fish’s flesh. The product label must state the color additive with general words to the effect of  “Artificial Color,” “Artificial Color Added” or “Color Added.”

Red meat

Grocery store beef, like other foods on this list, may be artificially colored so as to look red or fresh. After all, people shop with their eyes first and foremost. “Often an attractive, bright color is a consideration for the purchase,” the FDA says. The agency has no qualms about this and says in its guidance on food coloration that, “Color additives are now recognized as an important part of practically all processed foods we eat. Without color additives, colas wouldn’t be brown, margarine wouldn’t be yellow, and mint ice cream wouldn’t be green.”


People often brag about forking over big money for a lobster dish at places like Red Lobster and other restaurants — but they might have nothing to boast about. See, they may not even be eating lobster at all. Instead, many eateries are serving them langostino, a similar-looking but smaller and cheaper crustacean. Sometimes restaurants will just add the word and people will only see “lobster.”

Parmesan cheese

Several years ago, the FDA sent a warning letter to a company telling it to get its act straight. “Your Parmesan cheese products do not contain any Parmesan,” it said. Some companies were even called out putting wood pulp in their cheese. In 2016, Bloomberg News tested various store-bought brands of grated cheese for “wood-pulp content” and the additive cellulose, which is safe at 2 to 4%. This is what they found:

Essential Everyday 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese, from Jewel-Osco, was 8.8 percent cellulose, while Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s Great Value 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese registered 7.8 percent, according to test results. Whole Foods 365 brand didn’t list cellulose as an ingredient on the label, but still tested at 0.3 percent. Kraft had 3.8 percent.

Know any other foods with dubious origins? Let us hear about it in the comments!



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Why Aldi Is The New Mecca For Gluten-Free Food Options –

Why Aldi Is The New Mecca For Gluten-Free Food Options -


The hunt for organic and gluten-free eats can be long, tough, and pricy. But thankfully, there is Aldi.

I’m sure that Aldi is my favorite place on earth. And the organic and gluten-free foods at Aldi are an incredible value. 

When I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease last year, I had to totally modify my diet. Aldi came to my rescue – not only is the selection great, but so are the prices! Basically, Aldi allows me to have my (gluten-free) cake and eat it too.

But wait, it gets better! Aldi has an ever-growing line of all-natural organic products called SimplyNature. This allows me to give my family the healthiest, no artificial anything, non-GMO, no high fructose corn syrup foods I can without breaking the bank.

A few of the SimplyNature products are not USDA certified organic, but they are non-GMO and all natural. They also carry a bunch of non-Aldi organic products that vary by store location.

I’ve compiled some of the best organic and gluten free foods at Aldi…

Frozen foods

Whether you’re in a hurry, have picky eaters at home or want a little snack, Aldi’s liveGFree and SimplyNature frozen foods give you convenience, quality and value. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • liveGfree Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets – let the children rejoice
  • liveGfree Gluten-Free Pepperoni Pizza – voted Product of the Year!
  • SimplyNature Organic Creamy Coconut, Strawberry or Mango Fruit Bars – my guilty pleasure
  • SimplyNature Organic Strawberries – Great for smoothies!
  • SimplyNature Organic Blueberries – Throw these in some of Aldi’s liveGfree pancake and baking mix and you’ve got a winner!


Aldi has tons of amazing organic and gluten-free foods you can store right in your pantry. These products are awesome for packing lunches, snack time or any meal! They even have organic spices!

  • liveGfree Gluten-Free Brown Rice & Quinoa Penne – it’s also organic!
  • liveGfree Gluten-Free Brown Rice Spaghetti – pair with a meat sauce using their Organic Grass-Fed Ground Beef
  • liveGfree Gluten-Free Rice Pasta & Cheddar – boxed ‘mac ‘n cheese’ also available in ‘Shells and White Cheddar’
  • liveGfree Gluten-Free Granola Crunch – comes in three flavors. These are so good in their SimplyNature Organic Yogurts!
  • liveGfree Gluten-Free Baking Mixes – brownies, pizza dough, cake, cornbread, cookies or all-purpose
  • liveGfree Gluten-Free Breads – available in whole grain or white
  • SimplyNature Freeze Dried Fruit – strawberries, peaches or apples
  • SimplyNature Breads – four varieties of sprouted and grain breads
  • SimplyNature Organic Instant Oatmeal – comes in three delicious flavors
  • SimplyNature Organic Mac ‘n Cheese – all-organic boxed macaroni and cheese or Shells and White Cheddar
  • SimplyNature Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil – awesome for cooking or salad dressing
  • SimplyNature Organic Apple Cider Vinegar – always good to have on hand
  • SimplyNature Organic Coconut Oil – make movie theater-style popcorn with this
  • SimplyNature Organic Free-Range Chicken Broth – I use this all the time!

Guilt-Free Snacks

I’m not joking, Aldi’s award-winning liveGfree gluten free Pretzel Minis are my favorite pretzels, period! Gluten free or otherwise.

My other favorite snack is the SimplyNature Sweet Potato Chips. Oh, man…I need to be careful with these!


I saved some of the best organic foods from Aldi for last. Their award-winning SimplyNature Organic 100% Grass-Fed Ground Beef is the best-priced organic meat I’ve ever seen! 

Their SimplyNature organic salad mixes and baby spinach make the best salads and knowing that these items are organic is so worth it!

Aldi’s SimplyNature organic whole milk yogurts are such a good protein-packed healthy snack or breakfast! Like I said earlier, if you throw some of their gluten-free Granola Crunch in there…wow!

If you are dairy-free, they also have SimplyNature organic soy milk that could be right up your alley!

It is so encouraging to see a store like Aldi tackling gluten free and organic market. More than that, they are doing a great job at it! They are taking some of the most expensive grocery store items and making them accessible for everyone. Bravo, Aldi. Bravo.



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Why All Cyclists Should Take Tumeric Daily –

Why All Cyclists Should Take Tumeric Daily -


From boosting memory to alleviating pain and inflammation, turmeric has been shown to help a whole host of health issues. The delicious, brilliant-yellow-colored curry spice deserves a place in your daily diet thanks to its many health-boosting benefits.

Here are three of the many reasons to eat more turmeric:


A root similar to ginger, turmeric contains a potent compound that, not only gives it its signature yellow color, but also its anti-inflammatory properties. In a study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry researchers found that curcumin improved the healing of tendonitis, which involves inflammation of the tendons that help maintain our structural integrity. That’s great news for anyone suffering from tendonitis, whether from a tennis or golf injury or gardening.


Recent research in the Journal of International Molecular Sciences found that curcumin helps to prevent kidney stones from forming in the urinary tract. It appears to prevent them from crystallizing in the first place. Considering the painful nature of kidney stones, anything that helps prevent their formation should be well-received.


You’ve probably heard of curcumin’s benefits for memory but you might not realize just how quickly it starts working. Research published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology showed that within only one hour after taking a supplement containing one of turmeric’s active ingredients, curcumin, study participants had a significant improvement in memory and attention tasks compared to the placebo group.


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