Tag Archives: health and fitness

Fair and Festival Food That Will Ruin Your Waistline

Woman holding weighing scale

There’s something deeply enchanting about fairs and other festivals. They exist to help us celebrate various things ranging from the local flavor to important dates. No one ever really feels the need to question them until they aren’t there. After all, many of us have important and positive memories associated with the various fairs and festivals of our youth. That’s enough to draw many of us back to them in hopes of drawing those memories closer to the front of our mind. Some of those memories are inevitably caught up in the foods available at these celebrations. They are often incredibly unhealthy while at the same time offering a delightful taste that is hard to come by anywhere else. There’s no shame in wanting to revisit a taste that you adored when you were younger, but at a certain point we need to keep in mind fair and festival foods are bad for our overall health and our waistline. Some are a bit worse than others regardless of how wonderful they taste.

Fried Candy Bars
There’s a lot to be said for a good candy bar. They can have every bit of sweet flavor that we could want in them as well as a bit of extra crunch. It makes them infinitely appealing when we get hungry even if they aren’t the most nutritious options on the menu. The sheer familiarity of many candy bars is enough to drag many of us back to our childhoods simply because they seem like they never really change beyond the packaging. Unfortunately, candy bars tend not to do our health any favors with all of their sugar. Fairs and festivals take this and make it even better/worse by deep-frying candy bars to give them a flaky yet crispy outer layer that gives them a special flavor all their own in addition to the one we’re expecting. The end result is an oily, sugary mess with more calories than any of us really want to contemplate.

Funnel Cake
This staple of fairs and festivals is one of those things that never seems to go out of fashion. They’re relatively easy to make and yet remain highly versatile. Various kinds of dough are usable to generate custom-flavored kinds of funnel cake. You can have everything from plain funnel cake to more exotic kinds depending on the particular vendor. Most of them tend to be served fairly simply with powdered sugar or a similar topping added to them to give them an extra bit of sweetness to go with the fried dough.

Funnel cake

The downside here is best captured by the words “fried dough”. Funnel cake is incredibly unhealthy given the amount of oil it has been friend in and adding further sweet topping to it just raises the calorie levels even more. This is to say nothing of any styles of dough that are sweeter than average. Funnel cake may taste good, but there’s no escaping that your waist won’t thank you if you have too much.

Giant Turkey Legs
Depending on the fair or festival, you may see people preparing giant turkey legs. These tend to be marketed under a number of different names depending on the overall theme of the gathering. Some people like to call them “caveman” turkey legs while others favor calling them “medieval”. The end result is the same though. These turkey legs tend to be massive, messy, and surprisingly tasty to eat. Unfortunately, that’s a lot of meat in any given sitting. We never really think about how many calories are in meat, but the protein tends to mean that any meat is already calorie dense. A large concentration of it makes it even less healthy. It also doesn’t help that these aren’t always prepared in the most health conscious way. These turkey legs will certainly be delicious, but try not to eat even half of one of you may find you’re eating drastically more than you need to in a single day.

To be fair, let’s pause and consider that most fair and festival foods are inherently unhealthy. They’re often deep-fried and frequently in larger portions than is advisable. We know this already before we get it. Fairs and festivals are not constant occasions though. They’re times to enjoy something outside of the usual. That’s something to keep in mind before you decide you shouldn’t have some of these foods. Yes, they’re a bit much, but indulging on a very rare occasion is good for the soul. Just try to remember to take something to settle your stomach afterwards as things that are good for the soul aren’t always good for digestion.

The Benefits of Adding Yogurt To Your Diet

Woman eating yogurt

Yogurt is one of those foods that people end up having strong feelings about for no apparent reason. Some people absolutely can’t stand it because of the texture. Everything else about it gets ignored because they can’t understand why anyone would eat it. Others might have dietary restrictions that prevent them from eating it. For the majority of us, it can be a decidedly healthy addition to our diet and a pleasant treat. We just need to find a yogurt that we actually want to eat. The benefits of yogurt tend to vary among varieties, but most of the time we can all derive at least a few benefits from any give kind of yogurt. Most of us probably leaped at the idea of “probiotics” when seeing we were going to be talking about the benefits of yogurt. We’re going to touch on this, yes, but there are other benefits we should all be aware of too and a few things need to be cleared up about probiotics along the way.

Probiotic Support
The dominant pitch for eating yogurt lately is getting support for your gut flora, the bacteria in your intestines, by eating yogurt. It has spread from a few select kinds of yogurt to most of them at this point and is more than a little misleading. Every kind of yogurt is not going to give you probiotic support. Additionally, not every brand advertising that they have it is actually giving it to you. Yogurt needs to have an active culture of bacteria in it to actually be of any use as a probiotic. Finding the right brand for this requires a little research to help you pin down exactly who is telling you the truth and what brand is best for the support you want. Fortunately, the information is out there and easy to acquire. Probiotic support of this kind will help ease your digestion and overall make the entire process easier on your body overall. Additionally, it can help make you more resistant to certain kinds of invading bacteria. The fact a single thing can support your health in so many ways is why probiotics are so popular. There are other ways yogurt can help though.

Yogurt

A Little Bit Of Everything
Yogurt is actually a good, general purpose addition to many diets. Regardless of the type, the food tends to be fairly rich in plenty of vital nutrients. These help to support the body in countless little ways across various systems. Notably, you can customize what you’re getting out of the yogurt in some cases by picking the fruit yogurt that you’re eating carefully. This will allow you to control for some of the more dominant nutrients that you want in your yogurt. It is simply another way to get a little bit of fruit in your diet in this case. Eating a fruit yogurt does detract from the other potential benefits of yogurt though. This is because there is less room for just the plain yogurt in the container at that point. Fruit, after all, is a little bulkier than a gel-like food. Regardless of the kind of yogurt you’re eating, it is a relatively healthy addition to your diet as long as you’re not eating to excess. We recommend sticking with low-fat yogurt for the most of the benefits with as few issues as possible for a dairy product.

Staying Dense
Osteoporosis is a serious issue that ends up affecting all of us over time. This is especially true for older women and others with higher estrogen levels. It simply becomes harder over time to maintain our overall bone density. That’s why many women begin taking vitamin D supplements earlier in their lives and eating to include more calcium in their diets. It helps to counteract the higher rate of osteoporosis later in life. Other people need to worry about the problem too. It becomes a pronounced issue for many of us as we age. Yogurt, as a dairy product, tends to be a fairly good source of calcium. This is good on its own, but many companies fortify their yogurts with vitamin D as well. Vitamin D helps your body to absorb and utilize calcium more effectively. That makes yogurt one of the better foods you can be eating for long term bone health. It is also relatively simple as far as goods go and easy to process. This is also useful as we get older.

Yogurt is one of those foods that is surprisingly healthy for you. Most people reach for probiotics as the reason why, but people are overly willing to throw that word around without fully understanding what it requires to be meaningful. Genuine probiotic yogurts are useful for your health, yes, but other yogurts can support bone and general health easily too. We recommend including a little yogurt in any healthy diet where you can actually consume dairy. It will support you more than you know.

Tips For Taking Care of Combo Skin

Woman in mirror

Combination skin is one of the more common skin types. It is technically a mix or two or more types at once, but the general rule for most skin is that some areas are a bit more oily or dry than others on many faces. This makes proper treatment for skin something of a haphazard affair where a product good for one area might be less suited to aid another. That can cause problems. As a result, taking care of combination skin often feels like a balancing act where we’re trying to help the most parts of our skin at a time while working against any potential negative effects to the areas that aren’t benefiting. The situation is incredibly frustrating to those of us who try so hard to help our skin be as healthy as it can. Fortunately, it isn’t that difficult to work towards properly caring for combination skin. You’re just going to have to invest a little more time than you might if you had a more consistent skin type.

Wear Sunscreen
It is important to stress that some skincare tips are universally useful. Combination skin needs to be regularly protected by sunscreen just as much as every other skin type. It might even be a little more important in some cases given it means some parts of your skin might actually be highly susceptible to the sun while others are more resistant. Fortunately, combination skin doesn’t change the general rules for sunscreen. You’ll need to find one that offers broad spectrum protection that is at least SPF 30 to protect your skin. We recommend increasing the SPF rating to 50 if you’re in your 40s or above simply as a protective measure as skin begins to noticeably thin. Additionally, you’re better served by looking for sunscreens that include active ingredients like zinc oxide. This means the sunscreen is a physical blocker. These sunscreens entirely reflect UV rays rather than just absorbing them and thereby provide the most thorough protection.

Woman applying moisturiser

Gently Exfoliate
Given combination skin’s potentially wide spread of traits, it is best to err on the side of caution in most cases. This means favoring less potent exfoliating products to help clean and protect your skin. A chemical exfoliation product is the best in this case. We recommend sticking to ones that utilize beta-hydroxy acids such as glycolic or citric acid to help clean your skin. These are effective, but skin friendly options that don’t put excess strain on sensitive skin. You’ll most frequently find these products as easily spread gels meant to be left on for a little while to achieve their purpose. The active ingredients in these products are necessary for getting the job done as they help to dissolve and break up clumps of dead skin cells, oils, and grime that can get caught in your pores. Avoid using products with salicylic acid, if you can, as that ingredient could potentially be too harsh for the more sensitive sections of your skin and cause problems.

Moisturize Regularly
Moisturizing combination skin is an admittedly difficult proposition if you have mixed areas of dry and oily skin. The proper level of moisturizer for one will inherently cause problems for the other by being too much or too little. We have to find a way to balance these extremes when working to protect combination skin. As a general rule, a water-based gel product is going to serve combination skin the best. Gels aren’t quite creams and as a result have a lower chance of causing problems for oily patches while still being thick enough to cling and provide the moisture necessary to protect dry skin. They need to be water-based to further this goal. Oil-based gels will quickly cause problems for oily patches if you’re not careful. You should expect to apply this kind of moisturizer a few times a day for maximum effectiveness. It may take a little experimentation ti find the right amount for your skin.

Caring for combination skin is a headache-inducing task sometimes. Conflicting skin types have always been frustrating, but we’ve found ways to cope with the challenge. Overall, you need to be both gentle with and protective of your skin to ensure the best results. Proper steps to protect it will let it heal and remain as healthy as it can on average while being gentle will ensure products don’t overly upset a delicate balance. We can’t say that there won’t be problems as you work out this balance, but when you finish you’ll know your skin better than before.