Navigating Your Way Through the Bread Aisle

Smiling bespectacled woman holding bread

The bread aisle is an area of the average grocery store that has significantly grown in recent years, with so many new additions to now consider. From added fibre to gluten-free, here are a few tips to help you to navigate your way around the bread aisle.

Whole Grain vs Refined
One of the biggest decisions that people usually make when it comes to bread is deciding between whole grain varieties or refined, white varieties. You are likely already aware of the fact that whole grain is much healthier, as this contains the outer bran layer of the grain, which is where the majority of the fibre can be found. White bread is created from a refined version of these grains, meaning that all that is left is the starch. Make sure that the bread that you buy actually states that it is whole what, whole rye, whole spelt or cracked wheat, because terms such as wheat flour, enriched wheat and unbleached wheat are simply other names for refined flour.

Added Fibre
While whole grain bread already contains much more fibre than refined white bread, many brands add in some extra fibre, and this is usually positive. They do this by adding ingredients such as flaxseed, oats, psyllium or wheat bran to their bread mix, resulting in much higher fibre levels per slice.

Different Types of Flour
While wheat may be the most popular flour used for bread, there are several other types of flour that you are likely to have noticed too. Rye tends to be the second-most popular, and is quite dense compared to wheat, but has its own unique flavor and aroma. Corn and oats are other options, as is buckwheat, which is not a traditional grain, but is actually from a plant that is related to sorrel and rhubarb.

Sliced ciabatta on a wooden board

Gluten-Free
Gluten-free products have been on the rise lately, and when it comes to gluten-free bread, these tend to be made from four main starches; potato flour, tapioca starch, cornstarch and rice flour. While these are a great way for those who have a gluten allergy or Celiac disease to enjoy bread, those who do not suffer from these conditions are best off avoiding gluten-free bread, as they have high glycemic indexes, which means that they end up significantly raising blood sugar levels.

Different Uses for Different Breads
One of the reasons why there is so much choice in the bread aisle is because each bread tends to be best used for a specific purpose. For those who are making simple sandwiches, whole wheat slices are often best, as their flavor is quite minimal, allowing your sandwich fillings to really shine. Traditional flatbreads, such as pita bread and naan, are unleavened, meaning that they do not rise, and are chewier and denser, making them perfect to be stuffed. There are also many specialty breads out there, made from everything from sourdough to pumpernickel to rye, and each of these will have quite a distinct flavor, so do best when paired with stronger, more intense, fillings.

The bread aisle can often be quite confusing, which is why it is always a good idea to educate yourself on bread before heading out to do some shopping. For those who would like even more guidance on choosing bread, try visiting your local bakery rather than the grocery store, as the bakers will be on hand to provide you with in-depth advice.

Activities That Stimulate Your Brain Power

Woman thinking while working

While the brain is one of the parts of the body that is most often used, it is also an area that is often neglected. However, there are a few easy activities that you can try out to stimulate your brain power and give this vital organ a healthy boost.

Make Use of All of Your Senses
It is likely that, as you go about your daily life, you do not make a special effort to engage all of your senses. However, studies have shown that engaging usually unused senses can really help to stimulate the mind while boosting memory. So whether this means you choose your outfit in the morning by touch and texture rather than sight, or close your eyes while you are eating a meal, to really taste the food, try to make the most of each of your senses.

Use Your Non-Dominant Hand
People tend to either be right or left handed, and they use their dominant hand for the majority of their daily activities. However, pick one day a week where you try using your non-dominant hand instead, as this will not only require more focus, and strengthen your hand-eye coordination, but it will also help to build new associations within the brain’s neural connections. From brushing your teeth to writing to cooking your dinner, it may be difficult at first to use your non-dominant hand, but this will become much easier as the day goes on.

Woman deep in meditation outdoors

Meditation
Meditation brings with it so many different benefits, one of which is a huge boost to the brain. Not only does meditation make a huge difference when it comes to memory and focus, but one study even claims that meditation can significantly help to prevent mental illness. There are many forms of meditation that you can try, but, if this is completely new to you, begin with a couple of simple breathing exercises and then take it from there.

Language and Word Games
Word games and puzzles have long since been believed to be beneficial to the brain, and this is still the case. These types of games challenge the way in which you recognize, understand and remember words, all of which provides your brain with a fantastic workout.

Smiling woman with headphones on and dancing

Listen to Music
The “Mozart effect” is a theory that states that listening to classical music can make a person smarter, and there certainly is some truth to this. Studies have shown that listening to music, especially when exercising, can increase cognitive levels, while improving verbal fluency skills, as well as give a boost to mental focus. Any type of music can do this, not just the classical genre, so compile a few go-to playlists that you can listen to throughout the day.

Some studies have shown that the brain can often begin to lose some of its sharpness at the early age of 45, making it vital that you spend time stimulating it as much as possible. From playing word games to mindful meditation, these are just a few of the ways in which you can give your brain a healthy boost.

Wonder Woman’s Warriors

Wonder Woman film logo

Sarunyu L / Shutterstock.com

DC Extended Universe has released a number of movies in the past, some of which, such as Suicide Squad and Man of Steel, have received less than stellar reviews. However, their latest movie, Wonder Woman, is set to be their best movie yet, with many critics praising the fact that there is finally a female-oriented superhero film out there. The cast really makes the movie, with Wonder Woman’s warriors providing strong role models for young women of today to look up to.

Ann Wolfe
A female American boxer who has earned herself a number of titles over the years, Ann Wolfe was a surprising, but most-welcomed, addition to the Wonder Woman cast. Director Patty Jenkins firmly believed that since the movie was all about powerful women, the cast should be equally powerful, and, being an avid admirer of Ann Wolfe, decided to approach her about the role. While Wolfe may not have had much acting experience, this did not prevent her from establishing quite a presence in the role of Artemis of Bana-Mighdall, both on and off the camera, and she relished the role that she played, claiming that the Wonder Woman experience was more rewarding than anything she had achieved in the boxing world. Her character is quite a significant part of the film, and even though this was quite a huge responsibility for someone new to acting, Wolfe really managed to hold her own.

Actress Robin Wright

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Robin Wright
An American actress and director, Robin Wright is best known for her role in Netflix series House of Cards, but has also starred in several movies, including Forrest Gump, Message in a Bottle, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Everest. Most recently, Wright played the role of General Antiope in Wonder Woman, a role that was quite different from others she has played, but really managed to exceed expectations. Portraying a strong woman with a steely strength and beauty, Wright brings a unique sense of creativity to the role, and while she may only be featured in the first twenty minutes of the movie, she really stands out as one of the stars of the whole film.

Connie Nielsen
Connie Nielsen is a Danish actress who first entered the English-language film market in 1997 in The Devil’s Advocate. Since then, she has starred in a number of different films and television show, and recently joined DCEU as Hippolyta in Wonder Woman. Nielsen took on the role exceptionally, throwing herself head-first into the intense training that was needed for the part that she was playing. The fact that she was playing a female warrior made the experience even richer for her, and was proud to be able to depict true female strength.

With Wonder Woman already experiencing so much success, it comes as no surprise that a sequel has been confirmed, and will likely also be fast-tracked. For those who are looking forward to catching up on the adventures of the characters, it would seem as though you will not have too long to wait.

Celebrities Turning 40 This Year

Turning 40 is something that many dread, but there is absolutely no reason as to why you cannot turn 40 in style. From Orlando Bloom to Kerry Washington, here are a few celebrities who are turning 40 this year that you can take some inspiration from.

Kerry Washington

Denis Makarenko / Shutterstock.com

Kerry Washington
The star of hit television show Scandal, which has been running since 2012, Kerry Washington turned 40 in January. Married with two children, Washington is also known for her roles in Django Unchained and Ray, and her success looks set to continue on well into the future.

Kanye West
American rapper Kanye West turned 40 in June, and he has certainly accomplished so much in his 40 years of life. In addition to being an award-winning rapper, West is also a fashion designer and a record producer, as well as a father, and a husband to celebrity Kim Kardashian.

Shakira
Shakira rose to fame in the English-language music market in 2002, with her single “Whenever, Wherever”, which most of you likely remember. In February of this year, the singer turned 40, but is still keeping busy, and is rumoured to be working on her eleventh studio album.

Orlando Bloom

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Orlando Bloom
Orlando Bloom is another star that turned 40 in January, and while he may have starred in several movies over the years, his most-loved roles are the ones that he played in Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean. A month after the star’s birthday, his relationship with singer Katy Perry ended, and the award-winning actor has since revealed that he is looking for someone new to settle down with.

Sarah Michelle Gellar
An actress and producer, Sarah Michelle Gellar was first spotted by an agent in New York at the tender age of four, after which she starred in her first television movie. The star’s worldwide recognition came from her role in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and she has continued to feature in a number of television shows and movies since then. Although the actress turned 40 in April, she has not let this slow her down, and continues to develop her various entrepreneurial start-ups, while focussing on her acting career at the same time.

Liv Tyler
Liv Tyler, a beautiful American actress and former model, turns 40 this July. Her career began at the age of 14, when she started modeling, but quickly turned her attention to acting. This resulted in success for Tyler, as she ended up starring in a number of different roles, both television and movie, but has continued to give back to the community by serving as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2003.

Maggie Gyllenhaal

Debby Wong / Shutterstock.com

Maggie Gyllenhaal
Indie actress Maggie Gyllenhaal will be turning 40 in November this year. Happily married with two beautiful daughters, Gyllenhaal is set to star in a new HBO series, so do keep an eye out for her.

As you can see from the celebrities mentioned above, turning 40 does not mean that your life needs to slow down in any way. Instead, make the most of your age and experience by working out how to take your career to the next level, and build up a life that you can be really proud of.

Foods to Pack in Your Gym Bag

The foods that you eat before and after a workout are extremely important, as different foods will be able to fuel you in different ways. If you have been confused about the best snacks to pack in your gym bag, here are a few ideas.

Yoghurt

Pre-Workout: Greek Yoghurt with Berries
Greek yoghurt with berries is a great pre-workout snack, as the yoghurt contains a combination of whey and casein, meaning that you are getting a great balance of slow and fast-digesting proteins, which provide your muscles with the amino acids that they need during a workout. The yoghurt will take between four and six hours to digest, while the berries, which are a great source of carbohydrates, will take around two, giving your body long-lasting fuel.

Post-Workout: Tart Cherry Smoothie with Fresh Ginger and Whey Protein
Smoothies are always refreshing after a gruelling workout, and a tart cherry smoothie, along with some fresh ginger, will go a long way in helping to reduce inflammation, preventing any soreness. When it comes to the whey protein, around 30 grams of this is the optimum amount, as this will help to stimulate synthesis and growth within your muscles.

OROGOLD Foods to Pack in Your Gym Bag woman on grass eating banana.jpg

Pre-Workout: Bananas
Bananas are an easy snack to carry around, and are absolutely packed with potassium and complex carbohydrates. Both of these can significantly help with nerve and muscle function, so even if you do not enjoy eating bananas on their own, try adding them to a smoothie or some Greek yoghurt.

Post-Workout: An Orange and a Hardboiled Egg
Eggs are often considered to be the perfect food, and hardboiled eggs are extremely portable, and make for a great post-workout snack. The protein in the eggs will help to repair your muscles, but try to choose eggs that are organic and free-range, as studies have shown that these are usually much higher in the fatty acids that help to prevent any inflammatory damage that a vigorous workout may have caused. Oranges contain high levels of potassium and water, which will help to rehydrate you and replenish energy.

Pre-Workout: Oats with Almond Butter
If you are heading for a high-energy workout, then carbs will be your best friend, which is where the oatmeal comes in. However, in order to keep yourself feeling satisfied for the next few hours, cook the oats with some almond butter, as this is also a great source of magnesium, which is necessary for muscle contraction and relaxation.

Vegetable omelette

Post-Workout: Vegetable Omelette
Eggs are extremely high in leucine, which helps to trigger the synthesis of protein in muscles, which is why they are such a great post-workout food. By packing your omelette with lots of different vegetables, you will be providing your body with a wide range of vitamins and minerals to help it to recover, from red bell peppers for vitamin C to pineapples for bromelain.

When it comes to pre and post-workout snacks, remember that timing is everything. The ideal time to eat is around thirty minutes to three hours before a workout, and within twenty minutes after working out, as this is necessary to keep your muscles healthy.

Practical Ideas for Organizing Your Home Office

Woman with dog

While working from home has so many benefits, keeping a home office organized can be quite the challenge in itself. If your home workspace could do with some help, here are a few practical ideas to inspire you.

Start Off Small
When working on organizing just about anything, it always helps to start off small, as tackling the whole office at once may end up overwhelming you to the point of you giving up. Start with one drawer, clearing this out and throwing away anything that you do not need any more, shredding anything that may contain important information. Once you have done this and the drawer is empty, add in some drawer organizers so that all of its contents will have their own place. After tackling one drawer, move on to the next, until all of your drawers are neat and tidy.

Enlarge Your Workspace
If excess clutter is not your problem, and a genuine lack of space is, there are a number of clever ways in which you can actually enlarge your workspace to give yourself some extra space. If you have a large computer monitor, try raising this up, so that all of the space underneath it becomes usable. Add in more vertical storages compartments around the room, and do not forget to utilize the space underneath your desk as well.

Woman at table

Spend 5 Minutes Tidying Every Evening
If you have been hard at work all day, then it is only natural that your workspace may end up quite messy by the evening. However, once this messiness begins to pile up, then that is where your problems will begin, meaning that it is essential that you prevent this from happening as much as possible. A simple way to do this is to spend five or ten minutes every evening straightening everything up, which has the added advantage of giving yourself a clean workspace to work from the next morning.

A Printing Station
If you use your printer quite often, then setting up a printing station may be something that really helps you to keep everything organized. Rather than keeping your printer in the middle of your desk, set up a smaller table to the side for your printer, as well as all of its accessories.

Cleared desk

Clear Your Entire Desk For a Week
While clearing everything off of your desk may seem like a frightening prospect, this can really help you to work out exactly what you need, as well as where each item should go. Keep a large cardboard box by your desk and put everything into this. Then, carry on working as normal. Each time you need an item from the box, take it out and place it in the most logical spot on your desk. By the end of the week, everything that you need on a daily basis will be on your desk in an optimum place, and everything that can be stored elsewhere will still be in the box.

Keeping your home office well-organized can really help so much when it comes to productivity. While tackling a messy home office can seem quite daunting, these are all practical tips that are easy to put into action, and will make a huge difference once they have been carried out.

Protecting Your Family from Cleaning Compounds

Woman cleaning house

When it comes to keeping a house clean, most people tend to turn to commercial cleaning products. However, many of these can actually be quite toxic, producing fumes that can irritate the eyes, lungs, and heart. While it is possible to make your own cleaning products, commercial cleaners are sometimes unavoidable, so, if this is the case for you, you need to know how to protect your family from the damaging compounds that are released.

Keep Your Home Ventilated
In order for fumes to be able to leave your home, you need to keep your home well-ventilated. This means keeping all of your windows open and placing fans in strategic positions around your house to optimize the air flow.

Do Not Mix Cleaning Products
While it may be tempting to mix a few different cleaning products together, especially if they are all designed to target different types of dirt, this can be extremely dangerous. The different ingredients in said products can end up reacting with one another, causing fumes that are even more toxic than they would have been.

Family walking dog in park

Spend Some Time in Nature
If you have just given your house a deep clean with commercial cleaning products, then it is likely that your family will have already inhaled these toxic fumes. A great way to clear these from your lungs while giving them a chance to dissipate from your house is by taking a walk in nature, as this enables your lungs to pump in fresh oxygen while pumping out the chemicals. However, make sure that you choose an area that contains plenty of green trees and plants, and spend at least one to two hours there.

Drink Water and Leafy Greens
As you likely already know, water flushes out the system, meaning that you can reduce the toxicity of any chemicals inhaled by drinking extra water to dilute them and wash them out. In addition to water, you should also be juicing leafy greens and drinking those, as these are great for detoxing the system and will help to move any chemicals out of your body.

Mother pouring orange juice for daughter

Vitamin C
In the same way that vitamin C protects the body from colds and the flu and speeds up healing when these illnesses do occur, it is also able to help protect the body from any damaging effects that the cleaning chemical compounds may have. Whether you give your family vitamin C supplements or simply increase their intake of fresh foods that contain vitamin C, this is a great antioxidant to have on your side.

Check the Label
When purchasing cleaning products, always remember to check the label, as this will give you some idea of exactly how toxic the product is. If it states that the product’s vapors are harmful, then try to find an alternative product to use.

Commercial cleaning products can be so dangerous, and the best way to protect your family from them is by using products that are natural and safe. If you cannot find these at your local store, try making some yourself, as effective cleaning ingredients, such as vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice, are easily available everywhere.

Tips for Increased Happiness and Productivity

Happy woman

Everybody faces different challenges within their lives, and, when this happens, it is sometimes all-too-easy to fall into a bit of a rut. Rather than letting that happen to you, here are a few tips that will no doubt help you to increase your happiness and boost your productivity at the same time.

Reflect on Your Life
It is always important to take some time out of your busy schedule every once in a while to reflect back on your life. From the good points to the bad, start keeping a journal of your reflections, as this will help you to see where all of your decisions lead you to, and can really help you to make beneficial changes in the future.

Woman in gym attire eating salad

Improve Your Diet
The food that you put into your body has a direct impact on your state of mind, as well as your energy levels, meaning that a few tweaks to your diet could really help to boost your happiness and productivity. While junk food may be easy and convenient, this will zap you of energy and dull your mood, so try to stick to a diet that mainly consists of fresh and whole foods.

Regular Exercise
If you tend to avoid exercise as much as possible, then this will be slightly harder to implement at the beginning, but you will also notice huge changes quite quickly. Exercise releases endorphins within the body, and these trigger the happiness impulse in the brain. In addition to this, regular exercise will leave you with so much more energy during the day, which can then be used to make your day more productive.

Woman relaxing by reading

Learn to Relax
Many people think that they simply do not have time in their busy day to relax, but human beings were not designed to be continuously expelling energy. Instead, the body works best when it experiences periods of recovery and restoration, which is exactly why you need to be dedicating sufficient time each day to relaxing and unwinding. This will have a significant impact on your happiness and productivity, so make sure that you schedule in regular breaks throughout the day, and spend this time actually relaxing, rather than thinking about the next task you need to do.

Wake Up Earlier
If you really enjoy lying in, the idea that waking up earlier each morning can lead to an increase of happiness, as well as productivity, may sound hard to believe, but do give this a try. Waking up just an hour or so earlier in the mornings will make it seem as though you have so much more time in your day, and will give you the chance to take part in more activities that make you happy, whether this may be meditation, reading, or walking your dog.

Woman cuddling dog

With the increasing stressors that people are now facing in their day to day lives, seeking out ways to boost happiness and productivity are important. From learning how to relax to reflecting on your life, following these tips will soon result in significant changes when it comes to having a positive outlook on life.

Choosing the Perfect Summer Cocktail

Friends with cocktails

Summer cocktails are wonderfully refreshing, and while you likely already have your go-to favorites, it is always fun to try something new. From a fresh fruit sangria to a peach and basil Moscow Mule, these cocktails are all so easy to whip up.

Sangria

Fresh Fruit Summer Sangria
Sangria is a quintessential summer cocktail, and adding some unconventional fresh fruits to it can really give it a unique twist. Simply mix together a bottle of wine with half a cup of brandy, before adding some sliced lime. Then, pick the fruits that you want to add, thinking carefully about flavors that will complement the drink. Pineapple and watermelon are a great combination, but be sure that the fruits that you pick are relatively firm, so that they do not end up going soggy in your drink. Once all your fruit is mixed in, place a few slices of fruit into a glass with ice, before pouring the sangria over it, and then topping this with some lemon soda.

Moscow Mule

Peach Basil Moscow Mule
For those who already enjoy Moscow Mules, this peach and basil variety is one that you definitely need to try. The traditional Moscow Mule features vodka, lime juice and ginger beer, but try adding in some peach vodka instead, before topping with some fresh basil for a herby kick.

Cherry daquiri

Honeyed Cherry Daiquiri
Daiquiris are perfect for the hot, summer months, and this version, which features honeyed cherries, is tart but sweet at the same time, and goes down extremely easily, so you may need to limit yourself to just a couple of glasses! Simply muddle some cherries in the bottom of a cocktail shaker, until the fruit has been broken down and its juices released. Then, add in some rum, lime juice, honey and bitters, as well as some ice, before shaking until it is all chilled, which usually takes around 30 seconds. Strain this into a chilled glass, before garnishing with a slice of lemon or lime.

Kentucky lemonade

Kentucky Lemonade
This refreshing Kentucky lemonade makes use of easy-to-find ingredients, and is also extremely easy to customize to your own tastes. All you need to do is combine some sugar and water in a saucepan and heat this over a medium heat, until the mixture turns clear. Add in some lemon juice, mint leaves and bourbon, and then let the mixture cool for a bit, before pouring it through a fine strainer. Add in some ginger ale, and then stir, before adding some ice and lemon slices and serving it up. To make your presentation even more impressive, dip the ends of your glasses into a shallow plate with some lemon juice on it, before dipping it again into a plate with coarse white sugar, as this will create a sweet sugar rim on your glass.

Nothing beats a cold summer cocktail on a sweltering hot day, and these beverages will definitely not disappoint. From a fruity sangria to a refreshing lemonade, give these cocktails a try the next time you are taking some time out in the sun.

Gifts for the Dad Who Has Everything

Young family

Whether you are shopping for Father’s Day or your father’s birthday, if your dad already seems to have it all, finding the perfect gift can be extremely tricky. From retro games to an acre of rainforest, here are a few … Continue reading