Five Reasons to Try Vegetarian

While the popularity of vegetarianism is rapidly on the rise, there are some who still feel as though giving up meat would be too big of a sacrifice to make. However, there are so many benefits that come with a vegetarian diet, so here are five reasons to persuade you to give vegetarianism a try.

Vegetarian

Slow Down the Aging Process
A study recently published in the British Medical Journal discovered that vegetarians outlive meat eaters by up to six years, which is hardly surprising considering all of the nutrients that come with a plant-based diet. Not only are these rich in fiber, but they are alo high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, all of which play individual roles in slowing down the aging process. In addition to this, a plant-based diet can also prevent, as well as reverse, certain chronic diseases, giving vegetarians a longer, and healthier, life.

Prevent the Three Biggest Killers
Heart disease is the number one killer out there, with cancer and strokes being the second and third, but a healthy, well-balanced vegetarian diet is able to protect the body from all three of these. In fact, doctors have even had success in unclogging arteries and reversing heart disease purely by prescribing a vegan diet.

Woman with ferret

Support the Environment
Countless studies have shown, and the United Nations has also confirmed, that eating meat is the reason behind some of the most serious environmental problems that we face today. For example, the meat industry is responsible for 40% more greenhouse gases than all of the cars, trucks and planes in the world combined, and are also linked to everything from land degradation to water pollution to climate change to loss of biodiversity.

Animal Welfare
While you may like to think that your meat has been raised on lush green pastures and happy farmyard homes, the reality is far from this, and if the general public really knew what happened in factory farms today, there would be many more vegetarians in the world. Animals that are commonly eaten, such as chickens and pigs, are actually known to be smarter than animals that are usually kept as pets, such as dogs and cats, so rather than supporting the abhorrent conditions that these creatures are kept in, give vegetarianism a try. It is believed that an individual who gives up meat is able to save around 100 animal lives each year, which is a good enough reason in itself for any true animal lover.

Woman standing on weighing scale

Weight Loss
More than two thirds of the general public are obese, but vegetarians on average tend to have a lower BMI, which is the measure of body fat, than meat eaters. Vegetarians are much less likely to be obese, and are significantly lighter than meat eaters, making vegetarianism the healthiest of weight loss diets.

As you can see, a vegetarian diet brings with it so many incredible benefits. Not only would you be making huge improvements to your own health, but you would also be supporting the world around you, so make 2017 the year in which you give vegetarianism a try.

Get Ready for an Adventurous Girls Night Out

A girls night out is always plenty of fun, but if you are starting to tire of the usual cocktail bars and nightclubs, it may be time to start thinking of some exciting alternatives. From a winery tour and tasting to adrenaline-pumping activities, here are some ideas for an adventurous girls night out.

woman drinking wine

Winery or Brewery Tour and Tasting
While your location does play a huge part in this, you are still likely to be able to find a winery or brewery situated near you. These provide the ideal destination for a girls night out, with many offering tailored packages to suit your time frame and group size. Whether you spend the evening tasting classic fine wines or innovative craft beers, this is an activity that will not only prove to be fun, but also extremely educational.

Classes
While signing up for a class with your friends may not seem that adventurous at first, it is always fun to try new things with your friends. There are so many different classes out there, from cooking to pottery to pole dancing, all of which guarantee an unforgettable girls night out.

orogold-get-ready-for-an-adventurous-girls-night-out-casino
Casino Night
Casinos can provide hours of endless fun, and the different games available mean that everyone will be able to find one that they enjoy playing. Begin your evening with dinner and drinks at one of the casino bars or restaurants, before heading onto the casino floor to try your luck. If some of your friends are novice gamblers, pair them up with the more experienced amongst you, so that they will be able to pick up a few tips along the way.

Uncommon Activities
There are likely to be many different adrenaline-pumping activities out there that you have not yet tried, so the next time you are with your girls, come up with a list of activities that you are all interested in. This could be anything from indoor skydiving to a session on a giant trampoline, but, whichever you choose, make sure that it is something that all of the girls are comfortable with. If you find yourself stuck for ideas, click on over to Groupon, as there are a number of exciting local experiences to be found here.

Women at sports game
Sports Night
While gathering together for an evening of sports may be a common male bonding activity, this is something that females tend to often shy away from. Whether you hit the beach for a moonlit volleyball session, head off on a nature trail for an invigorating hike, don some skates for a visit to your local roller derby, or even just catch a local ball game, a sports night is a great way to involve everybody in your group.

Planning a unique girls night out can often be difficult, especially if the girls within your group have quite varying interests. However, these ideas will ensure that you are able to cater to everybody, whether this may be in an extravagant casino or at your local baseball stadium, guaranteeing an adventure-filled girls night out.

Five Surefire Ways to Put a Smile on Your Face

January can be a hard month for many, but this does not need to be the case. Rather than letting the January blues get you down, here are five surefire ways to put a smile on your face and lift your mood right back up.

Woman making a list
A Bucket List Adventure
One of the most exciting ways to lift your mood is by doing something slightly crazy, that you would not usually do. If you have a bucket list of activities that you have been meaning to try, pick one of these and give it a go. Whether it be skydiving, rally driving or taking a day trip to a destination that you have always wanted to visit, heading off on an adventure will take you out of your comfort zone and leave you with a huge, accomplished grin by the end of it.

Baby Animals
No matter how low you may be feeling, spending some time with some cute, baby animals is a guaranteed way to put a smile on your face. Whether this means visiting a local petting zoo, a nearby animal sanctuary, or even your neighborhood rescue shelter, there are so many studies that show the benefits that spending time with animals can have on your mood, so seek out some new furry friends and spend some quality time with them.

Pamper Yourself
If you have been feeling especially stressed lately, then it could be well worth taking some time out to spend the day completely pampering yourself. This could include everything from at-home beauty treatments to a day at a spa, and will leave you feeling totally refreshed and ready to tackle the world again.

woman dancing
Dance It Out
One of the best, and easiest, ways to quickly lift your mood and get you smiling is to have a mini dance session at home. Simply put together a playlist of tunes that are guaranteed to have your feet moving, and blast this loudly while you rock your way around your home. Whether it be seventies disco or classic rock, choose songs that you know that you will not be able to resist, and turn to this playlist whenever you need a smile.

Learn a New Creative Skill
Studies have shown that when people are completely focused on learning a new skill, especially one that involves creativity, satisfaction levels are hugely elevated. Not only will this help you to stay alert and in control, but it will also leave you feeling energized and invigorated, all of which are bound to put a smile on your face. The skill that you choose can be anything that intrigues you, whether it be a dance class, a cooking class or an art or photography class.

If you have been finding yourself quite down lately, these methods are guaranteed to get you smiling again. Whether you spend an afternoon cuddling baby animals, or head off for a day of excitement and adventure, keep this tips in mind for the next time you need a quick pick-me-up.

Fitness Trends for 2017

The fitness industry is currently thriving like never before, and, as more and more people strive to keep their bodies in shape, the industry is being pushed to really up its game. While 2016 saw many interesting trends make an appearance, 2017 is set to be more exciting than ever, with plenty of new trends to inspire the masses to take more of an interest in fitness.

Workout Apps
Fitness apps have been exploding in popularity recently, and you are likely to see many more workout apps created in 2017. These enable users to engage in an exercise routine wherever they may be, whenever they have a bit of time to spare, giving them a convenient and extremely cost-effective way to work out.

Live-Streaming Fitness Classes
For those who do not live in a big city, you have likely been frustrated at the lack of variation in fitness classes near you, but, thanks to technology, this is soon to change. Rather than having to opt for yet another DVD workout or YouTube tutorial, these live-streaming sessions will take place, in real time, on platforms such as Facebook and Periscope, and will be broadcast from some of the hottest fitness studios around.

Woman working out in adult playground
Adult Playgrounds
Adult playgrounds have been popping up quite a bit this past year, but you can expect to see them take quite the surge in 2017 as they become much more mainstream. These outdoor gyms are not just appearing in public parks as you would expect, but can be found in many more unusual locations, from office roof terraces to spacious sidewalk spots, ensuring that everybody is able to easily access one.

Functional Fitness for the Elderly
Fitness levels can really begin to decline with age, unless an active effort is made to prevent this. In 2017, there is likely to be quite the rise in fitness classes for the elderly, but rather than them being standard fitness classes, these will be focussed more on functional fitness. This means focussing on areas such as strength and balance, as well as joint mobility and general mood, all of which will significantly help to elevate daily living standards for this generation.

Outdoor Obstacle Courses
While intense outdoor bootcamps may be declining in popularity, outdoor obstacle courses, such as the Tough Mudder, are steadily on the rise. The majority of these that are currently available are more suited to those with advanced fitness levels, but the newer courses that you will see next year will make this activity available to all.

Woman boxing
Boxing
Boxing has always been loved by many, but it was often difficult for beginners to become involved with this sport. 2017 sees that beginning to change, not only with the introduction of boutique boxing studios, which practice a no-contact style of boxing, but also due to the increasing number of beginners classes that are now being hosted by traditional boxing gyms.

Fitness is key when it comes to healthy living, and an increasing number of people are beginning to become aware of this. Thanks to this mainstream attention, the fitness industry is now witnessing a surge in adrenaline-pumping trends, all of which promise to help keep your body, and mind, in perfect condition.

Rely on Your Instructor for These Yoga Poses

Woman doing yoga

Yoga has been linked with so many different health benefits, so it only makes sense that an increasing number of people are starting to give it a try. However, when it comes to the way in which yoga is promoted in the media, advanced poses are often highlighted, and these can be extremely dangerous for a yoga newbie to try to copy. Even if you already have some yoga experience behind you, make sure that you ask your instructor to assist you when trying these following poses for the first time.

Firefly Pose
The ninja-like appearance of the Firefly Pose makes it appeal to many, and while it may be an arm balance pose, it actually requires much more core strength than arm strength. The most difficult part of this pose is extending the legs fully, but being already accustomed to the Crow Pose can really help with this.

Dancer's Pose

Dancer’s Pose
The Dancer’s Pose is one that looks beautifully elegant, and not only stretches the chest, hips and shoulders, but also improves the balance. While this one may not look that technically difficult, the perfect amount of tension is needed between the arms and legs, in order to maintain your center of gravity, which is why success with this pose is much more likely when you have some assistance.

Handstand Scorpion Pose
There are a couple of variations to the Handstand Scorpion Pose, but all of them require you to balance on your hands rather than on your forearms, which is how the regular Scorpion Pose is carried out. Even if you have already accomplished the regular Scorpion Pose, rising up from your hands can really be quite challenging, but your instructor can help you to do this in a safe way.

Lotus Peacock Pose

Lotus Peacock Pose
The Lotus Peacock Pose is a combination of two other poses; the Basic Peacock Pose and the Seated Lotus. While the Lotus Pose requires a large amount of hip flexibility, the Peacock Pose depends on glute strength, and it is essential that you have fully mastered both of these poses individually before attempting the Lotus Peacock Pose.

Head to Foot Pose
Also known as Sirsa Padasana, the Head to Foot Pose is one of the most intense backbends that you will find in yoga, and unless you have the right amount of muscle strength in your back, as well as a flexible spine, you could end up causing your body quite a bit of damage. This pose requires a huge amount of mental focus and balance, making it wise to seek assistance when trying it out for the first time.

When it comes to practicing yoga, do not forget that yoga postures are only a small part of this. The foundations of yoga go much further, encompassing everything from ethical choices, such as non-violence, to breathing exercises and meditation, so if you want to make the most out of your yoga experience, be sure to spend some time on all of these other yoga aspects too.

What You Can Teach Your Children About Healthy Living

children eating healthy food
Helping your children to develop healthy living habits while they are still young will really set them up for success in the long run. From educating them about food to making exercise fun, these are a few ways in which you can easily teach your children about how to live a healthy, and happy, life.

Food Education
Many schools do not include modules on healthy food and nutrition in their syllabus, meaning that it is up to you as the parent to ensure that your child learns as much as possible on this subject. There are so many ways to do this, and it is best to use a variety of methods to ensure that they do not become bored. Taking your child grocery shopping with you, and then helping them to prepare a healthy meal by themselves, will teach them about making healthy food choices when shopping, while learning how to read food labels. For those aspiring young chefs out there, help them to create their very own cookbook that features healthy recipes, and introduce them to some television personalities that promote healthy eating, so that they have positive role models to look up to.

mom and kid exercising
Make Exercise Fun
The recommended amount of physical activity for children is one hour a day, but with children these days spending more and more time indoors, this can be quite difficult for some parents to implement. The key here is ensuring that physical activity is always fun for your kids, and perhaps starting off with a smaller amount before gradually building this up as their fitness levels improve. There are many activities out there that children can get involved in, from dancing to cycling to team sports. For younger children, fun games such as tag or hide and seek will keep them on the move, while older children may enjoy the challenge of a fitness app that tracks their steps.

Positive influence
Be a Positive Influence
Your children will look up to you as a role model, so you need to make sure that you are providing them with a positive influence to follow. This means that, not only should your children be making healthy food choices and staying active, but so should the rest of the family. By working on a healthy lifestyle together, you will increase your chances of success, as you will have so much extra support, and it will also help with family bonding. When it comes to picking out rewards for your children, do not veer towards the standard, unhealthy, choices, such as extra television time, and opt instead for a reward that is in line with your healthy living practices, such as a family outing to the local national park.

As a parent, there are many ways in which you can encourage your children to be making healthy choices from a young age. By doing so, you will be helping to set healthy habits that they will be able to carry with them for the rest of their lives.

I Dream of Flawless Skin

A smooth and flawless complexion is a lifelong dream of many, but, with a little bit of dedication, you can soon turn this dream into a reality. From making the correct lifestyle choices to using the very best of skin care products, these steps will lead you to the flawless skin of your dreams.

Woman applying eye cream

Personalized Daily Skin Care Routine
Truly flawless skin can only be achieved through the use of an effective daily skin care routine, but, since everybody’s skin is different, your skin care routine should be tailored to your individual skin. This means that you need to first identify your skin type, be it normal, combination, dry, oily, or sensitive, and then do some research into the various ingredients that are best suited to your skin type. When it comes to putting together your skin care routine, cleansing is always an essential first step, followed by the use of a toner to re-balance your skin’s pH level, which cleansing usually disrupts. You can then begin to apply your skin care products, beginning with the lightest and working your way up to the heaviest. This will usually mean serums, followed by an eye cream, and then a moisturizer, but, again, each product should be chosen based on your skin’s specific needs.

Woman making a smoothie

Healthy Lifestyle Choices
While you may think that you already take the best possible care of your skin, it really does not matter how many quality products you apply if you are still making the wrong lifestyle choices. Smoking, drinking and drug use will soon lead to everything from breakouts to a dull complexion to premature aging, while chronic stress, which causes the stress hormone cortisol to constantly run through your body, will do the same. A sedentary lifestyle will also lead to multiple skin issues, whereas those who begin to exercise on a daily basis will quickly notice a healthy boost to their complexion. One of the most important healthy lifestyle factors is diet, as processed foods, that are high in sugars and other unnecessary ingredients, will hugely detract from your complexion. The best way forward is a largely plant-based diet, with plenty of whole foods and fresh fruit and vegetables.

Recognize Bad Habits
If you have already been following all of the above steps but still find yourself suffering from seemingly random breakouts or moments of redness and sensitivity, then it is likely that you have some bad skin care habits that you are not aware of. Pressing an unclean cell phone against your face multiple times a day is a common one, and can be easily avoided by wiping down your phone a couple of times a day. You should also ensure that your pillowcase is frequently cleaned, as is your towel, as both of these can quickly transfer bacteria to your skin. Your hands are another part of your body that touches numerous unclean surfaces throughout the day, and if you tend to usually place your hands on or near your face, then this is another habit that needs to be stopped.

Many people dream of flawless skin, but it does take some effort to achieve this. While it may seem like hard work at the beginning, this dedication will soon pay off, making your dreams come true.

Understanding Spa Etiquette

Woman at Spa
While visiting a spa is one of the most relaxing ways to pamper your body, first-time spa goers can often feel intimidated by the calmness and serenity of the spa, as they are unsure of how they are supposed to behave. While spa etiquette is not complicated, these tips will help you to understand exactly what is, and is not, appropriate.

Arriving Early
Most spas will usually request that a customer arrives earlier than the time at which they have booked their selected treatment, especially if you are a newcomer, as there is usually paperwork to fill out beforehand. Arriving 15 minutes before your treatment is usually sufficient for this, and there is likely to be a tranquil waiting room for you to sit and relax before your treatment begins.

Mobile Phones
While some spas may allow their guests to use a mobile phone in the reception area, the majority of spas will frown upon the use of electronic devices within the vicinity. The reason for this is because not only do people chatting away on mobile phones ruin the relaxing experience for other guests, but it will also detract from your own spa experience, preventing your body from truly unwinding, and your therapist from fully focussing.

Talking During Treatments
When it comes to facial treatments, talking during this is usually not advised, as not only will this mean that you will be unable to fully relax, but it also makes it much harder for your therapist to effectively apply any necessary products. In the case of non-facial treatments, it is completely up to you whether you choose to have a chat to your therapist during the treatment or not, but you do not need to feel obliged to, as spa therapists will be trained to recognize when a customer simply wants to stay quiet and enjoy their treatment. However, the one time when talking is absolutely necessary is if you need to communicate with your therapist about the treatment while it is occurring. For example, if you are having a massage and the pressure is too hard, you need to speak up about this immediately, so that your therapist can adjust their pressure and tailor the rest of your massage to your exact needs.

Nudity
Nudity is a topic that can make many feel uncomfortable, and it is often the reason for which first-time spa goers are hesitant about visiting a spa. A high end spa will provide you with a clean robe, a pair of slippers, and usually some paper underwear that you can wear during your treatment, but if this feels too risqué for you, just let your therapist know beforehand, as they will be able to find a way to accommodate your comfort level.

Spas are the ideal place for your mind and body to relax and unwind, and ensuring that you understand spa etiquette will enable you to fully let go while at the spa. From arriving early before a treatment to turning your mobile phone off, these tips will help you to get the most out of your spa experience.

The Real Spanish Tapeo

Tapas

Quintessentially Spanish, tapeo culture is at the heart of Spain’s heritage, and lively tapas bars can be found throughout the country. Rather than being a way of cooking, tapas is more about a way of eating, signifying socializing with friends and bonding with loved ones.

What is Tapas?
Tapas has made a name for itself all over the world, and is essentially a wide variety of small-portioned snacks that are traditionally served alongside alcoholic beverages. Tapas comes in all shapes and forms, from hot or cold to skewered or bubbling in clay pots to finger bites and sandwiches, and every region of Spain will have their own range of unique local tapas dishes.

The Best Time To Tapear
Tapas is such an important part of Spanish culture that there is even a verb, tapear, to describe the act of going for tapas. When it comes to the best time to tapear, this is usually in the early afternoon, between noon and 2pm, as this falls just before the Spanish lunchtime, and is when all of the local tapas bars compete with counters piled high with tempting fragrant bites. Each tapas bar will put their own unique spin on the dishes served, which is why visiting a few different tapas bars is always a popular activity in Spain.

Tapas Etiquette
Tapeo culture has its very own etiquette, and while a faux pas will not be frowned upon heavily, locals will appreciate your knowledge on this. It is usually customary for visitors to a tapas bar to not eat more than two tapas at one place, as the whole idea behind tapeo is it being a sort of gastronomic bar crawl. Since you are only going to be trying a couple of dishes at each place, you need to pay attention to how they complement each other, ordering dishes that work well together rather than those that feature opposing flavors. Tapas is usually eaten at the bar while standing, and, when it comes to paying the bill, Spaniards usually practice convida, which is where everybody pays for a round.

Popular Tapas Dishes
There are thousands of different tapas varieties out there, with the only limit being the chef’s imagination. Gambas are prawns that are sauteed in various sauces, from peppercorn to chopped chili peppers, while croquettes are a common fried dish that can be found in homes all across Spain. Patatas bravas are fried potato cubes that are usually served with a spicy salsa, and is another dish that is served up by the majority of tapas bars out there. Chorizo is another ingredient that is beautifully showcased in many tapas dishes, from chorizo al vino, in which it is slowly cooked in wine, to chorizo a la sidra, in which the chorizo is cooked in cider.

While tapas restaurants may be found all over the world, the only way to truly experience the tapeo culture is by visiting Spain. From the authenticity of the food served to the atmosphere of the bars, tapas culture is a Spanish tradition that is still thriving today.

Can a Daily Cocktail Slow Aging?

While the consumption of excess amounts of alcohol can drastically speed up the aging process, there are certain concoctions that can actually do your body some good. From the age-defying antioxidants of a sangria, to the UV-protecting qualities of a bloody mary, these cocktails could quite possibly help to slow down the rate at which you age.

Bloody mary

Bloody Mary
The Bloody Mary is a truly classic cocktail, with tomato juice and carrot juice giving it its distinct flavor. Tomatoes are known for containing an antioxidant called lycopene, which has fantastic UV-protecting properties. In addition to this, carrots are packed with beta-carotene, which is not only incredibly effective at repairing damaged skin, but is also able to transform the vitamin A in your body into a form that is more easily accessible. By mixing in some freshly cracked black pepper, which is considered to be one of the healthiest foods in the world, you will also be enjoying an extra dose of iron, manganese, potassium, vitamin C and vitamin K.

Green Tea Martini
Green tea is known for having some incredible anti-aging properties, and can be used to make a number of different cocktails. A green tea martini is a refreshing drink, and only contains a few ingredients, making it easy to whip up at short notice. Rather than using a standard vodka, opt for Shochu instead, which is a Japanese vodka that is much lighter than western varieties. Mix this with your brewed green tea, adding a touch of Manuka honey for some sweetness, as well as for the many health-boosting properties that this wonder food brings.

Walnut Chocolatini
A walnut chocolatini is ideal for satisfying any sweet tooth out there, and brings with it some fantastic anti-aging benefits. Walnuts are known to be able to dramatically halt the aging process, fighting free radicals while keeping the body looking and feeling young. To make this cocktail, spread out your crushed walnuts and wet your martini glass, turning it upside down so that the crushed walnuts stick to the rim. Pour in a well-mixed concoction of Irish cream liqueur, dark chocolate liqueur, and vodka, before sprinkling some high-quality dark chocolate shavings on top, to enjoy the health benefits that dark chocolate is known to bring.

Sangria

Sangria
A classic Spanish summer beverage, sangria is primarily made from red wine and fruits, but there are many different versions out there that you can experiment with. When it comes to creating an anti-aging sangria cocktail, be sure to pack in a wide variety of different fruits. A strawberry and peach sangria will ensure that you are consuming your daily allowance of vitamin C, which does wonders for slowing down the aging process, while the peaches will also provide you with plenty of vitamin A. Berries contain a whole host of age-defying antioxidants, so try to use as many as you can. When choosing which wine to use, opt for a high-quality red wine, as this will contain several antioxidants, including resveratrol and quercetin, that have been proven to help fight cancer and heart disease.

 

While the majority of cocktails will only accelerate your aging process, there are most definitely some that will play a helping hand when it comes to anti-aging. Whether you choose to make a fruity sangria or a creamy walnut chocolatini, be sure to strictly regulate the amount of alcohol that you include, and pack your drink with more of the health-boosting ingredients instead.