Why is it Soooooo Hard to Drink Water?

It shouldn’t be hard to drink water, should it?

Getting to the bottom of the question: Why is drinking water so hard?

We all know drinking water is supposed to be good for us. So why is drinking water such a hard habit to implement?

Not too long ago, I became convinced I need to drink more water. And the optimal amount of water I needed to drink was 100 ounces of water per day.

It all started when I was reading through my Facebook newsfeed.

I came across a conversation between a group of trusted friends. They were praising the benefits of drinking 100 ounces of water. Everyone in the conversation claimed better health, successful weight loss, and beautifully radiant skin.

All the comments were glowing.

Someone even used the phrase, “life changing.”

When I tried to drink the recommended amount, I found myself wondering, "Why is it hard to drink water?"

After reading this conversation, I decided I would set a personal goal to try to track my water intake and to drink 100 ounces per day.

Who doesn’t want beautifully radiant skin?

I set myself up for success with an easy way to reload my glasses, and I made a batch of Rainbow Citrus Water. (It seemed a little Spartan to start with just straight water!)

DAY 1

Until I undertook this challenge, my typical liquid consumption looked like this:

  • 2 cups of coffee in the a.m.
  • If I exercised in the morning, I drank another cup of coffee after exercise.
  • At lunch I made a fat flushing detox drink or I didn’t bother with a drink at all.
  • About 3 to 4 in the afternoon, I brewed a cup of herbal tea.
  • At dinner I might drink some water. Otherwise, that cup of tea in the afternoon was the last thing I drank.

I guesstimate I consumed less than 40 ounces of liquid a day.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t even realize I never reached for a plain glass of water. Ever.

Conversely, I faithfully send my girls with a water bottle every where they go. School lunches? Water bottle. After school activities? Water bottle. Car trip? Water bottle.

Day 1 I am joining them and bringing water with me everywhere.

DAY 2

Water tastes great. It’s so refreshing. I find myself wondering why I don’t reach for a glass of water more often.

However, there is one teensy, tiny drawback. The trips to the restroom.

I knew that drinking more water would necessitate more trips to the restroom, but sheesh! It’s Day 2. This is ridiculous!

DAY 3

The numerous trips I’m taking to the bathroom have me wondering if I should be limiting the number of squares of toilet paper I’m using each trip. At this rate, my water consumption is going to necessitate an extra Costco size pack of toilet paper… per week!

Discouragement is starting to take over.

I strategize my day around when I should consume my water and how close I will be to a restroom.

DAY 4

First day of feeling success. Drinking water is becoming a habit. When we made a family trip to Starbucks, I skipped the coffee. I brought my reusable water cup and had them fill it up for me.

Not only did they fill my water bottle, but they gave me a $0.10 discount for bringing my own cup. It’s like they paid me to drink my water. Happiness in a small victory.

Filling a bobble water bottle for a plane trip and lamenting, "Why is it hard to drink water?"

DAY 5

I can’t do it. There is too much on my plate today. I know that drinking 100 ounces of water will lead to too many restroom breaks and I simply don’t have the time.

I don’t want to quit just 5 days in, so I drink about 32 ounces of water that night.

Joke is on me!

After 2 middle of the night restroom runs, I decide I need to set a time in the evening to stop all water intake. I decide 6 p.m. is it. No water after 6 p.m.

DAY 6 -9

These days all look the same. Water. Restroom. Water. Restroom.

Real old. Real fast.

DAY 10

I quit. I can’t make sense of why any one would do this!

It takes me 10 days before I start to research – why 100 ounces of water? Why was that a magic number?

You know what? It’s not a magic number. In fact, I can’t figure out why it is a number at all. When you read how drinking more water can boost your health, you find the formula for drinking the right amount of water.

Based on this information, I made a new healthy goal.

Drink. More. Water. Period.

I simply wasn’t drinking enough water and was definitely drinking too much coffee.

Now, before I even drink my coffee, I’m opting for a glass of lemon water. And instead of coffee after my workout, I’m drinking water then too.

In addition, we’ve added a SodaStream to our kitchen, and I’ve found I really enjoy fizzy water with a lime slice in the evenings. Who knew?

I’d love to know: How much water do you drink each day? Do you find it is a struggle to reach for water like I do?

Best Background Noise for Sleeping So You Can Wake Up Rested!

Round-up of the best background noise for sleeping.

A round-up of the best background noise for sleeping.

If you have difficulty getting to sleep and staying asleep, have you tried using white noise?

When our youngest daughter was a toddler, we found an air purifier that made white background noise was effective in helping her to get, and stay, asleep. It worked until one day she flat out refused to sleep with it again. (The force was strong with that little one!)

That same daughter will soon be heading off to college. She continues to be a light sleeper, so it was recommended that she learn, once again, to sleep with a white noise maker. Using a noise maker can help a light sleeper block out sounds in the dorm.

So what exactly is white noise?

White noise is a constant sound. It can be any sound that you enjoy that drowns out other sounds.

The fact is, you may be waking to noise without even realizing it. Small noises in the night may be just enough to interrupt your sleep depending on what stage of the sleep cycle you are in. And once you are awake, it can be difficult to get back to sleep.

According to the Sleep Foundation, 74% of Americans say a quiet room is vital to their sleep.

That need for a quiet room is one of the reasons why people LOVE their white noise makers. It provides background noise for sleeping that is both consistent and pleasant. In addition, it works to block out any noises that may disturb sleep. (Sleep with a snorer? You may need to read How to Stop Snoring Naturally.)

A good white noise is soothing to the listener, which is why there is such a great selection in background noise makers. The key is to find what works for you and that your partner can also sleep to. Then, you need to sleep to that background noise consistently.

BEST BACKGROUND NOISE FOR SLEEPING:

background noise maker
1. Marpac Dohm-DS All Natural Sound Machine

Of those surveyed, this was hands down the most popular background noise maker.

One reviewer writes: “It’s freaky how I start immediately yawning the minute we turn this thing on!”
tower fan background noise

2. Tower Fan

Sleeping to a fan is a popular background sound that also cools off a hot room. If you don’t enjoy a fan blowing on you at night, simply turn it to the wall. You’ll still get the benefit of white noise and circulating air, but it won’t be directed at you.

echo dot background noise for sleeping

3. Echo Dot

Did you know you can use this popular household electronic to generate background noise?

Start by creating white noise playlists for your Amazon Echo Dot. You will find several white noise sounds in Prime music.

Once you’ve added the white noise to your playlist, you can then tell Alexa to play it on loop. You can also have Alexa set a timer so your noise turns off within a set amount of time.

If you find you don’t like the white noise options on Prime music, you can also find white noise playlists on Spotify that you can use.

OR try this crazy Alexa trick – you can find tower fan rest sounds on Prime Music that you can use to loop. You get the sound of a tower fan without the cool air!

portable background noise
4. LectroFan – Micro

Once you start using background noise to get to sleep, you may find it difficult to get to sleep without it. People RAVE about the LectroFan Micro. It’s perfectly portable so you never have to be without your favorite background noise.

air purifier and background noise maker

5. Winix PlasmaWave 5300 Air Cleaner Model

For many people, the combination of an air purifier with their need for white noise is a winner. Not only does an air purifier get rid of dust, mold, and smells, but it’s also a constant fan noise.

6. Phone Apps

There are several phone apps you can use to create background noise and soothing sounds. If you are concerned about battery life, most of these apps also have a timer function.

One reviewer wrote: “I’m a therapist and recommend these phone apps to my clients frequently!”

These are the apps that come most highly recommended:

  • Relaxing Sounds
  • Relax Melodies
  • Sleepy Fan
  • Sleep Cycle
  • Sleep Pillow

7. Podcast

Several people recommended the Sleep With Me podcast to aide in getting to sleep. The host of the podcast reads to you about boring stuff in a boring, monotone, sleepy voice. Fans of the show swear by it. Personally, I’ve tried listening and find the voice creepy. Proving, you have to find what is right for YOU.

Do you have a favorite background noise for sleeping not mentioned here? Please leave a comment so I can add it. Everyone deserves a good night’s sleep!

Natural Remedies for Constipation in Kids

Natural Remedies for Constipation in Kids

Natural Remedies for Constipation in Kids. How to help your child find relief when they are suffering.

My pediatrician once told me this: There are two things as a parent you can’t control. You can’t control what goes in, and you can’t control what comes out.

That’s the frustrating truth for a parent dealing with constipation in kids.

I’ve had a kid who has had issues with constipation her whole life. This despite the fact we eat tons of fresh produce and she drinks adequate water.

In our house, we’ve used a combination of these natural remedies for constipation in kids with good success. However,  you should always check with your pediatrician if your child is in pain or if you’ve tried these constipation treatments and your child is still suffering.

NATURAL REMEDIES FOR CONSTIPATION IN KIDS

1. FLUIDS

Dehydration contributes to constipation.

When you are constipated, a good rule of thumb is to take your weight and divide it by 2. Whatever that number is, aim to drink that many fluid ounces of water.

If your kiddo’s constipation is also making his tummy hurt, give him plenty of ginger tea as part of his daily liquid intake. Ginger is known to soothe tummies and relieve gas.

Avoid giving your child caffeinated beverages since caffeine contributes to dehydration.

2. EXERCISE

If you have a school aged kid, they probably spend most of the day sitting. This can exacerbate any constipation symptoms.

Make time for physical play every day to keep their bodies healthy and their digestive tracts moving.

3. MAGNESIUM SUPPLEMENTS

Did you know that it is estimated that almost 80% of people are magnesium deficient?

It’s possible to get magnesium through diet but it involves eating a lot of leafy greens. Not all kiddos are on board in eating enough leafy greens to get adequate magnesium.

Magnesium deficiency can be tested for by a doctor.

When taken as a supplement, magnesium helps neutralize stomach acid and moves stools through the intestine.

Our favorite way to get magnesium is with the Natural Calm supplement. It tastes great, so it’s been easy to get everyone on board with daily magnesium supplementation.

Make sure to consult with your pediatrician before giving to children under 4 and always start with the lowest dose possible.

Natural remedies for constipation in kids. Help your child find relief with these simple but effective home remedies.

4. FLAX

Flax is a highly fibrous food. It’s inexpensive and can be found in any grocery store.

Make sure you buy ground flax seeds, otherwise the seeds will just pass through without doing the work. We like to top our smoothie bowls with the seeds.

Because flax seeds are so high in fiber, it’s important to remember to drink plenty of extra liquids.

5. SLIPPERY ELM

Slippery elm is the inner bark of a tree. When ingested, it stimulates mucous secretion, which is helpful for stomach and intestinal problems.

For proper dosage, please follow the recommended amounts on the supplement bottle.

6. SQUAT POTTY

Really? The squat potty?

Yep. There really is some magic to the squat-like position you get when using the squat potty.

When kids get constipated, they often fear using the potty because it can be painful. Help them get in the best position for success.

7. PROBIOTICS

Adding plenty of probiotics to your diet helps with gut health which aides in eliminating constipation.

The secret with probiotics is to switch up brands frequently. Every brand has a different combination of strains. You’ll improve your gut health but constantly giving it different beneficial microflora.

Prescript Assist is my favorite brand, but I’ll change it up and some months I’ll give her the SmartyPants gummies.

As with any medical condition, I try a balanced approach between natural remedies and seeking medical advice. If after trying these remedies you don’t experience relief, please see your practitioner.

New Year. New You. Healthy Living Goals

Compensation was provided by LÄRABAR. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of LÄRABAR.

LARABAR New Year New You offer

Are you focused on getting healthy in 2017?

 

My husband and I have set a goal for our future. We want to remain active as long as we can. There are so many activities we love to do, and we hope to be doing them well into our 80’s (dare I say 90’s???)

We consider ourselves truly blessed to be able to live in Colorado where we can hike, camp, ski, and snowshoe.

My husband and I are at an exciting time in our lives. We’ll soon be empty-nesters! In just a few short months, we’ll be able to pick-up and go at the drop of a hat. Neither of us can really wrap our minds around it.

So this year we’ve been “practicing” for our future. We’ve been trying to make sure we do more of what we love and not just get caught up in the day-to-day chores and routine living.

Recently, the sun came out and it was a gorgeous day. We decided there was nothing stopping us from heading up to a local state park to do a little snowshoeing.

Whenever we set out for a physical activity, we tuck a few LARABARS into our pockets. Not only do they offer a good balance of carbs and proteins to help keep us fueled up, they also taste good.

There is something about cold air and exercise that makes me crave sweet. LARABARS allow me to indulge my sweet tooth while still sticking to my healthy living goals.

It’s nice to have a healthy option that’s ready to go when you are. LARABARS are that option for us.

What are your healthy goals for 2017?

You can find LARABAR on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest for more healthy eating inspiration.

Why Sugar Isn’t Good For You

The lowdown on why sugar isn’t good for you.
The low down on Why Sugar Isn't Good for You

Most people are aware that sugar isn’t good for you, but the question is: Why?

And if sugar isn’t good for us, then what about the naturally occurring sugars in fruits, vegetables and grains?

WHY SUGAR ISN’T GOOD FOR YOU

Types of Sugar

The problem with sugar is it comes in many different forms – and some of them aren’t easily recognizable.

First, you have the sugars that naturally occur in fruit, vegetables and whole grains. If you are eating a healthy, balanced diet, you will be eating just the right amount of natural sugars.

These natural sugars are called fructose. Fructose is metabolized in the liver instead of the blood stream. This, plus the added fiber in whole foods, helps to minimize any blood sugar spikes.

Next, you have those sugars that are in processed foods. The most notorious of these is high fructose corn syrup. But sugar hides in processed foods under several different names such as sucrose, barley malt, maltose, rice syrup, and dextrose.

Sugars like sucrose contain no protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, or fiber. Therefore, when we consume sucrose, we are getting calories without any nutritious elements.

To identify added sugars, you need to read the nutritional labels of the foods you are purchasing. Check out my post on finding the hidden sugars and you can see how they lurk in products you would never suspect contain sugar.

Sugar in the Body

In order to understand why sugar isn’t good for us, we need to understand how it acts in the human body.

Let’s look at refined sugar. Refined sugar is also known as granulated sugar. You also know it as table sugar, white sugar, raw sugar, sanding sugar, or powdered sugar.

Refined sugar is pure sucrose. And sucrose is made up of glucose and fructose.

Glucose is vital and necessary for us to survive. Our cells burn glucose as fuel. When we ingest glucose, our bodies immediately set to work to convert it to energy.

But what happens to the body is you consume too much glucose?

If you consume more glucose than your body immediately needs, your body converts the excess glucose into fat to be stored for future energy. If you don’t ever use that future energy, you store that fat indefinitely.

Did you know that? It’s not fat that causes fat stores in the body. It’s excess sugar that causes fat stores in the body!

Ingesting too much glucose not only leads to fat stores, it also disrupts the blood sugar balance, setting off a vicious cycle of sugar cravings.

An in-depth look at why sugar isn't good for you.

Blood Sugar Balance

Here’s how our blood sugar balance works:

When we consume too much glucose, our blood sugar spikes.When our blood sugar spikes, our pancreas begins to secrete insulin. Insulin helps our body to even out our blood sugar.

The trouble with insulin starts when our body produces becomes too much.

Too much insulin in the body equals sugar cravings.

In response to a sugar craving, our body signals that it wants more refined sugars because refined sugars will shoot our blood sugar levels up quickly.

Identifying the sugar craving cycle is the first step to beating it.

Sugar Cravings

How can you beat those sugar cravings?

The first step is to know what triggers your desire for sweets. Sleep, lack of exercise and stress can all trigger your body’s desire for sweets.

When you experience a sugar craving, ask yourself what might be the trigger. Then look for a healthy way to ward off the craving.

My strategy to ditch the sugar craving is to use one of these 15 Things to Do Instead of Eating. They really work!

If sugar cravings have taken over your life, you may want to try a sugar detox. I did a 30 day sugar detox and it was life changing.

Will you be cutting back on sugar this year?

I Drank Cayenne Pepper Water For 7 Weeks and Here’s What Happened

What happened when I started drinking cayenne pepper water.

What happened when I drank cayenne pepper water for 7 weeks. Is it worth trying? What do I do now.

I’m going to start by saying I always thought drinking cayenne pepper water was completely bogus.

But I’ve since changed my mind.

Let me give you a little background.

In January 2016, I was asked by a friend if I wanted to join in on a one week clean eating challenge.

Like a good American, I had overeaten during the holidays. I wanted accountability to get back on track. So I joined the clean eating challenge.

We started the challenge on January 18th. We had a one week meal plan we were to follow.

The meal plan said we were to drink 8 ounces of warm water with 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper every morning.

Is there anything on this planet that sounds grosser than warm cayenne pepper water? Particularly first thing in the morning?

But here’s the deal. It was a challenge. We were in a Facebook group. Apparently, I am uber competitive. I was going to be the one person on that challenge that followed the eating plan to a T.

Which meant I had to start my day with cayenne pepper water.

What happened when I drank cayenne pepper water for 7 weeks. Is it worth trying? What do I do now.

I completely surprised myself. I liked it! But I wasn’t sure if I like it because I had a cold and the warming sensation just felt really good, or if I really liked it.

I continued drinking it every day.

What led me to really like it was the fact that I lost 3 pounds in that week – mainly from my belly.

Yes, I was eating clean. But I have never, and I mean ever, lost 3 pounds in one week. Ever.

My body type is such that I carry all my extra weight in my belly. I’m the woman you always want to know if I am pregnant or not. Seriously. (and no I’m not pregnant!)

After the first week, I decided to start adding a half a lemon to my cayenne pepper water. If you haven’t tried lemon water first thing, here are all the reasons you should.

I drank cayenne pepper lemon water first thing in the morning for 7 weeks. My total weight loss was 5 pounds. During those 7 weeks, I only followed a clean eating plan for one of them.

If you do a little research, you’ll find science believes cayenne pepper and one of it’s components – capsaican – “could” assist in weight loss.

What happened when I drank cayenne pepper water for 7 weeks. Is it worth trying? What do I do now.

I would definitely say it helped me to lose weight and boosted my metabolism!

So why don’t I drink it daily? 

Crazy, right? But here’s the deal: I’m addicted to caffeine and the boost I get from my morning cup of coffee.

That’s right. I’d rather have coffee than a boosted metabolism.

While cayenne pepper water hasn’t remained a daily habit, if I ever get serious about trying to cut weight, I will use it, and my fat-flushing detox drink to aide my weight loss efforts. 

I’m convinced it had a positive effect on my weight loss and that you have nothing to lose by trying it.

 

Natural Remedies for Feeling Sad

My go-to natural remedies for feeling sad.
What are the natural remedies for feeling sad? These lifestyle, hormonal and herbal treatments may be exactly what you need to pick up your mood.

The last few weeks have been hard in my house.

Life is still good overall. But as a mom, I’ve been dealing with things that have made me sad.

Not depressed. I want to be sure to emphasize that. I would not say I’m dealing with depression. (If you think you are depressed, I’d encourage you to get professional help.)

No, what I’m feeling is the sadness that comes with living life.

My daughter just went back to college for her sophomore year. And I miss her.

I don’t miss her like I did last year, her freshman year, but I find myself thinking about her and missing her several times a day.

While I’m delighted at how well she is doing, the fact is, I like her. I miss her. And missing her makes me sad.

At the same time, I’m dealing with a 13 year old dog whose body is degenerating in front of my eyes. There were several days when we were worried he was facing complete paralysis of his hind legs.

I’m happy to report we’ve found a combination of “bed rest” and doggy acupuncture has helped him to walk on his own again, although his legs do slide out once in a while.

Still, knowing that I’m spending the last few months with my favorite companion makes me sad. I wish a dog’s lifespan matched our own.

There is no shame in feeling sad. Life can be difficult. In those circumstances, it’s important to use self care. So I wanted to share the natural remedies for feeling sad that I have found work for me.

What are the natural remedies for feeling sad? These lifestyle, hormonal and herbal treatments may be exactly what you need to pick up your mood.

Natural Remedies for Feeling Sad

SLEEP

The first step to dealing with sadness is to make sure you are getting enough sleep.

Of course, when feeling sad, we often spend our nights tossing and turning and fretting over the reasons for our sadness.

There are two natural supplements you can take to help you get enough sleep: Melatonin and Valerian.

Melatonin is a natural hormone that our bodies need to sleep.

Valerian Root is a natural sedative that has been used for promoting sleep for centuries.

I’ve taken both and have a definite preference for melatonin. Valerian, in my opinion, tastes awful. Even the capsules.

I find melatonin works to help me sleep. The major complaint about melatonin is you can have crazy dreams. I’ve never had these dreams, but my husband says it is like watching TV all night long.

Both are effective, you just need to decide for yourself whether you want an herbal remedy or a hormonal one.

EXERCISE

For immediate relief of sad feelings, getting out and doing some cardio activity provides a natural uplift.

Exercise increases the body’s levels of seratonin and releases the endorphins that help you feel good.

I highly recommending something as simple as a neighborhood walk to help improve your mood. You might want to put in some earphones and listen to whatever music you find uplifting.

What are the natural remedies for feeling sad? These lifestyle, hormonal and herbal treatments may be exactly what you need to pick up your mood.

ST. JOHN’S WORT

St. John’s Wort is another herbal remedy that has been used for centuries.

With St. John’s Wort, you may not notice results right away. It make take a week or two before you begin to experience the “lightness” that people feel from consistent use of this herb.

The effectiveness of St. John’s Wort is due to the fact it works on the nervous system as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). While prozac is also an SSRI, the difference with St. John’s Wort is it works on additional neurotransmitters as well.

There are drug interaction concerns with this herb, so be sure to check with your doctor to see if it is okay to take while you are on other medications.

SAMe

SAMe is a natural compound formed in our bodies from the amino acid methionine. Methylation plays an important part in the body in the development of mood enhancing neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin.

As people age, the body gets low on methionine. SAMe is also great for aging joints. If you consider yourself in the “older” population, this might be a great supplement for you.

Many people report SAMe works quicker than St. John’s Wort.

I recommend taking either SAMe or St. John’s Wort – not both.

FISH OIL

Are you taking fish oil daily yet? I want you to get some ASAP.

In addition to the myriad health benefits Omega-3s provide, they also work to maintain a healthy emotional balance.

green smoothie ingredients

I usually put mine in a green smoothie.

What have you found to be effective in helping overcome sadness?