Eco friendly kitchen sink cleaning

How To Be More Eco-Friendly In 2020

The end of the year is the time to reflect on old habits and find new ways to improve your lifestyle. This is why so many people dedicate themselves to New Year’s Resolutions in January in hopes to make the next year better than the previous one. An idea we love is to focus on eco-friendly changes you can make, not only to better yourself but the planet as well. Do you have anti-environmental habits you want to kick in 2020? If so, then read below on the new habits you can begin to make your world a little more green!

Skipping coffee and meat

These two habits are likely items you consume on a daily basis; who knew something so common could be a bad thing for the environment? The negative environmental impacts of growing coffee beans and raising animals for food are vast.

Let’s start with coffee, which uses rainwater and natural sunlight to be grown. This sounds great, however, trees get cut down at an alarming rate in areas where coffee plants can thrive. Lack of trees means the loss of habitats for wildlife, as well as decreased oxygen and soil health, ultimately making the land more susceptible to the lasting negative effects of climate change. If you’re spending $5 every day to get coffee from a giant coffee corporation, consider spending that money on going to a grocery store and seeking out organic, fair-trade beans instead.

Farming produce versus raising livestock and meat production were recently studied. The study compares the emissions of greenhouse gases and water usage between the two, stating that meat consumption around the world should drop by 50 percent. However, the most important takeaway from this finding is that everyone try their best to do their part, even if you can’t get to a 50% reduction. If you eat meat daily, try to omit it from one meal every day, or omit it completely one day a week.

Managing your plastic use

It’s easy to let your daily plastic use become almost mindless. Start this year by journaling your plastic usage and write down every time you use plastic every day for a month. You’d be shocked with what you find! Plastic cutlery at lunch, single-use water bottles, straws, contact lenses, skin care products, make-up, cleaning products… Honestly the list could be endless over the course of a month of journaling. Here are some easy ways to remedy some of those uses:

New Year’s resolutions should be attainable and sustainable for your lifestyle, so even replacing one of these items to start can make a lasting difference in your life.

Reducing daily paper use

Just like single-use plastic, paper usage should be tracked as well. Although paper isn’t as damaging to the environment as plastic, there are still so many times we use it in a single day. Napkins, tissues, note-taking, paper towels, cleaning wipes… Again, a likely endless list. An easy swap is to carry a cloth napkin around with you when you leave the house. This new habit can help you cut down on using single-use napkins and paper towels when you dry your hands at work or when out to eat; it seems like our grandparents had it right when they carried around a handkerchief to blow their nose or wipe their mouths! If you have a couple on hand to swap out and wash regularly, you lower the risk of those sickly germs spreading around.

Driving your car less

If you own and drive a car that runs on gas, you can lower your carbon footprint by making it a habit to drive it less. Living in a big city, driving probably isn’t a part of your daily life. Still, make a point to take the train or bus to work and ride your bike or walk to get groceries. However, if you live in a small town or city, this can be a more difficult task. If there is public transportation, then commit to taking it one day a week or one week of the month instead of driving to cut down on your gas usage. You can also carpool with a coworker! Swap on and off driving with a coworker (or two or three!) that you live near to reduce all of your carbon footprints and money spent on gas! Imagine the money you’d save on gas not driving to work for a whole week… Finally, if you’re running errands close to your home, consider riding your bike or walking instead. Sometimes it’s a habit to just hop in your car and go but it’s better for your health and the planet to consider other options!

Luckily, there are many ways to adjust your lifestyle to stop habits that are bad for the environment and the resources online can be a big help. People all over the world are looking to do the same and are sharing their experiences and new habits of living a greener life online. If you feel like breaking your habits in 2020 will be hard, then enlist the help of others! It’s possible that your family, friends, or coworkers will have the same goals as you for the new year so strive to make a change together.

summer blues

The Importance of Stillness

Many of us, mistakenly, think that we are much more productive if we are constantly doing something. That doing something and getting things done means that we have accomplished something and that this is the key to true success. Although there is some truth to this, constantly doing something is NOT the key to our success nor productivity.

 

Believe it or not, the real key to success and productivity is being able to balance doing with stillness.

 

And why is stillness so important?

  1. Stillness is a time to relax your mind and body. By constantly doing non-stop, you are stressing your mind and body, unnecessarily. That, in the long run, will wear you out. This kind of exhaustion will lead you to frustration, anger or resentment.

Instead, when you give your mind and body a moment to relax, it is in this moment that both are recharging its batteries so that you can be more productive.

 

As your mind and body are recharging….

  1. Stillness allows you to get into a state of meditation. When you can quiet your mind of all the worries and concerns of the world, it is then that you can put yourself in a state of meditation.

It is in a state of meditation that you can sometimes get the answers to the questions you have been asking. It is in a state of meditation that you get your great ideas. It is in a state of meditation that you can heighten your senses, allowing you to enjoy the present moment.

 

Because of all this….

  1. Stillness allows you to transition to your higher self. When we allow ourselves to get caught up in the everyday petty things, this is when we disengage from our higher self.

When we disengage from our higher self, this is when we react rather than respond to situations. This is when we forget who we are, forget our potential, forget our dreams and drown ourselves in a sea of worries, anxiety, problems and frustration- none of which we were designed to experience on a consistent basis.

 

It is very important to always return to our higher self. Our higher self is love, happiness and powerful.

 

Because stillness allows us to return to our higher self, we have the following effect…

  1. Stillness returns us to a place of joy. Whether we realize it or not, joy exists in the present moment. I have learned, from personal experience, that when we wait for a future event in order to be happy, we feel misery in the present moment, thus robbing our joy. When we keep thinking about a past event in order to feel happy, it reminds us of what we don’t have anymore, thus robbing our joy.

 

This is why joy can only truly be experienced in the present moment. Stillness returns us to joy by quieting our mind, which takes us to a meditative state, which allows us to transition to our higher self, which expands our awareness to the now. Because now is all we have.

 

Because of all that stillness can do for us, it’s important to schedule time for stillness every day. This is NOT a luxury; it is a necessity for your mental, emotional, spiritual and physical well-being.


Aura Elena Martinez is a Wellness and Life Coach, Blogger and Writer, owner and founder of Live to the Max™/Viva al máximo™, who encourages others to live their fullest in every way, the way they are meant to be.

To be inspired or to contact Aura, visit http://www.auraemartinez.com/ or you can follow her on Twitter https://twitter.com/AuraEMartinez, you can also follow her online radio show at https://blogtalkradio.com/AuraEMartinez  or you can follow on Instagram @AuraEMartinez.

Safe Beauty Alternatives vs. Commonly Used Products

 

As women, we all have our set beauty routine. Whether you put on a full face of makeup every day or prefer the more natural look, we all have our favorite must-have beauty products. But with the beauty industry being one of the largest industries in the world, it comes as no surprise that not every product we apply to our skin is 100% safe. In order to meet consumer demands, makeup companies have been including potentially harmful ingredients and chemicals into their products for years. In order to ensure you have only the safest beauty routine possible, here are some key things you should be on the lookout for the next time you’re looking to revamp your beauty routine.

Lipstick: Who doesn’t love to add a little pop of color to their lips? Whether it’s for work or for a romantic dinner date, we all have our favorite shades that we love to add to our makeup look. But it’s what’s being used to make the color that we should be weary of. Safe Cosmetics has reported that over 61% of lipsticks contain lead as well as aluminum, cadmium and other harmful chemicals. With these kinds of chemicals having the potential to cause horrible side effects such as reduced fertility and hormonal changes, everyone should consider applying a safer version to their lips. When considering safer lipsticks, look for ingredients such as castor seed oil and beeswax. If you’re not one for checking ingredients, look towards quality sites that have verified safe lipsticks. You’ll find the search isn’t as difficult as you’d think!

Hair Dye: Everybody likes to give their hair a spruce every now and then. Whether it’s for highlights or an all-over brand-new hair color, we see hair color products all around us. But next time you’re looking for a hair refresh, be mindful of hair dye products that include sulfates and parabens. These kinds of ingredients are often used in hair coloring products and can affect your hair’s natural oils leading to dry, damaged hair. When looking for hair dye, review the companies that use only natural ingredients. For example, hair dye company, oVertone is a prime example of this as their hair dyes contain only natural ingredients such as avocado oil, shea butter, and aloe vera amongst several other natural ingredients. Using only the most natural and safe ingredients for your hair will keep it at its optimal, peak health.

Deodorant: Applying deodorant to our bodies once sometimes twice a day is a habit for most of us. Though much research has been performed in recent years detailing some of the possible side effects of applying deodorant containing aluminum, parabens, triclosan and phthalates can have. Most commonly discussed is the correlation between aluminum-based deodorants and breast cancer. While these studies are still ongoing and no definitive conclusions have been drawn, some are already taking the initiative in using only natural-based deodorants. These kinds of products will include baking soda, corn starch, and arrowroot powder. You can choose to make your own deodorant at home or buy aluminum-free deodorants right from the store.

Sunscreen: Even though sunscreen isn’t technically in the beauty section, taking care of our skin from harmful UV rays is just as important as any other beauty product. In order to keep our skin protected from aging and skin cancer, we all should make it a habit to apply sunscreen during the hot summer days. However, it is important to note that even though sunscreen is meant to protect us, most commonly include a chemical known as oxybenzone which might do exactly the opposite. Research is still ongoing but nonprofit organization, Environmental Working Group has recommended to avoid using sunscreen with oxybenzone in it. As oxybenzone is most commonly included in non-mineral sunscreens, the easiest thing to do is buy and apply mineral-based sunscreens. Similar to deodorant, you can also make your own at-home sunscreen. Either way will make sure that you’re applying only the safest kind of sunscreen available in order to protect your skin.

Help these people get their belongings and property back

At the end of November 2019, I took over a friend’s business that was in distress.  He helps people in the Caribbean receive much-needed goods from their families in Europe. This has helped them improve their livelihoods. After taking over we have also decided to use this channel for charity.

His problem is that he got incarcerated due to custom declaration issues when traveling. This meant that containers that were heading to the Caribbean with belongings of dozens of people got stranded and some goods in the storages here in Europe where not being sent to the owners. Early December, we started helping the rightful owners of these belongings to get them back. In January 2019 we learned that there were 3 additional storages that were full of belongings that needed to be shipped.

We have currently spent up to 15000 Euros trying to help. We flew to the Dominican Republic to pay outstanding salaries to people employed and also to pay the lawyer to deal with the legal issues which we hired mid-December 2018 after finding out of the complications. We also got one container that was stranded in November cleared in February 2019. However, even more, complications have arisen along the way:

·         there is another container stuck in the Dominican Republic waiting to be cleared

·         there is one container stuck in Rotterdam that needs to be shipped off

·         we have to load more containers with the goods we salvaged from the three storages which we are now trying to send but need help to solve all of the issues and pay for extra labor done by employees

Many people are desperate and frustrated as you can imagine. We really need to get them their belongings as some of them have been waiting for close to six months.  Many depend on these goods for their livelihoods. We also want to be able to use this channel for charity work and at the moment we are stuck too.

Please help us raise 12000 Euros which will bring so much relief and joy to so many families in the Dominican Republic just trying to make ends meet and depend on these belongings.

Anything that you can give would be so gratefully received.

Thank you for reading and for your generosity.

How Artificial Blue Light Affects the Body

You may know that blue light naturally comes from the sun and is what makes the sky appear blue. Blue light is a short, but high energy, a wavelength that gives us energy and controls our sleep cycle. But did you know that artificial blue light that is emitted from digital devices is a lot stronger than the natural and can be harmful to the body? With laptops, cellphones, tablets, and even LED lights being a part of our daily lives, humans are seeing a huge increase in the exposure to blue light, beginning to understand some of the negative effects it has on the body, and how to avoid them.

Digital eye strain: Digital eye strain is a term coined by The Vision Council to explain the range of symptoms that one may feel with extended or simultaneous use of digital devices that affect vision and quality of life. The symptoms you may experience are dry eyes, blurry vision, headaches, and even neck and back pain. Think of all of the times during the day you may use your computer or phone – work, research, school, shopping, and browsing social media. Spending just two hours a day looking at your screen can cause blue light to affect you. While 43% of adults have a full-time job that requires a computer or tablet and a 2014 survey found that nearly 12% percent of teens report using their computers for four or more hours a day. Understanding digital eye strain is key to understanding the effects that blue light has on other areas of the body as well.

What can you do? To help reduce the symptoms you may feel from digital eye strain, try to filter and block the blue light around you. Apps like f.lux match the brightness and warmth of your computer screen to the lighting of the room you’re in to reduce strain on the eyes. You can also invest in blue light glasses to help filter out the wavelength from reaching your eyes to reduce dry eyes, blurry vision, and headaches.

The sleep cycle: Because blue light is a high energy wavelength that is emitted from the sun, it has controlled the sleep cycle for years. Blue light indicates to the brain when to release cortisol, the hormone that helps you feel awake, and the absence of blue light helps produce melatonin to help you sleep. With the introduction of LED light bulbs and electronics, that cycle is becoming disrupted because blue light is stopping melatonin from being released, making it harder to fall and stay asleep. There are a ton of negative side effects to the body when we don’t get enough sleep, such as heart disease, low libido, depression, memory loss, and even weight gain.

What can you do? Sleep is vital to our health, to help yourself steer clear of blue light before bedtime, there are a few things you can do. Firstly, remove the LED bulbs from your bedroom so that isn’t the last light you’re exposed to before wanting to go to sleep. Try to avoid using your phone and television at least an hour before bed; to help wind down, read a book, listen to music, or meditate. If you can’t abstain from using your phone, turn on the night mode that comes equipped with most smartphones now. This will dim the brightness on your phone and remind you when it’s time to go to bed at a time set by you.

Premature aging of your skin: Although research is still ongoing, dermatologists have found that blue light affects the skin similarly to other light rays like UV rays. Looking at your screen and extended use of your phone next to your face while you’re talking on it can cause hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, redness, and worsened elasticity. Just like the other ways, it affects the body, blue light’s high energy can cause the skin to produce more pigment. Plus, when we don’t get enough sleep (which we’ve learned can happen due to blue light exposure!) our skin suffers from dehydration and lack of cell regeneration.

What can you do? With new research on the effects of blue light on our skin coming out regularly now, skincare brands are providing products to help boost elasticity and reduce hyperpigmentation. Look into moisturizers that protect against blue light, UV rays, and even pollution like this one to protect yourself and nourish your skin.

Natural and artificial blue light is a part of our everyday lives but anything in excess isn’t always good for you. With increasing exposure to artificial blue light, digital eye strain, sleep deprivation, and aging skin are just some of the negative effects you may be suffering from. No matter how you feel blue light may be affecting your body, it’s important to protect against these symptoms to be healthy and feel your best.

Detached Retina- Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

When the retina (a thin layer of tissue at the back of the eye) pulls away from the usual position, this emergency situation is called as the retinal detachment. The retina is a light sensitive membrane and has an important function of converting the image to signal and transmitting it to the brain via optic nerve. The retina, along with lens, cornea and other parts of the eye and brain are responsible for producing normal vision.

In case of retinal detachment, the layer of blood vessels providing nourishment and oxygen gets separated from the retinal cells, which severely affects the vision. It is extremely important to get it treated on time else the risk of permanent vision loss increases if left untreated or if the treatment is delayed. Some of the warning signs of retinal detachment are- tiny specks that drift through field of vision or appearance of several floaters. It is a case of medical emergency, so contact your eye doctor immediately in case of any sudden vision changes.

Detached Retina Symptoms

There are several warning signs of retinal detachment which pop up before it occurs or has advanced, but it does not cause any pain. Some of the symptoms are-

  • Shadowing effect which appears like curtain pulled over the visual field
  • Gradual reduction in peripheral (side) vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Photopsia, which is flashes of light occurring in one or both the eyes especially when looking to the side.
  • Sudden appearance of floaters or tiny specks which seem to be floating before the eyes.

Detached Retina Causes

The three main causes of detached retina are-

  • Rhegmatogenous – it is one of the most common type of retinal detachment which occurs due to a tear or hole in the retina. The hole formed enables fluid to pass through and get collected near the retina. This pulls away the retina from the underlying tissues and the areas from where the retina detaches stops functioning due to the loss of blood supply. This severely affects the vision.

Rhegmatogenous detachment usually occurs due to ageing. The gel-like material present inside the eyes (called as vitreous) changes consistency and even shrinks becoming more of a liquid, due to ageing. Usually, the vitreous moves away from the surface of the retina. This condition is known as PVD (posterior vitreous detachment). As the vitreous peels off the retina, it might tug on the retina forcefully causing retinal tear. If left untreated, the vitreous passes on to the space behind retina, resulting in the detachment of retina.

  • Exudative- the condition where fluid accumulates behind the retina without causing holes or tears are called exudative. It can be caused due to injury to the eye, age-related macular degeneration, inflammatory disorders or tumors.
  • Tractional – when the scar tissues grow on the retina’s surface, this type of detachment occurs. As a result, the retina gets pulled away from the back of the eye. This type of detachment is commonly observed in those who have poorly controlled diabetes or other medical condition. Diabetic retinopathy treatment is performed to prevent vision loss due to diabetes.

Who are at risk?

  • Previous eye disorder or disease which includes uveitis or lattice degeneration (thinning of peripheral retina), retinoschisis.
  • Severe eye injury in the past
  • Eye surgery or cataract removal in the past
  • Extreme myopia (nearsightedness)
  • Family history
  • Detachment of retina in one eye in the past
  • People above the age of 50 years

Detached Retina Treatment

Surgery is often required to repair a detached retina. For minor tears and detachment, minor surgery may be required at the doctor’s clinic.

  • Cryopexy – this process involves freezing with intense cold. The eye specialist applies a freezing probe outside the eye area over the retinal tear site. The scarring caused helps in holding the retina in its place.
  • Photocoagulation – Eye specialist performs a procedure called photocoagulation with laser in case there is a tear or hole in the retina but the retina is still attached. The laser is used to cause burns around the tear site so that the scarring affixes retina to the back of the eye.
  • Retinopexy – eye specialists repair minor detachments with the help of retinopexy. The procedure involves putting gas bubbles in the eye, so that the retina moves back to its normal place, which is against the wall of the eye. After the retina moves back into its position, doctor uses freezing probe or laser to seal the holes.
  • Vitrectomy – in case the tear is large, vitrectomy procedure is applied. In this, anesthesia is given to the patient and is performed as an outpatient procedure. Patients may be required to stay in the hospital overnight. The eye specialist removes scar tissue or abnormal vascular and vitreous using a small tool. The retina is then put back to its proper place using a gas bubble. Retinopexy or Cryopexy is performed during this procedure.
  • Scleral buckling- the severe detachments require eye surgery in the hospital. The sclera buckling process involves placing of band around the outside of the eye so that the wall of the eye is pushed back into the retina. This helps in getting it back in its place for complete healing. Scleral buckling is often done along with vitrectromy. Retinopexy or Cryopexy procedure is performed during sclera buckling.

Diagnosis

Thorough eye check up is performed to diagnose retinal detachment like-

  • Ability to see colors
  • Physical appearance of the eye
  • Eye pressure
  • Vision check

Also, the ability of retina to send impulse to the brain and blood flow throughout the eye and retina is checked.

Author Bio

Hello Readers !! Natalie and Caitlyn Bell are the founders of Healtholine, They started Healtholine to provide a platform where they could share informative articles related to health, technology, fitness, beauty, weight loss etc Natalie is a featured author at various authoritative blogs in the health and fitness industry. Connect with both sisters to know more

jewelry and working out

Three Reasons Not to Wear Your Jewelry While Working Out

There is a reason why we call them precious gems- they are of great value and sentimental pieces we wear day to day. Your jewelry is an investment and something that should be cared for, especially if you live a fit and active lifestyle. Below you will find some reasons why it is important to remove your jewelry before breaking a sweat in order to maintain their safety and sparkle.

Damage

When you’re at the gym your main focus should be getting in a good workout, not keeping track of where you might have dropped your expensive gold and diamond wedding band. Depending on what type of metal your ring is, working out on machines can cause significant damage. Specific metals such as titanium might be able to tolerate direct contact from lifting heavy weights, due to its hardness. However, softer and more favored metals like gold and silver can easily be bent out of shape from any sort of encounter. In addition, any plated jewelry you wear could also be damaged, causing the top layer to mix with your perspiration resulting it to become worn out or faded much faster. If you are ever unsure of the type of metal(s) your rings are, consider taking advantage of education pages that online jewelry sites have, such as Blue Nile. Resources like these can be very beneficial, especially when you are in search for your wedding bands and want to find the right metal that will fit best with your lifestyle.

Now, if you do decide to make the smart decision to workout without your jewelry, consider leaving it at home in a safe and secure place. Even leaving them in a locker at the gym can expose your jewelry to theft, so you’re best bet is leaving it behind.

Safety First

Safety and comfort are important aspects to consider before wearing your jewelry at the gym. Whether you are someone who enjoys an intense, sweaty workout or would rather spend it taking it slow and steady, we can all face risks. For instance, running with a loose necklace on can easily get caught in your hair or constantly hit you making for an unnecessary distraction. Or maybe you are attempting to box or lift with your rings on? There is bound to be some discomfort. If you are someone who feels lost without your wedding ring on, then consider replacing your actual ring with a substitute band like these ones from Groove Life to have your mind at ease.

Hygiene

Hygiene is another important factor to recognize in your everyday routine, not just at the gym, but also in scenarios like wearing your wedding band every time you shower as well. Make sure you handle your jewelry properly to maintain beautiful brand new quality to it. After all, what better place for gunk and greases to stick to than something that’s always stuck on you? Sweat is another element that can cause damage to metals, such brass and alloys, which are both frequently found in jewelry. For rings, platinum and gold are good alternatives due to the fact that they are tarnish resistant and won’t leave residue on your finger. Regardless of your end decision, intensive and proper washing will help guarantee your jewelry stays as elegant as possible.