Ditch the Caffeine: Effects of Drinking More Water

The waitress approaches our table, “What would you like to drink? Coffee? We also have Coke products..”

It’s no surprise that water has become so uncommon when we are not even offered it in some situations.  Water has become such a plain and boring drink after being offered so many other drinks such as Coke, ‘diet’ Coke, Sprite, iced tea, ‘sweet’ iced tea, Gatorade, energy drinks and etc! Contrary to popular belief, water is a life saver! Water is inexpensive and easy to get, not because it has a low value but because it’s extremely necessary.

About two-thirds of the human body is made up of water. It is necessary for most functions in the body, including digestion, absorption, and circulation. The water in your body is the main delivery system for nutrients and oxygen. Water hydrates cells, flushes out toxins, and detoxifies the kidneys, and is crucial for transporting nutrients into your cells and waste out of your cells. If there isn’t enough water to flush away your toxic wastes, they will damage your body. Water is imperative for your body to function. The human body can go without food for several weeks (not a fun several weeks though), but can only go without water for a few days. It is important to stay hydrated, especially since the body loses water every day through urine and sweat.

Personally, water has been my best friend. I tend to have trouble getting out of bed at a fast pace in the morning to start my day. It is an every day struggle! I’ve learned to leave water on the table next to my bed at night. After I wake up in the morning, I try to drink it as soon as possible. I feel incredible after gulping my water and honest to God, it motivates me to start my day! This gives me a burst of energy and it is especially  an amazing feeling on my sluggish days.

Anyone that knows me knows that I love my coffee. However, there have been plenty of mornings when I was rushing to work and didn’t have enough time to grab some coffee. On those days water was genuinely appreciated. Of course water works in a different way than coffee does, but it definitely assisted with the waking up process and provided energy to start the day! Plus, my body yearns for water over coffee in the morning anyways. Water is huge in producing energy and the more you drink, the more energized and awake you’ll feel.

A side note about coffee… after drinking coffee for some time, I notice that it truly dehydrates me. Any caffeine will dehydrate the body. Every time that I drink a cup of coffee, I make sure that water accompanies me. I recommend this for all coffee and caffeine drinkers. This is the same for alcoholic beverages; alcohol dehydrates the body. If I don’t already have water with me, I always ask for water along with my Starbucks coffee or with my glass of wine at the restaurant/bar. People seem to think that this is strange, but it makes me feel so much better! Plus, the morning after you have been drinking alcohol will be ten times better if you have a glass of water for every drink you have at the bar.

I have discovered that water greatly helps me with digestion. There are times when I eat dinner late due to a hectic day, go out to a restaurant and simply eat TOO much because of how much is served, and eat heavy (but delicious) foods like pasta or pizza. After those kind of meals, I usually drink a ton of water. It helps settle my stomach and leaves me feeling less sleepy! (Water definitely assists with an upset stomach of any kind, not just from food but even from a stomach flu or anxiety.) This is helpful especially at night. I don’t like lying down in bed only a couple of hours after eating dinner. Going to sleep with a short time after dinner leads to an upset stomach and restless sleeping since the stomach is still in the early stages of digesting. Water definitely speeds up the digestion process in these times and calms my tummy!

I am actually a very healthy person but I have noticed that I tend to get dehydrated. My eyes become extremely dry and I find myself putting eye drops in my eyes every day. Instead of temporarily helping my eyes with eye drops, I figured feeding my body a bunch of water may prevent my eyes from drying out in the first place. My eyes have been slowly improving since I made that decision! When they do feel dry, I chug and chug water. It feels amazing and gives me a similar effect as using eye drops!.. I do add cucumber into my water and not only does it give the water some flavor, it hydrates me even more! The water is a lifesaver alone, but with the cucumber it is miraculous. Adding lemon to water is also an excellent choice for flavor and for extra help with digestion. Many people don’t like water because it doesn’t have a ‘taste’. I suggest infusing it with different kind of fruit; be creative! The fruit will give it some flavor, as well as provide some health benefits depending on the kind of fruit.

 

Water and beauty go hand in hand. So much time and money is spent on plastic surgery and “no more wrinkles” crème. Beauty starts deep on the inside. What you put into your body reflects on the outside. Purified water offers some of the best anti-aging benefits ever! Not only does it help the skin, water is an excellent weight-loss tool. It can be overlooked as that since it is ‘ordinary’. Jordan Rubin wrote a book called Perfect Weight America. In his book he wrote, “What water does is . . . revs up your metabolism and hydrates the cells so that you can process carbohydrates and fat more efficiently. When your body is well hydrated, you accelerate the liver’s ability to convert stored fat into usable energy . .”

Water has also been known to help with headaches and migraines. Drinking water is not only helpful physically but also mentally. I believe that water promotes great mental health and contributes to feelings of happiness!

Written by: Michelle Zabierowski
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Essential Oils for Natural Healing

essential oils and medical flowers herbs

This isn’t exactly beauty or make up related but recently I have been trying out essential oils for natural healing versus popping an Advil every time I get a headache.  There are people out there that swear by essential oils and that they claim to heal all types of things from headaches to calming nerves, so I decided to give them a try.

Essential oils are pretty easy to get ahold of.  While I was doing some retail therapy shopping I decided to stop into TJ Maxx, I know dangerous when you aren’t looking for anything in particular.  I stopped by their beauty section and they actually have a wide variety of all types of natural, eco-friendly beauty products. I spotted a couple of essential oil sets that seemed pretty good for just starting out.  I picked up two different brands.  The first set I went with was the Nature Love, Aromatherapy Essential Oil Blends.  Three different blends came in the package, Sleep, De-Stress, and Headache.  The Next set I chose was called Measurable Difference and had Peppermint, Lavender, and Frankincense oils.

The Measurable Difference essential oil set is a curated collection of three pure and natural therapeutic essential oils. They are made from the “aromatic essences of plants and are said to uplift your spirits and improve the environment.” I like the descriptions of each essential oil on this set a little more because it tells you the different types of things it can support in healing.

The Peppermint oil is said to be used for Arthritis, bronchitis, cold sores, colds, coughing, fever, flu, poor circulation, and sinusitis.  The Lavender oil can be used for many different types of aches and pains from headaches to stress.  The Frankincense oil can be used for healing asthma, exhaustion, fever, headache, nausea, and vertigo.

From the Nature Love essential oil set the Sleep blend consisted of Lavender, Ylan Ylang, and Sandalwood.  Sleep is supposed to help soothe your mind and body for a deeper and more restful sleep.  I really liked this blend and felt like it was really soothing when I was ready for a good night’s sleep.  I sometimes struggle with staying asleep throughout the whole night but when I used Sleep it helped me to feel extremely relaxed which I think helped my sleep a little better.  I put a small amount on my index finger and then dabbed it right under my nose so I could really take in the scent.

The Headache blend was one of my favorites and felt it worked the best.  It is a combination of Rosewood, Peppermint, and Lavender. The description states that this blend is helpful in relieving headache symptoms through the warming, cooling oils.  It will reduce the pain and pounding, while the sedative qualities help ease discomfort to calm and relax.  Again, I saw the most difference with this Headache blend when I was experiencing symptoms of a headache or neck ache.  I dabbed some of the oil on my index finger and rubbed it on the back of my neck, temples, and under my nose.

The De-Stress blend consists of Lavender, Chamomile, and Frankincense. The tranquil blend can help relieve discomfort associated with stress and anxiety. I felt this had the least effect on me for some reason. I work full time as a manager for a large retail brand and some days can be stressful. Yet the scent is calming when I initially smell it but didn’t 100% relieve the feeling of stress.

How else do you all use your essential oils? What scents or brands work for you? I would love to hear your personal testimonies!

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Review: Chicago Architecture Boat Tour

The month of August has been such a busy one for me. My birthday was on the 9th, so I had a ton of activities going on to celebrate and to enjoy the last bits of summer! I’m so glad I’m a summer baby because there is always something new to try during Chicago summers. Its one of my favorite things about living here. The city (and suburbs) come alive during the summer months. This year for my birthday I checked one thing off my bucket list: The Chicago Architecture Boat Tour.

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I have been wanting to do this tour for many summers now, and finally booked it for my birthday this year! I’m so glad I did because it hands down one of the best experiences I have had. No wonder is one of the top tours across the U.S.! We got on Chicago First Lady right off Wacker downtown. Its super easy to get to, if you’re not from Chicago and just visiting. It is a little pricey, about $50 per person. However, the tour is an hour and half long which to me is so worth the money. We honestly couldn’t have picked a better now, it was a beautiful evening. I would really recommend doing one of the later tours right before the sun sets because the buildings look just amazing during this time of day!

One of the coolest things about this was that our speaker was a volunteer of the Chicago Architecture Foundation! This woman knew every building’s architect and the year it was built. It was truly amazing how much she knew, you could really tell she was passionate about architecture. She also knew a lot of history about the city and the changes we have gone through in Chicago. From an industrial, port city to the residential, major city we are today. I have lived in the area my whole life, but I really saw the city for the first time. I’ve also learned that Art Deco architectural design is my favorite part of the city, along with how much history was in these renovated residential buildings now. If you are a photographer, this tour gives you access to some amazing views of Chicago’s skyline. I really wish Sam and I brought our Canon, so I had to settle for some iPhone images to show you all.

 
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Some of our buildings here in Chicago are built with sustainability in mind, which of course I love! There is whats called a LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. There are multiple levels: certified, silver, gold, and platinum. There are multiple reasons your building can get one of the LEED levels. Buildings with this certification use less water, energy, and reduce green house gases. Here is just a small list of LEED projects in Chicago. 

This is what a sustainable lifestyle is all about – more experiences and less things. 

If you are interested in the boat tour, check it out here. Also, here is the link to the Chicago Architecture Foundation.

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5 Ways to Throw a Sustainable Party

As we head toward the end of our beloved Chicago summer, there are many parties and gatherings coming our way! Labor Day, Back to School parties, and of course the holidays down the line. When the opportunity comes for you to host, use some these sustainable ways to throw your party!

Skip the paper invites

When throwing a party of any kind – a birthday, bridal shower, or holiday dinner – skip the paper invites! Opt to use an Evite, create an event on social media, or good ole fashion email/text messaging!

 

Cook your meal

Instead of catering in food, get some of your friends or family members together before the event to actually cook the meal. Cooking together can be a bonding experience, plus, you won’t be using any disposable food containers. This also gives you the opportunity to cook an organic, healthy meal for your guests.

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Use your kitchen ware

Sustainability is all about thinking of alternatives to the disposables. Refuse to use paper utensils! Most of us have a dish washer, you can make a family style meal and advise everyone to just stick their dishes in the dishwasher when they’re done eating. Sure, it may take you maybe an hour to clean up, but that beats creating pounds of trash.

 

Opt for cloth napkins

Also, use cloth napkins – they’re prettier and more sustainable. Paper towels and paper napkins are overall not good for the environment. You could save another heap of trash by using machine washable napkins instead.

Decorate with the outdoors

Find some fresh flowers. You can easily use old mason jars you have lying around as a vase.  Wah-lah! Beautiful centerpiece made. In the fall, you can use some bare tree branches and leaves to get the holiday cheer going. There’s so many ideas floating around on Pinterest.

 

What other ideas do you have for throwing a sustainable party?

 

 

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Save Our Shores: An Up Close Look at Florida Beach Pollution

Shore Pollution

Sam and I recently took a trip down to Florida to celebrate our birthdays. Also, it was Sam’s first time visiting Florida and swimming in the ocean. So fun! Our first couple of days were nice and sunny, but unfortunately the last couple of days were afternoon rain. The bright side is it normally cleared up while there was still day light so we still hit the beach every day! We got our place to stay through Air B&B. It was my first time using the app and I have to say I’m pretty satisfied with it! The apartment we stayed in was literally right off the beach, which of course is the point of being in Florida! I paid about half the price of getting a hotel down there, so that was really a deciding factor in using Air B&B. My only complaint really was the bathroom was a lot smaller than it looked online, especially the shower. But you know, any shower but your own is never satisfying. I would really recommend it to anyone – even for weekend getaways. We’re already thinking about using it for another trip next year.

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We stayed on the Gulf side of Florida. The water is warmer, its essentially bath temperature this time of year. Plus, I personally think the white sand beaches are a lot nicer than the Atlantic side. While laying out on the beach, people were eating lunch, drinking, and other snacks. Which seems like a harmless thing to do, which it is unless you are careless with your foods packaging. I have visited Florida multiple times because I have some family down there, but I was younger and not yet involved in environmentalism. Naturally, this visit I was much more aware. What seems like a harmless act, eating lunch on the beach, can actually be detrimental to the beach and ultimately the ocean. While standing about knee deep in the water, a single-serve Fritos bag stuck to my leg as a wave was coming in. I thought to myself, “I am just a spec in the ocean and this even tinier piece of garbage just stuck to me.” If I was able to pick this single-serve bag out of the ocean, how much trash is really out there?

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Sam and I decided to do a beach clean up one day. We just walked along the beach and picked up any trash we saw. There was just so much! The interesting piece was there was a trash can about every 100 feet along the beach, yet all this trash was still along the beach. Here is a list of the most common trash items we found:

  • Cigarette butts (I mean tons of them)
  • Bottle caps (But where are all the actual bottles?)
  • Tiny pieces of plastic (I’m thinking these came from children’s toys)
  • Straws (Mostly looked to be from fast-food places)

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Other larger items we found were mostly plastic wrappings from food packaging, which is where most of our waste comes from in the first place. Have you ever taken a look in your trash can? I bet you its mostly food and its packaging.

The ocean is such a vital part of our entire planet. It pained me to see how poorly people treated the beach and our ocean. Plastic is truly the unnecessary evil killing our planet. Plastic doesn’t biodegrade – it only breaks down into smaller pieces of plastic. Over one million seabirds and over 100,000 marine animals are killed annually from plastic. Due to the circular currents of the ocean, whats called a gyre, plastic and other trash pools together creating patches of garbage. To date, researchers have found five garbage patches in our ocean. 

The planet is such a beautiful place that I feel strongly we need to respect. Nothing positive comes from wastefulness and pollution. So, why don’t more people care? That questions I cannot unfortunately answer, but I will not stop fighting to #SaveOurShores.

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