Change Your Choices

Change Your Life…Tips for a healthier you

It’s the Pits


I love working out but I hate trying to get sweaty workout clothes clean and fresh smelling.  The new “dri” type fabrics help keep you dry during an intense workout but the tight weave can really hang onto that funky smell, even after washing.  It also seems after a few washings that detergent alone just won’t cut it.

A few tips:

1- If you can’t wash your workout wear immediately, rinse  and hang up.  If you are too lazy to rinse, at least hang it up.  Bacteria and mildew will thrive on sweaty clothes that are left in a gym bag or hamper. If you do have mildewed clothes, try running them through a hot wash with a cup of vinegar.  It might clean up the mildew but no promises.

2- There are several new detergents for athletic clothes that I’m told work well but I think they are a bit pricey for as many loads as I do a week.  Instead, I add 1/2 cup of borax to the load.  Oxiclean or baking soda also work well.

3-Wear layers.  I have a tank that I wear under my good stuff that absorbs most of the sweat.

4- To prevent underarm stains (yellow pits), apply antiperspirants at bedtime, when your body is less sweaty.  It won’t wash off in your morning shower as the active ingredient has been absorbed overnight. This is a good habit for everyday to keep clothes stain free.

5- There is a product called PitStop that works great on yellowed pits, not just on workout clothes, but white dress shirts as well. 

You can find this on Amazon

4- Give everything a soak in Oxyclean once a month.  I don’t like to use hot water on good workout clothes so I soak in warm but cotton can go in hot.   Soak for 30 minutes before putting through the usual cycle.

Keep a can in your gym bag!

6-Smelly shoes?  Have two different pair and wear them every other day to let them dry completely.   Dr. Scholls makes a spray that is also effective and the new anti-bacterial socks can help with shoe odor.    

Working up a sweat is good, smelling like it is not!



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How Clean Are Your Sheets?

Sleep is a big part of being healthy and your sheets can play a big part in how well you sleep! I asked a few people around the office how often they change the sheets and heard anything from every couple days to every couple months.  I did some research and learned all kinds of stuff and some of it is fairly disgusting!

>Normal average adults should change their sheets every week.  We shed like snakes, particularly when sleeping.  The combination of sweat and skin builds up and needs to be washed away on a regular basis.  
>Making the bed immediately after you get up traps heat and moisture which is a great environment for germs and crawlies. Wait at least ½ hour to let it dry out.  Or…just don’t make the bed, it’s actually healthierJ
>Blankets and mattress protectors should be washed every two weeks.
>If you have allergies, you will probably want to change your sheets every few days to help keep the bed mite population down. No matter how clean you keep your house, you still have dust mites sharing your bed and furniture with you.
>If eating and/or sex are regular occurrences in your bed (good for you!) it is best to wash bedding after each such activity, since food and bodily fluids attract outside germs and also create their own.  
>If you sleep nude, you should change your sheets twice a week.
>What about pillows? Ideally, you should change your pillow case every couple of days.  Hair, sweat, flaking skin, and drool can really mess with your face.  Pillows should be washed on a regular basis and replaced at least every 2 years.   
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More Scoop on Poop!

I am not being anal about this, it is actually very important to know what comes out of your body because tells you a lot about your overall health.  You don’t have to study each and every BM, but take a glance once in awhile.  Think of it as an emissions test for your body.
Floaters and Sinkers
Experts do not all agree, but the general consensus is a that a healthy poop will sink.  When a digestive tract is operating properly and the diet is well-balanced, stools will sink in the bowl. That is because the body has eliminated the waste in your system properly and your stools do not contain any gases and the fats from your diet have been processed properly. Now, without raising any alarm bells, your diet will change from day to day and your stools may occasionally float and that is not a problem. It happens to everyone. When your poop floats all of the time and never sinks, then there could in fact be a medical problem.
 You might be thinking that you have no symptoms other than floating poop so there is no need for concern. WRONG!  Many diseases in the early stages have little or no symptom association. The only way to be absolutely certain that nothing is wrong is to seek a medical consultation. Few people associate floating stools with one of the worst cancers-cancer of the pancreas. The pancreas is responsible for processing waste materials and fat in an efficient manner. When the pancreas cannot do its job properly, more and more fat is allowed into the waste causing the stool to be lighter and thereby causing it to float. When caught very early, for instance as soon as your stools have been floating for more than 10 or 14 days, the cancer treatment is much more effective and your cure probability is much higher. Of course, if you ignore it due to embarrassment of having to tell a doctor that your poop is floating, then your survival rate begins to diminish until there is no chance of beating this horrible disease.

Hey Stinky!  
It really is true that you are what you eat, much like you are what you poop! 
If you eat junk food, then junk is what will come out the other end and your poop will be stinky! It takes about 15 hours for food to completely pass through system. So, if you think about that and the temperature at which our internal organs are kept (a toasty 98.7 degrees Fahrenheit for most people), then some foods will definitely start to stink after so long. If we eat foods that start to stink in a short time, then what comes out will surely stink as well!

How to Make It Smell Better…
Changing your diet to fresh foods, eliminating processed foods that are loaded with chemicals and reducing sugar intake will prevent those bathroom bombs. If you eat healthy, your poop will smell healthy- not rotten!
What about my dog/cat?  Can I do something about that smell?
Much like humans, the quality of food you feed your pet will be reflected in the litter box or in the yard.  If your pet has a serious stink problem, you might want to consider changing the brand of food.  Check with your vet for recommendations.
 Just for fun…

How come, no matter how much I chew it corn comes out in whole kernels?
When we chew corn, the outer layer slips off and we actually chew the inside of the kernel.  This yellow outside layer is cellulose and is indigestible.  It slips through the system untouched and comes out looking like a whole kernel when it is in fact, just the outer skin.

But seriously…

Be good to yourself and have your concerns properly checked out by a medical professional.
Your health is your first responsibility in being the best you can possibly be so take control and observe those subtle little changes without getting overly concerned.

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What Your Poop is Trying to Tell You

You can learn a lot about your health by taking a look at your poop! What goes in must come out and your feces reflects what is happening inside your body.
Here’s the scoop on poop…
A healthy poop should be golden brown.  You want to make sure the color is normal because it tells you a lot about what is going on in your body. 
Your poop should be in one long torpedo.  It should resemble the shape and consistency of an unripe banana (although not that color!) It should not be in pieces but should be 1-2 inches in diameter and 18 inches long!!  ( really?? wow!!) It should also be almost odorless. (more on this tomorrow).

What about color?

Black: Feces can be black if dried blood is present in it from internal bleeding in the upper digestive tract.  See your doctor.
Very dark brown: Drinking wine the night before can do this.  It could also be the result of too much salt or not enough vegetables.
Yellow: There are several infections that can cause yellow poop.  See your doctor if you are consistently pooping yellow.
Green: Babies have green poop when they are given a food for the first time. Adults have green poop if we eat large amounts of green leafy vegetables or lots of food with green food coloring.  Light green poop might indicate excessive sugar in the diet.  Green poop can also occur with diarrhea from bile passing through the system.  Again, see a doctor if you are concerned.
White/pale: A white or pale stool can be an indication of problems in the gallbladder or liver.
Red: Bright red in the feces may be indicative of active bleeding, possibly the results of hemorrhoids.  A magenta color may result from intense red food coloring or red foods such as beets.
How often should I poop?  It really depends on you.  Some people poop three times per week, others three times per day. As long as you are on a regular pooping schedule, you are ok. If this schedule changes and you become uncomfortable, see your doctor.
Next issue- Should it Float?  How can I make it smell better?  And what about Corn?  Stay tuned…
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Is Your Farting Normal?

Some people don’t want to admit it- but everybody farts!   Some of you might be more expressive than others in your delivery, but we all have to release gas, either by belching from the top of the gastrointestinal tract, or flatulence, which comes out of the bottom of the tract.  Bloating is caused by excess stomach gas that has not been released. 

Some gas after eating — and releasing it through burping and farting — is normal. Most people produce as many as one to four pints of gas a day, which they pass, on average, about 14 times a day.

However, if you’re experiencing painful gas and the embarrassment of chronic and foul smelling flatulence, you might want to figure out why.

Excessive Gas: Foods to Avoid
Beans, beans, the musical fruit.  The more you eat, the more  you toot! But it isn’t just beans that will make you gassy.

Foods such as dairy products and certain vegetables cause some people to have excessive gas. Foods like these contain fiber, sugars, and starches that don’t get digested and absorbed, eventually causing intestinal gas when they are finally broken down in the large intestine.

One way to manage flatulence and belching is to eat fewer of the well-known gassy foods. Everyone reacts differently, but common gassy foods are fruits, such as apples and pears, certain vegetables including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and onions, whole grains like bran, and dairy products, from milk to cheese to ice cream.

Foods containing sorbitol, a naturally occurring sugar found in fruits, are on some people’s gassy-foods list. Others are bothered by carbonated soft drinks and fruit drinks. If you discover that these foods are causing you excess gas, you don’t have to stop eating them- just use some moderation. 

Other ways to avoid gassiness:

  • Drink before meals, not during.  If you drink liquids with your meals, you lose stomach acids and can’t break down the foods as well.  Try drinking about 30 minutes before a meal, not during, to help your stomach better digest food.

  • Eat and drink slowly. When you eat or drink quickly, you can swallow a lot of air, which can cause gas,  Slow down when you eat — you will swallow less air and be less gassy.  Bonus- you will proably eat less!

  • Take over-the-counter digestive aids. Digestive enzymes are available as over-the-counter supplements. You can find these at a health food store or in the natural aisle at the grocery store. Take one or two each day, you will know within a few weeks if it helps. FYI- antacids do nothing to help with excess gas.

  • Be a Beano counter. Another over-the-counter digestive aid, Beano, contains an enzyme that can allow the body to digest the sugar in beans and many vegetables.  Add five drops of the liquid form or swallow one Beano tablet per half-cup serving of food before eating. Heating degrades the enzyme in Beano, so  don’t add it to foods while cooking.  Beano will not help if excessive gas is caused by fiber or lactose.

  • Don’t fill up on air. Habits like smoking, chewing gum, and drinking through a straw may cause your stomach to fill with air, leading to gas.

  • Avoid artificial sweeteners. Sorbitol and related sugar alcohols used in many sugar-free versions of foods can also aggravate gas as they are digested by gut bacteria which ferment and release gas and have a laxative effect.  Chewing gum that contains Sorbitol is similar to eating a prune.  However, the sugar substitutes that you use in coffe or in soda are not the kind that cause gas. The various packet sweeteners — yellow (sucralose), pink (saccharine), and blue (aspartame) — are not associated with gas or laxative effects. 

Related Conditions That Could Be to Blame
If the problem of excessive body gas is persistent or severe, consult your doctor — it could be a sign of a more serious digestive condition. Don’t simply ignore the problem or blame it on indigestion. 

These conditions might seem extreme, but see your doctor if you have concerns.

  • Lactose intolerance. People who are lactose intolerant are unable to digest lactose, the sugar that is found in milk and milk products. Try eliminating dairy milk from your diet and see if it helps.

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This type of pain is usually in the lower bowel area.

  • Colon cancer. Excess gas is rarely the presenting symptom for patients with colon cancer, but it does remind you to get checked.

  • Upper gastrointestinal disorders. Occasional belching is normal, but frequent belching may be a sign of an upper gastrointestinal disorder. These include peptic ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or gastroparesis, also called delayed gastric emptying.

As annoying as it might be, some gas is a natural by-product of the body’s digestive system. But if your gas is excessive, painful, or chronic, talk to your doctor about possible causes and remedies.

Now that you have the facts, start counting your burps and farts to see if you are normal!

What is your stomach trying to tell you?
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Nice to Mole You!

How many moles do you have?
  On average, most people have at least 10 but less than 40 and most moles develop before age 20.  Although the number of moles you have is mostly genetic, exposure to sun can cause you to have more and darken ones you already have.
 Are your moles harmless?  It depends…
>Congenital Moles are present at birth and are at increased risk for skin cancer later in life.   Only 1% of people have this type of mole, ask your mom if she remembers that any of your current moles have been there since you were born.
>Acquired moles are the most common and usually develop during childhood or early adulthood. These moles are usually smaller than a quarter inch, and are thought to be due to excessive sun exposure. Most acquired moles will not develop into skin cancer.
>Atypical moles  are larger than a pencil eraser and shaped irregularly. These moles are usually uneven in color, with a dark brown center. The borders of atypical moles may be irregular, with a lighter or reddish color, and unevenness or black dots around the edge. Atypical moles tend to run in families and they may be at increased risk of developing into skin cancer.
Be sure to examine your skin regularly.  Some moles are in places you can’t see so you will need to get a mirror or a special someone to take a look around.  (please, wait until you are home to do this!)  Look for moles that fit into the atypical category or any new moles. If  you have a family history of atypical moles or skin cancer, or a large number of moles or freckles, your primary doctor may suggest that you see a dermatologist for regular skin evaluations.
Most moles are harmless, but getting any suspicious ones checked out quickly will enable you to detect skin cancer in its earliest stages, when it’s most treatable.
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Towel Time!

From a sign at the YMCA:
You can throw in the towel or use that towel to wipe the sweat off your face! 
While I really like this inspirational quote- it got me thinking about towels and how often they need to be washed.  At our house, my rule has always been hang it up to use the next day because I am not washing loads of towels each week.  I did some research to see if that was ok and, YES, it is! 

According to Doctor Oz ( he’s the best!), the towel you use should be changed after every 3 uses.  Hang it up to dry between uses as bacteria likes to hide in wet places.  If your towel has an odor, change it. Towels should be washed in  hot water with oxidizing stain remover.

How often should you wash other common items?
Bacteria and mold can be found in many items that you use each day and can cause of variety of skin rashes and infections. These were a real eye opener:

Makeup brushes should be rinsed in hot water every day and washed in shampoo once a week.

Shower sponges or loofahs can collect a lot of dead skin that bacteria can grow on so they should be cleaned once per week.  Do this by soaking in 2 parts water to one part white vinegar and drying right away. Otherwise  you can put it in the washing machine and dry it right away before bacteria can grow again.  You should also dry it using your hair dryer after each use.  (Really? that seems like alot of work!) Loofahs should be replaced every 3-4 weeks, synthetic sponges need to be tossed every 6-8 weeks.  If you use a washcloth, use a clean one every day.  At least wash cloths take up less space in the washing machine!

Cell phones should be wiped down with antibacterial wipes EVERY DAY! 

I guess I have to get up earlier so I have time to dry my shower sponge, clean my makeup sponges and wipe down my cell phone!

Is your skin crawling yet?  Let’s not even talk about door knobs and shopping carts!

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