Acanthamoeba infection. Doesn’t sound fun at all, does it? For contact lens wearers, this should be something you need to get familiar with. Acanthamoeba infection most commonly occurs in people who wear contact lenses, especially those who shower or enter swimming pools or hot tubs wearing contacts. The chance for infection can be increased if you practice poor hygiene when it comes to caring for your contacts- such as not cleaning or disinfecting them properly. This particular infection caught my eye (no pun intended!) while I was reading Shape Magazine, so I decided to do some more research on it- because I frequently wear my contacts while I shower. Who wants the hassle of removing the contacts, then inserting them again once out of the shower? Seemed like a waste of time. But it is an important step that I should be taking.
According to CDC.gov, Acanthamoeba is a microscopic, single-celled living organism found in the environment. It can cause severe, but often rare illnesses. Infections involving the eyes are called Acanthamoeba keratitis. It is most often linked to contact lenses wearers, but there is also a slim chance that non-wearers can contact the infection as well. Acanthamoeba can be found worldwide, and a few places that it can be found include swimming pools, hot tubs, and drinking water systems.
How can you prevent getting infected? As always, it is important to see an eye doctor on a regular basis. For most people, that is once a year. The doctor will check your eye health, and be able to warn you of any problems. If you do wear contacts, be sure to handle them properly, including disinfecting them and changing them according to schedule. For example, I open a new pair of lenses every two weeks. And be sure to remove lenses before any activity that involves water.
If you think you may have been infected, it is important to be seen by an eye doctor immediately. Eye infections caused by Acanthamoeba are usually treatable. Some of the symptoms include:
- Eye pain
- Eye redness
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Sensation of something in the eye
- Excessive tearing
My point in writing this article isn’t to terrify people and have you ripping out your lenses if you get a drop of water in your eye. But I was never aware of the added risks contact lenses bring to my health. There are a few eye doctors who say that it is okay to wear contacts while showering, as long as you take care of your lenses properly and try to avoid water in the eyes. Not all water systems are contaminated, but it is simply the awareness we should have. I know that taking a few extra minutes to remove my contacts before I shower is worth preventing an infection. Has anyone experienced an eye infection before brought on by contaminated water? Do you remove your contacts before showering or entering a pool? I would love to hear your thoughts!
Research obtained from CDC.gov
I was looking to add a new Pilates DVD to my workout collection, and I have found the best results with Shape DVD’s. I found the Mari Winsor Pilates for Pink DVD, which included a pink exercise band and donated $1 from my purchase to breast cancer research. There are three separate sections, and you have the option to do them separately, or all together for a fifty minute workout. There are sections on upper body, lower body, and abs. I thought the workouts were okay. They were less challenging then other Mari Winsor workouts I have tried, and I got a little bored through some of the sections. They feature basically all of the regular Pilates stretches, but they were more difficult with the added resistance of the band. I think having the band included makes the DVD worth it, and if you are a beginner to Pilates, I would suggest picking this one up.
I love checklists. From grocery lists, shopping lists, daily to-do lists, I make them all. I love checking items off my list so much, that sometimes I add an item that I’ve already completed to a list, just so I can have the satisfaction of checking it off. A little overboard, perhaps, but my checklists help me accomplish my goals.
One list in particular has been on my mind lately, and this is my workout list. Each month I make my new workout list, dividing the month into four weeks. Week One is my warm-up week, the week with the least amount of activities. Weeks Two and Three are the hard weeks, the ones where I really have to push myself to get each workout complete. And the Fourth week is my cool-down week, not quite as simple as Week One, but definitely easier than weeks Two and Three. I alternate between going to the gym, completing workout videos at home, and doing my trusty workouts I tear out of magazines such as SHAPE or WOMENS HEALTH.
I have been doing this workout list for about a year now, and I love it. My neurosis for checklists comes in handy here, because I want to be able to check those workouts off. If I instead had no list and just told myself I’ll work out when I can, I know I wouldn’t be as motivated to get myself to the gym. But lately, I’ve noticed myself slacking off. I make excuses: the cold weather, boyfriend is hogging the TV playing Xbox, Dancing With the Stars is on…whatever it may be. I wasn’t completing my weeks in time, therefore I wasn’t able to check off those workouts. I needed a new plan, a way to motivate myself even further to always have time for my workout routines.
I’ve read in a million different places that rewarding yourself is a great way to keep up with a diet or workout plan. Don’t drink a soda all week- get that hot fudge sundae you’ve been craving. Complete all your workouts on time- get that hot fudge sundae you’ve been craving. My problem with this solution- if I want a hot fudge sundae, I will go out and buy myself one. I’ve never been good at limiting what I eat, especially if it involves ice cream. Or chips. Or candy. Anyways, you get my point. So what would motivate me?
Money! Everyone loves money. This is my new plan: Take $20 out of my checking account at the start of each month. Five dollars represents each week. If I complete a week on time, that five dollars can go back in my wallet. If I fail to complete my week on time, that five dollars will go into my darling pink piggy bank with all my loose change, not to be seen again until the bank is full and I go cash in (usually take around 9-12 months to fill). Now technically, this is a win/win for me. I win, I get my money back. I lose, I put my money into savings, which is a good thing. But I have a difficult time putting my hard earned dough into a savings account, I want to keep it in my greedy wallet. So in order for me not to lose five dollars a week or twenty dollars a month to Miss Pink Piggy, I will have to keep up on my workouts, and keep crossing them off my list. I just started this new plan last week, and I’m happy to say I finished in time and the five bucks went back in my wallet J
Does anyone else have a workout plan? How do you keep yourself motivated to get your sweat on? I would love to hear anyone’s suggestions!
Shape.com posted a super informative article on the best and worst drinks for your health. I commend myself on drinking plenty of water throughout the day while at work, but when I go home I sip on kool-aide and soda. I did make the switch from kool-aide to lemonade, but then learned that lemonade was just as bad for you! So what’s the best and what’s the worst? Shape is clearing up any confusion on this matter…
Lemonade! Store bought lemonade can contain 100 calories per cup, and the equivalent of 6 teaspoons of sugar and zero nutrients.
Infused water. Good ole’ H20 is going to be the best choice, but there are ways to fancy up your plain water to make it more desirable. There are plenty of flavor-enhanced versions of water (Fuze, SmartWater, VitaminWater, etc.) but make sure you are reaching for ones that do not contain artificial sweeteners.
THE WORST COCKTAIL
Do you enjoy pina coladas? You might want to rethink those tasty treats. A 16-ounce pina colada contains 880 calories!
THE BEST BEER
Light beer will be the drink of choice. A 12 ounce bottle of light beer will only up you 100 calories and studies have shown the natural ingredients in light beer help deposit calcium and other minerals into bone. The alcohol in beer also provides protection against heart disease and stroke.
To read more about the best and worst drinks for your health from Shape, click here!
Source: Shape.com/Cynthia Sass
One area of my body that has no trouble getting toned is my arms. I swear, my biceps will look more toned if I spend two hours simply channel surfing. For this reason, I often skip total arm workouts or any focus on weights because my arms will start to look too toned- and I don’t want to look like I’m getting ready to arm wrestle at the drop of a hat. But recently, Shape.com posted a great exercise plan that will not only tone your biceps, but firm up triceps, shoulders, and adds a little cardio into the mix. This workout is great not only for arms, but gives an extra oomph to the full body. Check out the full workout here!
Photo Credit: Shape.com
While there is no cure for breast cancer, I think it is important that women know and understand what they can do to lower their chances of getting the disease. After losing my grandmother last year to the cancer, I now pay even more attention to topics such as prevention and risk factors. Shape.com put out an article titled ‘Lower Your Breast Cancer Risk’ and it includes 4 healthy breast habits that all women should be aware of.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Women who are overweight have a higher chance of being diagnosed with the cancer, in addition to being more at risk to recurrence and morality. Exercising on a regular basis will not only keep your weight in check, but can drop your risk up to 50% if you exercise vigorously for three to four hours a week.
- Eat a balanced diet. Not only will eating healthy in general give you health benefits, but there are certain foods that can lower your risk of cancer by 20%. Those include foods rich in vitamin A and beta-carotene, such as carrots, spinach and sweet potatoes. Vitamin D and calcium are another strong source, found in fish, such as salmon, trout, sardines, milk, yogurt, cheese and vegetables like broccoli and kale.
- Examine yourself. While an annual checkup may be unpleasant and dreaded, it is important for women to go. The doctor will perform a breast examination, looking for any abnormalities including lumps that could require further testing. But you cannot just count on that one time a year exam. Women should perform monthly self breast exams as well, generally the best time being the week after your period. This is the time frame where there is less estrogen stimulation, so breasts are not lumpy or tender.
- Know your breasts. You’re the one that knows your breasts the best, so you will be able to tell if there is a change or any abnormalities that are occurring. Shape recommends going to a doctor if you find swollen lymph nodes, changes in nipples, or if skin turns a color.
One of my favorite exercise routines is the most basic- walking! Usually I make it on the treadmill three times a week, walking at a brisk pace at a steep incline. Even though I am “just” walking, the pace and the incline are giving me a great cardio workout. Shape.com has a great walking workout plan, that includes two different workouts, a 30 min quick blast and a 60 min fat torcher that you can alternate between. Check out both workouts here and get walking!
Photo Credit: Shape.com
Spring is here (yea!) and t-shirts and sleeveless shirts are being unearthed from the dungeons in storage. But are your arms ready for the warm weather, or do you have a littler extra jiggle you need to get rid of? Shape.com has put out a De-Jiggle Arm Workout Plan to help tone up and firm your arms in time for the nice weather. There is a great triceps anatomy lesson to take advantage of, and the exercises will make your arms sore! But it’s worth it to look your best in those sleeveless tanks, so head over to Shape.com and download your workout plan.
Chelsea Handler is one of my favorite late night comedians, and the way she talks about her food and drinks would make one think she doesn’t care how many calories she consumes in a day. But actually, Chelsea is very conscious of her diet, thanks in large part to her nutritionist and her brother, Roy, who is a professional chef. The comedienne shared one of her favorite recipes with Shape magazine, turkey meat loaf. Keep reading for the full recipe:
Prep Time: 30
Cook Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
- Cooking spray
- 1 7″ loaf (about 4 1/2 ounces) stale crusty bread
- 2 cups lowfat milk
- 5 pounds ground turkey breast
- 3 cloves sliced garlic
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup plus 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup Dijon mustard, divided
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and preheat oven to 400° F. Tear bread into small chunks and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the milk and make sure bread is immersed. Let sit 30 minutes, mixing the bread and milk every 10 minutes, until the bread is thoroughly moistened. Add all of the ingredients except 1/4 cup mustard and 1/2 cup ketchup. Mix well and season with salt and pepper.
Form into 2 equal size cylindrical loaves and put on a prepared baking sheet. Mix the remaining mustard and ketchup and spread evenly over the loaves. Bake for an hour or until juices run clear. (The loaves should be firm to the touch.) Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
Do you wonder about how to get all the essential nutrients from your food? I know I do, and I often just turn to vitamins as my easy way out instead of investigating healthy food choices. Shape.com posted an article titled, ‘The Nutrients You Need,’ and lists 8 essential nutrients, and better-where to find them. Check out some of my favorites below, and head to Shape.com for the complete list!
Eat This: Walnuts & Almonds. Walnuts especially are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help stave off depression, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease. Shape recommends toasting the walnuts to help get more flavor, and toss in your salads or on top of yogurt.
Eat This: Kiwi. This fruit has been found to be the densest, which means they are high in vitamins and minerals. And research has shown that adults who ate two kiwifruits a day for a month lowered their triglycerides, which can lower the chance of heart disease.
Drink This: White Tea. White tea has been found to be even more powerful than healthy green tea, helping prevent cancer. Shape recommends buying loose white tea leaves such as Yinzhen Silver Needle White Tea.