The Best Inflatable Hot Tub vs. A Regular Hot Tub

Choosing the right spa can be more than challenging. It is a rigorous process that will leave you wanting to tear your hair out. This is mainly due to the fact that there are two types of spas you can possibly get and this is where most people get into a pickle when it comes to making the best decision for their home and for their family. In the past, these machines were considered to be a luxury as not many people could afford them. Well, people have got richer since then and most people want to return home from work and be able to relax in a hot tub. These people have two choices when it comes to choosing the right machine. The first thing to do is to get a solid hot tub that needs to be installed into the bathroom by a professional. The alternative would be to go for the best inflatable hot tub that can be inflated and deflated whenever you wanted.

Both types of spas have their own advantages and disadvantages so you need to make sure that you read a lot of inflatable hot tub reviews and do the right research before coming to a decision.

After looking at both types of spas and comparing the inflatable hot tub to a solid one, I think I would probably go for the blow up hot tub instead of a solid expensive one. The main reason for this is the price because an inflatable spa will be a lot cheaper than the solid one. Buying this will not cost you too much but on top of this, you will not need to spend too much on getting it installed. The set up process of a blow up hot tub is extremely simple and can be done by anyone regardless of how good you are with DIY. Usually, you get complete instructions on the assembly process so you should not experience any problems whatsoever. In comparison, a solid hot tub costs a lot of money. On top of that, you will need to pay a professional quite a bit to have it installed properly and have the heater connected etc. The assembly process is bound to be rigorous so you will definitely require an expert to do it. The installation process might even come up to halfway of the total amount that you got the hot tub for. Looking at this point, it would definitely be best for you to go for an inflatable spa.

In addition to the cost, a blow up hot tub will have more advantages. This type of spa usually does not weigh too much. As I mentioned, the assembly process is quick and simple so you can easily inflate, deflate it and move it wherever it needs to be moved. The structure of inflatable hot tubs is probably a lot more comfortable too because they usually have soft cushion material. Despite this, the material is always resistant to puncture and feels extremely sturdy so you are looking at an amazing piece of innovation. In comparison, a solid hot tub will usually be the opposite of this due to a solid structure though this is advantageous when it comes to resistance to damage. The good thing about hard hot tubs is that they can be associated with far better performance and usually come with more jets and a better spa system. But is this really worth the extremely costly price tag? That is a question for you to answer!

Despite the advantages of both spas, there are some similarities too. This is mainly linked to the electricity bills. Regardless of which tub you end up getting, the running costs will be on a similar level. The best thing of course is that you will be able to obtain a fantastic relaxing experience that you would not be able to get with a normal shower. All you have to do is return home from work, turn the tub on and relax and unwind for the next hour or two. The water will be extremely pleasant while the bubbles will make the environment and surroundings even better.

Despite differences and similarities between an inflatable hot tub and a blow up hot tub, you might find it difficult to decide which one to go for. The best way of looking at it would be to select a couple of features that will hold the most importance for you. The temperature of the water is usually important because usually, a blow up hot tub will only go as high as 40 degrees. The heater also usually shuts off automatically when the bubbles are activated. In comparison, a solid tub can have a higher temperature (despite the dangers) and it has a far better spa system. For most people, the price will hold the most importance. If you like the idea of spending a lot on getting a solid tub then go for this. However, most people will prefer the affordable cost of getting the best inflatable hot tub because this is convenient too.

Your Morning: High Protein Breakfast

Here’s a classic morning scenario for a typical human being:

Your alarm clock rings. Sometimes, depending on the mood as how you’ve woken up, you hit the snooze button to get an extra 5 minutes to your sleep. As you get out of bed, you let out a yawn and somehow feel weak.

The human body works just like a machine. After being in a 6-hour sleep or so, we need fuel to get our system up and running. Your mom was right when she said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Eating breakfast is the most sure way to jumpstart your day. It not only helps us last through the morning, but it can as well help us gain focus with the responsibilities that we have to do throughout the day. Weight-watchers are even advised to always have their breakfast because this practice can actually aid in weight-loss, as this does well for our body’s metabolism.

Now that we all know the importance of never skipping that meal in the morning, we should also remember to pick out the really healthy ones that can build our stamina, and give us the right amount of energy. A high protein breakfast gives you the right nutrition and energy you need in the morning.

While we we’re asleep for long hours without having any food, our body breaks down tissues. Protein is a nutrient that aids in building tissues in the body. Eating a high protein breakfast switches the body back to the state of building tissues.

Here is a list of high-protein foods that you can have for breakfast:

1. Eggs

This traditional breakfast food is packed with high protein. Aside from its nutrition content, this is one food you can serve in so many ways including crepes, French toast and omelettes.

2. Breakfast meat

Meat itself is an excellent source of protein. It is also the same with breakfast meats such as bacon, turkey and sausage patties.

3. Soy

Soy is a good alternative if you’re not so much of a meat eater. It is high in protein and does not only come in milk. There are Soy substitute foods that are in breakfast-friendly form (such as soy sausages).

4. Cereals

If you’re always on the go, having a bowl of cereal will give you that protein burst for the day. Go for cereals that contain a mix of whole grain, almonds and walnuts.

One common misconception most of us think is that high protein breakfast, or high protein diet only works for body-builders and health buffs that spend long hours in the gym to meet that chiselled physique. Now that we have all been educated the importance of it, let’s all start our day healthy and right, and live our lives happy. We have just found a great new way to begin each of our days wonderfully.

The Key to Weight Loss Maintenance

Maintaining your weight loss can often be difficult.While it’s well documented that I am a self-professed cardio lover, my Wednesday morning strength training class is really one of my favourite workouts of the week. It challenges me yet is also relaxing due to our sets and repetitions.

Last week’s class was divided into dumbbell exercises (e.g. – bicep curls) and body-weight exercises (e.g. – push-ups).

Truth be told, my work breakfasts are always the same, my snacks are always limited to 150-calories or less and my lunches remain a salad in one form or another.

However, if you happened to catch Dr. Oz’s tips for eating better and maintaining proper health, you might notice that I religiously follow what he considers to be his most important tip – to automate your meals.

With that being said, let’s jump into my perhaps-boring-but-oh-so-delicious day of vegetarian eats from yesterday, shall we?

8:00am: A warming bowl of protein oats, made with 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats, a 1/2 scoop of vegan protein powder, stevia and a handful of smashed blackberries and raspberries.

I also have Black coffee on the side.

10:30am: My last Espresso Chip Gnu bar left in my fridge. Time to restock my favourite 140-calorie bars!

12:15pm: My first greens of the day included raw spinach, peas, carrots, green beans, corn and lima beans, which added an awesome crunch to my veggie salad. I topped my bowl with mustard and black pepper.

This is one very healthy version of a salad shaker!

2:30pm: Tea, tea and more tea. I just cannot keep a snack drawer at work because it would have to replenish it every few days!

5:45pm: After a very trying and emotional day (for reasons I won’t go into here), all I wanted when I got home was comfort food. There is nothing more comforting to me than a huge, crunchy vegetable salad and piping hot, roasted sweet potatoes dunked in ketchup and mustard.

After having my meal, I realised that I eat a LOT of mustard in a given day!

I also had two cups of coffee with soy milk and sweetener to cap of my day.

Tell me – what meal do you turn to when you need comfort?

When Repetitive Eating Becomes Disorderly

Hi! I hope you’re all enjoying a restful Sunday! I just finished the most divine breakfast. Two eggs fried in ghee, served over a baked yam mashed with coconut oil. I’m tempted to say this is going to be my new favourite breakfast, but one of my current challenges is to vary my meals, especially breakfast.

A lot of people eat the same thing for breakfast every morning; I get that. For the average Joe, this is no problem. If you can’t part ways with your avocado toast or cinnamon-raisin oatmeal, I’m in no place to tell you to. (Though if you’re consuming Pop Tarts and Diet Coke every morning, we might need to have a talk.) For the mentally stable, eating the same breakfast every day is probably just the innocuous result of simply liking a certain meal, or finding it convenient. When it comes to orthorexia, at least in my own experience with the disorder, repetitive meals are often a sign of intense close-mindedness coupled with fear of change. When I notice myself eating the same thing every morning because I literally cannot think of anything else suitable, I know it’s becoming a problem.

Breakfast is commonly touted as the most important meal of the day. Understandable. For me, however, breakfast is the most important meal of the day for reasons other than what most people consider it important for. In my life, an imperfect breakfast has the ability to ruin the rest of my day. While normal people can get over an undesirable meal and move on with their life, an unpleasant eating experience first thing in the morning will consume me for the remainder of that day’s waking hours. I’ll think about it all day long, sometimes to the point of making myself feel physically ill. This is why when I find a “safe” breakfast, one that is both healthy and delicious and sure to put me in a good mood, I’ll make it for days, sometimes weeks, sometimes months, on end. It becomes a vital part of my morning that I can’t go without. Every night I’ll make sure I have the necessary ingredients for when I wake up in the morning. If I don’t, panic is sure to ensue. This is when repetitive eating becomes disorderly.

I remember a time not so long ago when my morning meal depended upon a ripe banana and an organic Fuji apple. I liked the banana to be frozen in three chunks, the apple sliced just how I liked it, and I would dip the two in either peanut butter or almond butter. (Side note: this breakfast was clearly not calorically sufficient, especially considering I often ate it after an intense cardio workout.) For quite a while, it was the only breakfast I wanted to eat. If one grocery store didn’t have ripe bananas, I would go to another one to find some. If that grocery store was also out, I would go to another. The same went for my precious apple. It couldn’t be just any apple. Oh no, no, no. It had to be an organic Fuji. This was an unreliable breakfast component, because organic Fujis are not always up to my impeccable produce standards. I could tell when they were good, and I wouldn’t buy them if the currently available batch looked suspect. Don’t even think I would buy another variety of apple. It was organic Fuji or nothing. And yes, I would grocery store hop to find perfect apples. (My orthorexia is okay with conventional bananas, but nonorganic apples are akin to a fistful of pesticides. At some point in my recovery process, I plan on challenging myself to eat one.)

There were times when I couldn’t find perfect Fuji apples, and I did dare to venture into other apple territory. This created a lot of anxiety around breakfast time. Oftentimes it “just didn’t taste the same” and I berated myself for eating something even though I didn’t genuinely enjoy it. (This is an orthorexia topic that deserves its own post in the future.) Had I been willing to eat an entirely different breakfast, I could have avoided this unnecessary anxiety. The problem was, I’d eaten the same breakfast for so long that I couldn’t even imagine what else I could make to replace it.

These repetitive breakfast phases do end, though. When one ends, another begins, and then that breakfast becomes the most important part of my morning. This. Is. Not. Healthy. Breakfast is important, yes, but it should not dictate whether your day is going to be a good one or a bad one. This goes for all meals, not exclusively breakfast, but since it’s eaten in the morning, breakfast has more potential to wreak havoc on a day.

This is why I’m currently trying to challenge myself with breakfasts. My most recent breakfast phase was sautéed cherry tomatoes, two scrambled eggs, and half an avocado. I noticed myself starting to get sick of this combination, yet I continued to eat it because I couldn’t think of anything else to eat. This is no way to live; all it does is anchor me to my orthorexia. There are a lot of healthy breakfast options out there for me to explore. I’m not saying I won’t ever eat the same breakfast a few days in a row, but I’m making a strong effort to not let my fear of change keep me from eating a variety of breakfast foods. Even a small change is a change: fried eggs instead of scrambled, sweet potato hash instead of a baked one, a little bit of cheddar cheese with my scramble, etc. Mixing things up takes me out of my disorder, of which routine is a huge component.

It’s clear to see (I hope my apple and banana example adequately illustrates this) the difference between a mentally healthy person’s repetitive eating and an orthorexic’s repetitive eating. The former is one of enjoyment and possibly indifference, while the latter is more rooted in obsession, fear of change, and reliance on routine. That isn’t to say I don’t enjoy my repetitive breakfasts, but in the scheme of things, they do more harm than good. They feed my orthorexia more than they feed my stomach. This topic is the perfect example of how something so trivial to most people can be so paramount in the life of an orthorexic.

If you find yourself in a breakfast rut, ask yourself if it’s truly a rut, or if there’s something more dysfunctional behind your inability to be flexible. The thought of eating something else should not bring on a sense of panic. I’ve already noticed a decrease in my anxiety simply from switching up my breakfast foods. It might sound silly, but in the world of eating disorders, little changes like these are imperative to the recovery process. Every morning when I fill my belly with something new, I’m starving my eating disorder just a little bit more.

Cooking for Weight Loss: My Favourite Swaps

You can substitute all of the bad foods with these healthy alternatives.I enjoy trying new recipes and experimenting in the kitchen. For me, making meals at home is necessary for a healthy diet. It’s always good to be able to control the oil, butter and portion size. Not only does eating in and packing a lunch every day save calories, it saves a lot of money, too. A win-win!

Cooking can be intimidating for some, especially those trying to lose weight or eat a bit cleaner. However, with a few simple swaps, you can make tasty, filling meals that will fit within your personal eating plan. Here are some of my favourite swaps to help clean up your recipes.

1. Beans for Meat

For some folks, wandering down the road of vegetarianism can be a bit tricky. In many dishes, the meat source can seamlessly be subbed for a bean or other protein source.

Beef enchiladas become black bean and brown rice enchiladas. Spaghetti and turkey meatballs become whole-grain penne and white beans. Chicken fried rice becomes tofu stir-fry.

Honestly, folks – it’s THAT easy. The amount of fat and calories you remove, not to mention the amount of fibre you add, makes this swap number one in my book. Have a dish in mind where you want to sub out the meat? Email me for suggestions!

2. Hummus for Salad Dressing

This swap might seem like a stretch for non-hummus believers, but trust me it works. I often sub mustard or salsa for salad dressing when dining out or when healthy options are non-existent. I also use hummus as dressing which I pack a salad for work, for one very practical reason – the hummus will sit on top of the veggies for several hours without wilting the lettuce, such as a dressing would.

Outside of its practical uses, it’s absolutely delicious, makes for a very creamy topping and is low-calorie, approximately 30-60 calories for 2 tablespoons. Purchase a flavoured variety (I love roasted vegetable and roasted red pepper) for extra pizzazz!

3. Heat for Fat

Here’s a little secret from me to you.

  • Meat and dairy contain fat.
  • Fat makes dishes taste good.
  • Fat makes people happy.

When you remove fat from any recipe, you lose that special little something that lulls people into food comas.

I’m not immune to this phenomenon. When I’m feeling like I need something, the husband rushes out to bring me vanilla frozen custard with hot fudge and Reese’s Peanut Butter cups. And suddenly, I’m purring with animal fat-induced food coma satisfaction!

Once you pull out the beef and cheese and butter, what do you have left in your arsenal? Spice! When cooking vegetarian, and especially when cooking vegan, you must remember to season every component and even kick it up a notch to disguise your low-fat dish.

Some of my favourite ways to replace fat include:

  • Fresh herbs & spices: garlic, basil, dill, red pepper flakes
  • Hot sauce: cayenne, buffalo, sriracha
  • Pickled vegetables: jalapenos, giardiniera, pickles, etc.

I’m headed into the kitchen tomorrow night to try a new Pasta Primavera recipe – can’t wait to share it with you!

Tell me – what are your favourite healthy swaps in the kitchen?

The Art of The Cheat Meal

I hope everyone had an amazing start to their weekend! Mine kicked off with a fantastic weigh-in (down 2.2 lbs.), a satisfying cereal bowl with strawberries, raisins and almond milk and a serious 90-minute session at the gym!

After the gym, I grabbed a quick lunch, watched the season finale of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and headed out for some grocery shopping. I am slowly, but surely rebuilding my entire wardrobe. After losing 37 pounds and 4 sizes, I need to purchase everything from jeans to coats to earrings and shoes!

I fueled my intense shopping excursion with a little (natural) vitamin D, a Blueberry Bliss LUNA bar and a soy Caffe Misto.

Several hours later, I had dinner with the husband.

I used this as an excuse to take advantage of my weekly cheat meal. Since the popularity of celebrity diets and fitness programs has sky-rocketed, the idea of cheat days has become more and more prevalent – meaning you get one day a week to eat “whatever” you want.

And while I don’t follow cheat days, I will regularly have one cheat meal every week. This week’s cheat meal was very worthy – pasta!

The husband and I hit up Volare, a popular Italian spot in London. We came with our appetites and left stuffed to the gills. Here is a little breakdown of my cheat meal of the week.

I’ve never been a bread-n-butter kind of girl. But bread and RED sauce? You had me at hello.

Traditional house salad with tomatoes, cabbage, olives and chickpeas. Hello protein!

I was already full by this point of our very enjoyable meal but still had an entrée on its way – orecchiette alla arrabiata! Mike, our amazing server, was kind enough to ensure my sauce would come without the customary pancetta.

Typically after a fancy meal on our date nights, we will take the party to the movie theatre for the next round of fun. Considering nothing is out right now that really sparked our interest, we decided to go home – complete with chilled Argentinian wine, two different kinds of M&M’s, and the world’s BEST light popcorn.

Best Cholesterol Apps for iPhone Review

If you suffer from Cholesterol, you need one of the iPhone apps.Apple created a winner in their iPhone when they launched it in June 2007. The world’s top smartphone is an amazing device for not only communicating with friends and family by way of calls but can also keep you organised, productive and even healthier. This is made possible due to the wide array of apps you can obtain on the iTunes App Store. Individuals who have high blood cholesterol can work toward improving their health by investing in some top rated apps specifically geared toward cholesterol. These are worth investigating and having right at your fingertips on your iPhone.

Cholesterol Manager — dietary cholesterol and fat tracker is a great app that is £1.99. It features a simple and sleek interface that allows you to track and manage your cholesterol intake on a daily basis and is ideal for individuals who want to keep track of their cholesterol levels, whether they want to lower or maintain them. You will receive great tips on foods that are low in cholesterol as well as a daily summary of your meals and their content. You can create nice graphs of your progress and track your weight when you are dieting and trying to lower your blood cholesterol as well.

Lower Your Cholesterol — this app is also £1.99 at the App Store and is an excellent resource to have at hand on your iPhone when you set goals for yourself toward losing weight and lowering your cholesterol levels. Essentially, the app features audio of medical journalist Robert Kowalski of the New York Times explaining the various ways you can achieve just this in healthy and natural means.

Recipes: High Cholesterol is 69 pence and is worth downloading if you suffer from high cholesterol but want to lower your levels and eat healthier. You can receive some terrific recipes through this app that are low in cholesterol and will help you to become healthier. You will get tips on how to prepare these meals so that you can lower your cholesterol.

Low Cholesterol Food Street by Feel Social is also 69 pence at the App Store and shows users favourite meals around the world that are low in cholesterol. It is ideal for individuals who love to eat but have high cholesterol and want to lower it and become overall healthier. There are tips about soups, salads, main courses, desserts and much more. You will also receive nutrition information on everything mentioned in the app.

The Most Popular Lifestyle Apps for iPad

Apple’s iPad has practically revolutionised how society functions in everyday life. Nowadays, businessmen and women carry iPads instead of Franklin planners, students replace it with textbooks in class, athletes use the device for mapping their running routes, bakers use it to find recipes and shopaholics shop on it. There are countless lifestyle apps available for the device, which can simplify your life in many ways. Some of the most popular apps are:

Facebook App for iPad offers a user-friendly interface, and allows easy navigation from the left-hand menu to access the newsfeed, inbox messages, photos, groups, settings, applications and chats. The winning feature of Facebook app has to be the photos feature, which is a lot better than it is on the website. You can easily go full-screen, swipe and zoom the photos. All in all, the application is very handy for staying in touch with friends on the go.

Cool Hunting is an online video and publication series website, which provides information about cutting edge technology, latest designs, art and cultural trends and a lot more. The website’s app for iPad allows users to access the website’s content through an engaging interface, which is also very easy to use. You can check out the daily updates and weekly documentaries with a single tap.

Cool Hunting is a great lifestyle app for the iPad.

Photo Cookbook, as the name depicts, is a cooking-guide app for your iPad on which you can access tons of free recipes. The unique part about Photo Cookbook is that you will get to see beautiful illustrations of each written step in high resolution, which really helps understand recipes, and also makes the entire cooking process much more appealing. You will find four categories on the basic version of the app: “Quick & Easy,” “Asian,” “Italian” and “Baking.”

Most of the foodies out there are most likely already familiar with the award-winning website Epicurious.com. The iPad app of this website offers over 30,000 professional recipes, which have been written in easy words for novices. You can save the recipes that you like, and sync them with the online “Recipe Box” at the Epicurious website. Every time you launch the app on your iPad, you will see an updated list of recipes. You can also search them through categories or by keywords.

Houzz Interior Design Ideas app boasts over 200,000 high-resolution photos of home design ideas, because of which CNN has declared this app the “Wikipedia of interior and exterior design.” You have the option of browsing photos by room, location and style. You can save pages of all the rooms you like, and create your own little virtual idea book, which is just like creating a scrapbook by clipping photos from a magazine.

The iPad has a lot of potential in the future, as it will eventually be recognised as one of most important technological products created. More and more lifestyle apps are released everyday, and are readily picked up by millions of users worldwide who are increasingly getting dependent on them for carrying out their day-to-day activities.