HealthyWiser pH Strips

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The past few weeks have been filled with too many cookies, drinks, and any other form of sugar we can get our hands on. Luckily, I have been using HealthyWiser pH Strips to keep a check on my pH levels during this time that can be an energy drain. I want to be sure, as a mom of 4, that I’m on top of my health game. Something as simple as testing my saliva can help me do that.

phstrips

Why check pH levels, and what does that have to do with the holidays? According to healthy-wiser.com:

If your pH is too acidic it can cause:

✔ Energy drain, headaches and indigestion
✔ Bone degeneration
✔ Muscle loss
✔ Insulin sensitivity that results in weight gain and increased risk for diabetes

If your pH is too alkaline it can cause:

✔ Nerve and joint pain
✔ Arthritis
✔ Insomnia
✔ Body stiffness

Basically, any variant from your body’s normal pH level means that you can easily get sick. Taking 15 seconds a day to check our saliva and/or urine will help you keep tabs on this. Any abnormal readings should be discussed with your doctor. My blog is not a medical source, just a collection of things that I’ve used that have helped me keep tabs on my health! Please keep that in mind. 

I did a check on my saliva (an hour after eating) and got a “perfect” pH level. That’s good, but it doesn’t mean it always will be. With 100 strips, I can check my saliva a few times a day with the HealthyWiser pH Strips (you can purchase these on Amazon). The pack will last about a month if I am checking both urine and saliva once or twice a day.

Interested in giving these a try? I’m running a quick giveaway through the end of the year. If you missed out, or just don’t feel lucky, check out healthy-wiser.com

Get Active with West PA Pride and UnitedHealthcare

Even in the cold winter weather, Western Pennsylvania is a great place to get out and be active. (And after you indulged in all the deliciousness of yesterday’s food, I am sure you probably are like me and wanting to get out move a little bit, right?) UnitedHealthcare is bringing their campaign, Western PA Pride, to our area just in time to motivate you to get out and do something active in your community.

You know, something like running yesterday’s Turkey Trot in Downtown Pittsburgh (which I didn’t get to do this year due to being on hold with my running game, so let’s celebrate with last year’s photo). Earning your pie Being thankful that you are taking care of yourself is a great reason to run a race like this!

2013 Turkey Trot

UnitedHealthcare’s Western PA Pride campaign is looking for Western PA residents who are being active or healthy in their communities that they love, and they are looking for you. To participate, they are asking you to submit an “activity-inspired photo” of you participating in healthy activities – and there are prizes involved, too (more on that below!).

I love this campaign and spent some time yesterday checking out all the awesome entries they already have – a huge shout-out to all of you who love our area and their bodies and lives! Think it’s time for me to get an updated photo of being active and submit it (maybe something like my Ambulance 5k first place walk?)!

Beyond looking for participants in the campaign, UnitedHealthcare is sponsoring several local events to inspire you to get out and doing something good for you and your community. A few options for you are:

  • Bundle Up Telethon for WTAE-TV – December 5
  • Holiday Party at Uniontown Fire Department Social Hall – December 6

You can check out the campaign page (westpapride.com) to find more events near you AND submit your active photo! Prizes that you can win for submitting your photo include:

  • $25 Visa gift card (11 weekly winners)
  • $100 Visa gift card (for photos revolving around events)
  • $400 Visa gift card (1 grand prize winner)

Remember, your photo should be of you (or your family) being active or healthy in your community or of you participating in one of the upcoming events. (Have a picture from yesterday’s Turkey Trot? That counts!)

Take advantage of this slight warm spell and get active this weekend!

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(Looking for health insurance during this year’s enrollment period? UnitedHealthcare provides options for Western PA residents to be covered for their medical needs.)

Disclaimer: I was asked to review the item or service above in exchange for compensation and/or free items. All opinions, however, are 100% my own.

Get Fit with Your Friends from FREE BIRDS and TV’s Toughest Trainer Chris Powell

 

Kids, we know it may seem more fun to live a lazy life of pizza, TV and fuzzy slippers like Reggie from FREE BIRDS, but if you want to be big and strong like Jake, it’s going to take work! That why we asked trainer and host of ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition,” Chris Powell, to share some tips to help you get moving and eat things that will keep you healthy. If you follow his plan, pretty soon you’ll have pecs and glutes as impressive as Jake’s!Tip #1: Eat Breakfast.  Mom is right, it really IS the most important meal of the day!  Eat something hearty that’s going to give you a lot of energy, like eggs and toast, or yogurt and granola. Start the day strong!

Tip#2: Get to school at least 15 minutes early for recess. Run, jump, climb, and play your favorite sports. You’ll get some extra time with your friends, you’ll get stronger and faster, and you’ll supercharge your body and mind for learning!

Tip #3: Eat fruit every chance you get!  Fruit is nature’s dessert, and comes in all kinds of fun flavors. You can never go wrong with classics like apples, oranges, bananas, pears, grapes and pineapple. But also try exploring new and crazy fruits, like starfruit or kiwi, grapples or mangoes!

Tip#4: Cut the soda. Any way you look at it, it’s just not good for you!  If you crave sweet beverages, try naturally sweetened waters!  There are all kinds of new flavorings for water coming out with natural sweeteners like stevia and monk fruit – find one that you love, and hydrate!

Tip #5: Be a lean and mean gamer.  When you’re done with your homework, instead of vegging out on the couch with your PS4 or Xbox 1, get up and try playing one of their MANY active games. Get off the couch and LIVE the game! Run, jump, balance, shoot…get involved in your video games and get fit in the process.

Enjoy the hit family comedy FREE BIRDS, and see Jake’s impressive physique in action, when it hits Blu-ray and DVD on February 4th!

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Disclaimer: ThinkJam asked me to share this feature with you and because my kids heart Free Birds and I heart Chris Powell and his mission to make America healthier, I couldn’t say no. Thanks for letting me share! 🙂

Snack Time: Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip

With the new year, I am trying to get better at meal planning for not only me, but the family. That means actually taking time to sit down and plan our week.

This week, that plan included some pinned recipes. Today, I’m going to share one with you that I Becky’d up.

Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip

Calories: 155 in one big serving

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Ingredients:

1 Non-Fat Greek Yogurt, Plain

2 TBSP PB2 (this is powdered peanut butter and super low on calories, high on YUM and protein)

1/2 TBSP honey

Directions: 

Mix the three ingredients together.

Dip a banana in the goodness.

You’re welcome.

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2013 Heart Walk

I wish I could tell you all every single moment of today’s Heart Walk, but I don’t know that there’s the time or space. To be honest, the day was overwhelming for my emotions and I am thankful that the kids are down for chilling at the house.

You see, I opted to go it alone (without the help of another adult) and attempt to complete the 5k walk with the kids. I’ve already said that I’m not cut out for caring for the kids 24/7, but thought it would be an okay thing to try. And it might have been.

It all started when I got a call from my boss on my walk through the parking lot (as we were missing the Company photo – I am so bummed out about missing it thanks to crazy traffic around Heinz Field). Actually, correction. First I got a call from the desk, making me think there was an issue with today’s coverage schedule or a major outage. That’s the call that alerted me that my boss was looking for me.

And he wanted me to meet him at the main stage of the Heart Walk.

Because I had been awarded the Pittsburgh American Heart Association’s Lifestyle Change Award (but didn’t know it yet). Perhaps the photos with the Heart Walk Chair (also from my Company) and Iceburgh were a tip off. Or…the film crew that asked if they could follow the kids and I as we walked today. I started to feel overwhelmed (with happiness and surprise), but tried my best to keep my cool.

After the National Anthem was sung, my award was announced. I still haven’t taken it all in, but feel blessed to be recognized for my efforts to change my habits to live a healthier life, and even more so, to know others are proud of and inspired by that.

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The Walk began, and Arianna (in her typical “Daddy’s out of town” style) demanded to do all of the bounce house runs instead of the Walk. The folks with us were kind enough to let her do so and even helped me out with the stroller. (I really don’t know what I was thinking, trying to make a 5-year-old stay entertained for a 5k.)

Eventually, after most of the walkers had started the course, we brought up the end. We stopped for an interview, and I decided to just meet up with some friends versus trying to do the whole course. (Arianna wanted to sit in the stroller and Evan in my arms – I bet the footage is a lot of me huffing and puffing to even make it since I’m still not feeling 100%.)

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The whole day was exciting on so many levels. It’s incredible to see 15,000-ish people from our city come out in support of putting a stop to Heart Disease. After losing my grandfather 26 years ago and watching so many others I love be impacted by the disease, I hope that our efforts can bring a cure. I’ve been able to see the impact of simple changes in my life and how that’s helped my heart be healthier so I can be around for my family. Perhaps even just to take the steps of the walk today will inspire others to make changes, too.

And thanks to the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk fundraising efforts, they’ll be able to support projects like:

  • Putting up-to-the-minute research into doctors’ hands so they can better prevent and treat heart disease among patients.

  • Groundbreaking pediatric heart and stroke research.About 36,000 babies are born with heart defects each year —research is the key to saving babies’ lives.

  • Getting life-saving information to those who need it most – information that can save a life, like how to eat better, how to recognize the warning signs of heart attack, and how to talk to a doctor about critical health choices.

(Source: American Heart Association)

Wishing you all a long, happy, and healthy life!

What did you do for your heart today? 

Tech Tuesday: Fitbit #Sponsored Review

Welcome to what I hope becomes a new feature here at ‘lil Burghers, Tech Tuesday! I’m a techie mama (my day job is in the IT Department) and I’ve been asked by some “fans” to write about how I use technology. Why not share finds with you weekly? 

Last month, while I was at BlogHer ’13, I ran a 5k. As part of that, I received a FitBit to track my distance. Today’s Tech Tuesday feature is going to be about my experience obsession with it.

Disclaimer: Best Buy provided all participants of the BlogHer 5k with a Fitbit. While I was not asked to write about it as part of my participation, I chose to do so. All opinions, however, are 100% my own.

When I signed up for the BlogHer 5k, I realized that it was highly unlikely my plane would land before the registration began the night before. I pulled a few strings and got an earlier flight (props to Southwest’s no change fees) and was able to be one of the first to go through registration for the 5k. Let me be clear, there was never a line for the registration. I just saw “first “xxx” participants will get a Fitbit” and I had to be there. I haven’t owned a body monitor in the past because of the mere fact that I hate armbands; however, I’d heard about the Fitbit and thought it would work for me.

Oh, was I right.

At registration, I had to draw a ticket to get my Fitbit. There were three choices, and essentially my ticket matched the one I’d get. Either a Flex (a very easy to use/remember bracelet which you have to sync to see how you’re doing besides the lights that show your daily progress), a Zip (which hooks to your clothes and smiles at you when you’ve met certain goals), or a One. I got the One (which I’ll tell you more about here). At first, I was disappointed. I really wanted the Flex (turns out many of my co-workers have this version). Mom brain sets in, I forget my stuff. Proud to report, forgetting the One has not been an issue and I’ve actually fallen very deeply in love.

Fitbit One
Source: Fitbit.com

So, why do I love the One? Let me count the ways…

  1. The color. It comes in black or maroon. I got maroon, which is a great color on me. It’s adorable.
  2. The stats. I am a metrics person, so by the push of a button I can see how many steps/miles/calories/flights of stairs I’ve taken in a day. It’s also now my watch (which is usually my cell phone).
  3. It tracks my sleep. Admittedly, I am not the best sleeper. Even after two weeks in, I am still tracking my sleep (with a wristband that I don’t love and has gotten stuck in my hair) and seeing I am very restless at night. And, I don’t get enough.
  4. It syncs with my computer (via a USB adaptor) or the iPad. If I had a Galaxy, it would sync to that via the app, but I digress.
  5. It talks to me, greeting me with a fun message and a “Hi Becky” when I pick it up.
  6. It charges quickly and for a long time. In two weeks, I’ve only charged it once. It took about 30 minutes connected via a USB dongle to my PC and showed me right on the One how much it was charged. Vroom.
  7. It’s challenging me. In the last week, I’ve averaged just under 10,000 steps a day. I wish it was higher, but on my rest days and yoga days, it’s hard to get those 10,000 steps. Also, many of my co-workers have the Fitbit, so they are my friends on the app. I get to log in and see who has passed me for the day and cheer them on (or taunt them if I want). (Have a Fitbit and want to be my friend? Find me here.)
  8. Arianna loves it. Truly. She keeps me going, always asking to see how high my flower has grown for the day. “Mama, let me see how good you’ve been today”. (She’s told me my flower looks sad and I need to get up and move it, move it.)
  9. The dashboard. I can see everything I’ve done and go back through history. It tracks my weight (manually added in), steps, and I can even add in food consumed to balance the calories burned.The fact that it wirelessly connects is a huge plus, too.
  10. Badges. I earn badges (like my 20,000 steps “best in a day” badge). These motivate me like you wouldn’t believe.

For the price and convenience, the Fitbit has blown me away. In the two plus weeks that it’s been part of my life, I’ve dropped almost 2 pounds and stepped many steps. it’s definitely a big part of my life, and I’d love to connect with those of you who feel the same. It’s become an addiction, I have to have my Fitbit and I have to make sure that I am up at the top of the social ladder. A challenge and a fun way to lose weight? Wins!

If you are interested in getting your own Fitbit, you can purchase one at BestBuy.com or through Fitbit. Prices start at $59.99 for the Zip and $99.99 for the Flex and The One. 

Fitbit One
Me wearing my Fitbit One at the Best Buy Blogher 5k

Healthy Eating: Over the Edge?

A few months ago, I determined I would be over the edge of this whole healthy eating thing when I got a scale. Well, that’s done. And then it changed to “when I start eating funky stuff”. Give me a few spare points here, who is to determine what “funky stuff” is? Regardless, today while eating breakfast, I think I finally tipped over the edge.

I mean, seriously, take a peek at my meal:

Today’s breakfast was taken directly from a Facebook pal’s page. Yup. Stole it and loved the result. The thing is, I think this meal really took me over the edge and into full blown healthy eating.

I’d hold a contest and give yinz bonus points for figuring out what I ate, but I am pretty sure 99% of you would be wrong, so here’s the scoop:

  • Blueberries
  • Peanut Butter
  • Coconut Oil, hardened (yes, I ate oil for breakfast)
  • Chia Seeds (you can’t really see them, they sunk to the bottom…but they are there)
  • Flax Seeds

Talk about a punch. Now, if yinz aren’t healthy eaters but think that looks good, I highly suggest eating some other healthy stuff for a week or so beforehand. My body (the one that revolts when I add ice cream or white wheat to it) had an almost immediate, uh, processing reaction. Yet…the crazy thing? I loved this and would definitely eat it again.

In fact, I might see if I can get the kids (minus the PB) to eat it. Greg’s out, he was disgusted as he watched me pack it. But that’s okay, this journey is about me enjoying life and getting healthier, two things this meal did for me.

Would anyone be interested in a weekly round-up of the healthy stuff I’m adding to my life? If so, comment so I know you’d be interested in me sharing the delicious (and sometimes funky) things I’ve been eating (and making my family try). Lemme know.