Summer Is Coming – Exercises To Lose That Belly Fat!

Summer is fast approaching and winter’s belly fat is still flopping around the mid section in all its miserable glory.  Feeling the heavier side of wobble is disheartening, especially when reaching for that swimsuit.  Don’t give up, determination, healthy eating and exercise will prevail.



This is where it gets interesting!  Many people have been doing the exercise all wrong.  Workouts have either been sporadic or involve tummy crunches and lunges in desperation to squeeze that fat away.  The crunches are ideal after the pudge starts to slide off, as it will help tone muscle.  However, before concentrating on toning up, there is a crucial kind of exercise to do for at least 30 minutes a day:  high impact.


Elevating the heart rate moves oxygen and blood into our muscles, which in turn work more efficiently.  Noticing the difference in your mobility and stamina will happen over a couple of weeks.  Once muscle productivity and stamina increase due to heart rate elevation, fat will start to burn off.



The tummy stores the fat, but the key to slimming down is working out the entire body not just the middle.  There are many fun and thrilling exercises that will assist in improving the heart rate and increase muscle mass, as well as a few that will support the high impact moves like yoga or Pilates.   (Any form of high impact exercise will require checking with a physician, before undertaking any of the following suggestions)


  • The Tracy Anderson Method. Its difficult to stay motivated with the same old run, swim or cycle ride, so try something new, dynamic and that the Hollywood stars are hooked on.  Tracey Anderson, a dancer turned weight loss/fitness trainer, has come up with an exercise routine that will get the heart pumping, whilst concentrating on smaller core muscles to lengthen and give definition. Tracey, TAM, has video streaming classes, which are amazing, motivational, exciting, and well worth the monthly fee.
  • Burn60 is a full body high impact workout lasting 60 minutes. Increasing endurance, speed, and strength, they claim that a person will see a difference in two weeks with an average of 500-900 calories burned each class.  They are currently only based in California, USA but you can stream their workout videos .  Burn60, is fun and will test you to your limit.
  • A combination of music and high impact routines produces Pound. A unique way to combine physical and emotional influence to get a person fit.  The 45-minute class uses a specially designed lightweight drumstick (called Ripstix) as a prop to combine yoga, Pilates, cardio and muscle conditioning to music.  Kirsten Potenza, co-creator of Pound says “its about how your body feels not just about the way it looks”.



This is a fun, highly energetic workout that will get hearts dancing, the wobble melting away and the mind happy.


  • Pilates is a great way to strengthen core muscles as well as improving posture, strengthening abs and back muscles. Combining posture and high impact exercise is the perfect combination.
  • Trampoline workout. Find that inner child and go jump on a trampoline. This exercise for adults is fun, gets the heart pumping and the muscles jumping into shape. LEKFIT has fabulous online classes, and there is no need to even leave the living room.


Adding an exercise which is different, fun and engaging, will elevate the mood, the body, and how the swimsuit fits, minus the rubber ring, before the pool even opens.  To read more on this subject and more, please visit





Refreshing Vegan Lunch Dishes the Whole Family Love

Lets Do Lunch!

You don’t need to be a vegan to enjoy these light, healthy dishes, perfect for summer munching. They are tasty for the whole family, easy to prepare, and just the thing for lunch on a warm day.

From Jeanine Donofrio’s Love and Lemons cookbook, here’s a slightly adapted version of her Avocado Strawberry Caprese. You’ll need:

1/3 cup Balsamic vinegar

1 cup hulled and sliced strawberries

1 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved

1 medium, ripe avocado, diced

1/3 cup basil leaves

1 ½ tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

pinch of toasted sesame seeds

¼ cup chopped pecans

sea salt

black pepper


Directions: Simmer vinegar over a medium-low heat for 8-10 minutes, uncovered, until it thickens and its volume is reduced by half. Set aside.

In a large bowl, add strawberries, tomatoes, avocado, and basil. Drizzle the oil into the salad and toss gently. Add salt, pepper, nuts, and seeds.

Finally, drizzle on the vinegar reduction, toss again, and the salad is ready to serve!

Semi-Raw Pad Thai

This recipe is Angela’s from We renamed it “semi-raw” because we love to add in the fried tofu. What you’ll need is:

3 medium zucchinis

3 large carrots

2 green onions, chopped

1 cup shredded purple cabbage

250g lightly-fried (in tamari) tofu

½ cup crushed peanuts

¼ fresh cilantro, chopped


For the Sauce:

¼ cup tahini

¼ cup almond butter

¼ cup tamari

2 tbsp agave

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tsp. ginger root, grated


Directions: Use a spiralizer to create noodles from the carrots and zucchini. Place them in a large bowl and add all the other veggies and tofu.

Whisk the sauce ingredients in a bowl and then add it to the noodle mixture. The sauce with thin after mixing it in. Cover and refrigerate. Serve cold.

Orecchiette with Roasted Peppers, Arugula, and Tomatoes

This flavorful, vegan recipe was created by Christin Holcomb. What you’ll need:

1 orange bell pepper

1 yellow bell pepper

8 ounces uncooked orecchiette pasta

1 tsp. and 2 tbs. olive oil

1 tsp. minced garlic, divided

8 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved

3 tbs. white wine vinegar

1 ½ tsp. sugar

¾ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. black pepper

¼ tsp. dried herbes de Provence

3 cups loosely packed arugula

1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) shaved fresh Parmesan cheese


Directions: Preheat broiler. Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil 15 minutes or until blackened. Place in a plastic bag and seal. Let stand 10 minutes. Peel and cut into 1-inch strips.

Cook the pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain.

Heat 1 tsp. oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1/4 tsp. garlic; cook 30 seconds.

Add bell peppers and tomatoes; cook 4 minutes or until tomatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

Combine remaining 3/4 tsp. garlic, vinegar, and next 5 ingredients in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Add pasta and oil mixture to bell pepper mixture in pan; toss well to coat. Cool slightly. Stir in arugula. Top each serving with cheese.


For more delectable recipes or tips on healthy foods, check out

Too Hot to Run?

Run it Out

When warm weather hits, many avid runners hit the pavement. But what happens when temperatures and humidity levels climb into the high 80s and 90s? Should runners still power through the heat and sweat it out?

Hustling Heat

Depending on your age, weight, and gender, running in extreme heat can have some adverse effects, which can really compromise a runner’s relationship with summer.

Many experienced personal trainers caution against running outside when the temperature is higher than the average person’s body temperature.

Beat the Heat

If you are still serious about running this summer, or you are training for an upcoming marathon, then try to avoid running during the hottest part of the day at all costs.

Go for early morning or evening runs when temperatures are cooler, eat a good amount of antioxidants, wear the proper gear, and above all, stay hydrated.



Keeping Your Kids Itch-free for Summer

Summer’s here and the time is right—for bug bites, sunburn, rashes, prickly heat, poison oak/ivy, and a host of other skin maladies. Unfortunately, children are especially vulnerable to many of these pesky problems. Sensitive skin coupled with youthful enthusiasm can leave them complaining, suffering, and scratching.

Some Summer Skin Snafus

Here’s a short list of some of the common skin concerns you might face this season:

  • Bug bites and stings: mosquitos, ticks, fleas, chiggers, flies, bees, ants, etc.
  • Sunburn and sun allergies
  • Prickly heat/heat rash
  • Swimmer’s itch, seabather’s eruption (pica-pica)
  • Poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac
  • Dry or irritated skin

This site may help you correctly ID what kind of bite or rash your child has:

The good news is that most of these aren’t too serious, and can be prevented or easily treated without a visit to the doctor.  Many of these conditions go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If a problem persists or worsens, or if your child has a severe reaction, do not hesitate to go to a doctor.

An Ounce of Prevention

What can you do to protect your little ones from the hazards of summer fun? There are measures you can take, including safer, chemical-free options. Here are some tips:

Obviously, the best way to minimize the chance of skin problems is to avoid the cause. This isn’t always practical, but teaching your children about sun safety, avoiding bugs, toxic plants, and other hazards is a good first step. When you aren’t there to keep an eye on them, they can be protected with this knowledge.

When you are watching them, there are many steps you can take to ensure they stay safe and scratch less:


Sun Safety: Wear lightweight, long sleeves and pants when possible, with an SPF rating of 50. Wear hats and neck protection, along with sunglasses. Apply broad spectrum sunblock (SPF 50 or better) regularly. Use a child-safe sunblock that is titanium or zinc-based and free of PABA, parabens, and phthalates.

Beat the Bugs:  Bug repellant is key, but studies have shown that DEET, while effective, may not be safe for tots to use. Look for natural, scent and oil-based repellants or wristbands and re-apply often. Don’t let kids share hats (lice) and be aware of bedbug or chigger concerns at camps, hotels, etc.

Safe Swimming: Don’t let kids linger in the water too long. Keep an eye out for jellyfish or other warnings, and don’t forget that biting flies, mosquitoes and other no see-ums love fresh and saltwater. Shower as soon as possible after swimming.

Resist Rashes:  Loose fitting and breathable clothing helps prevent prickly heat.

Ditch the Itch: Several products are on the market that will help coat and protect tender skin from the urushiol oils found in poison oak, ivy, and sumac. Long sleeves and pants help, too.


Treat the Tricks (A Pound of Cures)

Even with your best efforts, however, something might slip through the steps you take. When that happens, the resources below will provide you a wealth of ways to stop the pain, swelling or dreaded itching.There are many treatments available in the local pharmacy, your medicine cabinet, or perhaps even in your kitchen:

  • Oral and topical antihistamines, benzocaine, sting wipes or liquid
  • Hydrocortisone cream, calamine lotion, aloe vera, witch hazel, alcohol
  • Aspirin or other NSAIDs, Tylenol
  • Baking soda paste, white or apple cider vinegar, sea salt and water
  • Ice or cold compresses
  • Essential oils like Tea Tree, lavender, and chamomile
  • Oatmeal soaps and baths

Treating poison oak/ivy/sumac requires a more specialized method to remove the urushiol oils. While some of the above remedies will help, products like Tecnu, Zanfel, and even Dawn dish soap can help remove the oils and minimize the reaction if applied as soon as possible after exposure.

A carefree summer of fun awaits you and your kids. So get out there and hike, bike, swim, play, barbecue and enjoy yourselves safely.  For more information on skin care, child safety, and summer fun, search



Ways to Keep your Kids Engaged this Summer

Summer vacation is fast approaching (and for some, it’s already here.) Most parents face the same dilemma each year. How do we keep kids entertained, active, yet off the phone, computer, and TV screen all day?  Here are some ideas that will hopefully relieve some summer-days worry.

Don’t Stress, But Make a Plan

Vacations and/or summer camp may help fill some of the hours, if you’re lucky enough to provide either. If you don’t want fidget spinners and screen time to fill in the gaps, it’s a good idea to plan ahead. Get out the calendar and try to start filling in activities with the ideas offered below.

Our kids are run ragged most of the school year with sports, classes, and clubs. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a little down time. In fact, some of the greatest creativity emerges from stillness and “non-activity.” The challenge today is teaching/learning/re-learning that sometimes, doing nothing is OK.

Get Up and Running

There are numerous studies about how much time is appropriate for children to spend on technology (texting on phones, gaming, watching TV, etc.) One thing most experts and parents can agree upon is that too much screen time at the expense of other positive activities benefits no one. We all have to remember that we don’t need to be connected to electronics 24/7.

Increases in the rates of childhood obesity are due in part to kids being less active. Other studies have shown that tech overload can lead to isolation and depression. Changing up the routine in the summer can lead to good habits that will hopefully carry over though the school year.

Time spent on fun activities, with any luck, some of them together, also increases the valuable parent/child bond. So no matter how it’s done, getting kids off the sofa or gaming chair will benefit their physical and mental health.

Keep it Simple for Summer

You don’t need to rack your brain or break the bank to have a good time.  Sometimes, the simple things in life are the best.  Besides, if your goal is to get your kids unplugged for a while, some “old school” fun might be just the thing they need while out of school.

Think back to when you were a child—what did you do that was fun or brings back fond memories of summer?  Odds are that your kids will enjoy many of the same things as well.  Here are some suggestions to help create lasting memories.

Springboard to Summer Fun

Of course, kids of differing ages will often like different things. Some activities are ageless, as well.  Use the suggestions below as a launching pad for your and your child’s imagination, interests, and abilities. The most important things are to have fun and enjoy re-experiencing the kid in you, too.

Kids (ages 4-9)

Arts & crafts, field trips, picnics, finger-painting, making music, the sandbox, lemonade stands, costumes, bug collecting, learning to cook or garden, making a book, fruit picking, feeding the birds or ducks, eating watermelon and having a pit spitting contest…

Tweens (ages 10-13)

Backyard camping, water park, a dance party with friends or just you, putting on a play, neighborhood Olympics or sports, fashion shows, martial arts, the library, gardening, movie day or night, baking, game night…

Teens (ages 13-17)

Starting a business, volunteering, talking, planning an event (vacation, party, etc.), community activities, yard sales, day trips, visiting relatives, family challenge contests, even engaging in some quality time alone or with friends is ideal.

All ages can enjoy the beach or pool, camping, hiking, bike rides, scavenger hunts, and many other outdoor activities. Yoga can even be on the list. Reading, even if it’s comic books or a graphic novel, is always a worthwhile endeavor.

Top Tip for Tech Overload

If you’re having a hard time tearing your tyke from their technology, try integrating some tech into your alternative activities. There are many apps that help you find stars, birds, trails, and geocaches. Other apps are designed to get kids moving and exercising. You can also try to bring the game characters into the real world with everything from play dough to real-life games based on popular video games.

So, a summer of lifelong memories awaits you and your children. Get them out there and start having some real fun!  For more helpful parenting tips and suggestions to keep the kiddos happy, search



Cold or Cloudy? The Sun Can Still Harm Your Skin

Even through the clouds, UVA and UVB rays are shining through. In the fall and winter, it’s still just as crucial to protecting your skin from harmful rays. Here are some tips for keeping your skin healthy and young, despite those nasty rays.

Above Your Head

In the spring and summer, we tend to have more headwear options that protect your face. In the winter, you can’t get away with a straw, large-brimmed sombrero. It will either fly away or freeze and crack to pieces. Besides, it might look a bit silly out of season.

You can get away with wearing a baseball cap all year long, pretty much. That will provide warmth and cover your forehead and nose from dangerous rays. A ski cap or wool beanie has a cute, sporty look that keeps your noggin’ comfy, but your face is still exposed. If you’re not wearing a full-face ski mask (and doubtful you are for fear you’ll be arrested as a bank robber), then you need to find alternate protection.

Skin Protector Tips

You may have noticed that the term “sunblock” hasn’t been used in a while. That’s because there really is no way of fully blocking the sun’s rays from our skin (unless you’re indoors, away from a window.) The lotions and sprays may only be termed “sunscreen.” The FDA has also come down hard on the term “broad spectrum.”

Broad spectrum must actually protect against both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays are the ones responsible for making us look older and causing skin cancer. UBV rays turn our skin red and can give us a burn.

Just So Ya Know

The initials SPF stand for sun-protection-factor. In Europe, they cap SPFs at 50. Here in the US, it’s all still questionable because our cap-limit hasn’t been enforced yet, even though the FDA has confirmed that anything over 50 has no more benefit than an actual 50.

Most sunscreens include oxybenzone and/or avobenzone. Both chemicals seep into your skin as you rub them on. The additives enter your bloodstream; oxybenzone has been proven to be a hormone and endocrine disrupter. Additionally, many skin allergies have arisen from the use of these compounds.


So What To Do?

Find a sunscreen that’s made from minerals. The good news is that over 30% of sun-skin-protection products are made of only minerals. Those are safe because they protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Also, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide sit on top of the skin and physically block the rays.

After applying a lovely coat of sunscreen on all exposed skin, a nice touch is to add powder to your face. There are many organic, hypoallergenic products on the market; best practice might be to use a face powder that includes a low SPF. This way, you’ve got double coverage, which may actually last longer throughout your day.

If you are on the water or in the snow, apply protection as often and generously as you would were you in a 110-degree desert. The reflection of the sun’s rays can burn your skin exponentially quicker. Remember, your skin is your largest organ and requires just as much care (if not more) as you’d offer to your lungs, liver, or brain. Be health-proactive and enjoy your time outdoors—rain, snow or shine!

Safer and Smarter Practices for Summer Sports

In generations past, parents used to send their children outside to play in nearly all types of weather. Rain or shine, sleet or snow, kids ran, biked, and swam in extreme conditions.

When summer hits and temperatures soar, however, children are especially vulnerable to excessive heat. Common illnesses include heat stroke and dehydration. Although studies have shown that kids are no more likely to suffer a heat-related injury than an adult, children are also less likely to recognize the symptoms of these types of illnesses.

What Is Heatstroke?

Heat stroke is defined as a dramatic elevation of body temperature, or hyperthermia, caused by the body’s inability to dissipate heat in extreme temperatures.

According to ABC News, certain behaviors contribute to heat-related injuries in children, including:

  • Excessive physical exertion
  • Neglecting to properly recover between bouts of physical activity
  • Improper dress

Failure to properly recover is a major concern in the United States, where children often participate in sports that require them to exercise outdoors twice in a single day with little rest time between sessions. There have been many reports of teenage athletes collapsing after rigorous training sessions. In on tragic case, a young boy died following a collapse after a football game.

Visit ABC News here to learn more.

What Is Dehydration?

Dehydration is the result of more fluids leaving the body than entering it. Unsurprisingly, heat stroke and dehydration often go hand in hand.

Preventing Heat Stroke and Dehydration

Fortunately, parents’ attitudes toward their children exercising in extremely hot weather have changed. The medical community has also spread the word about the inherent dangers of playing and working outside when the temperature turns sweltering.

One of the best defenses to heat stroke and dehydration is prevention. Parents should avoid placing undue expectations on teachers or coaches to supervise their children at all times. Furthermore, sports coaches may inadvertently push children to exercise harder or for a longer period of time. When coaches and other adults fail to look out for the safety of the children under their control, there can be devastating consequences.

Parents can address this risk by educating their children about the signs and symptoms of heat stroke and dehydration. Kids should understand that they are allowed to take breaks as needed. If they feel tired or sick, they should find a quiet place to rest. Children should also understand that they must contact either a parent or an emergency contact if they suddenly feel sick during practice.

Read more about the dangers of dehydration here.

Symptoms of Heat Stroke and Dehydration

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are a number of telltale signs that indicate heat stroke:

  • Extremely high body temperature
  • Hot, red, dry, or moist skin
  • Rapid and strong pulse
  • Extreme thirst
  • Hallucinations
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Unconsciousness

Once you have determined your child is at risk for either heat stroke or dehydration, it is important to get medical treatment as soon as possible.

Treating Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is a very serious condition. Left untreated, it can cause victims to pass away unexpectedly. As soon as you suspect your child has heat stroke, you can begin treating your child until emergency workers arrive.

  • Move the child into a cool room
  • Loosen clothing
  • Open windows to get air flowing and improve ventilation
  • Ask the child to drink some cool water
  • Cover exposed skin with cool, damp towels
  • Massage the skin to improve blood circulation
  • Cancel remaining activities

Treating Dehydration

Remedying dehydration is relatively straightforward. To help your child recover from the effects of dehydration, introduce fluids slowly. Your child might want to gulp down water, but this can actually make a bad situation worse. It is best to replace a child’s fluids with an electrolyte solution rather than pure water.

Electrolyte drinks replenish the essential vitamins lost during an episode of dehydration. Moreover, electrolytes are critical in situations where a child has experienced diarrhea or vomiting due to dehydration. Experts recommend avoiding sports drinks due to their sugar content.

Read More about treating dehydration here.

By teaching children to recognize the signs of weather-related injuries and learning how to treat them, parents can ensure their children enjoy their favorite sports and outdoor activities this summer.

Visit Get THRIVE here today for the latest health news and tips.

Are Your Kids Prepared to Head Back to School?

School Daze

It’s August.  Independence Day is in the rearview mirror.  The dog days of summer are upon us, and the moments of longing for summer are now being overtaken with thoughts of, Will it ever cool off?!?

For parents, restless children are becoming the norm as the newness of School’s Out For the Summer begins to wear off.  Well, depending on where you live, there is good news: the first day of school is just around the corner.

And while the return to school may provide a welcome reprieve from your child’s summer doldrums, grooming them toward a return to school night practices takes work.  To help ease the transition, here are some recommendations to assist as you prepare for children’s return to school in the coming weeks.

Summer Reading

 Many schools require summer reading.  Have you reviewed the policies at your child’s school?  Many teachers attach projects or papers to accompany what’s been read.  If your child has yet to begin their summer reading, do not wait until the week before school begins.  You’ll be locked in a battle that will take years off of your life.  Have they read a chapter or thirty minutes each day?  Before you know it, the book will be complete.

Supplies, Clothes, and More

From new backpacks to calculators, laptops, pens, pencils, and other materials, waiting until the last minute leads to frustrating store visits with clogged aisles and similarly exhausted parents.  Don’t wait!  Access your child’s materials list and go sooner rather than later.  Many of the big box stores offer incentives for parents as the market for your business has become very competitive.

Growing kids also require new clothes, shoes, and accessories.  Whether your school has uniforms or a dress code, new purchases will likely need to be made.  Tip: some schools maintain gently used uniforms that can be acquired for pennies on the dollar.  Inquire with the school office to see if you can save a little money that way.

Avoiding Summer Slide

Aside from reconditioning students to the expectations of a school setting, one of the biggest struggles teachers report upon return from months away from school is summer slide.  If you’re unfamiliar with summer slide, the term refers to a regression in the primary skills (think Math) that often need to be re-taught to students.

But there are ways to avoid this phenomenon.  More and more camps are available which cater to the fun side of learning.  Maybe a science camp that explores Astronomy, Robotics, or Physics is offered in your area.  There are some excellent web/app-based options as well – ask a teacher for suggestions.  You don’t have to lord over your child forcing them to do worksheets.  Find some creative ways to keep their minds stimulated and it will pay off.


There may be no bigger parent-child struggle than that of a return to “school night” bedtime.  Do not; I repeat do not wait until a few days before.  You will regret it.  Begin walking back the time children go to bed within two weeks or so before the first day of school.  Not only does research support the amount of sleep they need physically, but they will also be more refreshed and prepared to re-enter the day-to-day school schedule if they’ve been making their mind and body in the weeks leading up.

Avoid the zombie-like state that can easily overtake parents fighting the return to school.  Taking a bite-by-bite approach over the next few weeks will make your life more manageable and enjoyable as school gets back underway!