Prevent Hair Damage: How To Dry Your Hair Carefully

Note: To listen to me read out this blog post for you please follow this link to my Podcast Channel

There is a a right way to treat your hair, especially when it comes to cleaning and drying it. This post isn’t about styling your hair with heat or products, in this blog I want to address healthy hair maintenance. I hope this will help you to hone your personal grooming techniques and also your self esteem and self confidence as you feel satisfied with the image in the mirror.

For some people, how our hair appears directly affects our mental health as it is often the first thing we see when we look in the mirror. Our perception of our own self, whether positive or negative, will affect the way we act and react to the situations around us.

We can cause damage to our hair especially when it is wet. Wet hair is more prone to breakage as it is brittle. A lot of damage can be caused when brushing or combing wet hair as the hair will stretch when wet but the strands do not snap back to their regular form after stretching, they become even more brittle.

My number 1 rule for preventing frizzy, weakened hair is to NEVER DRY YOUR HAIR BY RUBBING A TOWEL HARSHLY OVER YOUR SCALP. Using a towel to rub your hair dry can cause damage to the hair shaft, stretch and snap your hair. Be gentle to your precious hair all the way from the follicles to the tips of the strands. The rubbing motion also pushes the hair cuticle upwards, causing a frizzy appearance.

What to do instead: Gently wrap your hair in a towel and allow the moisture to be drawn into the fabric. I also like to air dry my hair because we get a lot of warm sunny days here in Australia.

Adding heat to wet hair actually increases the temperature on your hair, further increasing damage. Reduce the amount of water on your hair before using the hair dryer. It’s also a good idea to set the hair dryer on a cool setting before using the heat. Hair stylists recommend you dry your hair to at least 50-70% dry before adding heat. And turn the heat setting down if you are using heat, your hair can be burned and damaged beyond repair if your styling appliances are set too hot.

I hope this is useful to you! Please comment below and share your hair care tips.

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Featured Image Photo by John Diez

Healthy Caffeine Consumption And How To Reduce Caffeine Intake

What caffeine does to the body

Caffeine is classed as a stimulant drug which means it increases the activity of the brain and nervous system. It also binds to adenosine receptors, preventing you from feeling sleepy and if you do fall asleep it will prevent you from experiencing a deep restful sleep.

Caffeine also keeps the dopamine in our brain, which makes us feel good, but can also lead to addiction.

Caffeine chemistry

The average adult can safely consume up to 400 mg of caffeine per day. The maximum dose for adolescents is much lower at 100 mg, but anyone under the age of 18 should avoid caffeine consumption where possible. This is because of the potential negative effect of caffeine during brain development. You want to give your developing brain the best chance it can get to reach its full potential.

The half life of caffeine is approximately 6 hours. So if you have a big 200 mg dose of caffeine at midday you’ll still have 100 mg in your system at 6 pm.

Why should I reduce caffeine intake? How much is too much caffeine?

Caffeine is a legal drug and is so ingrained into our society that it often doesn’t occur to us that it could have negative impacts on our health. There are many positive effects of caffeine, and like most things, it is beneficial in small doses. But if you consume too much then you are putting extra pressure on your body. Caffeine is in a lot of our food and drinks so it pays to be aware of any negative side effects in your body that could be caused by excessive caffeine.

The negative side effects of excessive caffeine include; insomnia, feeling nervous/jittery/anxious, stomach aches, headaches, muscle cramps and spasms.

Metabolism varies based on genetics. Some people have a stronger response to caffeine than others and it is actually caused by the genes you inherited through your ancestry. For example, some of my relatives can drink coffee right before bed and it doesn’t have an impact on their sleep. However, I have inherited genes that make me very susceptible to the effects of caffeine. Only one cup of coffee before midday is enough for me!

It is important to note that caffeine also has a diuretic effect so it will cause you to urinate more frequently as your body is receiving signals to rid the body of extra water and salts. However, various studies have shown that this mild diuretic effect will not cause dehydration, especially if you exercise after consuming caffeine.

How To Reduce Caffeine Intake:

Remember, caffeine is a drug so you want to reduce your intake slowly to avoid experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

Start by tracking the amount of caffeine you consume per day. Include all of the sources of caffeine in your diet such as tea, energy drinks, soft drinks and chocolate. You can keep a tally of your caffeine consumption any way that works for you, such as in your phone, a physical journal or a spreadsheet on your computer.

Then once you are aware of all of the ways you add caffeine to your diet, you can make the conscious decision to reduce your intake. An easy way to reduce your intake is by watering down your caffeinated drinks so that you are diluting the amount of caffeine in your cup. Steeping your caffeinated tea for longer will also make for a stronger cup of tea so try taking the tea leaves out of the water after just a few minutes. Or if you normally have 3 cups of coffee in the morning try reducing it to 2 cups to start with then make your way to one cup in the morning if that is your goal. And perhaps substitute that 3rd cup of coffee for a caffeine-free herbal tea or fruit juice so that you can still have your late morning treat or self care. Take that time for yourself, don’t feel like you’re missing out on anything.

The more you use your willpower, every time you refuse that extra dose of coffee, your willpower grows like a muscle. Also your mindset will help you on your way towards your goal, be gentle on yourself and remember to treat yourself as your friend when you fall off the bandwagon and drink that energy drink. Don’t think about the energy drink as a failure or a reason to give up, but flip it around and instead look at how long you went without an energy drink. Use that positive confidence to keep moving towards your goal, tell yourself “now is not the time to give up!”. (Hint: this same mindset can help you quit smoking or begin a new healthy habit).

I hope this information is helpful for you to move confidently towards your goals, and don’t forget to keep your cup full of positivi-tea! Or positivi-coffee, if that is your preference.

Regulating Calories-In Is More Important Than Calories-Out

The idea of Calories-In versus Calories-Out involves the calories you consume through your mouth versus how much you consume through basic metabolism and physical exercise. Your basic metabolism is the energy (in calories) that your body needs to function, eg. keep your heart beating, your lungs breathing and your cells functioning. The amount of energy your body needs to stay alive will depend on your age, gender and weight. But overall, the amount and type of energy you feed your body is more important than how much energy your body is expending.

If you eat more than your body requires then you will put on weight in the form of fat, which is the way the body stores extra energy. If you overeat by 500 calories every day you will slowly notice your waistline increase over the space of only a few years and your clothes will no longer fit you the same way.

Portion sizes have been slowly getting larger and larger over the years. I find that I can only eat half a serving from a restaurant, then I take the leftovers home to enjoy later. Remember, your stomach is about the size of your closed fist. You don’t want to keep forcing more and more food in there even after it is full.

When we do get physically active, we often overestimate the amount of calories burned from exercise. A walk around the block won’t burn off that Mars Bar. Either eat the Mars Bar or don’t. But whatever your choice, do it mindfully.

We also forget how many calories are provided by the alcohol you drink and the empty calories in the store-bought snack foods that are designed to make us keep eating. These are called Ultra-processed foods and I have written about them previously in my post: Food For Life: The Best Way To Feed Your Body

However the type of calories you provide your body will also affect the function of your organs.

For example, when you overload your bloodstream with sugar your pancreas will work overtime to bring your blood sugar levels back to a stable concentration. If your pancreas has to work so hard that it becomes impaired and breaks down, then you get Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes is the inability to regulate your blood sugar levels from within your own body.

The brain requires sugar for it to function. When you’re hungry your brain is low on sugar and it’s screaming for a quick fix. But you must use your common sense. Feed your brain foods that will break down slowly into sugars. These are called Low GI foods. The GI stands for glycemic index, which is the relative amount of time it takes for the food to raise your blood sugar levels. Low GI foods are those made of complex carbohydrates because carbohydrate molecules are just long chains of sugars stuck together. The body uses energy to break the molecules down in to sugars. High GI foods are made of sugars that are easily broken down by the body and will quickly increase the level of sugar in your blood.

To avoid overloading your organs with high concentrations of sugar you have to be mindful of what you feed your body.

You know what they say, “You are what you eat”.

Your diet can be whatever you want it to be. But be aware that what you consume will be processed by your organs.

The diet that is most suited for humans is one made up of mostly plants, some meat, and very small amounts of everything else. You want to make sure you have a diet containing various sources of fibre. The body requires a range of vitamin and trace minerals which are present in different food types. So eating the exact same meals day in and day out is not a good idea, even if they are healthy meals.

A study of a remote South American tribe indicates that a diet low in salt and fat, but rich in multiple sources of fibre, protects the heart from increased blood pressure. The study compared the blood pressure of the members from a nearby tribe that has been influenced by western foods and found that blood pressure increased with age.

Calorie deficit diet for weight loss

There’s nothing wrong with a curvy figure, but you do want to reduce the toll on your bones and joints by reducing the load they have to carry. More strain on your bones and joints will lead to osteoarthritis which will cause pain for you when you walk and try to get about your day. A calorie deficit diet basically means you’re eating less than the amount your body needs to function. If you do this in a healthy way, as directed by your doctor, then it will lead to weight loss. You will stop losing weight when you stop restricting the number of calories that you consume.

Calorie restriction diet to extend lifespan

There is some contention in the scientific community as to whether this calorie restriction diet extends lifespan as the controls of the experiments are difficult to, well, control and a lot of the experiments were done on mice instead of humans. The basic idea is that overall you want to consume less than the amount your body usually needs to live but you don’t need to restrict your consumption every day in a row. Some people like to do short fasts for their health, other people fast for religion. Either way, it appears that short lengths of fasting have a beneficial effect on our health. Sometimes you might have a day where you treat yourself and consume all of the calories in sight. But these calorific days can be balanced out with a more modest intake on the other days of the week. If that suits your personality type of course!

Some people are unable to moderate their intake due to their personality and relationship with food.

Your own mental health can have a huge impact on how you interact with food. Be mindful of this so that you can have awareness and control over your health.

If you are unable to open a block of chocolate without finishing the entire packet then, for your health, it’s safer not to have that block of chocolate in the house unless you’re allowing yourself a rare treat.

If you are consuming a 6 pack of beer every night after work then you are basically eating an extra meal every day. But those calories aren’t keeping your body healthy.

Recognise your feelings towards food and why you are making the food choices that you are making. Think first before feeding yourself, your health is at stake…..mmmmmm steak.

Thank you so much for reading. I hope this post is helpful to you and your family.

Please visit my Youtube Channel for more health and science from me, Queeenvk.

Digital Decluttering For Digital Hoarders

Do you have collections of things like photos and files and little mementos that evoke fond memories? I’ve always been a collector of things, especially when they have sentimental value.

Sometimes a collection can get out of control if you don’t trim it and organise it. If it becomes an overwhelming hoard it can cause stress and mental exhaustion. However, it’s usually difficult to see the hoard of digital clutter when it’s tucked away in your hard drive, photo gallery, archived files and all of those forgotten USB sticks stashed in the junk drawer of your kitchen/desk/storeroom.

It’s a good idea to regularly de-clutter the digital storage locations of your life, otherwise it becomes more difficult to store and locate the things that you need in your life. Think of how long it takes for your computer to search through large amount of data. As you add more data, more processing will be required to sort through the data.

Tip 1: Unsubscribe

There is no need to stay subscribed to marketing emails if they are just cluttering up your inbox. When you find yourself deleting the marketing emails instead of actually opening and engaging with them, that is a good time to locate the Unsubscribe button. Each email you receive in your inbox takes up time and mental effort from another task. Make your email inbox work for you by setting up filters for certain emails. You can also create all different folders in your inbox to sort your emails and make it easier to locate important information. For example, I have a folder for any emails that contain details and documents required for my next tax return. That way, when tax time comes around, I just open the folder and then I have what I need to fill out my tax return, including receipts and invoices to be claimed back.

Tip 2: Cull photos

Now that we no longer have to print each photo we take just to view it, it becomes easier to take more photos of the same thing. I know I have a lot of duplicate images, some more in-focus than others, so it’s easy to delete the duplicates without worrying about losing any information. Delete your blurry photos and any duplicate images that aren’t useful to future-you. Make sure to cull the photos in your phone, computer, tablet and any other photo storage locations. Even if you are removing the photos from your gallery and transferring them to a cloud-based storage location you should still consider de-cluttering the photos saved on the cloud. First, it will be much easier to look back through the photos once you’ve condensed your collection to just the meaningful images. Second, storing data on the cloud doesn’t mean the data isn’t taking up space anymore, it’s just not taking up space on your PC or phone. The cloud actually stores the data in a physical location which takes up space. The virtual storage space is not infinite so there are concerns about where we will fit all our data in the future, as all the data just keeps piling up every day.

Tip 3: Organise your Computer Desktop (or phone homepage)

When you’re at your computer, do you save all of the new files to your desktop? And is your desktop now so full you can’t fit anything else or find what you need? We all know someone who has all of those icons filling up the desktop so that you can’t even see the background image.

First, make sure that the files you save are saved to a meaningful location. You can make your own folders within folders to sort everything! Then when you need to locate the file again and you’ve forgotten which folder it’s in, you can search the entire PC or the approximate file location and the path to the desired file will be revealed. And the search won’t take as long because you’ve already decluttered all the blurry and duplicate photos that were clogging up the memory on the hard drive.

On your phone homepage you don’t need to store all of the icons for all of the apps. Just select the handful of apps that you constantly open up and only add those shortcut icons to the homepage. Or you can even find a widget or 2 for your homepage to help you out and increase productivity. For example, I use a note taking widget that I have pinned to my homepage that shows me all of my latest To Do tasks and reminders at a glance. I no longer need to write reminders on scraps of paper or the back of my hand!

Tip 4: Delete obsolete documents and uninstall programs

Just like keeping all your old school work, it can be tempting to keep all of the essays and reports you wrote for those undergrad university assignments. But what if I need to refer back to it later?! Sure, if there are documents and topics that are related to your career, hobby or important life event then you can store them in a way that makes it easy to locate and sort through the information, eg. In folders or in an app. But if you’re just keeping your first year chemistry assignments because you’re proud of them then it’s time to let go, be proud of the memory of your time at university. You can keep the graduation certificate but not the assignment about valence electrons.

Any old programs and apps that you’re no longer using on your computer and phone can easily be uninstalled in a few clicks. Be careful about uninstalling programs on your computer if you don’t know what they do. One time when I was just a teenager I thought I’d declutter my slow PC by uninstalling some programs I didn’t need. Alas, I deleted the sound card drivers and had to restore my computer to a previous date to fix my mistake. What a n00b.

Thanks so much for reading. I hope you found this content useful. If you’d like to show your support please subscribe to my Youtube Channel. And feel free to reply in the comments with your digital decluttering tips!

Food For Life: The Best Way To Feed Your Body

What you choose to feed your body is one of the most important things that you do to it every day. Are you consistently choosing the right foods to keep your body running happily and healthily? The benefits of a healthy diet are far reaching throughout the body as the old adage says, you are what you eat. The food that you regularly feed your body can affect your organs, immune system, lifespan and your risk of developing chronic illnesses such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Feed Your Microbes Right

You may have heard about the microbes (microorganisms) in your gut and how a balance of good bacteria can counteract the bad bacteria. Our gut microbes control the amounts of fat and nutrients that are processed from our food and eventually absorbed into the body. A recent study has revealed that ultra-processed foods such as lollies and chips feed the bad bacteria in our gut and encourage them to take over the population, pushing the good bacteria out of a home.

A healthy diet involves a range of fibre sources to feed your gut bacteria and provide you with the full range of nutrients that your body requires. So you will need to make sure you consume different foods with different types of fibre including vegetables, fruits, grains and nuts.

Ultra processed foods are defined as containing at least one ingredient that isn’t normally used in a regular kitchen. These extra ingredients are often emulsifiers and flavour enhancers that are added to increase palatability of the food. Ultra processed foods have low nutritional value, are less filling and have been designed to have a better mouth-feel and flavour than the competition on the shelves. This makes you eat more and buy more because your body won’t feel satisfied with just one square of chocolate or one Pringle. Once you pop…

Not only are ultra processed foods designed to make you eat more but they help to feed the bad bacteria in your gut. When you feed your body a range of different foods you introduce both soluble and insoluble fibre into your gut. Both forms of fibre are considered to be good but they affect the population of human gut bacteria differently. More research is required on how they each affect the gut, but what we do know is that a diet low in fibre produces an inflammatory response in the gut. This is because good bacteria break the fibre molecules into short-chain fatty acids which provide an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. When you aren’t eating enough fibre, your gut isn’t protected from inflammation which can kill off the good bacteria. That’s when the bad bacteria can take over. Now you’re in trouble, the bad bacteria don’t produce anti-inflammatory compounds and can make your gut even more inflamed. Over time the low level inflammation causes health issues throughout the body including reducing the strength of your immune system and increasing your risk of chronic inflammatory illness in the gut.

The Healthy Eating Pyramid as of July 2021 https://nutritionaustralia.org/fact-sheets/healthy-eating-pyramid/

Let’s Get Nutritional

As omnivores, humans require a certain percentage of protein to keep our body running. Therefore the body will feel hungry until you feed it the right portion of protein. Protein is relatively expensive so ultra processed foods are often low in protein and instead are filled with high levels of fats, carbohydrates sugars and salt. When we eat a diet consisting of a mainly processed foods we wind up eating more because the body will feel hungrier despite the large number of calories consumed.

A diet high in ultra processed foods is a diet that is low in nutritional value and eventually leads to low quality health. Be aware that these processed foods are “high GI” or have a High Glycemic Index. When you induce a high glycemic response in the body, over and over again, you overwork the organs and cells that are responsible for balancing the sugar levels in the blood. Eventually they stop working as well as they should and this leads to pre-diabetes, then if you let it go further out of control the disease can develop into diabetes. Diabetes is a serious chronic illness that, although common, does require specific care to ensure quality of life.

Due to the lack of nutritional value in packaged junk foods and ready meals, as well as the ultra processed ingredients, people who consume too much can become obese and malnourished. The best way to feed your body is to provide a large variety of food types, sticking to the ratios outlined in the Food Pyramid. Basically the idea is to have everything in moderation but eat mostly plants.

Everything in moderation but eat mostly plants

A diet that contains various sources of fibre is the ideal option for your organs and therefore your overall health.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I have enjoyed writing it. Please follow this blog and subscribe to my YouTube Channel for more health knowledge based in science.

The Science Behind Food Poisoning From Leftovers

Bacteria are an important part of life on Earth. They use enzymes to break down dead matter and convert it back into a form that can be used to create new life. For example, manure and composted food waste are used to feed farm crops or plants in the garden. You might recall the nitrogen cycle and the carbon cycle from chemistry class in high school. Bacteria are vital for these life cycles to continue to work.

Some of these bacteria are able to produce toxins as a personal defence mechanism or they have special ways to avoid our immune system and make a home among our cells, causing an infection. When we have an infection in our gut we call it gastroenteritis, or gastro for short. Several different types of bacteria and viruses can infect the human gut but the term gastro applies to any infection of the gut. The symptoms of gastro normally involve diarrhoea, vomiting and nausea as the infection disrupts the normal function of our digestive system. Sometimes it takes a large amount of pathogen to overcome our immune system, and other bacteria only need to grow to a small population before they can cause harm. So it’s safest to reduce your risk of infection at every step of the food prep and storage process.

The bacteria that can infect our digestive system like to live at around the human core temperature of 37°C. They thrive at this temperature. So if you have a fever or localised inflammation warming up the infection, this is the body’s way of trying to overheat and kill the infecting object, also known as a pathogen. This part of the immune system is non-specific to the kind of pathogen that is infecting the body. The body also has other non-specific immune system mechanisms and some of these are exploited by specific bacteria so that the pathogens can avoid the immune system.

So if some of these bacteria can get past our immune system how do we protect ourselves from being infected with such bacteria that could cause us harm?

How To Prevent Food Poisoning From Leftovers

1. Reheat leftovers properly:

You must reheat your leftovers to above 70°C to ensure any present bacteria are killed. However, bacterial toxins are not destroyed by heat and can still make you sick if there is bacteria present that is generating a toxin.

Freezing does not kill bacteria it just slows the growth down to the point of hibernation. The bacteria will begin to grow normally again when they are brought back up to their optimal temperature for life.

2. Store food properly:

Leftovers are safe to stay at 4°C (your usual fridge temperature) for up to 3-4 days. When you are ready to eat some of the leftover food you should transfer it from the refrigerated storage container to another vessel to heat if you aren’t going to finish it all in this sitting. This will reduce the amount of contamination you introduce to the storage container. If you put your dirty spoon in the container then put it back in the fridge the bacteria from your mouth/the kitchen bench, that is now on your spoon, will slowly grow (because it’s cold in the fridge) over the next couple of days and you run the risk of growing enormous amounts potential pathogens inside the container. Like a petri dish of bacteria sitting in all that delicious food. Loving life. Compared to the small amount of bacteria that can survive temporarily on your teeth will have no trouble increasing their population in your container of food. Have you ever left a container too long in the fridge only to find it has turned into a science experiment?

3. Prepare food properly:

Washing your hands before preparing food will massively reduce the risk of introducing harmful bacteria to the dish. Every time you rub your nose on the back of your hand the bacteria from your nose can be introduced to the dish by accident. If you’re wearing gloves to protect yourself or the ingredients from bacteria, make sure the gloves don’t touch your phone or your hair or skin. That negates the reason for the gloves as they are meant to contain and control the contamination of your work or yourself.

Wash your fresh fruits and vegetables before you eat or cook with them to remove any harmful bacteria and fungi that may have been introduced to the crop during the fertilisation process. Fertiliser is great for plants but not so much for humans.

Ensure cooking times and temperatures allow the entire dish of food to be brought into the “safe zone” above 60°C, particularly for risky meats like chicken and pork. Pathogens can’t normally survive above this temperature but sometimes your microwave doesn’t heat the food evenly, so give it a stir about halfway through reheating leftovers. Or the sausages in the oven need to be turned over halfway through cooking to make sure each section of the sausage has reached above 60°C.

Regarding the dangers of raw chicken and eggs:

Salmonella poisoning can occur if poultry isn’t prepared properly or if poultry manure has touched the surface of the meat or eggs then it is ingested by humans. The bacteria lives normally in the gut of chickens and other poultry. So this means chicken manure contains Salmonella. Sometimes chicken poop gets on the outside of your eggs and not every country washes the eggs before sale in the supermarket. So please always wash your hands after handling eggshells, sincerely, this germophobe right here (me).

But knowledge is power so I feel powerful enough to avoid food poisoning and I hope now you do too. Honestly, all those years of studying microbiology and the immune system at university has helped me through my germophobia and empowered me to live more freely.

Thanks so much for reading! Stay safe and keep your cup full of positivi-tea.

Visit my YouTube channel for more Full Cup Wellness from me, Queeenvk with 3 e’s.

Crafting People Are Happy People

How good is it to just sit back for a relaxing crafternoon (crafting in the afternoon)? It feels so rewarding when we finish a project and stand back to admire our handiwork, so it is no surprise to hear that there are emotional and neurological benefits of learning a new skill and letting your creativity loose.

Scientific research shows that crafting lowers stress and can help reduce feelings of anxiety. Levels of the stress-hormone cortisol decreases during and after performing creative craft activities.

While you’re crafting you are connecting to the present world around you instead of being stuck in the worries of the past or future. Your brain power is taken up by something far more productive and useful for your health. Some people use art as a therapeutic or meditative process to clear and calm the mind.

Inventing new ideas and exploring old ones in a different way can be so rewarding. It brings on those feelings of self accomplishment as well as expanding your mind to see new perspectives.

You’ve probably heard that doing crossword puzzles staves off dementia by helping keep the brain active. Basically, when you don’t use it – you lose it, so if you’re making new connections in your brain you’re keeping it active. Whether your hobby is crossword puzzles or creating a new piece of art, you are keeping those neural connections in working order.

There are many different types of crafts that are available for you to try. Find one that resonates with you and practice it, letting your mind flow with creativity.

My favourite craft at the moment is crochet. It took me a bit of practice, but once I got the hang of it, it just clicked for me. The repeating movements are quite soothing, as long as you take breaks to rest your hands! Here are some of my previous posts related to crochet crafts.

Here is a list of some other crafts you might like to try, maybe there are some you’ve always wanted to try or maybe you will find something new that you never considered before:

Origami/paper art

Painting

Sewing/needlework

Yarn crafts such as knitting, macrame, etc.

Scrapbooking

Lettering/calligraphy

Clay sculpting/pottery

Resin pouring

Flower pressing or flower arranging

Origami cranes

Reply in the comments with the crafts you love and the crafts that you’ve always wanted to try. Which crafts interest you and which crafts have you tried but didn’t like? For me, I’ve tried sewing and embroidery but they are too complex and confusing for me to grasp, whereas crochet clicked in my brain and I understand it a lot easier. Isn’t neurology so fascinating?!

Please visit and subscribe to my YouTube Channel for more from me, QueeenVk. ❤

Why Should I Take Care Of My Teeth?

It’s easy to neglect your teeth and take them for granted. Especially when they’re working just fine and not causing you any pain. Invest in taking care of your teeth and gums because you only get one set. When they are damaged the pain can be debilitating and you become vulnerable to a host of other preventable health issues.

Prevention is better than cure

Finding a good dentist is like finding the right psychologist. You need to feel comfortable and safe when you’re in such a vulnerable situation, when the mouth is unprotected and you’ll be experiencing a fight or flight response to subconsciously protect you from potential danger. Find a dentist that doesn’t make you feel nervous and you will find it much easier to make regular check up appointments.

Invest in your teeth because you only get one set…. Unless you have a lot of money or great health cover. If you haven’t taken care of your mouth and you’re experiencing pain when eating then you can appreciate the importance of regular check ups from the dentist. The pain can even eventually prevent you from eating your favourite foods.

Another surprising reason to look after your mouth health is that damage inside your mouth can cause heart disease. There is a lot of bacteria in the mouth, but none in the bloodstream. If bacteria is able to enter your bloodstream through some damage in your gums or mouth tissues, then that bacteria can travel to the heart.

When you visit the dentist and nothing is wrong or damaged, they can still perform a deep clean. This thorough clean will remove the built up plaque that you don’t regularly remove with brushing.

What is plaque and why should I care about it?

Have you heard of plaque? If you don’t remove plaque build up on your teeth it can harden over time and cause your teeth to weaken and wear away. Why is plaque so powerful? Because it’s made up of a biofilm. Biofilms are layers of different bacterial colonies built up over time. The tooth surface is quite smooth which makes it difficult for bacteria to adhere, except for some species of bacteria. These then create the perfect surface for a different species of bacteria to cling to. Then the next species can join on and the next and the next. Each layer creates the pH and other conditions required for the next type of bacteria to take advantage of. But now you have a film of bacteria eating away at your teeth. You need to brush your teeth twice a day, followed by flossing to remove all of the bad bacteria before it can wreak havoc on your teeth.

Acidic drinks and foods like oranges, juice and soft drinks soften the enamel of the teeth. Brushing your teeth while the acid is present and softening your tooth enamel will erode the enamel away. You should wait to brush your teeth at least 30 minutes after consuming acidic food or drink. Or, if you’re out of time, you can dilute the acid in your mouth by swishing with water before you brush.

Brush your teeth and tongue regularly and carefully. Use soft bristle brushes to ensure you don’t cause damage or recede your gums with over brushing.

Toothbrush tip: Keep your toothbrush fresh. Change your brush every 3 months, which is about the time is takes to wear the bristles into that bent out mess. The way to remember this is to change it at the change of the seasons. In the Southern Hemisphere we count the beginning of summer as the first of December. So I changed my toothbrush last week ready for summer. Too easy.

Environmental health tip: Avoid plastic toothbrushes. Think about the amount of toothbrushes that have been created since they were invented. That is too much plastic waste, and counting. To reduce my impact on the Earth I’ve been buying bamboo toothbrushes and wheat straw toothbrushes then reusing them as small cleaning brushes when I’m done. After that the bristles are removed and the stick part either is used in my garden or is put in the compost bin.

Additional note: If you clench your jaw or grind your teeth during the daytime you can speak to your dentist about botox treatments to relax your jaw muscles. This will prevent further damage to your teeth and the inside of your mouth without having to wear a mouth guard during the day.

Thanks so much for reading. Please visit my YouTube channel and subscribe for more from me, Queeenvk. Stay safe and healthy and keep your cup full of positivi-tea.

Posture Matters

Posture check! Are you hunching over your screen or keyboard right now? When you bend your head, like when you use your phone, your neck muscles are working to hold the weight of your head. All of this extra stress on your neck and shoulders can cause headaches, back and neck pain and a permanent curve of your spine such as a hunch.

Another surprising link to bad posture is acid reflux! When you sit hunched over you constrict the flow of digestive juices through your digestive system. This can cause the acids in your gut to be pushed back up, causing that feeling of acid reflux and indigestion.

Studies have shown that good posture has an affect on the mind as well as the body. When you walk into job interview with your head up and your back straight you not only give a good impression on the people around you but you also feel more powerful. Compare this with a shy stance, shoulders rounded and face pointed towards the ground – this gives the impression of a lack of confidence.

While the emotional effects of good posture are important, maybe you’re looking to improve your physical health when performing day to day tasks.

When your neck muscles are straining to hold up your head and your shoulders are rounded over, that extra load on the muscles will cause them to fatigue. You’ll notice pain in your neck and shoulders after sitting at your work desk for hours without a break. Headaches become more common as these muscles are knotted and tensed up.

Note: No one really knows what the knots in our muscles are but they can be alleviated by stretching and massage.

The mayoclinic.org website has this handy advice for using your phone in an ergonomic way to prevent back and neck pain:

Avoid looking down at your phone

Looking down at a smartphone can cause you to flex your neck and strain your cervical spine (A). When standing and looking at your phone, maintain good posture and aim to hold your phone close to eye level (B). When sitting and looking at your phone, sit upright and use armrests — or alternatively a desk or pillow — to support your arms.

Source: mayoclinic.org

There are more ergonomic tips for sitting at a computer or desk. These include making sure your feet are flat on the ground and your spine has a natural arch, without the shoulders hunched forwards.

Source: mayoclinic.org

So remember to hold your chin up. Look the world in the eye. I hope this was interesting and useful information. Thanks for reading!

Visit http://www.youtube.com/queeenvk for more Full Cup Wellness health tips. For some silliness and little handy life tips my tiktok is queeenvk (don’t forget those 3 e’s).

The power of journaling

What is journaling?

The basic idea is that you record your thoughts, emotions and experiences. Normally this is done daily in a book. The act of writing things down encourages the information to be stored more effectively in your memory.

Why journal? Is it right for you?

Writing down your thoughts right before sleep can help to release your brain from the noise of the day. Or you might like to keep record of exciting or happy memories. For example, I have a memory that I wrote in 3 separate journals because it was so exciting at the time. At the age of 10 I watched a dog give birth to a litter of puppies. In my first 10 years of life that was the most amazing thing I had ever experienced and I needed to record it. Eventually my young mind started worrying I would forget my memories and made sure to journal all my family holidays and various events in my life. Now in my 30s I gladly live mindfully in the moment without fear of forgetting the past. We do not need to be attached to our past in a way that affects our mental health negatively.

Writing things down can help you to let some difficult emotions go. Once the thoughts and fears are set out on the page in front of you they don’t seem so big and overwhelming. And bonus, you don’t feel the pressure to keep the thoughts and memories in your head because they’re recorded for you already. That takes a lot of stress off your brain.

According to various articles from psychological research there are positive and negative outcomes to journaling. It can either help you understand yourself in relation to others or it can hinder your self discovery journey if you only concentrate on “yourself in isolation”. The results of a collection of research articles include the following positive and negative outcomes of journaling.

The pros of journaling

  • Encourages you to evaluate your reactions and emotions
    • Identify action vs reaction. Reaction is what we do with our “monkey brain” when we act on impulse without consideration.
  • Allows you to find resolutions to open issues
    • You can see all aspects of a problem when it’s written out in front of you.
  • Clarifies your views and motivations.
  • Focuses your negative energy into creativity and positivity.
  • Increases your tolerance of change and unpredictable or unexpected situations.
  • Improves mental health by making you feel more connected to the world around you.
  • Helps you define your goals and encourages action through motivation.

The cons of journaling

  • Causes negative rumination
    • You live within your own negative thoughts.
  • Prevents you from living in the moment
    • You begin to focus on how you’ll record your life events instead of experiencing them.
  • Makes you become egocentric and obsessed with your needs.
  • Allows you to blame the situations around you but not come to any positive conclusions.
  • Prevent resilience by encouraging thoughts to remain on negative experiences.

Maintaining the habit of journaling regularly can be a challenge. Although it becomes easy once it becomes part of your daily routine. Encourage yourself to keep at it by making it a fun and rewarding experience. Use different coloured pens and highlighters to really engage with your journal pages. I have an old sticker collection from my youth that I’m re-purposing in my journals, cards, labels and craft. Some are those holographic stickers from the 90s, they really jazz up a sparse journal page.

Thanks so much for reading! Comment below with your journal experiences. Or share your tips and hints to make the most of our journaling journey.

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