How to Eat Your Christmas Tree – Edible & Healthy Pine Needles!

Decked out in lights and ornaments, your Christmas tree is capable of doing more than just stand pretty. The same goes for that evergreen proudly stretching its branches in your backyard.

Those needles your tree displays are chock full of vitamins A & C, with a minty, fresh, and pine-like flavor. And you better believe they are edible.

Not sure what pine tastes like? Go ahead and grab a needle from the tree and find out. All pine needles are suitable to eat, though you may find that you enjoy the flavor of some types over others. Just steer clear of any trees you believe may have been sprayed with pesticides.

We suggest chewing on their ends, almost like a stick of gum, or steeping them into a tea, the most common way pines are consumed. Here’s a recipe to get your started.  Once you create the simple tea, add a little honey and drink as is, or use the vitamin tonic to flavor soups, breads, and sauces, or any other recipe you in which you might add a liquid.

It’s a great way to try something new, and really put your holiday tree to use – especially when you’re about to send it out the door at the end of the season. However, if you’re feeling a bit dubious about Pine Needle tea, we’ve put together a collection of other wintertime tea tonics for boosting your health and keeping you warm. Check out a few of our favorites below!

Lemon Ginger Tea Read the rest of this entry »

Home Exercises for the Coldest of Days

Exercise at home

By Lizzie Meyers

About half the country has experienced record low temperatures in the past week. Chances are that these areas of the country are experiencing record low gym visits as well for this time of year. Unless you’re a penguin or some sort of snowshoe enthusiast, braving wind chills and icy roads to get to the gym is far from pleasant. Rather than calling it quits until the temperatures rise, keep up your fitness routine without even leaving the house. If you happen to live in a warm part of the country (lucky you!), and simply can’t stand the epic post New Years crowds, these tips will do you well, too.

Try these easy ways to stay active and toned without any equipment at all.

Dance Like Nobody’s Watching

Literally! Where better to jam out as wildly as you so desire than in the privacy of your home? Throw on your favorite tunes and dance for 30 minutes. Before you know it, you’ll be drenched in sweat and full of energy. Just make sure you really get into it for more cardio benefits, and of course, for more fun. Sometimes, the best workout is that which you’d never call “exercise”.

Lunge It for Lustier Legs

Find some open space in your house and do a few sets of lunges. Start with one set of 10 if you’re a beginner, as lunges can be quite a strenuous workout at first. Then, as it gets easier, work your way up with each additional workout.

For this exercise, you essentially will step one foot in front of the other as far as you can and bend the front leg without letting your front knee bend further than your front foot. I.e., when bending, strive to keep your front leg towards a 90-degree angle. The other leg stays straight behind you. Alternate legs as you lunge across the room. For muscle toning, hold weights in both arms. For more of a cardio fix, pick up the pace and lunge in place.

Weight Train with Household Items

Who needs weights or fancy machines? Likely you’re surrounded by tons of everyday items that vary in weight, so you take your pick as you see accordingly. Grab a bottle of laundry detergent, the orange juice carton in the fridge, or any other item that feels like the weight you are used to lifting and tone those arms the way you usually would at the gym.

Do Some Good Old-fashioned Crunches

I strongly believe that simple crunches are more effective than any abs machine at the gym. Crunches, sit ups, planks, the whole sha-ab-ang can really be done anywhere – all you need is a floor! So park your booty, and get to it.

Don’t let nasty weather conditions hold you back from staying in shape. At LifeVest, we’re not ones to love excuses, weather-oriented ones included. Try these simple, at-home exercises and by the time you get back to the gym, you’ll be able to easily pick back up from where you started. There’s no having to re-work back up your endurance when you don’t let yourself fall out of shape.