What We’re Reading – First edition

Brain Food

Twice per month, we’ll be bringing you the LifeVest edition of what we’re reading to fuel your brain, boost your motivation, and provide you with education aimed towards your health. You’ll find articles on everything from diet to fitness to well-being, along with a few fun reads thrown in there with a focus on health.

Brain food for health: A snippet of what we’re reading from around the web.

  • Pedal pollution out of the air, one bicycle trip at a time. That’s the theory behind Matt Hope’s latest invention, a bike designed to filter and clean the air as he rides around Beijing, China.  The bike needs some tweaking before it’d ever take off in the commercial market. However, if and when it does, sign us up for a spin please. Read more here.
  • Cricket bars, the new Clif Bars? Outside Magazine discusses what may be the next paleo nutrition craze – insect energy bars. A new food company is whipping up bars with flavors like PB&J, Cashew-Ginger, and Cacao Nut, that all pack in 10 grams of protein per bar. Their secret ingredient? Cricket flour.
  • What we’re making – Magenta Crusted Asparagus PIZZA. When spring comes into full bloom, so does asparagus. Lucky for us, once the green stalks take off, there’s no stopping them.  In warm, mid-season weather, asparagus can grow as quickly as 1 cm per hour – which means there’ll be plenty at your local farmer’s market to make this gorgeous pink pizza. Click here for the recipe.
  • 5 things you didn’t know about caffeine. Get the low down on caffeine from Refinery29 – how it works, how much will kill you, and other interesting facts. For example, the amount of caffeine in a Starbucks “grande” coffee is equivalent to seven cans of Red Bull.
  • Good morning sunshine. Women’s Health mag brings us the one rise and shine tip for losing weight that doesn’t involve food or exercise.
  • Want to improve your health? There’s an app for that. Okay, so your phone can’t do everything for you. Whether it’s your diet, your fitness routine, or your sleep schedule, you’ll need to put in some personal power to boost your health, but these 7 apps recommended by the Greatist team are here to lend you a hand.

Workplace Health Incentive Programs

Liz Myers, September 24, 2013

Courtesy of Collective Inktelligence

It is no surprise that poor diets and lack of exercise are major contributors to our country’s serious health issues such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Often, poor health decisions are either due to lack of knowledge or lack of motivation. So, logically, in order make our country healthier, people must be educated and motivated. Read the rest of this entry »

Boosting Energy

Lizzie Myers, August 27, 2013

Sometimes, the hardest part of the day isn’t waking up in the morning…it’s staying awake past lunchtime. Every hour after 2pm takes a lifetime to pass and you’re fighting every urge to crawl under your desk to take a nap. Early mornings and hours of deskwork is the perfect concoction for that afternoon crash. Don’t let your boss catch you snoozing! Take these tips to stay energized until that glorious time comes to head home.

Make sure to get a healthy dose of sunshine every day. Many offices light their workspace with the most grim and unflattering lights. Why fluorescent lighting still exists is beyond me, but don’t let it get you down. Start your day with a walk (it will be worth sacrificing a mere 20 minutes of sleep!), eat your lunch outside, and make sure your office’s blinds are up.

Read the rest of this entry »

Quick Breakfasts to Rev you up for a Happy and Healthy Day!

Lizzie Myers, August 20, 2013

Getting your food to look this pretty takes more time. On weekends, challenge yourself to get creative!

Your mother wasn’t lying to you: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A hearty breakfast gives you energy so you can start the day right. It also kick starts your metabolism for the rest of the day, so your body is prepared to digest any food you put into it. Without breakfast, your body feels starved and your metabolism slows down to conserve energy. For those dieters who feel that they are “saving calories” by skipping an AM meal, this tactic has been proven to backfire. After not eating over night, you need some nourishment. Forgoing breakfast will cause you to become famished by lunchtime, often resulting in an afternoon binge fest.

Read the rest of this entry »

Stretching at the Office can Prevent Stiff Muscles and Relieve Stress

By Lizzie Myers, August 5, 2013

Image courtesy of Traumeel.

At the office, it’s easy to switch into zombie mode. You click away at the keyboard as your eyes glaze over and before you know it, hours have passed and you haven’t budged from your desk. Heck, even your so-called “breaks” are just to check the score of last night’s game or to make a killer move in Words with Friends. By the end of the day, your body feels twice its age. Don’t panic, you don’t need to buy yourself a cane. Unfortunately, they are nature’s way of telling you that you work too hard. Lucky for you, there are ways to avoid premature stiffness and feel like yourself again. Read the rest of this entry »

Jumping Rope Isn’t Just For Kids Anymore

By Lizzie Myers, LifeVest Health Blog, July 31, 2013

For many of us, the hardest part of getting into a fitness routine is the time commitment. With only 24 hours in a day, we are forced to maximize and prioritize. Health should always be a top priority, but how can we maximize a brief work out so that we have time for everything else? Simply channel your inner kid with a jump rope.

It may sound silly, but this childhood favorite can significantly cut down your fitness routine. It burns more calories and fat per minute than a run on the treadmill, while effectively toning your arms and legs. So essentially, a run, a visit to the weight room, and a few sets of lunges can all be traded for merely 20 or 30 minutes of jumping rope. Pretty efficient, huh?

Might I add, a jump rope is quite a bit more portable than an elliptical machine and dumbbells. No need to find time to get to the gym, just pop your jump rope into your work bag and all you need is 30 minutes to spare. During your lunch break or after work, head to your office’s parking lot or a nearby park. In just 30 minutes of jumping rope, you’ll burn about 300 calories!

Here are a few tips to get started:

  • When buying a rope, step on the middle and make sure the handles reach your shoulders. If you are under 4’10”, you should buy a 6 ft. jump rope, 4’10”-5’5” a 7 ft. rope, 5’6”-6’ an 8 ft. rope, and if you are taller than 6’, you should buy a 10 ft. rope.

  • To maximize heart rate and calories burned, you should alternate the speed of your jumping, as well as some other exercises. For example, jump fast for 2 minutes, slow for 5 minutes, then do squats for a minute and continue.

  • Always make sure to stretch before and after a work out! This will help prevent injuries and will keep you from feeling stiff and sore afterwards. Check out some simple stretches here: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stretching/SM00043


The Superheroes that Live in your Kitchen

By Lizzie Myers, July 29, 2013 LifeVest Health,

Image courtesy of The Gracious Pantry


If you’ve ever shopped at Whole Foods or so much as skimmed through a health magazine, you’ve heard the term “superfood.” The name alone sounds promising, but with so many health trends these days, it’s difficult to keep up with the benefits that each one claims to offer.

Here is an analogy you aren’t likely to forget: superfoods, as their name suggests, are comparable to Superman. Just as Clark Kent kept his powers a secret, superfoods are disguised as seemingly average foods that may even be sitting in your refrigerator right now. While Superman fought crime, superfoods fight cancer, heart disease, memory loss, and many other bodily villains.

How, you ask? Their superpowers come in the form of “large doses of antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals,” according to Health.com. And as if these health benefits weren’t enough, these nutrient-packed foods are delicious and easy to fit into any diet.

So, which foods qualify as superfoods and what makes them such heroes? Here are a few favorites:


Yup, your favorite cereal topping has a secret identity. Believe it or not, these bite-sized berries are chock-full of antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber, and phytonutrients. This powerful combination gives your immune system a major boost and may help to prevent heart disease, memory loss, and some cancers.



Our parents weren’t kidding when they told us to eat our broccoli. The vegetable’s abundance in vitamin C, calcium and fiber boost the immune system while chemicals called isothiocyanates have been proven to take down cancer cells. True superheroes if you ask me.


Chia Seeds:

Image courtesy of Azchia

This superfood is a bit lesser known, but its plentiful health benefits are beginning to take the spotlight. The tiny seeds are an incredible source of Omega-3, which prevents arthritis and heart disease. They also slow down the absorption of carbohydrates into the body, which helps to control blood sugar and curb food cravings. Simply sprinkle 20g worth into your oatmeal, a smoothie, or fruit juice and let this superfood work its magic.


To reap the ultimate benefits of the formidable superfoods, make sure to eat a wide variety. Click here for more information and a longer list of the healthful foods!

Happy Health! 

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