Saturday, 24 November 2018

Sun Rise Alarm Clock

Another day another post on to help combat Seasonal Effective Disorder or SAD.

I like to think the doctors who thought up the name worked tirelessly to make sure it fit such an apt abbreviation then did took themselves on a sun filled holiday in the name of research.

This time I am looking at the Lumie active 250 wake up light alarm clock which gradually brightens your room.

This simulates the sun rise to gently cox you from  dreams rather then being wrenched from them by a traditional alarm.

I was a bit worried that light alone would not wake me but I need not of feared with Lumie having the good sense to add a variety of alarms to chose from as well as a built in FM radio as a back up.

You can select a dawn chorus, ocean waves, back up beeper, rooster call and white noise.
 They all annoy me equally but they do the job in waking me up if the light fails to.

The Lumie also comes with a sunset feature with the lamp gradually dimmer the room, winding you down to help you drift off to sleep.

But it does it work?

During the summer it was absolutely amazing, I was waking up full of energy and feeling completely refreshed.

As for winter despite my best efforts SAD  set in and  the light hasn't really done anything for me.

It's still much nicer waking up in the light though. 
I am hopeful when my mood improves I will start seeing the benefits I had in the summer.

I really do love my Lumie I don't  love how annoying  it is to set up or change the alarms or settings.

 I am used to it now but still I find it a real chore to have to alter anything.

A mobile app would be superb if the makers could manage it. 
I am still in the habit of setting an  alarm on my phone so it linking the two would make for a more fluid experience.

I paid £69.99 on Amazon but there are cheaper and more expensive offerings offering you more features the more you pay. 

Click here if you want to check it out.

I chose the one I have because I wanted the 90 minute gradual sun rise/ sun set feature but do have a look about to see what is going to work best for you and your bank balance.

I would  recommend a sun rise alarm clock to anyone, not just those that are suffering from SAD, it's a much easier and lighter way to be woken up.


Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Duronic SAD Lamp

Following on from my post on Seasonal Effective Disorder I did say that I would do a write up for   my  Duronic SADV1 medically certified SAD light therapy box so here it is.

First I feel I need to into the difference between traditional lights and SAD lights.

  SAD lamps are much brighter than their traditional counter parts and they also give full spectrum light which mimics natural sunlight encouraging the production of the happy hormone serotonin and the sleep hormone melotonin.

This lamp is bright, it's not something I could use a nice little table lamp it is just like having your curtains open with the sun beaming in., the picture I took does not do it any sort of justice.

With the lamp being so bright I do find it a little uncomfortable to sit with it on.
 This is potentially due to the tension headaches I suffer and a sensitivity to light.

 Fun fact bright lights can make me sneeze until I adjust to them.

This doesn't mean that you won't be able to sit quite comfortably with yours on but I don't have your eyes so I can't give any guarantees.  

You only need to sit with your lamp for 30 minutes to an hour and can start to feel the benefits within a couple of minutes and is best used in the morning to give you a lovely little energy boost.

Using the lamp later in the day can impact your sleep making it harder to drift off.

"But do the lamps work " I hear you cry!

 Disappointingly the science is out on this with not 100% in agreement with it being effective in around 85% of diagnosed cases of SAD.

If you were looking for a miracle cure then light therapy might absolutely tick that box but then again it might not.

In my own personal experience I found my lamp does work when I use it, however I don't use it frequently enough.

I find it incredibly hard to get up in a morning in the winter so I wake up as late as possible.

 When I do claw my way out of bed  I am scrambling to  get ready for work, having a shower, possibly ironing my clothes etc  leaving me little time to sit in front my lamp and bask it's brilliant glow.

I think I will invest in a automatic timer for it to turn it's self on in the morning because light therapy does have a mark improvement on my mood and energy. 

For £69.99 I paid on Amazon I feel it really is a worth while investment  I only wish the lamp was smaller and came with a built in timer so I didn't have to turn it on manually.

Click here if you want to give it a look for yourself.

 There are a lot of lamps out there but I wasn't able to trial any before buying one and honestly I simply don't have the time or energy doing all that so there very well could the perfect lamp out there for me but I haven't come across it yet.

If you think you are suffering from SAD then please consult your doctor,.

 Light therapy is not often offered on the NHS so you might need to set a little bit of cash aside if you are wanting to explore this alternative to medication.


Sweet Potato Chunks

The hardest part of creating the body of your dreams is arguably the diet side of things and with that in mind I am always on the look out to find ways to make cooking easier.

When I spied that my local Asda had started selling pre- prepared sweet potato chunks my heat skipped a beat, well maybe not quite but I was pleased with my discovery.

When I am on the eat clean train sweet potatoes are a staple of my diet but with all the peeling and chopping it really puts me off.

After a long day at work the prospect of  slaving away in the kitchen doesn't really tickle my pickle and often pushes me into the warm embrace of something quicker and easier and if anyone has ever dated I am sure you will know those options are not always the best.

Yes I could meal prep for the week but I have two issues with this the first is that I am limited on space.

I know, I know you all  image that an infrequent blogger such as myself must be  living  it large in a palatial city apartment but I am sharing my fridge freezer with three other people so need to be considerate with the space.

The other reason is that I get bored.

My cupboards could be fully stocked I would still throw my hands up in the air and declare that I  have nothing to eat.

At £1.50 for a 700g bag  I think it's really good  value for money and  time saver with them ready to just slap in the oven or a boil in pan.

To make my sweet potatoes a bit more exciting I like to add rosemary and black pepper, both come with their own health benefits and add flavour  without pushing up the calories.

If you, like me are still waiting to marry a professional chef Asda's sweet potato chunks are a great option while you are waiting  for Gordon Ramsey to see sense and come knocking on your door.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

My issue with fat people

Well this is probably the riskiest post I have ever written but I need to get it off my chest so here goes nothing.

I have decided to write this post to try and verbalise my thoughts on why I sometimes take issue with those that are obese.

 Hopefully I can explore this without causing massive offencive but I know this is likely a possibility.

 I am not talking about people who are carrying a bit of extra weight or those who are naturally inclined to carry a bit more but  those that are obese and not taking account for themselves. 

 I feel I am realistic in my view points and understand there are many factors that can lead us to obesity and many of these are down to us not prioritising our own health. 

These can all be overcome  but I know from first hand experience it can be hard to motivate yourself to eat clean  and exercise after a 40 hour plus working week.

I would say that I am understanding and sympathetic towards those that have lost the fight with the flab and applaud anyone who is even making the slightest effort to managing their weight.

Heck we all need a cheer leader sometimes when we fall off the waggon.

Personal trainers are great at this, so they should be since you are handing over your cash so invest, even if it's just a session a month.

 Generally most love what they do and are motivated by  you achieving your goals by providing the right support, guidance and  a kick up the bum to get you back on track.

However there does seem to be a portion of the population that take no accountability for themselves and get incredibly emotional when this is pointed out .

There are those who subscribe to the body positivity movement claiming to be happy and healthy weighing the same amount as a giant panda, until they have to retrieve something from upstairs.

Those that can't afford to lose weight, sorry buying less food to eat or walking more is too expensive for you?

Those that don't like healthy food, broaden your horizons.
There are loads of things I don't like but equally there are loads that I do or just eat less of what you do like and exercise more.

 Those that don't want to going swimming because they don't want to show their body out.
Those crying in front of the mirror because they hate how they look.
Complaining constantly about being fat but not actually doing anything about it.

There seems to be this weird social protection where you can not comment on another person's weight or meal choices, which I agree is annoying but sometimes do you need a reminder that you could be making better choices, are you annoyed because you are they are right?

A type 2 diabetic with hypertension who constantly complains about about how their  joints hurt  and how their partner no longer will have sex with them for reasons  completely mysterious to them must never be enlightened to the fact that the large big mac meal with a milkshake, a double cheese burger on the side and a dessert is possibly not the healthiest of options.

I mean at least go for a medium.

When someone smokes a cigarette, takes drugs and to a lesser extent drinks alcohol, people don't seem to bat an eye lid about calling them out on their unhealthy lifestyle choices but heaven forbid you comment on how better someone could manage their weight.

With obesity being the second leading cause of cancer after smoking and increasing the risk of a slew other health conditions  why are we so touchy about being fat?

You can certainly control your weight , granted some health conditions and medications can make this incredibility challenging but for the majority of us there isn't really much stopping us. 

 It  shortens life expectancies and puts a much greater strain on our health services and yet people are content to watch their love ones eat themselves to death in silence.

I honestly think obesity is a result of poor education and in some cases, addiction and should be treated as such, which a personal trainer can help to a degree but maybe more drastic action should be taken?

I  feel that rehab clinics for the obese need to be more accessible.
Over eating is an eating disorder just as anorexia or bulimia but obesity is so common place it seems to of just been accepted.

Now with this in mind should I still take issue with the obese?  

Honestly I am going to still take issue with those that have poor attitudes towards health but not necessarily obesity it's self.

Obesity is something you can do something about and is a result of your lifestyle choices in the vast majority of cases.

Mental health issues are tricky to challenge and food addiction is the hardest one to crack, you have to eat at some point, it's not like avoiding bars or bad influences and I do feel for people but no one can take the first steps towards a healthier life for you.

I don't think my views are revolutionary but if one person reflects upon what I have written and takes something positive away then I will consider this post a job well done.


Friday, 2 November 2018

SAD, Winter Blues

It's winter time hurrah!
Hot drinks, rich foods, Halloween  parties, Bonfire night,  Christmas, lights, gifts and New Year all these things should make the dark, long cold nights almost something to relish.

With oh so many wonderful things to get excited about how can you not get excited?

Well depression. 

I know what you are thinking, "oh well that's depressing" and yes, absolutely it is depressing and for anyone who is greeted by the winter blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder every year this is not a time for excitement but dread.

I have never been formally diagnosed with SAD, I have discussed with doctors and they have told me that they are reluctant to label me as it would effect my employability and even had a mental health nurse tell that SAD doesn't exist.

My experience without a diagnosis is just that, my experience but I do feel it's a valid one.

Most winters I fall into a depression, particularity when we turn the clocks back and it can be absolutely debilitating making it almost impossible to accomplish day to day things like changing my clothes, having a shower or even wanting to be alive.

Typical symptoms include sleep problems, anxiety, panic attacks, over eating, lack of energy, concentration problems, irritability, lack of desire for intimacy, relationship problems and even hypomaina in the summer which before looking into this thought was solely the domain of bi polar.

Aside from panic attacks I tick everything on the list. 

Now  I have never been suicidal which I am eternally thankful for but wanted to look into suicide and winter, know for some light bed time reading.

Surprisingly suicide rates actually peak in late spring/ early summer which I found interesting as I was expecting them to be higher in winter , with SAD affecting 29% of the UK population  and the pressures and expectations of Christmas this was at least a small comfort in a strange sort of way.

"But what can I do about it"  I hear you plead!

There are a few things you can do to boost you mood which is pretty standard advice.

Exercise, get outside more and eat right anything that can boost your vitamin D shop go onto your shopping list like  cheese, eggs and mushrooms, perfect for an omelet.

Self care can have a big impact on how you feeling, having a shower, shave, changing your bedding anything you feel you can manage.

Now when I am depressed going to the toilet can be the crowning achievement of the day let along heading off for a brisk jog so what else can you do?

The easiest things for me are to supplement with vitamin D and open my curtains  when I am feeling up to it.

I have invested in a  sunrise alarm clock and an SAD lamp with admittedly a little expensive I find they really do help me.

 I would view them as a  necessity not a luxury to help you reconcile the price.

Of course there is also the prospect of going onto anti depressants but I consider those a last resort personally but everyone is different and go down the route is best for you.

I hope this post is helpful and I will be doing a write up for my SAD lamp and alarm clock, when I manage it will be dependant on how I am feeling. 

If you want to read a bit more on SAD the check out Dungarees and Donuts experiences with SAD by clicking here 


Monday, 15 October 2018

Vegan Ben and Jerry's

I am so glad that a big brand like Ben and Jerry's has thrown their hat into the Vegan ring.

The three options Ben and Jerry offer are the Peanut Butter and Cookies, Chunky Monkey and Fudge Brownie.

The more accessible vegan options are the much more likely they are to change their eating habits and if not for the animals then why not for your waistline?

Since the only one I have come across in shops is the Fudge Brownie my decision was an easy one to make.

The Vegan Chocolate Fudge Brownie showing from Ben and Jerry's will save almost 200 calories if, like me you down a full tub the second ones opened, compared to the standard Brownie version.

Now this might not mean a lot but when you are wanting to spoil yourself yet keep your spare tire at bay then this might be an option to explore, certainly still calorific but it could of been worse and you might even save a baby cow or two.

With you needing to cut 500kcal a day to lose a pound a week if a tub of Ben and Jerry's is a regular fixture on your shopping list give the vegan version a go.

I can honestly say I could not tell a difference in taste or texture wise between either and believe me I researched it thoroughly.

The only thing I don't like about Vegan Ben and Jerry's , and it isn't anything to do with the product it's self but more the shops that sell it.

Where as the regular varieties are frequently on offer the vegan ones never seem to be and if you have read my previous posts you will know I am a sucker for a bargain.

I fully recommend the Vegan Ben and Jerry's I am just not so happy that it is never discounted.

Check out Ben and Jerry's full range by clicking here


Voss, glass water bottle

I am sure if you have been on social media or even a bar at all recently you will of come across the damage single use plastics are damaging the planet.

Beyond this plastics may have negative impacts on your health ranging from issues with your immune system, birth defects, hormone disruption from plastic that leeches out into your bottle, especially when plastics are heated such as plastic water bottle being left in the sun.

With all this in mind I have started using a Voss glass water bottle which kills two birds with one stone in that it will help protect the oceans and also hopefully help me dodge some health conditions in the future.

I did have concerns with using a glass water bottle, particularly in a gym environment but to be honest I have not had any issues.

Yes, OK I have to be a little more careful where I place my bottle when I do throwing weights about and I have to watch I don't glass myself in my award winning face when I am on the treadmill but than that it's absolutely ideal and even fits into the bottle holders on the cardio equipment.

I also think the water tastes better in a glass bottle, which I find most drinks do and with it being glass I feel more encouraged to take better care of it and remember to take it with me.

I do think the look of the bottle is much more appealing than most plastic ones and when I have used fruit tea bags almost makes it look like the worlds oddest aquarium.
The only real downsides I would say is that you need to invest in a bottle brush if you are wanting put anything more exciting in your bottle and i did find it difficult using in for a run, partly due to the fear of a self induced glassing by trying to drink and run sprints. 

The bottles are not badly priced , you can find them on amazon if you don't want to leave the house in search of them, try clicking the here

I had a stroke of good luck and actually found one in a cupboard when I moved into my new flat so it was that much easier for me to make the switch.

I really like my Voss water bottle,  make the switch from plastic to help further protect your health and the planet while you are at it.
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