Twenty-five million people use Fitbit trackers to count steps and manage their physical activity, but I think they can be used for much more than that.
Consider these questions:
Before I share my own answers and how Fitbit ties into them, let's cover the basics of what Fitbit is and how it works.
What is Fitbit?
Fitbit is a tracker/watch, an app, and a fitness community rolled into one platform. Combining the Fitbit watch and app allows tracking of steps, activity, sleep, weight, and food intake.
The Trackers and Watches
Depending on which you buy (prices range from $100-$250) you can also track heart rate, blood oxygen levels, calories burned, and steps climbed. You can even track how many laps you swam in the pool, miles you biked, or paces you took on a treadmill.
Before you invest, take into account which features are most important to you.
Fitbit offers two categories of trackers: Basic fitness trackers and Smartwatches. No matter which you select, you still have access to the app it pairs with.
Downloading the Fitbit app is free, and the set-up is straightforward. Click HERE to get the Fitbit app from Google Play and HERE to download it from The App Store.
Inside the app are four main sections:
Challenges and Races
Finally, let's revisit the five questions I started this article with. How do you think Fitbit ties in with the answers?
There are many other benefits to using a Fitbit than what I've covered here. Discover everything Fitbit by clicking HERE and compare watches and features by clicking HERE.
Most major retailers like Walmart, Target, Amazon, Kohls, and Best Buy sell Fitbit- check them out on your next trip!
All images in this article are from www.Fitbit.com Visit the site to learn more about Fitbit products and how to get your own.
Daylio is a free app (with a premium option) available for download on both apple and android. It's effortless to set-up and tremendously useful when creating new goals or trying to stick to old ones. Self-proclaimed a journaling app, Daylio tracks your moods and activities easily and with a simple to use layout. Most importantly, it helps monitor progress in any area of your life, and what you monitor nearly always improves.
I discovered Daylio after wanting to know how many good days vs. bad days I was experiencing with my chronic illnesses. I felt like I only had 4-5 good days before I got sick again, and I began wondering if there was a pattern somewhere. All I had to do was log it. But how? Tracking my activities and moods was what I needed to do, I just had to find a simple way to do it.
Using Daylio's tracking, I could finally answer the burning question, "How many days in a row have I had a headache?" (the answer is three, by the way.)
Imagine the kinds of patterns you'll discover.
Daylio is so simple my grandmother could use it, but it can also back up your data to Google Drive or export a CSV doc to Excel. You can even add a security pin so only you can see what you're feeling, what you're doing, or what you're tracking.
For getting back to the basics, I highly recommend this app over another that requires more time and effort- that inevitably you won't follow through with anyway.
Give Daylio a try. It's easy to set up, takes next to no time every day, and gives you amazing results and statistics for anything you want to monitor and improve.
All images from Daylio.com
What I liked most about Dr. Bassett's book was how he organized the layout: it's broken down into three parts with a total of ten chapters.
Chapter 1 covers the mechanics of allergies and chapter 2 begins to define and describe diagnosing allergies. Chapter 3 discusses prevention, and chapters 4-9 cover specific types of allergies.
You can start the book from the beginning and read all the way through, or simply go to the section that's right for you. It's perfect for researching just a few topics and isn't too difficult (or boring) to read.
Plus, a neat fact to know: Dr. Bassett is also a practicing physician in New York (click here), so if you're ever in the area, stop by and say hi! Even though they'll look at you like you're crazy, I bet it would still be fun to get a reaction out of 'em. (Get it, a "reaction"?)
Where To Buy the Book
Dr. Leo Galland and his son published this book together in 2016. It has a wealth of information in it for understanding your allergies and managing them.
By sharing his own patient experiences, Dr. Galland is able to bring medical terms to life, but be prepared- it's not an easy read.
This book will make you feel like you're in medical school, but it'll also undoubtedly help you feel better!
Where To Buy
If you're trying to work hand in hand with your allergist to control your symptoms, give Dr. Galland's book a read to help make more educated choices in your treatment.
If you have allergies that don't seem to get better with medication or standard treatment, you need to read The Allergy Solution by Dr. Leo Galland.
To get a feel for his writing style, you can get a sample of his book on both Amazon and B&N for free. Dr. Galland covers everything you could possibly need to know about allergies, and by the time you're done with his book, you'll have a better understanding of allergies an the tools to finally conquer them.
Have You Tried Oolong Tea?
For the last five years, I had sinus infections about once a month, which, to the inexperienced means I was sick for 3-5 days, recuperating for 3-5 days, well for a week or two, and then slowly getting ill again to complete the cycle. Needless to say, (or write) it was no fun.
Then again, as someone with an impaired immune system, I seem to be a magnet for all bacteria everywhere. A papercut can turn into a staph infection (seriously, that's happened), an ob/gyn visit can turn into a UTI, and don't even get me started on skin fungus, bacterial infections, or the inability to leave the house without catching something. To put it simply, I've come to an understanding that I'm prone to get sick.
But the sinus infections were driving me mad, and as I was studying for The Allergy Series, I read a lot about a Chinese tea named Oolong. I learned that it helped with congestion, sinus problems, allergies, and even helped people lose weight.
Oolong comes from the same plant that green tea and black tea come from, but each is processed differently creating three distinctly unique teas. Being the guinea pig that I am, I ordered 100 bags and began drinking it daily.
Oolong is the middle tea between the (light) green tea and (dark) black tea. Everywhere I read, it was described as having a fruity flavor, but as a connoisseur of fruit tea, I can promise you that it most certainly does not taste like fruit.
Since I'm your friend, and we're here together in this space, I'll tell you it tastes like nothing; like a hot cup of weak, flavorless black tea. It's about as memorable as a Steven Seagull movie. It's nearly as rich and flavorful as a bowl of buttered noodles. It's about as exciting as listening to NPR. The point being, oolong tea is forgettable and boring, so why am I telling you about it?
Because it cured my sinus infections.
Oolong is semi-fermented and loaded with flavanoids and phytochemicals. It has an anti-allergic effect, promotes weight loss, and has antioxidants like Polyphenol that help lower blood glucose levels in diabetics.
Oolong has 49.5 mg of catechins and 52 mg of total flavonoids, but it also has Manganese, Potassium, Magnesium, and L-theanine. And because it's made from the camellia sinensis plant, the same plant used to make green and black tea, oolong also has between 30-60 mg of caffeine (about half as much as a cup of coffee).
Based on the studies I read from Japan and China, I choose to drink four cups a day in small doses. Usually, I had a hot cup on my desk next to me when writing, taking small sips between sentences. It's known that flavonoids work best when consumed in small batches, so I spaced my four cups out throughout the day- and I did this for 2 months.
Even though Oolong tea has been used for over 3,000 years, only 2% of tea drinkers consume it. It's used primarily in China and Taiwan, but more and more people are seeing oolong's health benefits, including this girl right here. But let's read what the experts have to say first:
"In a clinical trial done in Japan, people with allergic eczema that had not improved with medication were given oolong tea to drink for six months. While drinking the oolong tea, the majority of the people in the study experienced a moderate to marked improvement in eczema within one month, with benefits being first noticeable after one to two weeks." writes Dr. Leo Galland in his book "The Allergy Solution."
After about three days of drinking oolong tea, I noticed I woke up in the mornings without the usual congestion and stuffiness. At first, I thought it was a coincidence, but with each waking morning, I felt better and better. Two weeks later I chose to stop drinking it and test if my symptoms would come back, and if so, how long it would take.
Just as it had taken three days to start feeling better, it took about three days for me to start feeling snotty again. I repeated this set-up over and over for a total of 3 months and came to the same conclusion each time: oolong tea was making a big difference in my sinus health, and just by making the small change of adding a few cups of it to my diet.
I had no nausea, no migraine (due to sinuses), and no sinus infection when I had 2-4 cups of oolong tea a day along with my regular healthy diet. But it wasn't just my nose that felt better, my jeans did too. Somehow, in God's mercy, I also lost some belly fat and fit better into my jeans. It could have been that I had more energy from the caffeine and that's what caused the weight loss, but I don't think it was. Oolong tea is known for helping to burn more fat even if you change nothing else in your diet.
Plus, based on a Chinese study, just 10oz a week of oolong tea lowers total cholesterol, and based on Japanese research, men who drank one or more cups of oolong a day had a lower risk of heart disease. Being that heart disease is a major cause of death here in the U.S., oolong is undoubtedly worth a try for cardiovascular health.
It's also been studied on cancer patients, but the National Cancer Institute doesn't recognize oolong as preventing or decreasing the risk of cancer. But studies say otherwise: Women in China who drank oolong had a reduced risk of ovarian cancer. What is proven is that oolong tea boosts the immune system by preventing cellular damage.
In my own story, I can say oolong tea has made a difference. After five years of taking Claritin and Excedrin, I haven't had to touch either thanks to oolong tea. Whether that will be forever I'm not sure, but I made a small change that made a big difference in my life.
Oolong tea isn't just beneficial for allergies or sinus problems, but for weight loss, heart health, and lowering blood sugar levels.... even if it tastes like a hot cup of nothing... it sure does something amazing.