MINIMALIST LIVING-DO AWAY WITH EXCESSES.

“Minimalism is not about having less. It’s about making room for more of what matters” – Anonymous

Recently, I had to clean the house, and this was after plenty of mental preparation. There was so much stuff to move around. About 10 minutes in and I was out of breath. I still had many things to do.

After huffing and puffing, I began to think: how many of these items do we need? How do they count as essentials? I looked around to see old shelves, a spare tv set, an idle ajar deep freezer, and a dusty water dispenser. Mind you, all these items have replacements already. Why hold on to the past?

As humans, we tend to hold to things, whether emotions or objects. If you scrutinize your belongings, you will have one reason or the other not to give them out. It is safe to say that everyone has a good reason for hoarding, but they do not need them.

Our common reasons for holding on include;

  • Our sentimental nature 
  • Failure to make out time
  • Considerations about how much it cost to buy certain items
  • Who gave you the item
  • Worries about possible usefulness in the nearest future

Anytime you get caught in this dilemma, ask yourself “when was the last time I used this deep fryer?” If your answer is about six months ago, then you can survive without it. That deep fryer should make your declutter list!

By practicing this style and letting go of stuff, you can achieve value for everything that surrounds you. What are the advantages of minimalist living? 

It helps you to have good finances

Except for stocks and antiques, almost everything depreciates in value. Hoarding would not change this fact. Sell off whatever you do not need, else you can give them out in charity

When you decide to live minimally, you will resist the urge to splurge. You will spend only on the thing you need while touching 

It keeps your mind clear

Decluttering enables you to stay in control of your life. You wander less when figuring out where you placed your things. There is little burden on your mind, and you can collect your thoughts. Ridding your space of visual clutter leaves you super focused. 

You can spread out your commitments

With reduced attachment to material things, you can focus to other aspects of your life. Friends and Family are encouraged to visit you, and you can welcome them likewise. 

Humans are social animals. You can not last long sane without check-ins from your loved ones. Soon, you will begin to feel lonely and isolated. This situation results from refusing to detach your many belongings. 

Avoidance of health implications

Hoarding will take up your storage and compete with you for passageways and stairs. Before you know it, you are tripping at the slightest chance and running into boxes.

Your home has become an accident trap. You have to admit that decluttering is necessary, else you will continue to live in ignorance.

Asides from causing injuries and accidents, hoarding creates a safe haven for rodents, mold, and dust. Rodents can destroy your furniture and clothes.

While binging on your foods, rats can contaminate them costing you deadly infections. While mold is disruptive to upholstery, dust puts you at the risk of asthma.

Do you know people also hoard animals? If you are guilty of feline obsession, remind yourself that animals need extra care. How will you handle 15 cats without going amiss? 

Soon, you will need to compromise on space, grooming expenses, and veterinary costs. Do not fall for how cute cats look, resist the urge to recruit a battalion. This applies to all domestic animals.

Health bills are a thing. Secure your health as much as possible, focus on your well-being rather than hoarding.

Better cleaning

With fewer things to move around, cleaning is easier. You can start the proper job without much “foreplay”. You can reach specks of dirt in the nooks and crannies of your home. Bye-bye to when you had to ghost on the guys for weekend cleaning. Other aspects of your life need attention.

People who keep unnecessary items did not start today and it won’t change overnight. It would take determination on their side and encouragement from others. Yet, patience is the superior virtue. Turning a new leaf takes time.

There is little disparity between being a collector, a messy person, and a hoarder, so it is easy to switch camps. Better not to have any of these personas. 

You should focus on acquiring those things that you need . Give out those items that lie fallow, they will make someone else’s priority list. Gradually, and surely, you will have a clean, healthy, and inviting space that is easy on the eyes and the mind. Become a minimalist today!

SMELLING GOOD IS WORTH THE INVESTMENT – USE THESE TIPS.

Walk into a room and leave an air of mystery

Katy Perry.

How will you like people to remember you? Is it by your appearance, behaviors, or rank? Your smell leaves an indelible mark in the memory of many.

Your sweet smell wafting through every space from you is not something people will forget in a hurry. You are also doing yourself a favor.

Throughout your day, you are comfortable with your appeal and perception by everyone. Now, you can become amped and carefree while doing the activities that your day entails.

How can you keep smelling good for your sake and the sake of others? Look no farther

Choose Your Clothing Carefully

Different clothing materials handle sweat in various ways. With synthetic fibers, sweat and bacteria are trapped within their spaces. Due to the unnaturalness, these materials are unable to break down bacteria.

This inability culminates in body odor. After washing, synthetic fibers hold on to bacteria. This causes the smell from sweat build-up to linger. It is easy to go for synthetics because they cost less, are resistant to stain, and are waterproof.

However, the cons are overwhelming the pros. Polyester, rayon, and spandex will constitute a nuisance for you sooner or later. Try hard to stick to the natural(silk, wool, cotton, linen).

These groups are breathable, and it is easy to get offensive odors off them.

Test Your Perfumes before Buying

When you shop for clothes and accessories, try them on to know how well they fit; make the right decisions off the bat. Show the same attitude towards purchasing perfumes.

It is not enough to perceive the scent around the cover. What matters is how it suits you when you wear it. During shopping, ask for samples to help you make good choices.

It is worth the drama(if that is what people think), especially when unfamiliar with the perfume.

Keep Your Clothes Clean

Perfumes can only stand on existing protocol. They are magical, but they do not hide bad hygiene. Let your clothes dry properly before storing them.

Sweaty people should rinse and air their used wear as soon as possible. Also, press your clothes – every once in a while.

The heat kills off any bacteria still lurking around the fabric. The after-wash scent of many detergents on clean clothes is worth notice.

Now, imagine getting decked with perfumes; your confidence level will smash the ceiling.

Use a Spray Perfume, Roll-On, or Cologne

Who does not like good things? It is human to strive for everything attainable. So why settle for less when you can get more?

Go all out on smelling good; the benefits are beyond words. Almost any budget will get wonderful bottles of goodness for you.

Manage Your Diet

Foods like pepper, onions, garlic, and other spices are implicated in body odor. While the hot spices provoke sweating, the aroma of onions and garlic go into a sweat. Also, caffeinated and alcoholic drinks increase sweating.

As much as you would not want to eliminate these spices from your diet, take them in moderation. They are known to meddle with the efficacy of fragrances. Without further ado, spice lovers should watch out!

Drink Water

I include water drinking in my posts almost every time; it is just freaking important. The elixir of life, water serves as engine oil to the body’s engines.

You have to apply it to your system now and then. While you might have consumed some foods that give off awful scents, water can dilute the results.

It can go on to temper down the unpleasantness to zero. Drink enough water every day.

Apply Sweet-Smelling Oils and Lotions

Your lotions and oils contribute to your smell. There are many essential oils and fragrance oils available on store shelves all over the world.

Whether you are team natural or do not mind synthetic products, some mixture will suit you. Essential oils from roots, flowers, fruits, and leaves are usually a good fit for the skin.

Remember to put allergies into consideration while making your selection. What is good for the goose may not go well with the gander.

 

Let the Fragrance Set into Your Skin

Chill a bit after spritzing yourself. Applying your fragrance when you run off will make it volatile. In short, it defies the entire essence. Give the fragrance some time to set in.

By exercising patience, you are set to smell good all day long.

   

Spray Your Intimate Spaces

Round-the-clock freshness is the goal. If you want your scent to stick with you, your intimate spots at home will need a spray. Your favorite couch, closet, beddings, and pillows should receive equal treatment as your body.

These areas receive you whenever you are not on the move. Sooner than later, your scent will become your trademark.

Spray Your Fragrance on Key Points

Your fragrances are useless outside the right spots. Its potency or cost will not prevent it from fading away within a few hours. Now, we do not want to have haphazard experiences.

This realization was a big oh moment for me. I had so much pent-up frustration from feeling like I was getting robbed of my scent.

Where did it all go?! That time is long gone. I have learned that your spraying should target the pulse points. The pulse points are at your

  • Sides of your forehead
  • neck’s base
  • Wrists
  • Alternates sides of your knees and elbows
  • Behind your ears

The veins in these areas are very close to the skin. Due to the pulsing, heat emanates from these spots.

Alongside the heat, the fragrance is projected into the air around you. This makes the scent course around your body for an extended time. There is no better way to get value for your money.

The dividends of smelling nice are steady; you will begin to step out with purpose, take strides with confidence, and receive compliments in torrents.

Before you get a hold of yourself, you are smiling like your crush said “yes.” You deserve to be happy, and smelling good is a step in that direction.

WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT CRACKED HEELS?

WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT CRACKING HEELS?

Different people have varying opinions on what aspect of an individual catches their eye. Like what do you check out in people? Among many features, feet catch my eyes. I am overly conscious about mine, so I am caught looking down unprovoked. You will think I am shy; yes, that is also true! Interacting with others has made me understand that manicured feet speak volumes. They imply organization and neatness. The heels can begin to crack for so many reasons. This is why you should take notice of changes and make moves to keep your feet appealing.

Some people are unaware of the risk factors for this condition. It goes either way; a few are due to applications to the skin, daily activities, or weather conditions.

WHAT CAUSES CRACKING HEELS?

  • Exposure of the feet to the ground

This includes walking barefoot and wearing footwear that exposes the heels.

  • Climate changes

In dry and less humid climes, the heels may be affected.

  • Soap type

Soaps are designed to cleanse dirt, sweat, and excessive skin oil alongside water, but some soaps do more than the assignment. Traditional or synthetic soaps contain fragrance and sodium lauryl sulfate(SLS). SLS fumbles with the skin’s natural oils and causes disruption in its pH. The result is skin irritation which is evident by the appearance of cracks.

  • Tight-fitting shoes and shoes that do not support the heel

Fats lodged around the heel are sensitive to weight and pressure. Under duress, they cause the skin to split sideways. Behold, the cracks!

  • Standing for long periods.

NOW, HOW DO YOU CARE FOR YOUR HEELS?

You do not have to break the bank to keep your feet intact. A few shopping and natural products will keep you away from the spa with flawless heels. Here are a few steps you can take.

  1. SOAK AND EXFOLIATE YOUR FEET

This is the Holy Grail for heel maintenance. The skin of the heels is drier and thicker than that of any other body part. This explains the unprecedented partings that surface when pressure is applied to that area. Dipping and moisturizing your feet will help to keep the nuances at bay.

  • Soak your feet in soapy, lukewarm water for about 20 minutes.
  • Do the scrubbing with a foot scrubber, pumice stone, or loofah.
  • Towel dry them and moisturize them with appropriate products. Petroleum jelly helps to lock in the moisture. Otherwise, you can put on socks or apply paraffin wax.

HEEL BALMS AND MOISTURIZERS

These are necessities for exfoliating, softening, and moisturizing your heels. For higher efficacy, it is better to apply them early in the day before you start moving around. It ensures that the products set in before your skin begins to stretch often. While you shop for these balms and moisturizers, you should look out for ingredients like urea, saccharide isomerate, and salicylic acid. They are proven to help the feet flourish.

Manufactured moisturizers are replaceable with;

  • Mashed bananas
  • Olive oil
  • Vegetable oil.

2. USE LIQUID BANDAGES

These bandages help to seal up the cracks and prevent further splitting.

3.WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES AND SLIPPERS

Any comfortable footwear will not put pressure on your feet. Likewise, your heels will not be exposed.

4. DRINK LOTS OF WATER

5. CHECK OUT YOUR FEET DAILY

6. RUB IN SOME THICK CREAM AND PUT ON SOCKS BEFORE BED.

The emphasis on having nice-looking feet can go on and on. It shows how much care you give to your skin. Take up these homemade procedures and do them religiously; the results will come. Perhaps, your cracked heels are due to a health condition; you must see a doctor. Those with vitamin deficiencies, fungal infection, obesity, pregnancy, or aging are likely to have cracked heels. Until these underlying causes are treated, there is little or no improvement. Endeavor to take steps into a new dispensation with your heel. Shalom!

GO EASY ON ME!

GO EASY ON ME!

As I write this piece, it is the relentless sweet sound flowing through the lips of Adele that fills my head. A great song, no doubt. From the title, it is plainly a plea and it is not only Adele that is asking to be spared. The only difference is that the other complainant, which I know as many others do, is voiceless. Due to human nature to fill their bellies and do so as fast as possible, they continually molest this subject!

Can you guess? You think your idea is not grand and you might be wrong? Well, it is bread. I am equally guilty of going hard on bread. I used to eat so much bread and I still fall back through the old road occasionally. However,  I have come to admit to a fact: beyond the fluffiness and heavenly smell(straight out of the oven bread), it has very low nutritional value. It should not be one food that we gorge on day and night, dawn to dusk.

Argh, I remember secondary school days in the boarding house; we ate bread every two days. I almost lost the anticipation for bread because it was joyless. Then to hit the nail on the head, bread was sold at the tuck shop whenever beans or an unpopular food was served at the dining hall. Let’s just say it was an everyday affair with this bakery product. I never actually lost love for it and,just like me, nobody was bothered by the rampancy. Why should we desist from this convenience we have with  bread?

IT MIGHT JUST BE THE CULPRIT FOR THE EXTRA POUNDS YOU WEIGH

Maybe.

There is a normal weight range for each age category. Outside these numbers, you are overweight. Anything more and you are on the obesity radar. We are accustomed to reaching out for bread and other pastries to quench hunger. Fruits and vegetables are left for intentional eating. Sadly, our physical outlook may be affected.

Most of the bread on the market nowadays is made from refined flour. Whole grains like wheat and barley are best bet. The idea is new and unenticing, right? Recent studies have shown that people taking refined flour as opposed to whole grains turn out to have more belly fat. For those who keep up with it in their weight loss program, it leads to frustration. The nutritional content in whole grains is higher on all fronts so give them a chance in your diet today.

A RISK FACTOR FOR TYPE 2 DIABETES

Bread is the main carbohydrate source in this region and carbohydrates raise blood sugar levels. There is a distinction between refined sugars and grains and the complex carbohydrates present in our foods; the refined raise the blood sugar levels quicker.

People that reduce their intake of starchy foods and sweets while following a healthy diet are at lower risk of getting type 2 diabetes. Since the common bread has lower fiber content, it has a fast digestion rate which is dangerous to those who eat a lot of it. No wonder we are never satisfied!

HOW MUCH BREAD IS ENOUGH?

This is a tough discussion with the market reeking of refined grain loaves. Nevertheless, there are whole grain bread loaves. A loaf of it every one or two days should be fine. With the refined variant giving very little nutrition, you can manage eating it in small amounts. Embrace fruits and vegetables for your leisure eating. 

BREAD BUYING TIPS

  1. Buy whole grains
  2. Downsize on your consumption
  3. Do not shop for bread by its color
  • Some food manufacturers add molasses and coloring to confuse consumers. Make sure to find the whole grain label for assurance.

Healthy living is important in this fast growing world where much importance is given to providing attractive products with the aim of making profits. No one should care about your health more than you do. Take proactive steps to take charge of your well being and this includes taking it easy on bread.  It will reflect in  your physique and other areas that the next person does not know about. It is all towards living a better life. Catch you next time!

WATCH YOUR BEANS

You don’t like beans? Fair point—whatever your argument may be. Our likes and dislikes are structured differently and that is not the topic of the day. You have precious beans anyway: your kidneys. Some time ago, news spread like wildfire on every media that organ harvesting was becoming a big business. At the time, people of a certain poor village in Asia were deceived to donate their kidneys for meagre amounts with a promise that they will regenerate. They were sold the Deadpool concept. Before enlightenment reached the area, only less than half of the population had both kidneys intact. It is fine to live on with one, but I disagree that the notion stands for those with low living standards. Once their lone kidney packs up, it’s game over.

Again, I came across a picture of the human body showing only vital organs like the heart, liver, and the likes with their prices in the black market. The kidneys came out tops. My interest was piqued: what makes the kidney superior to the heart? Or even the bone marrow?  The heart is the pumping machine of the body that sends blood into circulation and, with it, carries essential nutrients. Do not forget the diffusion of gases: the modus operandi of distributing oxygen to cells and helping to expel carbon dioxide. So, I just concluded that kidneys are “overhyped” and I was wrong.

FUNCTIONS OF THE KIDNEYS

FILTRATION

The kidneys sieve out insoluble components of the blood, letting water and waste materials into the glomeruli. Upon filtration, certain electrolytes like sodium that are still useful to the body are reabsorbed. So also is water. These materials diffuse through the renal wall from the glomerular filtrate, back into the blood.

EXCRETION

Now, the remnant of the filtrate is excreted through urine. The waste materials are transported to the bladder through the ureter and leave by the urethra.

SECRETION OF HORMONES

A key hormone in the kidney is Erythropoietin (EPO). It is also produced in the liver in small amounts. EPO aids the production of red blood cells in the body. The end game is to ensure optimum circulation of oxygen in blood throughout the body.

 Let us imagine a mountain climber who takes a quest to reach the apex of Everest. So fantastic! (forgetting the fact that many die trying). With increasing altitude, the volume of oxygen obtainable decreases causing hypoxia. At this point, erythropoietin is released to spike the production of RBCs to meet up the body’s oxygen demand. Mr. Mountain Climber gets to stay alive.

There are other hormones like renin (angiotensinogenase) that helps to regulate blood pressure and calcitriol that helps maintain homeostasis by keeping electrolytes (Ca and P) intact.

CONVERSION OF VITAMIN D

The kidneys activate vitamin D in the body. Whether from supplements or sunlight, Vitamin D is converted to a form that is usable in the human system by the kidneys. The active form of vitamin D is CALCITRIOL.

NEPHROPATHY

Any condition or disease concerning the kidney is known as Nephropathy. What are the things that can go wrong with the bean-shaped organs?

HYDRONEPHROSIS

 This is the swelling of the kidney due to urine build-up. It could happen to one or both kidneys. Most cases result from kidney stones. The stones block urine from draining into the bladder. They are hard deposits of minerals and salts.  Likely causes of kidney stones are rarely drinking water, excessive or no exercise, obesity, liposuction, and eating meals with more than enough salt or sugar. The likelihood of having kidney stones is increased in an individual whose family has a history of it.

ALBUMINURIA

The deficiency of vitamin D is tied to albuminuria. Albuminuria indicates the kidney is damaged as it refuses to capture protein but releases it in urine.

POLYCYSTIC KIDNEY DISEASE

The presence of one or two cysts is common and they are harmless. However, a polycystic condition is rather serious.

A genetic condition, polycystic kidney disease is characterized by the presence of many cysts filled with fluids. They rapidly occur inside and outside the kidney and mess with its functions.

CHRONIC KIDNEY DISEASE

The kidney is damaged and blood filtration is going wrong. This condition goes on for a long period with the damage gradually setting in. Eventually, there is waste build-up in the body and other health problems ensue.

HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR KIDNEYS

So far, some of the operations of the kidneys have been revealed, and you will agree that they ought to get the best care possible. You can’t trim the fur of your kidneys like you will do for a Chihuahua but you can make some lifestyle decisions to maintain their existence.

  • Keep fit

Do not sit about; get up and moving now and then. Moderation in exercise is necessary as well.

  • Watch your blood sugar

Diabetes goes on to cause liver damage. When sugar is not well handled in the blood, the kidney will have to work harder.

  • Monitor your blood pressure

Have a piece of equipment for doing routine checks. Consistent values above 140/90 indicate possible high blood pressure. Speak with a medic and make adjustments to your lifestyle.

  • Maintain a healthy weight and diet

Overweight people are at risk of various diseases including kidney disease. Low sodium foods like processed meat spell doom. Try to eat fresh fish and vegetables instead.

  • Drink plenty fluids

Taking 8 glasses of water is not cliché for healthy living, but it somehow sums it up. It gives us a goal, a target. In finer words, it puts our water drinking into perspective. Take in fluids once you thirst.

Water helps to cleanse the kidneys of sodium and toxins, which are culprits for diseases.

Put your drinking goal at 1.5–2 litres daily. Although, certain factors come into play: climate, temperature, exercise, and general work activity. Breastfeeding mothers will need some more water. Those with a history of kidney stones should do a bit more water too. Your urine color will be your tracker.

  • No smoking

Smoking restricts blood flow in vessels, which are present in your kidneys. Smokers are at a risk of cancer and quitting does not still abruptly bring one back to the safety level of a non-smoker. 

  • Minimize your OTC pills intake

Please take it easy on over-the-counter pain medications. Drugs like Ibuprofen and Naproxen are red flags for the kidneys.

People with kidney issues are at more risk with pain killers. Consult your doctor to get safe pain medications, especially if you have constant pains.

DOING WHAT’S BEST FOR OUR BELOVED BEANS.

To do things right, we need to be intentional. We should always have our kidneys at the back of our minds. Make a decision today. Take it from the easiest tip: regular water drinking. Have a bottle of water or beverage in hand to keep your body fluids in balance. Build up your care routine from there.

Do not let anyone convince you to merely give out your kidney for money as well. It is as precious as your life. You have two for a reason. Let us care for them and live without worries! Ciao.

I AM SO SORRY

I am sorry again. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak. As much as it occurs to me that I owe my readers some juicy posts, my posting is mocking me anytime I am not handling a school book. The constant tussle between academics and writing is a battle that has taken me so long to come to calm. At last, I have decided that there is no “right” time, an absolute period of no other concerns; I just have to put pen to paper and do my thing. Whenever I feel like, I would get to it. C’mon! It’s been two or three months since my last upload on this blog! To anyone who is up—pinky swear, I would not ghost again. Thank you to all my viewers, notifications of your activities drew me closer everyday. Then, adding a like? It feels like a shower of endearments. Don’t sleep on me. Watch out for my comeback post!

LET THERE BE DARK



You can already guess that my inspiration is not just out of the blues; my topics stem from discussions I have engaged in or writings I have stumbled on. Just like the one I have today. First, I doff my cap to the writer whose title I’m referencing, Paul Bogard. Reading a portion of his “enlightening” piece opened my eyes to ways in which light impedes the natural course of sleep. When we sleep, we avail our bodies the chance to get repaired, refreshed, and ready to go again. It is nature’s way of revitalizing our whole being so our nap should get utmost priority. When did I read this article? I came across this work during preparations for the SAT and it’s unforgettable because it was when I discovered my love for writing. I am feeling so euphoric right now(chuckles). There is so much peace in the dark, no doubt. How does it affect you, your health, and your environment?







YOU

Darkness is needed for the body to release a hormone called melatonin which helps keep certain cancers away. Melatonin is secreted at the pineal gland of the brain and controls the sleep-wake cycle. When it is lacking, insomnia or patchy sleeping patterns rear their heads. These cases are guilty of causing obesity, high blood sugar(diabetes) and cardiovascular problems, and so on.

Stillness and calm, qualities of the night, are rare to come by nowadays. Solitude is good for the mind and the soul. Meditation creates an avenue to reason and recall. When the day closes, the hustle and bustle should phase out. Alas, the blinding lights and shouts are unending! For one, I know the importance of quiet for spiritual activities, and can artists even get any inspiration from stargazing amidst commotion?








THOSE OUTSIDE

So far, we have only focused on how it affects humans; animals also face consequences. Nocturnal animal species that comprises reptiles, mammals, fishes, and birds undertake almost all of their life activities when the Sun’s down. Light polluting their ecosystem could destroy their habitat and mess with their life cycles as well. The ecological structure of the earth would be heading for Neverland without darkness.










THE ECONOMY

Nights are now awash with lights; the brightness is increasing every year. Images obtained from NASA show the unmistakable difference between nights of the 1950s and those of now. Sadly, so much of the lights are wasted and countries are suffering from squandered energy. From Paul’s writing, I envy those who ‘have truly known dark nights’. Yes, in Nigeria, the power supply is epileptic, but it does not disqualify us from being culprits. Give it a thought!










THE WAY FORWARD

The narrative can tow a new line. We have to take light pollution as a serious issue. There are innovations—with advancing technology—that are adopted in cities and towns of Europe already. LED streetlights easily replace the reckless shining of the usual ones.

Collective and individual efforts are highly useful. In our respective homes, we can switch off light bulbs which are not in use—especially at night. Apart from the advantages evident here, other benefits such as energy conservation and less heat generation are gained. Is it not wonderful how one move is a panacea to many problems?

Although Paris (The City of Lights) is switching off her lights, it is only a cost management decision. The world really needs to reflect on the awesomeness of the dark, inside out, to measure its value.

PASS ON THE SHISHA

Hookah is known by many different names all over the world, but in this part of the world—West Africa—it is called shisha. It is a growing trend among the youths, if not a mainstay already, and there are misconceptions about its advantages, especially over cigarettes. Shisha is further seductive with the plethora of flavors available. Sadly, this perception is very wrong. It is even worse. 

Smoking shisha originated from Asia and North Africa. The apparatus used is made up of a water pipe chambered to allow smoke passage, a bowl, another pipe, and a hose. Charcoal or wood burns a peculiar mixture of tobacco to give off smoke which is filtered by the water. What are the dangers attached to this preferred method of puffing smoke?

CANCER

As highlighted earlier, shisha smokers are at higher risk than cigarette smokers. They tend to inhale higher concentrations of toxic smoke than the latter. The practice demands increased puffing and deeper inhalation. A typical shisha session lasts for an hour and users are likely to inhale 200 times more smoke than the volume gotten from a cigarette.

The water in the shisha pipe acts as a filter, but there is only much it can do. Highly toxic products still find their way to the top of the pot. Carcinogens, carbon monoxide, and heavy metals are present in the smoke produced.

CARDIOVASCULAR PROBLEMS

The toxins from shisha end up in the bloodstream, causing atherosclerosis. This condition causes the arteries to harden and narrow. Damage is done to the lining which leads to fat deposition(atheroma). As expected, blood is hardly pumped to the body. Soon, cardiovascular diseases will arise like heart attack, stroke, angina, and congestive heart failure.

Nicotine hikes adrenaline production. An alert person has increased blood pressure and subsequent occurrence makes users prone to heart attack and stroke.

Charcoal and wood cinders used for burning shisha pose another problem. They expose users to a shit load of carbon monoxide gas. Carbon monoxide depletes the blood’s oxygen-carrying capacity and the heart has to do more work to provide enough oxygen for the body.

INFECTIONS

As each person takes a turn with the shisha pot, the mouthpiece does not change. This can lead to the transmission of diseases via saliva or mere breath. Common infections that arise are hepatitis C, tuberculosis, peptic ulcers, and pneumonia. A host of other pulmonary infections can also be contracted.

Unfortunately, certain strains of these viral infections are becoming resistant to antibiotics.

IS PASSIVE SMOKING HARMFUL?

Passive smoking is also called second-hand smoking. This is breathing in someone else’s smoke. A passive smoker is as good as a generic smoker. Second-hand smoke still has toxic chemicals, particles, and gases. Perhaps, you are presented with tobacco-free shisha; it is faux claim.

ADDICTION

Getting off smoking shisha is difficult so it is better not to attempt it at all. Shisha is prepared with tobacco which contains nicotine, an addictive substance. Also, the flavours on offer make users adventurous on end.

MAKING A DECISION TO STOP TODAY.

If you have decided to stop today, you have made a grand decision for your health. It is never too late. Talk to a medical professional today on the way forward.

You must have a purpose for smoking shisha. It could be for recreation, to ease stress, or get revved up. Find alternative ways to achieve these things healthily. 

The monies spent on this dangerous pastime can be used for rewarding oneself. Dropping this addiction is a bold, plausible step so when you hit your milestones(maybe a week, a month, or half a year away from smoking shisha), gift yourself something. This system leads to an eventual smoke-free lifestyle.

IN CONCLUSION

Don’t let the sweetish smell deceive you, neither should the cheap talk of the manufacturers.  That close friends decide to hang out with a shisha pot doesn’t make it a good way to have fun; they are only among the culprits of misinformation. Passive smokers are also vulnerable to the same dangers that real-time smokers are exposed to. Keep off where such is done, even as a non-smoker. You don’t need to hold the mouthpiece to get affected.

Always remember that the lungs were created for breathing and any other purpose may be an extreme sport. Your lungs are passageways to your body system. Pass on the shisha, skip taking a drag, and secure your health. Did I just say skip alone? Leave the freaking place!

VIEWS FROM THE POOLSIDE



I have never been to a swimming event before, but you will agree that I am so present from across my TV screen. It is fascinating to see seven, eight competitors justling in the pool for honours. Whatever stroke is in use, it catches the eye.

The swimmer I admire the most is Michael Phelps. As the greatest Olympian of all time, he is a standout performer at what he does. His body build intrigues me. Not hunky or intimidating, Michael has toned muscles that carve his body into perfection. This is common with many swimmers, and—damn—I’m jealous. From my couch in Lagos, I can see the advantage of this water sport on the physical. I am curious that it goes beyond the surface!

Not everybody is destined to have medals clashing on their necks like “The Flying Fish”, but anybody is free to swim. This activity is as old as man. The early man probably had to move between lands and studied the means adopted by aquatic animals—who knows? What does Mother Nature gift us when we splash in the pool?

A FULL-BODY WORKOUT

You must have come across routines that involve squats, sit-ups, press-ups, and the likes. It is great compiling all of these to get your body looking great. However, with swimming alone, you can work all your parts. Every muscle is involved in wading through the water, covering distance. The effort made toughens the muscles. Do you have a busy schedule? Or do you think you would fall out while sticking to a routine? Then, try the pool.

To get the whole body worked, you should vary strokes to focus on different muscle types. The common strokes are;
* breaststroke
* sidestroke
* backstroke
* butterfly
* freestyle

OVERALL CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH
Take a plunge for this important system of your body. Swimming trains the heart and the lungs. Over time, your body learns to make the best use of oxygen; it becomes evident in your breathing. Little wonder why boxers and long-distance runners train underwater. Their sports require endurance and the pool can drum it up.






STRESS RELIEVER
The hustle and bustle of a metropolitan city can be so overwhelming, even schoolwork alone can stress the hell out of you. Some physical activity can lighten your burden. Endorphins are released in the brain to send out the “good” feeling in your body, and cortisol—the stress hormone—is reduced. Within 4-5 laps of swimming, your blood is pumping healthily and you are fresh for new challenges.


TORCHING CALORIES

Looking to keep a healthy weight? Swimming can help the process. Calories are gained and lost, and striking a balance helps your size. The number of calories burned is relative to your body weight and the intensity of swimming.

An easy formula for calculating lost calories is;

Calories burned = Time(in minutes) × MET(Metabolic Equivalent of Task) × 3.5 × weight(in kg)/200.

You will be surprised that swimming does a lot better than a couple of notable calorie-burning exercises.






SPECIAL PEOPLE THAT GAIN FROM SWIMMING.

I could go on and on about how beneficial swimming is, but let me head towards the finish. Usually, people with health issues are discouraged from engaging in exercise, especially rigorous ones. Swimming is a safe option for ailing and fragile people. It is recommended for;
– insomniacs.
– asthma patients.
– pregnant women.
– kids.
– those suffering from multiple sclerosis.
– people with disabilities.
– those in recovery, and so on.

BEFORE TAKING A DIVE…
* Get your gears
There isn’t much kitting up to do, you need just a pair of goggles, swimmers, and floaters(for beginners). Quite affordable, right? That’s why it is the third most popular sport in the US.

* Enroll in swim classes.

* Drink plenty of water, and do away with alcohol and caffeine.

* Choose a safe place
Natural bodies of water can also be used for swimming and your safety in them matters. Once this is cleared, you can dip yourself without the fear of getting hurt.

* Have a lifeguard around
As a beginner, always have an experienced person with you. You are learning and you could get it wrong. Your company is your lifeguard that comes to your rescue.

* Warm-Up
Stretch your muscles and fire up your joints with some simple moves; it gets you prepped for the task ahead. You will see the importance of the warm-up in your fluid movements later.

ANY RISK?
For some reason, I am not equipped to tell you if swimming is fit for you or not. It is advised that you consult your doctor on whether to try out an activity, especially with a health history.
Now, people with psoriasis may suffer aggravation of the condition in a pool with high chlorine levels. Psoriasis is an anomaly whereby the immune system is attacking healthy skin cells.




HOW MUCH SWIMMING DO YOU NEED?

I can imagine your appetite at this point to know how much swimming is “right”. Anyways, start slow. Don’t go aiming to swim for one hour on your first day. Begin with 15 to 30 minutes, then up the ante based on your body’s accommodation. Suddenly going on for a long time can cause muscle fatigue and soreness, which are very discouraging.

If you still need a prescription, half an hour daily is perfect.

LET’S CALL IT A DAY.

Swimming is an all-round exercise for the body and people across all age groups can indulge in it. The elderly can participate without fearing putting pressure on their feeble bones( this is likely with running or jogging). Swimming’s negligence of the bones necessitates weight-bearing exercises for their strengthening. Nevertheless, the benefits of swimming are numerous with effects on the mind, body, and soul. If not that I used to be tied to my mum’s apron strings, I should be an adept swimmer by now(laughs), but is it too late? No! Try swimming today.

WHAT IS THIS THING CALLED DARK CHOCOLATE?



Gross! Who trades the instant goodness of brands like Snickers, Mars, and Bounty for a bar of pure cocoa powder? It is presumably unheard of. I felt the same way when dark chocolate came to my attention while conversing with a friend some years back, with the willingness to try it one day. And I did.

Nahhh, my taste buds were repulsed immediately. It was bitter! Coincidentally, I took one of the glamorous variants before taking the dip and it was not funny. Sooner, I realized it wasn’t so bad. Behind its initial taste, dark chocolate offers the body a lot of benefits.

Dark chocolate is derived from the seed of the cacao(cocoa) tree, a natural hive for antioxidants. The aroma it gives off is fruity, roasted, and—of course—cocoa. On the tongue, this candy engages every taste bud with an eventual creamy, melting feel. What else?





IT IS HIGHLY NUTRITIOUS

With a quality dark chocolate bar, you are in for a dietary treat. There are so many nutrients up for grabs. It contains soluble fiber and minerals. The fudge contains iron, magnesium, copper, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, and manganese.



This sounds too good to be true and you may just want to raid the beverage section at the mall. No! Dark chocolate is not for daily consumption. Alongside the nutrients and minerals are high-calorie content (>500) and some sugar. So, moderation is key.

Caffeine and theobromine—which are stimulants—are also present, although the amounts may be too low to keep you awake at night.


ANTIOXIDANTS RICH

According to tests carried out by researchers, it is proven that raw cocoa beans are royalty in the league of foods rich in antioxidants(containing compounds like flavanols, polyphenols, and so on). It is highly potent in neutralizing free radicals. Oxidative stress is also handled.

Oxidative stress is the result of the interaction between excessive free radicals and tissues of the body. It is responsible for natural aging and could cause several diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes, heart diseases, and cancer.


ANTI-INFLAMMATORY EFFECTS

Inflammation is one of the body’s natural responses to bacterial invasion or the introduction of any other harmful substances. However, chronic inflammation opens doors for diseases and infections; dark chocolate reduces the tendency for this to happen.



NOTE THAT

* Dark chocolate is prized for the flavanols in it. Although, it varies across different manufacturers.

* This bitter, sweet, and sour (yes, you will get all these tastes) brownie is calorie-dense.

* Cocoa butter has some unhealthy saturated fats together with body-friendly unsaturated fats.


IT IS AN APHRODISIAC

Yes, women love chocolate and it is a necessity in Valentine’s package, but the job doesn’t stop at the tongue. Chocolate enhances the mood, energy, and sexual function of eaters. See how it works;

It drives blood to sex organs.
L-arginine, a natural sex booster for both sexes, is present in chocolate. It aids blood flow to sex organs and increases the production of nitric oxide to gift increased sensitivity, pleasure, and satisfaction.

It brings the mood.
Libido food? Yes, chocolate. It is packed with PEA(phenylethylamine), often called the “romance chemical”. PEA is naturally released when you are in love and it induces euphoria while promoting the release of dopamine. Dopamine creates a feeling of pleasure and happiness.

Energy booster.
This quality makes it the perfect aphrodisiac! The theobromine present keeps you stimulated and alive; you need these in the other room. For those on a busy schedule, chocolate can help you get sleepless nights( I am not encouraging you to lose sleep).









EATING IT RIGHT

The absence of information concerning the flavanol content in chocolates leaves you in a dilemma. It does not let you know how much to take to stay on top of your health. Studies, however, recommend 20-30g of dark chocolate daily. For the records, dark chocolate has less sugar and more fat so keep your intake in check for the scales.







Chocolate is not only for celebrating love. We are allowed to take it any other day, for our health’s sake. Dark chocolate is an ideal addition to your diet as it is loaded with vital minerals. Also, it has compounds that contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances. Lovebirds can carry on with regular chocolate, but dark is safer. Don’t fret, take a bite and see the light. Remember to exercise constraint.