12 Tips for a Happier, Healthier You
From breast checks to meal prepping, here are our expert tips for keeping healthy.
One in seven Rhode Island women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. This is slightly higher than average as the national average is one in eight. We talked to Carol Donnelly from the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation — a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting local individuals and families touched by cancer — about the importance of knowing your body and just why routine breast checks are so darn important. She says: “All women, beginning in their teenage years, should perform monthly breast self-exams either in the shower or lying down. It is important for you to know what your breasts feel like in order to detect changes, should any occur. Women should also have an annual clinical breast exam performed by a medical professional, have a regular mammography screening at age forty (unless otherwise indicated) and should inform the doctor if any cancer is prominent in their family history.”
And although breast cancer is not preventable, Donnelly says you can reduce the risk of developing it by:
➻ Maintaining a healthy weight.
➻ Not smoking.
➻ Abstaining from excessive alcohol consumption.
➻ Eating whole foods and regularly avoiding processed foods.
The Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation helps patients, survivors and their loved ones through and beyond breast cancer. For more information, visit them online at gloriagemma.org.
Whether it is a church group, hobby group or a mothers’ support group, here’s how you can keep yourself busy and socially interactive with some good, like-minded company.
For the runner
All levels of runners or walkers can join the Rhode Runner Running Club every Wednesday and Sunday for weekly workouts in Providence. Tie your laces, get your blood flowing and your heart rate pumping with some extra motivation from your running buddies. Club membership dues are initially $50 but are only $30 to renew each year.
For the new mom
Now that your new bundle of joy (and all of the sleepless nights that came along with them) has arrived, get out and meet other new moms to discuss the joys and challenges of motherhood in a safe, respectful space. Women and Infants Hospital offers a new mothers’ group on Wednesday mornings from 10 a.m. to noon.
For the bookworm
Literature lovin,’ wine drinkin’ ladies are invited to talk about their favorite drama, mystery or romance books with other novel junkies as part of the Providence Women’s Book Club. The benefits of joining a book club? You meet new people, get to share your thoughts and sometimes even read things you wouldn’t otherwise pick up.
Cook Once, Eat Twice
Save time in the kitchen by cooking meals that pull off double duty. Making enough food to eat as leftovers the next day not only cuts down on extra cooking, but also allows you an extra fifteen minutes to snooze the alarm in the morning. Find your favorite recipes on local Rhody-woman-run blogs like hollylikestocook.com, tinyfarmhouse.com or jessannkirby.com.
Lather it Up
According to the Center for Disease Control’s State Cancer Profiles, Washington County has the highest incidence of melanoma in Rhode Island. To combat overexposure to the sun and to reduce the risk of skin cancer, apply Raw Elements —
a natural sunscreen concocted by a Narragansett-native named Brian Guadagno — whenever you step out in to the end-of-summer sun. Tip: Even if your makeup contains SPF, you are not covered, so lather up, ladies!
Sick of your same old gym routine? With stationary bike rides tailored to all fitness levels, Cyclebar’s unique spin (pun intended) will invigorate you to pedal to the metal for a kick-ass, full-body workout. Up your exercise game with energizing beats and track your personal performance while rocking your ride. Not exactly your speed? Bounce into Elevate Fitness, a woman-owned fitness center, for a GoFlo Bungee Cord Fitness class. This core-driven, seriously challenging and multi-purpose exercise session makes working out fun (did we really just say that?). It is a great way for people with joint issues and injuries to exercise, as it is low impact and is appropriate for all ages and skill levels.
Keep Stress at Bay
Bored with the standard downward dog?
Join Zen Mafia and Saltitude, a Himalayan salt cave in Lincoln, for an hour-long Vinyasa yoga class full of rest and relaxation. Practice your best yogi moves, steady your breathing and feel the sweet effects of getting salty. Plus, learn the basics of meditation and un-wined (get it?) with a glass or two.
Yoga not your thing?
Give meditation a try with All That Matters, a local holistic health center chain. Although they do offer yoga classes, free weekly and monthly guided meditation services are also available. The mind-body benefits of meditation range from reduced stress and lower blood pressure to enhanced creativity and the ability to focus. What are you waiting for?
What you put on your body is just as critical as what you put in your body. The Peyton Company — a woman-focused, chic flagship store in the oceanside town of Warren — creates products using locally sourced, organic and fair-trade ingredients. Choose from lip scrubs that will keep your locks feeling luscious or body butter that will hydrate, heal, protect and leave your skin glowing and bright. The company’s non-greasy cosmetics readily absorb into your skin and provide twenty-four hours of non-stop hydration, leaving your skin feeling flawless and moisturized all day long. When you look good, you feel good; and when you feel good, well, go ahead and walk in the light of confidence.
Eat This, Not That
We talked to local dietician, Lauren Talbert RD, CSO, LDN, of the Rhode Island Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics about which healthy foods you should be stocking up on at Dave’s Market or other local supermarkets.
This creamy, cultured substance that’s often found in a snack-size container is nutrient-dense and contains high amounts of calcium and protein. After age fifty, women go from needing 1,000 grams to 1,200 grams of calcium per day. Fortunately, Greek yogurt is a snack that not only fills you up and keeps you from overeating, but it can also boost those calcium and protein levels.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Many green vegetables contain a substantial amount of nutrients as well as a considerable amount of fiber. Consuming fiber will help you to feel fuller longer, as well as aid in digestion. Opt for leafy greens including kale, spinach, collard greens and more. Plus, they are low in caloric-content… Sounds like a win-win to us!
Many types of berries have cancer-fighting phytochemicals, meaning they contain naturally occurring plant chemicals that provide plants, and in this case, berries, with color, odor and flavor. Once digested, they can aid in regulating hormones, stimulating the immune system and more. Many berries (including all of your favorites like blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and more) are also packed with antioxidants and even make for a good source of fiber, too.
Pick the Right Bra
You know your favorite shirt that you put on when you go out on a Friday night? Or how about that blouse you always wear to work? They are your two most worn tops, but for some reason, they sometimes feel completely different when you wear them. It may be because the bra you are wearing underneath fits well under one shirt, but not the other. We talked to Carol, owner of Ruth’s Lingerie in Cranston, and asked her why wearing a comfortable, fitted bra (and having many different kinds) is important. “You need different bras for different outfits and occasions,” she says. “What works for one outfit, may not work for another. So, find multiple bras that have a good fit and feel good on.”
Here are some tips on how to find a bra (or two) that won’t make you want to rush home just to take it off:
➻ Bra cups differ in shape and construction. While ‘lace’ bras may be popular, a seamless bra will do the trick when it comes to comfort.
➻ While bras need to be snug, they shouldn’t feel tight.
➻ Seek out a bra that has a projection, not a minimizer. A dress will fall more naturally around your mid-section if you’re fuller on top. This is a great way of camouflaging your tummy without using an uncomfortable shaper.
➻ While exercising, you stretch not only your muscles, but potentially your breasts, too, if you are not wearing the right sports bra. You should wear a firm bra that will keep everything secure when you’re running, cycling, stretching, etc.
➻ Most people have never been measured for their bra size and so they purchase by trial and error.
A fit expert will give guidance and help you select the types of garments that will enhance your wardrobe, feel good on and give you an overall better sense of well-being.
Don’t Skip Breakfast
Your mom was right: Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Eating breakfast helps to lower cholesterol levels, improve concentration and performance throughout the day, aid in weight control and much more. Many women are busy nowadays, whether they are working moms or are just working, so finding the time to make breakfast in the morning can be quite the hassle.
Here are some quick on-the-go breakfast bite spots in the city that you can hit up before heading to the office:
400 Exchange St., Providence, 648-4994.
Small Point Cafe
230 Westminster St., Providence, 228-6999.
Rebelle Artisan Bagels
110 Doyle Ave., Providence, 349-1263.
Digest the Best
Ditch the soda and sip on a healthy drink that is satisfyingly salubrious. Luluna Kombucha, a fermented probiotic tea, will help to improve your ‘gut health.’ The naturally effervescent drink, brewed in Rhode Island by co-owner and founder, Lucy Kreger, is garnished with fresh seasonal fruit and herbs from around New England. Prefer another beverage other than tea? Stop by Benefit Juice Bar and Cafe in Providence for a made-to-order juice or smoothie. For an extra splash of health, add an omega boost, whey protein, antioxidant or immune and energy blend to your drink. Cheers to that, ladies!
Volunteer or Mentor
Mentoring matters! The effectiveness and impact of being an advisor to a young adolescent can result in a lifetime of rewards. One in three American youth don’t have a mentor’s support in their lives, but with your help, the children of Rhode Island can change the nationwide statistic. Join the Big Sisters chapter of Rhode Island to be paired with a child who you will motivate and empower to make positive decisions, guide in improving their academic results, teach to avoid risky behaviors and ultimately help to grow in a way that will positively impact the community. Mentoring can be immensely rewarding and can provide you with opportunities to learn, share and gain new insights with an enrichment for success, too!