It’s almost Mother’s day. I’m usually not really a person to write poetic stories on how much I love my mother. Not that I don’t want to, but simply because capturing her essence is not so easy to do. She means so much to me that putting it into words would never express the fullness of my feelings.Read More
If you recall your first day at school, you probably remember how stressful it was. Suddenly you’re in a new place, surrounded by all these new faces – it can get quite overwhelming, especially when you’re a kid. However, having someone you can trust by your side can quickly make all of your fears go away.Read More
Love is a complex set of emotions and beliefs, an intense feeling of deep affection and a force of nature that can be found anywhere. It is one of the strongest feelings that we’ll ever know: love means to be deeply committed and connected to someone or something. Family, friends, lovers, pets – love is a bond that two people share.Read More
Eating more plants is pretty much a no-brainer: Research shows that people who stick to plant-based diets have lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels, not to mention the lifestyle choice is way better for the environment.
But when it comes to dedicating yourself to a specific plant-forward diet, how do you know which variety is best for you? Vegan? Vegetarian? And what’s the difference between the two? Because, honestly, they seem pretty dang similar…
Look no further than this vegan vs. vegetarian guide for answers to all your veggie questions.
So, what’s a vegetarian diet?
“A vegetarian diet is pretty much the easiest way to make the switch to eating more plants and vegetables, but it’s important to note that there are varying levels of vegetarianism,” says Marisa Moore, RD. Traditionally, vegetarians don’t eat meat sources like chicken or beef, and sometimes don’t eat items that are made from animal parts (such as bone broth) either. “Some vegetarians eat both eggs and dairy, some one or the other,” says Moore. And some add in some fish from time to time, too. People who fall into this camp (generally referred to as pescatarians) may still consider themselves vegetarian—it really just depends on the person you ask.
These are all various takes on traditional vegetarian diet:
Lacto-ovo vegetarian: No meat, poultry, seafood, or other meat products. Will eat eggs and dairy products.
Lacto-vegetarian: No meat, poultry, seafood, other meat products, or eggs. Will eat dairy products.
Pescatarian: No meat, poultry, or other meat products. Will eat seafood, eggs, and dairy.
How does this differ from a vegan diet?
Vegan diets generally cut out more items than vegetarian diets do, but that doesn’t mean all you’re eating is kale. “Veganism is the omission of all animal products, so very strict vegans definitely don’t eat meat, seafood, or eggs,” says Emily Wood, RD. And many don’t eat honey or gelatin, either.
Vegans also tend to be more conscientious of cross-contamination—meaning they won’t eat food that’s come in contact with animal by-products (think: sautéeing veggies in a pan that had chicken, or a vegan product processed in the same facility as dairy). That said, this varies from person to person, and many vegetarians are diligent about types of cross-contamination, too.
“Some vegans also extend their diet views to their lifestyle choices, which means they don’t buy leather and wool clothing or accessories, and avoid cosmetics and soaps that have been tested on animals.”
Still, the biggest differentiator is that vegans tend to give up ALL animal products, plus animal by-products. But course, there are no hard and fast rules, and you can adapt the vegan diet to meet your needs. Some iterations on a vegan diet include:
Beegan: A vegan person who eats honey.
Raw vegan: A vegan who only eats raw, unprocessed, plant-based foods.
What on earth is a plant-based diet, then?
“Honestly, it depends on who you ask!” says Moore, who is all for the flexibility a plant-based diet provides. “Some people use the term to describe veganism, some to describe vegetarianism—some even use it to describe a diet that is mostly plants, but still has a bit of chicken or fish in it now and then.” One main criteria, though, is that a plant-based diet mostly focuses on whole, unprocessed foods, since it’s entirely driven by the health benefits of a plant-first diet.
“I would say that plant-based eating definitely offers the most flexibility,” says Wood.
How do you decide the best one for you?
“There’s honestly no right answer—it’s very individual,” says Wood, who counsels several clients on this exact query every single day. “Identify what you want to get out of it,” she adds.
Are you looking to lower your cholesterol or reduce your carbon footprint, but not ready to ditch cheese? Go for vegetarian. Do you want to be more mindful about animal treatment? Look into veganism. Are you eager to limit your meat intake, but not quite ready to nix it entirely? A more flexible, plant-based diet may be for you.
Consider your “why,” and go from there. If you’re really stumped, though, Wood recommends getting some guidance from a nutritionist to choose a diet that works for your goals and lifestyle.
How do you start adopting a vegan or vegetarian diet?
“Definitely don’t go cold turkey,” advises Wood, who says that cutting out too many food items at once will simply make you feel too deprived to stick to the diet long-term. Instead, cut maybe one food at a time, or reduce your portions of meat gradually, all while adding more plant-based sources of protein, such as beans and nuts. “And add more vegetables, since it’ll naturally make you eat less of the other stuff,” adds Wood.
For five years, Betina Gozo played in a band living an entirely different life than she does now. It wasn’t until her roommate took her to a boot camp class that pushed her entirely beyond her comfort zone that she realized just how out of shape she was. Soon, she was making moves to improve her health—and her new habits started to rub off on those around her.
“I noticed that I was influencing other people in my band by implementing healthier activities into my life. We were doing planks and push-ups together and eating healthy,” she tells Women’s Health. “As I started working out more, I wanted to be better. That’s when the switch flipped and I knew I wanted to become a trainer.”
Fast forward to today. Not only is Gozo a fitness model and a personal trainer, but she’s also been crowned Women’s Health’s Next Fitness Star and is one of 50 handpicked Nike Master Trainers. Her role with Nike involves doing everything from designing workouts for the Nike+ Training Club App to heading up local and regional Nike events. (Pretty awesome, right?)
The 32-year-old owns each day by waking up early and setting daily intentions. “I call morning Betina ‘Prime Time Betina,’” she says. “I’m usually the most productive and energized in the morning. It makes me feel like a warrior when I’ve accomplished so many things before people even start their day.”
Here, she lets us in on her morning routine, including her secret to starting every day in a good mood.
4:45 a.m. My alarm goes off.
“The first thing I do after I get out of bed is drink a glass of water. This helps me rehydrate and makes me feel like I’m starting the day off on the right foot.”
“People often ask me how I manage to wake up so early. I do a lot of things the night before that help. Usually, at 8 p.m. I’m putting down my phone for the day and picking up my guitar to wind down and relax. Then I’ll journal for about 20 minutes. Next, I’ll sip on tea and take CBD, which helps me ease into sleep.”
5 a.m. I’m smiling, then meditating.
“It sounds so silly, but one of the first things I do every single morning is smile. I heard it in a meditation once, that smiling tricks your body into being happy even when you’re not. Then, I’ll bring that energy into my own personal meditation. I’ll turn on my pink Himalayan sea salt lamp and sit down on my bean bag to meditate. It helps me begin every day with a clear mind and a sense of calm.”
6 a.m. I’m training my first client.
“I typically train two clients first thing in the morning, one at 6 and then another at 7. Once I’m done with that, I do my own workout around 8 a.m. It’s when I feel my best, and it makes me feel like I can tackle the rest of my day.”
9 a.m. It’s smoothie and e-mail time.
“I keep the smoothie pretty simple. I start with homemade cashew milk, then add spinach, banana, ice, and protein powder. While it’s blending, I drink a glass of water and pop two MitoQ Skin Support supplements. They’re designed to help the skin stave off signs of aging and provide extra protection against the damaging effects of pollution. I feel like they help my skin stay moisturized and bright.”
“Then, I usually take some time to catch up on my e-mails and online clients. Since my job requires me to give a lot of myself to people, I have given myself permission to only check or answer e-mails no more than two times a day to protect my energy (and sanity!).”
I started off as a family and child photographer five years ago, but what I noticed was that people only came to get photographs taken with their children and spouses. I never had a client asking me to take photographs of their parents or grandparents or even photos of their children and parents.
So I decided to divide my work time into two parts. I spent one half of my month photographing my clients the way they wanted me to and the other half was dedicated to requesting grandparents and great-grandparents (who I would invite via model calls or would randomly approach in public places) to come and be photographed by me with their grandkids.
On one such shoot in Houston, Texas, this year, I noticed that while I was photographing one grandparent with their grandchild, the other grandparent was just standing silently in a corner. So, for the sake of their memories together, I asked both grandparents if I could photograph them together… and I haven’t stopped doing that now.
Whichever country I visit, I make sure I photograph elderly couples there together and I cannot express how fulfilling this has been for me. The stories I hear of their lives together… and the pure and honest love that I witness in the course of these shoots is just beyond amazing.
One of the elderlies said to me, “When we were young, we had so much around us to distract us. Our love always seemed to be so rushed… so incomplete. But now that we have only each other, this love, this companionship is all that matters.”
Mercury in retrograde is kind of like Luke P. on The Bachelorette—the universal villain that people love to blame for practically everything that goes wrong in life. (Not that they’re wrong… #TeamMike forever!)
Unlike the infamous Luke P., however, Mercury in retrograde actually isn’t the worst thing ever—or even close to it.
In case you forgot (or more likely blocked it out), Mercury went retrograde back in March and yup, it’s happening again—on July 7, to be exact. Here’s everything you need to know about the zodiac’s most “dreaded” event, according to Donna Page, a certified astrologer in Atlanta.
What does it mean when Mercury goes retrograde?
A little astrology 101: When a planet goes retrograde, that means it seems to be moving backward in the sky, Page explains. Every planet goes retrograde at some point, but Mercury just happens to be best known for it.
Each retrograde is different, though, and that’s even true when you’re talking about the same planet, Page says. This Mercury retrograde is happening in Leo, which means it’s bringing strong vibes encouraging you to enjoy life and have fun. Good so far, right?
Yeah… not so fast. Since Mercury is the planet of communication, you might be a little over the top with what you say around this time. Page specifically recommends being a bit cautious about bragging or “feeling like you have to one-up people when you communicate” because that won’t win you any popularity contests.
So, take a pass on the urge to insist your sister acknowledge the fact you were the first one in your family to get pastel highlights, TYVM—it really doesn’t matter.
Plus, this retrograde is “extra intense” because it’s happening at the same time as a Mars retrograde. “There’s a tendency for something to come out of your mouth suddenly that doesn’t help the situation,” Page says. Yikes on yikes.
It’s not all bad, though. While this Mercury in retrograde might make you put your foot in your mouth, it’s also a great time for being funny and thinking on your feet, Page says. “It’s [all about] thinking outside the box, and brilliant thinking,” Page says. “Allow yourself to think of creative ways of doing things.”
How will this affect your zodiac sign?
Mercury in retrograde will affect every zodiac sign on some level (sigh), but Page says Cancer, Leo, and Capricorn will feel it the most.
Don’t panic if you’re one of them. Just try to keep yourself in check when you’re talking or texting with people to make sure you’re not humble-bragging about that time you helped pull a group of kittens out of a burning building or whatever. Cool story, but still…
How will Mercury retrograde impact your life going forward?
This Mercury retrograde starts in Leo and ends in Cancer, which focuses on emotions and feelings. Suddenly, you’ll find yourself thinking hard about whether you still enjoy all the things you used to. Sure, it was fun to do Jello shots at your summer BBQs a few years ago, but maybe you want a more ~chill~ vibe this year—and that’s totally fine. “You’ll get in touch with emotions and what makes you feel a sense of pleasure, joy, and fun,” Page says.
In today’s day and age, most of us are quite used to the idea that taking care of a child is not just a mother’s responsibility. Men all over the world are speaking up for the recognition they deserve. The traditional and quite sexist way of thinking that only women should be provided all the necessities needed in public places to take care of their children has been a major problem. One of the biggest examples of such unfairness is the lack of changing tables in men’s public bathrooms, but hopefully, with the hashtag #squatforchange going viral, we are up for a very positive change.
Recently, one man named Donte Palmer showed how fathers have to change diapers in public bathrooms since there are no changing tables for men
In a now viral photo, Donte is captured squatting in a public toilet while holding his child on his knees in order to change his diaper.
After Donte’s photo went viral, more men showed their support by capturing themselves squatting in public bathrooms
The movement quickly turned into a viral #squatforchange hashtag with men all over the country demanding changing tables in men’s public bathrooms.
Past child development research often ignored fathers. But new studies are finding that non-maternal caregivers play a crucial role in children’s behaviour, happiness, even cognitive skills.
The Aka tribesmen in the Central African Republic often look after their young children while the mothers are out hunting. They soothe, clean and play with their babies, and spend more time holding them than fathers in any other society. Their devotion has earned them the title of “the world’s best dads” from online commentators – which is somewhat ironic given that the Aka are strictly egalitarian and shun rankings.
Still, it shows just how dramatically the wider view of being a “good father” has changed over time.
Today, many dads are celebrated for being sensitive, caring and hands-on. A growing body of research is transforming our understanding of how they can shape their children’s lives from the start, challenging conventional ideas of parenthood and gender.
This is striking given that until the 1970s, the role of fathers in their children’s development was not much studied at all. Their most important job was seen as economically supporting the mother, who would in turn be the emotional anchor for the child.“There was a lot of focus on how relationships with mothers were very important, and there was very little thought about other social relationships,” says Michael Lamb, a psychologist at the University of Cambridge who has been studying fathers since the 1970s. “The most obvious of those was the father-child relationship – a relationship that was viewed as more important as children grow older, but was always viewed as secondary to the mother-child relationship.”
Or as Marian Bakermans-Kranenburg of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, who is doing a series of studies on new fathers and family relations, puts it: “Half of parents are fathers, yet 99% of the research on parenting focuses on mothers.”
Now, new research is showing that the social world of children is much richer, and more complex, than previously thought.
It is not just dads who have moved into the spotlight. Grandparents, same-sex parents, step-parents and single parents have also helped researchers understand what really makes a child thrive – and that it’s not just about one caregiver.
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“Part of the argument that I’ve been trying to make for the past 45 years is that actually, no, there are multiple important factors,” says Lamb. “We do want to recognise differences in their importance, but we also need to recognise that – to quote that cliché – it does take a village, and that there are a lot of important relationships that shape children’s development.”
A range of recent studies show how flexible parenting roles can be. Psychologist Ruth Feldman of Israel’s Bar-Ilan University has found that, just like mothers, fathers experience a hormonal boost when caring for their babies, which helps the bonding process. When dads are the main caregivers, their brains adapt to the task.
And emotional involvement matters. Babies with emotionally engaged dads show better mental development as toddlers and are less likely to have behavioural problems later on, compared to babies whose dads behave in a more detached way. Older children benefit, too. Those whose fathers, or father figures, are more emotionally supportive, tend to be more satisfied with life and have better relationships with teachers and other children.
“The factors that lead to the formation of relationships are exactly the same for mother and father,” says Lamb. “It really comes down to the emotional availability, recognising the child’s needs, responding to those, providing the comfort and support that the child needs.”
Past research has found that mothers and fathers do tend to interact differently with small children: mothers bond more through gentle caretaking, while fathers typically bond through play. But that, Lamb says, has less to do with gender and more with the division of childcare.
Studies of same-sex couples and stay-at-home dads have shown that regardless of gender, it is the parent who works during the day, and comes home in the evening, who tends to play wilder games, like picking up their baby and swinging them around. The parent who looks after the baby all day is likely to interact with them more calmly.In heterosexual couples, the parent who takes on most of the care during the day is often still the mother for a range of social and economic reasons.
One is to do with parental leave. While all OECD countries except the US provide nationwide, publicly-funded, paid maternity leave, only half provide paid paternity leave that lasts for at least two months. Meanwhile, given the persisting gender wage gap, it often simply makes economic sense for new mothers rather than fathers to stay at home. Across the OECD, women earn 13.8% less than men (based on median earnings).
This helps to explain why parental leave alone is not the answer. In the UK, where shared parental leave is available, as few as 2% of couples take it.
In fact, even among the much-praised Aka, the women do the majority of the childcare. They hunt and forage with their babies snuggled against them in a sling. But no-one yet has declared them the world’s best mothers.
But involving dads more from the start can have many benefits, research has shown. And play, regardless of whether it’s calm or boisterous, is particularly beneficial.
“Play is the language of childhood: it’s the way children explore the world, it’s how they build relationships with other children,” says Paul Ramchandani, who studies play in education, development and learning at the University of Cambridge. He and his team observed fathers playing with their babies in the first months of life, then tracked the children’s development. They found that early father-baby interactions are much more important than previously assumed.
Babies whose dads were more active and engaged during play had fewer behavioural difficulties at age one compared to those with more distant or detached dads. They also did better in cognitive tests at two, for example in their ability to recognise shapes.
These outcomes were independent of the mother’s relationship with the child.
Ramchandani cautions that the results should not be interpreted as a clear causal link. Instead of directly affecting their children’s development, the distant dads’ behaviour could, for example, be a sign of other problems in the family. Still, he sees the study as an encouragement to play with your child long before they can crawl and talk: “Some dads don’t do that when the babies are young because they’re unsure about what they should do, or unsure if they’re doing the right things.” Of course, new mothers may feel similarly hesitant.
But Ramchandani says it can be as simple as sitting the baby on your lap, making eye contact, and observing what they enjoy.
“It’s the getting involved that’s the most important thing, because you’ll get better at it if you practice it. It’s not something that comes naturally to everybody. Some people are really good at it, but for most people it takes practice,” he says.
In many ways, fathers are more involved than ever. There are fathers’ playgroups, dads-only baby massage classes, and hugely popular online videos of dad-and-baby dance ensembles.
Visit a typical weekday baby group in even a relatively progressive neighbourhood in London, however, and the picture quickly changes. Yes, there are usually one or two dads around, and they are just as competent as the mums. But the bulk of parenting still seems to fall to women. Around the world, women spend up to 10 times more time on unpaid care work – including childcare – than men.
“I think we’re at a crossroads in terms of how we view fathers,” says Anna Machin, an anthropologist and author of The Life of Dad, a book on modern fathering.
Machin argues that while most dads want to be more active at home, the workplace has not really adapted to this. “That’s where the tension is for men at the moment: between needing and wanting to care, and also needing to still provide,” she says.
Given the financial pressures many families face, Machin fears there could actually be a reversal to more traditional roles: “If you’re a dad now, if you want to be involved, you have to be a bit of a pioneer in the workplace. You have to go against all that culture of, ‘men go back to work’. You have to be the one to go, ‘Actually, I want to assert my rights’.
“And that’s quite a hard thing to do.”
A more equal division can have many long-term benefits. Researchers led by sociologists Helen Norman and Colette Fagan at the University of Manchester found that fathers were more likely to be involved when the child was aged three if they shared childcare equally when the child was nine months old. In Scotland, a study of more than 2,500 families showed that supportive father-child relationships matter as much as mother-child relationships for children’s wellbeing. In another sign of change, the study included father-figures such as stepfathers, whose impact has often been side-lined.
“People did take note, and it’s helping to maintain or increase the profile of fathers in a range of policy discussions,” says Paul Bradshaw, director of the Scottish Centre for Social Research, which undertook the study on behalf of the Scottish government.Perhaps one day, a male chief executive with a baby sling will be as common a sight as a group of Aka men carrying their infants back from the hunt. In the meantime, dads can take comfort in the fact that there are countless ways of being a good parent.
“One of the points we’ve learned is that there isn’t a model of the ideal father. There isn’t a recipe for what the father needs to do or what sorts of behaviour he needs to emulate,” says Lamb.
Ultimately, he says, it’s about being emotionally available, and meeting the child’s needs. “Different people do that in different ways. There’s been a lot of talk about, ‘do dads need to do that in a masculine way?’ And the answer is no, they don’t need to.
“They need to do it in a way that makes sense for them, that feels authentic, that allows them to be fully and coherently engaged in the relationship with their child.”
So, since summer is already here (sorry, Australians) it’s time to plan your weekend getaways with your best friends and family. But if you want to have some relaxing vacation time, it almost always comes at a price. Luckily, there are still ways to spend your holidays like royalty without losing all of your hard earned money. If you’re still not rich enough to get an actual speedboat (you’ll get there), you can spend this summer by replacing it with an inflatable one that is available on Amazon. Honestly, it’s just as good.
Not all of us can afford a yacht or a speedboat, but luckily, with the inflatable boat market booming, we can afford something that will definitely be fun, relaxing as well as a great option for you and all of your friends to enjoy a sunny day out in the lake.
The boat also includes an inflated rear swim platform, eight cup holders, an inflatable bench seat and five handles for easy mounting and dismounting.And the best part, there is even a built-in cooler for your drinks so you could enjoy your day off even more.
The speedboat costs around $279.99
It also measures about 20 feet long x 10 feet wide and 3 feet tall.