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If coffee is the best way to start your day, an energy drink is the physical and mental stimulant that can get you through the day – whether you just need a pick-me-up or are cramming to complete a project for work. In the billion dollar energy drinks market, the choice is vast and the shiny cans of liquid goodness beckon you away from fizzy drinks and fruit juices. Modern lifestyles and the ‘work harder, sleep less’ culture demand caffeine. If you’re not juicing up on veggies, you’re probably swigging a Red Bull or a 5 Hour– that’s the new normal.

But is this a new normal we should be encouraging? Are energy drinks really all that? Let’s scrutinize them and leave it to you to make the decision.

A quick energy boost is always welcomeThere are up to 25 grams of carbohydrates (100 calories) per 8 ounces of energy drink. For athletes and work-out enthusiasts, carbs replenish energy expended during strenuous physical activity, assisting with recovery and performance. Energy drinks with over 400 milligrams of sodium per liter replace electrolytes lost during intense workouts, hydrating and refreshing you.

Some energy drinks contain vitamins B2, B3, B6 and B12 in small amounts, which can supplement the amount you derive from your daily diet. They also contain taurine, an amino acid that promotes salt and water balance in the blood.

This is the good part, but the flipside cannot be ignored.

Insomnia and dependence pose a real problem Caffeine is a major ingredient in energy drinks, surpassing that in Coca-Cola. A 16 ounce can contains 160 milligrams of caffeine, about the same in one cup of coffee. Caffeine dependence is never desirable, and daily, unfettered consumption of energy drinks and coffee can cause insomnia, irritability and anxiety.

In the worst case-scenario, people who gulp down energy drinks and soft drinks set themselves up for symptoms such as stomach problems, fevers and diarrhea. This is incompatible with a healthy lifestyle, regardless of whether you’re an employed individual or a school-going teen.

The health risks are too serious to ignoreThe simple sugars and hidden additives in energy drinks may revitalize your body, but the buzz dies down pretty quickly. Importantly, your insulin levels go haywire due to the elevation and drop in sugar levels, which can lead to that “crashing” feeling.

The high sugar content of energy drinks can contribute to weight gain and high cholesterol. Sugary drinks dehydrate your system and can decay your teeth over time.

Worryingly, studies have found that, when mixed with alcohol, energy drinks can make you feel sober even when you’re not. In an irresponsible moment, you may decide to drive because you don’t ‘feel’ tipsy, though in reality, you may be too intoxicated to attempt driving.

There is not much research or literature on the proprietary ingredients that energy drink makers claim improve the taste and performance of their products. If we were to train our microscope on these ingredients, we may discover some unsavory facts that make us think twice about un-natural energy drinks.

The Top 10 Essential Vitamins for Women’s Health

Eat clean. Exercise. Get 8 hours of sleep. Drink a lot of water. We all know what we need to do to feel our best, but this deceptively simple advice is always easier said than done.

Whether we’re putting in late nights to pay off our student loans or shuttling the kids between school and soccer practice or doing all of the above and trying to carve out time for a social life and romance: self-care is usually the first item on our to-do list that often goes undone.

Our willingness to put something as essential as taking care of ourselves on the back burner is counter-intuitive for so many reasons with the biggest being: how are we supposed to get everything done if we’re constantly feeling run down?

When you ask your friends for advice, they’ll say “take your vitamins” and likely recommend a slew of supplements to boost your energy — B12 shots, anyone? — but a cabinet full of supplements won’t get to the root of the problem, which is a lack of balance.

Just like we crave balance in our lives our bodies crave balance in our nutrient intake. Over-extended fatigued women need nutrition that is specific to her and her lifestyle.

Beyond lifestyle, women need nutrition that is specific to them. For example, women burn 5 to 10 percent fewer calories than men while doing the same activities because of the difference in our body composition.

Men, in general, have more muscle mass, heavier bones and less body fat than women. Because of these differences in muscle mass, men burn more calories than women at rest. That said, taking a “one-size fits all” vitamin for two fundamentally different bodies makes little sense.

At Inspire for Her, we focus on creating balance within a woman’s body by supporting her immune system, addressing her slower metabolism, and preventing those pesky energy crashes.

 

 

Here are our picks for the top 10 essential vitamins for women’s health:

  1. Vitamin C. When your body is under a lot of stress, your natural vitamin C supply decreases. Known for its ability to support our immune system, vitamin C also boosts levels of the brain chemical called noradrenaline which makes you feel more alert and focused.
  1. Vitamin A. Found naturally in apricots, carrots, and red peppers in the form of beta-carotene, our bodies convert this nutrient to vitamin A. Vitamin A improves our eye health, encourages skin cell production, and stimulates fibroblasts — the cells responsible for developing tissue that keeps the skin firm.
  1. Vitamin B1. Also known as Thiamin, vitamin B1 helps the body metabolize carbs, transforming them into much-needed fuel for both mental and physical energy. It is possible to overdo it with B1 and proper dosage is a must. Signs that you may be taking too much include dry, itchy skin.
  1. Vitamin B6. Responsible for supporting brain health, vitamin B6 maintains adrenal function, calms the nervous system, and is essential for regulating mood and mental fatigue. In a nutshell, this is the “cure all” vitamin for busy moms.
  1. Vitamin B12. Essential for the formation of the red blood cells that carry oxygen through your body, vitamin B12 is well-known for increasing both your energy and your metabolism. Chronic fatigue, memory loss, or depression could all be signs that you’re low on B12.
  1. Vitamin E. Sought-after for its skin health benefits, vitamin E is known for its ability to keep cells healthy. This vitamin is an antioxidant and as such is the “first line of defense” against environmental damaging effects on the skin. A must-have in the nutritional arsenal of the woman-on-the-go.
  1. Vitamin D3. Though it may be called a vitamin, D3 actually functions as a hormone. It helps move calcium and phosphorus into your bloodstream — a process that keeps your bones healthy and strong. When our bodies don’t have enough vitamin D3, it will take calcium and phosphorus from our bones, leading to osteoporosis and a daily dose will help with prevention.
  1. Folate (folic acid). Arguably one of the most important vitamins, folate supports a healthy brain and spinal cord. It also makes DNA and RNA and prevents the changes in DNA that can can lead to cancer. If that’s not enough for you, folate also prevents anemia and is especially important for pregnant women because it helps prevent birth defects like spina bifida.
  1. Biotin. This vitamin can be found in medicine cabinets as well as makeup bags: biotin is known for thickening our hair, strengthening our nails, and firming our skin. In addition to the beauty/cellular-related benefits, it’s also key for health digestion. In order to convert carbs, protein, and fat into energy, biotin (or vitamin B7) must be present in our system.
  1. Calcium. I already know what you’re thinking: duhhh. We all know about calcium’s reputation for building strong, healthy bones and warding off osteoporosis, but did you know that calcium might also protect against cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure? This super mineral works hard to keep our bodies in fit and fighting shape.

Achieving balance in our lives is challenging, but creating balance in our bodies can be as simple as adjusting our nutrient intake. Inspire for Her created a lifestyle supplement for women on-the-go that provides balanced nutrition to create a steady flow of long-lasting energy so you can take care of yourself and everything else.

Learn more about Inspire for her products here.

Stay Hydrated with These Refreshing Mocktails

Nothing like a touch of heat stroke to ruin that beach bod you worked so hard for! Excessive heat exposure will lead to dehydration and if ignored can turn into potentially dangerous conditions like heat cramps and heat exhaustion… no fun in the sun. We’re talking about heat exposure, not sun exposure. You don’t have to be oiled up and lounging in the blazing sun to get dehydrated. Sun or shade, if it’s hot outside your body is rapidly losing water and key minerals that need to be replenished.

Buzzkill: you can’t replenish those minerals with a frosty beer and a sad scraggly lime wedge. (We were disappointed too.)

During the summer months most people spend a lot of time outdoors and in the water. You may feel cool and comfortable while playing a few rounds of volleyball in the pool, but you’re just as susceptible to dehydration and heat exhaustion as if you were taking a midday run. This is especially true when you’re enjoying a few adult beverages while you float in the water.

While nothing can replace the hydration benefits of consistent water intake, we hope these fun mocktails will provide you with a little variety while you try to beat the heat this summer. Your liver and your skin will thank you!

 

5 Refreshing Mocktails to Help You Hydrate

  1. Virgin Watermelon Margarita

Watermelons are 94% water! On top of the hydration power of H2O itself, watermelon also provides a small amount of magnesium which encourages your body to hold onto the heavy dose of potassium in each sip of this juicy beverage. Potassium is an electrolyte. This is the same mineral used in IV fluids to help with muscle function and to prevent weakness and fatigue — symptoms of dehydration. We think this Virgin Watermelon Margarita is way more fun than an IV bag.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium seedless watermelon, cut into chunks
  • ½ cup fresh lime juice
  • 4 tsp agave
  • ⅓ cup sparkling water

Directions: Puree watermelon, lime juice, and agave. Pour into cups and top with sparkling water.

 

  1. Lavender Lemonade

This is the best lazy-afternoon-with-good-book porch-sipping beverage. While drinking a cup of straight lemon juice will have a diuretic effect (not great for the pool), drinking lemon juice diluted with water will restore your body’s electrolyte balance if you’re dehydrated. The abundance of minerals in honey also assist with this process for a double-punch.

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups water
  • ½ cup honey
  • ⅓ cup dried lavender
  • 1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

Directions: Bring water and honey to a boil over medium-high heat. Crush lavender, add it to the pot, then remove it from the heat. Cover, refrigerate, and steep for 2 hours. Strain liquid through a mesh sieve. Stir in lemon juice and serve over ice.

 

  1. Coconut, Cucumber, Lime, and Mint Cooler

Coconut water is one of the best natural remedies for dehydration with its abundance of electrolytes, minerals, and water. Combine coconut water with the hydrating power of cucumber, and the balancing effects of lime and mint and you’ve got a refreshing summertime pick-me-up.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of Coconut water
  • 2 Thinly sliced cucumbers
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • ¼ cup of chopped mint leaves

Directions: Combine coconut water, cucumbers, lime juice, sugar and mint leaves. Let chill for 1 to 2 hours.

 

  1. Virgin Paloma

A classic, minus the aftereffects of tequila. Like lemon juice, lime juice also helps balance your electrolyte levels and grapefruits contain an abundance of minerals such as potassium to help you combat side effects from dehydration like headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and dry mouth. Bookend this beverage with two tall glasses of ice water and you’ve got a winner.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz lime juice
  • 1 oz grapefruit juice
  • 1 oz agave syrup
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • Pinch of sea salt

Directions: Combine in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain in a glass over ice. Top generously with club soda.

 

  1. Cantaloupe Cooler

While you may think of cantaloupe as the go-to picnic fruit that everyone brings and no one eats, this icy cocktail puts those sweet satisfying flavors to work. The high water content in cantaloupe helps ward off dehydration. It contains vitamins A and C which are both fantastic for your skin: vitamin C assists your body in the production of collagen! A face lift in a glass! (Also the alternate name of this mocktail.) Plus, our good friends lime and mint will help you balance your electrolytes. Another added benefit: this virgin adult smoothie tastes incredible and will satisfy your sweet tooth without added sugars. Win, win, win.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe cantaloupe
  • ½ cup fresh orange juice
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves
  • ¼ cup of chopped mint leaves
  • 2 cups ice

Directions: Slice the cantaloupe in half. Remove the seeds and discard. Scoop the cantaloupe flesh from the skin. Add all ingredients to blender. Blend until smooth. Pour and serve.

 

Suffering from a “sun hangover” after a weekend at the beach? Stay hydrated and energized throughout the week with Inspire for Her lifestyle supplement which provides steady, long-lasting, clean energy to get you through the day with 11 essential vitamins and minerals and less caffeine than a cup of coffee.

Learn more about Inspire for her products here.

Practically every mother we know with young children wakes up around 5 and gets to bed around 9 (or later, if they try to squeeze in some Netflix and “me time” before bed). 7 days a week. Working or stay-at-home. Rain or shine. 365 days a year.

Healthy habits are hard to start and “eat right and exercise” isn’t easy when your dinner consists of scarfing down the leftover mac n’ cheese on your child’s plate after your typical 17 hour day.

To us, this brilliant parenting analogy made a lot of sense: When you’re about to take off on an airplane the flight attendant tells you to put on your oxygen mask before assisting others, including your children. This goes firmly against every maternal instinct we have, but the logic is flawless. If you come to harm after helping your child, then no one is there to help you. And who will be there for your child then?

This logic applies to parenting and motherhood. We feel guilty for spending even a minute doing something for ourselves, even when that thing is taking a shower where we use soap and wash our hair (shaving our legs is often a pipe dream). As mothers we have an obligation to care for ourselves because we have a lot of people who genuinely depend on us to be okay.

 

 

5 Simple Healthy Habits You Can Start Today

  1. Do one thing every day just for you.

Remember the Golden Rule? Treat others how you want to be treated? Also remember to treat yourself with the same kindness. This can be as simple as going for a short walk in the morning if someone can watch the kids, doing yoga once a month, spending an extra $5 on a bottle of wine that has an actual cork in it, painting your toenails after the kids go to bed, or taking a minute to throw on some mascara. Keep a pint of Haagen Daz hidden in the freezer. Go through the drive-through with your kids and DON’T share your fries after they scarf theirs down. Every day complete one small act of “selfishness” that reminds you that you still matter.

  1. Get quality sleep.

I’m sure you laughed out loud at this one. Hear us out: We aren’t suggesting more sleep, just quality sleep. The easiest way to do this without cutting back on caffeine is to stop sleeping with your phone. Don’t even keep it near your bed. Let it spend the night charging in another room and invest in one of those old-timey alarm clocks (we think clocks are still a thing somewhere?). Try your hardest to go screen-free for 30 minutes to an hour before bed. The bright blue light that screens on phones and televisions actually causes your brain to stop producing melatonin. The longer you can go without a screen before bed, the faster you’ll get to sleep. Sleeping without your phone in the room will keep you from firing up that bright screen when you wake up in the middle of the night, allowing you to get back to sleep faster.

  1. Drink your vitamins.

When the kiddos are going through a picky eating phase and both variety and vegetables start to become a distant memory, it’s not likely that you’re going to make dinner for your children and then make a separate dinner or salad for yourself. Apart from incorporating a clean high-quality nutritional supplement, another simple solution is to “drink your greens” by picking up a green smoothie at your grocery store. For around $6 you can grab a pre-prepared smoothie from the freezer section with nutrients and benefits from kale, collard greens, spinach, celery, and apple. No prep or cleanup involved and no rotting baby spinach in your fridge. Just a quick boost of nutrients and energy and you’re on your way.

  1. Incorporate “mini workouts” into your routine.

Start waking up at 4am, get a gym membership, or just join your local Crossfit. No big deal. Just kidding. By “mini workout” we mean parking at the farthest end of the parking lot and walking to your destination, going for a 10 minute stroll during your lunch break, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or doing a handful squats before or after bed. Nothing crazy, no lofty weight-loss goal, just the goal of getting your blood moving every day. If you want to take it to the next level, check out the number of free short workout or yoga videos available on Netflix or YouTube.

  1. Time away from the kids.

This is a big one and it doesn’t need to happen every week, but regular time away from your children will go a long way towards supporting your mental and emotional health. Asking a friend or family member to watch the kids once a month for a couple hours while you enjoy some solo time, time with friends, or a date night with your partner, will help keep you in touch with who you are without them. It’s easy to get lost in the identity of “mom” which is why so many women have a hard time when their children leave the house. It’s hard to remember who you are without them. Taking the time away from your kids to check-in with yourself is as necessary as groceries and doctor’s appointments. Remember: put your oxygen mask on first.

For a daily boost of clean, long-lasting energy and with nutrients specially formulated to support a woman’s metabolism, learn more about Inspire for Her. In addition to supporting your immune system to ward off those playground illnesses, Inspire for Her has the added bonus of curbing afternoon hunger pangs.

 

Summertime workouts don’t have to stressful, excessive, or mundane. As the weather warms up, we all have a few friends who want to hit up a “bootcamp” workout at the local park — and you should totally check it out! Your glutes will thank you! Or hate you. It’s unclear. — but summer is also a time to kick back, soak up the sunshine, and have a good time.

There is no reason you can’t have the best of both worlds: a glute-busting workout and fun. Whether you’ve signed up for bootcamp classes with your bestie or enjoy a regular temperature-controlled workout at the gym, we hope you mix it up this summer with one of these fun fitness activities.

Fun Summer Fitness: 9 Workouts That Don’t Feel Like Work

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

Gently down the stream? Ocean? Lake? River? Doesn’t matter. The season is right for rowing and unlike that noisy machine at the gym, this workout will come with a killer waterfront view. Check online for a rowing club that offers classes or rentals. You can often buy packages for the summer in bulk to save.

    1. Paddle boarding: The main muscle groups activated are your back muscles, shoulders, arms, and abs. Burn 305 – 430 calories by leisurely paddling for an hour.
    2. Rowing (crew): Biceps, back muscles, and your abdominals are activated, while your glutes and quads continually contract. Rowing at a moderate pace for 30 minutes will burn around 210 calories.
    3. Kayaking: Muscles being trained while kayaking are the obliques, lats, and triceps. One hour of leisurely kayaking will burn around 285 calories.

 

Hit the Court

Even if you haven’t played basketball since gym class in middle school, a super fun way to burn calories and hang out with friends is by playing a game. Volleyball, basketball, tennis, soccer — so many options to choose from. Another fun idea is to join a social league, which will often include sports like kickball, touch football, and ultimate frisbee to keep it light and fun.

    1. Basketball: Apart from running, the major muscle groups used when playing basketball are in your upper body: shoulder, chest, biceps and triceps. Even if you’re not taking yourself seriously, you’ll burn around 200 calories in 30 minutes.
    2. Beach Volleyball: The primary muscles activated are your calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and hip flexors (for those explosive jumps!). The average person will burn around 355 calories playing volleyball in the sand.
    3. Kickball: This childhood favorite will engage your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes in addition to strengthening your core, hip, and foot muscles when you run in short bursts. Kickball will burn around 180 calories in 30 minutes of play.

 

Splish Splash

Summer is the time to get in the water! Whether you’re going to the beach, lake, or a public pool, you’ll be taking advantage of a sneaky cardio workout while you work on your tan. Water provides instant resistance training and is easier on your joints than fitness activities like running.

    1. Swimming Laps: The primary muscles used when swimming laps are the inner forearm, biceps, pecs, lats, groin, glutes, and calves. You will burn around 200 calories while swimming at a slow pace for 30 minutes.
    2. Water Volleyball: Just like volleyball on land, you will primarily be using your leg muscles such as your calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and hip flexors. You will burn around 200 calories while playing volleyball in the water for one hour.
    3. Water Aerobics: Water aerobics could be a full body workout depending on the class. This fitness activity is low to no impact, provides a great cardio workout, strength and flexibility training. If you’re taking it slow you can still burn 145 calories in 30 minutes. More vigorous classes will having you burning 380 calories in 30 minutes.

Feeling too sluggish to fit in a workout? Stay hydrated and energized throughout the day with Inspire for Her lifestyle supplement which provides steady, long-lasting, clean energy to get you through the day with 11 essential vitamins and minerals and less caffeine than a cup of coffee.

Learn more about Inspire for her products here.