Better Yourself in the New Year

A new year is the perfect opportunity to take a fresh look at your life and re-evaluate what you’d like to accomplish – both physically and mentally – during the coming year.

From committing to healthier habits like eating better, drinking more water and sticking to a workout routine to discovering new ways to be your best self and giving up a bad habit or two, some simple tips and products can help you take action toward boosting your overall well-being and reaching your resolutions.

To find more tips and tricks for improving your life this year, visit eLivingToday.com.

Healthy Hydration

When considering a New Year’s resolution to drink more water, a commitment to drinking cleaner, healthier and great-tasting water is essential. Consider using the easy-to-install PUR Advanced Faucet Filtration System to fill up a reusable water bottle, make smoothies, wash fruits and vegetables and more. It’s certified to reduce more than 70 contaminants, including 99 percent of lead – more than any other brand, according to NSF. Learn more at PUR.com.

Be Your Best Self

If you feel as though you aren’t truly who you want to be, or if you dream of a better life, now is the time to turn your dream into reality with “Best Self” by Mike Bayer. Chock-full of revealing quizzes and provocative questionnaires, the book can empower you to embrace your authenticity, acknowledge what is holding you back and help you break through to live a passionate life to the fullest. Find more information at CoachMikeBayer.com/Book.

Sized for a Snack

Put a plant-positive twist on new year’s resolutions by snacking on nutritious foods like Kale and Quinoa Bites from Yves Veggie Cuisine. Ideal for sharing with friends and family or as a quick snack, just pop in the oven for 10 minutes to enjoy a crispy, tasty bite that’s gluten-free, low in fat and a good source of fiber. With two superfoods joining forces, the bite-sized treat can help keep appetites at bay without sacrificing flavor. Find additional healthy snacking ideas at yvesveggie.com .

Sip a Protein-Packed Shake

One of the difficulties in healthy eating is getting great-tasting lean protein. For an easier nutritional choice, consider Premier Protein’s 11-ounce shakes, packed with lean protein ideal for breakfast on-the-go, an afternoon snack or a post-workout boost. They contain 30 grams of protein, 160 calories and 1 gram of sugar. Available in earth-first packaging, the shakes feature a resealable plant-based cap derived from sugarcane. Visit premierprotein.com for more information.

Fiber-Filled Flavor

For a protein- and fiber-rich snack low in sugar, Atkins Protein Wafer Crisps provide a light and crispy texture for a surprisingly filling treat. Whether it’s for a grab-and-go snack or afternoon pick-me-up, the wafer crisps boast 10-11 grams of protein, 4-5 grams of fiber and 1 gram of sugar with three flavor profiles to choose from: Peanut Butter, Chocolate Mint and Lemon Vanilla. Find additional nutritious snacking options at Atkins.com. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
PUR

Harper Collins

Yves Veggie Cuisine

Premier Protein

Atkins

Kick Off the New Year with 8 Better-for-You Recipes

A commitment to eating better-for-you foods and living a healthier lifestyle in the new year doesn’t need to break the bank.

To help achieve a more nutritious routine without blowing your budget, consider a one-stop shop like ALDI for high-quality, affordable ingredients to incorporate into better-for-you recipes. Plus, it carries the foods and ingredients to fit nearly any dietary lifestyle and budget – including a wide variety of options for plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free diets.

Start the year with a clean slate and make practical, better-for-you eating goals with these recipes for main courses, sides, desserts and kid-friendly meals and snacks. Find more nutritious eating solutions and recipes at ALDI.us.

Harvest Breakfast Skillet – This hearty meal can be enjoyed any time of day. Combining fresh vegetables, eggs and sweet potatoes with diced quinoa crunch veggie burgers, this skillet puts a new spin on breakfast for dinner.

Crunchy Fish Bites – For a kid-friendly dish adults can enjoy as well, these crunchy fish bites feature breaded tilapia with a flavorful mustard-yogurt sauce that can win over nearly any crowd – including picky eaters.

Cauliflower-Quinoa PizzaWith the right ingredients, even pizza can help you attain your health goals in the new year. To create a healthier pizza option the whole family can enjoy, swap out the standard crust for a cauliflower-based version to cut down on carbs without sacrificing flavor.

Fresh Avocado Pasta – This pasta requires just four ingredients along with an easy-to-make, creamy sauce perfect for the entire family to enjoy. Avocado lends a colorful hue to this kid-friendly main course.

Oven-Baked Zucchini Fries – Skip the fried snacks and go for this better-for-you version of breaded veggies. A simple breading and just 15 minutes in the oven put a crunchy, guilt-free, crispy side dish on the table.

Soft-Baked Granola Cups – Topped with a dollop of strawberry yogurt and fresh berries, these granola cups are ideal for breakfast or as an after-school snack. They’re perfect to make ahead of time – just store the premade cups in an airtight container and add toppings before serving. Fun tip: Let your child decorate his or her own cups.

Cocoa Mocha Oatmeal Cookies – A mocha drizzle makes these oatmeal cookies stand out among healthier dessert options. After 15 minutes in the oven, you’re left with a delightful treat that doesn’t send your diet down the drain.

Chocolate Mug CakeA better-for-you dessert, these miniature cakes made in mugs can be on the table in just 3 1/2 minutes. Simply combine a short list of ingredients, mix in your microwave-safe mug and pop it in the microwave for a quick, chocolaty snack. (Family Features)

Your Most Embarrassing Fitness Questions Answered by a Fitness Guru

If you follow fitness trainers or enthusiasts on Instagram, we are besieged by women at the gym who look supremely confident, airbrushed and without a bead of sweat. The reality is, most of us don’t look or smell our best after a tough workout.  Not everyone is comfortable walking into a class of strangers in form-fitting gym clothes.  And what about the sounds our bodies make when we are working out?  What about those of us who want to exercise but feel we are too heavy to even begin a program?  Fortunately, we have Certified Fitness Trainer, Model Turned Fitness Expert, Instagram Fitness Guru & YouTube Sensation Vince Sant, co-founder of the online platform www.vshred.com  to answer the questions you are too shy to ask.

Why do I let out a little pee when I exercise?

Vince Sant explains that “This is very common amongst anyone who’s had a child. the term is stress incontinence, meaning you involuntarily leak out a little urine. It can happen when you exercise, laugh, or even sneeze.” First and foremost, don’t be embarrassed. Nearly every woman that’s given birth has experienced this. There are, however, two things you can do to improve stress incontinence says Vince, “Learn how to do Kegels, and practice engaging your pelvic floor in Pilates-based exercises. Both of these actions can help strengthen your pelvic floor and reduce the severity of your stress incontinence.” 

Will running make my boobs sag?

“Sag happens to all breasts that are natural. It’s normal for the collagen that keeps breasts firm to stretch out thanks to gravity, time, pregnancy, weight gain, or weight loss.” Although there’s limited research, Vince Sant says, “The up and down motion of running could logically contribute to sagging as well, but the health benefits of running definitely outweigh that possibility. If you wear the right sports bra, your breasts shouldn’t experience a lot of movement anyway. So, don’t be afraid to run!’

Why do I seem to sweat so much more than other people at the gym?

“How much you sweat is really individual, and it doesn’t necessarily mean anything positive or negative about your exercising ability,” says Vince. On average, men tend to sweat more than women, and if you are overweight you may sweat more near the end of your workout because it takes more for your body to cool itself down. Ultimately, it’s not a bad thing if you find yourself drenched in sweat while the person next to you on their machine seems to be relatively dry. 

Why does running long distances make me have to poop?

Long distance running can aggravate some people’s digestive systems, particularly if you suffer from Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). But you don’t necessarily have to have pre-existing digestive issues to get some unpleasant stomach symptoms on long runs. For example, studies show that as much as 50% of runners in a 10k race experience digestive issues, including runner’s trots. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about, but there are things you can do to combat the unpleasant reality of urgent, frequent bathroom trips. Vince suggests avoiding high-fiber foods a few days before a big race, staying well-hydrated, and avoid caffeine. 

Why do I tend to pass gas during certain yoga poses?

Passing gas during the occasional downward dog is extremely common. Why? You’re bending and stretching, which massages the internal organs—which can sometimes stimulate your digestion. (There’s even a yoga pose called “wind reliever). Vince recommends, limiting any high fiber snacks beforehand, and stretching before your actual class to “eliminate” ahead of time. 

What’s the best way to start exercising if I am completely out of shape?

Literally just put one foot in front of the other. A Chinese Philosopher once said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” And walking is nothing to be ashamed of. Vince stresses that “It really is exercise and there are all kinds of athletic people and celebrities in amazing shape who use it to stay that way. Get a pedometer and take at least 10,000 ‘baby steps’ a day and start improving your fitness.”

I have gym anxiety. What should I do?

There are four psychological reasons for gym anxiety: Not being sure what to do, comparing yourself to other people in the gym, feeling like people are judging you, and feeling like you don’t belong. What are a few ways to reduce gym anxiety?

Vince Sant provides some tips:

Ask friends how they feel about their own programs. You can even try to go to the gym with a friend, which is a great way to stop feeling like you’re getting judged.

Watch YouTube videos for each of the exercises you plan to do on your first day at the gym.

Wear workout clothes that you feel are both flattering and comfortable.

Pick a gym that is known for being more low key as opposed to a “meat market” or a “sceney gym.”

If going to the gym is too anxiety provoking, you can try an online fitness platform such as www.vshred.com.

My Skin Chafes almost Everywhere: My Butt Cheeks, Under My Arms, Inner Thighs, How Do I Reduce the Pain?

Skin-to-skin and skin-to-clothing rubbing can cause a red, raw rash that can bleed, sting, and cause pain during your post-workout shower. Moisture and salt on the body make it worse. Underarms, inner thighs, along with the bra line (women), and nipples (men) are vulnerable spots. Vince advises, “Wear moisture-wicking, seamless, tagless gear. The fit is important. Baggy shirts have excess material that can cause irritation; a too-snug sports bra can dig into skin. Apply Vaseline, sports lube, Band-Aids or Nip Guards before you run. And moisturize after you shower. Drier skin tends to chafe more. 

Am I too overweight to work out?

Forget the fancy equipment, you don’t need anything to start. Keep it low impact and rest when you need to. For example, Vince suggests the following, “Jog for 30 seconds. It doesn’t matter if you have to walk for 5 minutes to get your breath back, just do it, then jog for another 30 seconds. Do that 3 times. Then when you’ve done that for a couple of days, jog for 10 more seconds each time. Then only take 4.5 minutes to get your breath back. And as you lower the rest time, repeat it 5 times instead of 3. Keeping the overall workout time at around 20 minutes total is fine.” If you haven’t exercised for a while, the body heat, breathlessness, and sore muscles can be off-putting, but those feelings quickly become more manageable.     If you have any concerns about your health and ability to work out, always consult with your doctor first.

Vincent Seth Sant

Fitness Expert & Co-Founder V Shred

Vince Sant, 25, is the Co-Founder of V Shred, the fastest growing online fitness and nutrition portal in the world. As an ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer, Former Model Turned Online Fitness Expert, Instagram Fitness Guru & YouTube Sensation, Vince’s mission is to offer the masses a sustainable and transformative lifestyle-based training program designed to put the fun back into fitness and nutrition.

In 2015, Vince co-founded V Shred along with Nick Daniel, Roger Crandall, Kevin Pearn, who sought out to create a healthy fitness movement specifically designed to deliver profound changes in your body with the minimal amount of workout time.

Vince is responsible for creating some of the world’s most popular fitness and nutrition programs such as Fat Loss Extreme and Toned in 90 Days for women and men and Ripped in 90 Days for men.

V Shred is based in Las Vegas, Nevada. For more information visit http://www.vshred.com.

What to Consider When Planning a Cruise

Everyone loves going on vacation, but planning your getaway is another story with questions like where and when to go, how to get there and how much it will cost.

While wading through the options can be a daunting task, opting for a cruise is a fun, convenient and hassle-free option. However, every cruise line has its own perks and offerings based on experiences desired, time of year and destination.

One cruise line known for its unique brand of all-ages fun, varied activities and affordable prices is Carnival Cruise Line, whose newest ship, Carnival Panorama, debuts from Long Beach, California, in December 2019. To commemorate its upcoming launch, Carnival Cruise Line showcased the Carnival Panorama with a 55-foot long cruise ship-shaped float during the 130th annual Tournament of Roses Parade.

The float was made from more than 100 kinds of flowers, representing the home countries of Carnival employees, and included many of the ship’s signature features, such as the classic red and blue funnel, a water park and a Lido Deck party. The float also saluted the armed forces with a special appearance by former Miss USA, Deshauna Barber, godmother to Carnival Vista, sister ship to Carnival Panorama currently sailing out of Galveston, Texas.

“It was a big thrill to be a part of the Rose Parade and be a part of Carnival’s first-ever float,” said Barber, the first active member of the military to serve as Miss USA. “Judging by this spectacular float, the real Carnival Panorama will be truly extraordinary and people will definitely want to experience it for themselves.”

To make planning your cruise as easy as possible, consider these factors:

Timing

Outside of budget, planning a time of year to take a cruise can be one of the biggest considerations. Fall tends to be the best time to sail while summer is always popular with families. Winter is a great time to escape the cold and relax in the warm, aqua-blue waters of the Caribbean.

Destination

From a trip along the Mexican Riviera to a jaunt around the Carribbean, there are cruises available to meet nearly any desired destination. In 2019, the Carnival Panorama – the first new cruise ship on the West Coast in 20 years – will launch week-long cruises visting destinations like Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta from the newly renovated Long Beach Cruise Terminal. Carnival Cruise Line will also offer new voyages to Alaska, Hawaii and Mexico out of San Francisco beginning in 2020, making it the number one cruise operator on the West Coast.

Rooms and Amenities

Cruise ships offer accommodations for all types of travelers, from family rooms to luxury suites.  Carnival Panorama offers several options, including Havana staterooms and suites with exclusive daytime access to a Cuban-themed bar and pool, and Cloud 9 Spa accommodations that surround the ship’s 22,750-square-foot health and wellness center.  There are also extra-roomy Family Harbor staterooms that can accommodate up to five guests and offer two bathrooms.

On-Board Activities

Today’s cruise ships offer many on-board attractions and features for guests of all ages. For example, Carnival Panorama will include indoor and al fresco dining experiences, including the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, Bonsai Sushi and the Smokehouse Brewhouse with BBQ favorites from Food Network star and longtime partner Guy Fieri and craft beers brewed right onboard. It also offers a massive aqua park and recreation areas, including a suspended ropes course, and the first-ever trampoline park at sea in partnership with Sky Zone. Grown-ups can sample the Serenity adults-only retreat, mixology courses and more.

To learn more and start planning your cruise, visit Carnival.com. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Carnival Cruise Line

3 Steps to a Healthier You

Starting a diet or diving headfirst into a workout plan may be the first steps to enhancing your personal health, but once you’ve started down the path to better fitness and nutrition, it’s important to find ways to stay on track.

Instead of burning yourself out on a diet that’s too stringent or workouts that are too intense, moderate your healthy lifestyle and use simple tricks to avoid falling into bad habits. Consider these tips from celebrity trainer and food coach Valerie Waters, author of “Red Carpet Ready,” to help ensure you stick to your plan.

Bank your fitness. Interruptions in life happen frequently. Travel, for example, whether for business or pleasure, can disrupt workouts and access to nutritious food. To allow a little room for a missed workout or a special meal, put some fitness in the bank by tightening your diet a couple weeks ahead of your trip. You can also put some extra effort into workouts by adding intervals, additional weight or simply going a little longer.

Strategy trumps willpower. While willpower is certainly part of maintaining a diligent healthy lifestyle, strategizing can be of even more importance. Planning a full day or even week of meals can help you curb cravings and avoid indulging in extra, unnecessary calories. Instead of white-knuckling through afternoon cravings at work, try bringing a go-to snack like California Figs, which are filling, portable, rich in antioxidants and fat-free.

Eat simply. Eating foods as close to their natural state as possible can help you avoid consuming excess sugar and fat. Plus, by incorporating more natural foods and snacks into your routine, you’re less likely to eat items loaded with preservatives or ingredients you may not even recognize. Focus on lean protein, fruit, veggies and nuts available in recipes like this Farro and Fig Salad with Arugula and Feta.

Find more nutritional tips and information at californiafigs.com.

Farro and Fig Salad with Arugula and Feta

Servings: 6

  • 1          cup semi-pearled farro
  • 2          cups water
  • 2          tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1          tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2          tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1          medium shallot, minced (2 tablespoons)
  • 1          teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2       teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4       teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4       teaspoon dried turmeric
  • 3/4       cup California Dried Golden or Mission Figs, stemmed and chopped (6-8 figs)
  • 2          cups arugula
  • 2          ounces crumbled feta cheese (about 1/2 cup)
  1. In medium saucepan over high heat, bring farro and water to boil. Lower heat to simmer, cover with lid and cook until farro is tender, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest, covered, 10 minutes.
  2. In large bowl, whisk lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, shallot, mustard, salt, pepper and turmeric. Add farro, figs and arugula; toss well. Crumble feta over top and toss again. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
California Fig Advisory Board

Overcoming Barriers to Disease Treatment

A diagnosis of a chronic condition such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, cancer, or diabetes can bring a swirl of thoughts and emotions. There may be relief at finding an explanation for bothersome symptoms, but that relief is often quickly overshadowed by insurance issues, financial concerns, and worry about the future.

If you’ve recently received a chronic diagnosis, take it one step at a time to navigate the road ahead.

Assemble a Team

Working to overcome the hurdles associated with a chronic condition diagnosis can be physically and emotionally draining. In addition to securing a doctor with expertise in treating your condition, you’ll need a support team of family and friends who can serve as a sounding board for your questions and concerns, help with everyday tasks when you’re feeling run down, provide transportation to appointments, and help keep your spirits up.

Understand Your Condition

Arming yourself with information is critical when you receive a life-altering diagnosis. It’s important to understand everything you can about the condition, including known causes, symptoms you may experience, what you can expect as the disease progresses, and more.

If the volume of information is overwhelming, try to consume it a little at a time so you can retain more and give yourself time to process everything you’re learning. As you read, be sure to make notes about things that are confusing or that you might want to discuss with your medical team.

Identify Treatment Options

A big part of your research will likely involve your treatment options. If your doctor has outlined multiple options for treatment, you’ll want to investigate each one thoroughly so you can understand the benefits and risks, as well as deciding which option is the best fit for your particular circumstances. You’ll also want to confirm that your treatment is covered by your health insurance and at what level.

Handle Insurance Issues

Most people assume that if they have health coverage, they can count on at least a portion of the treatments and medications their doctor recommends being covered. In many cases, that’s true, although the exact coverages depend on variables like your plan, deductible, and more.

However, there are also some circumstances in which you may experience a delay before you’re able to follow your doctor’s treatment orders. One example is step therapy – a protocol sometimes used by health insurance companies that requires patients to try and fail on one or more lower cost medications before they will provide coverage for the medication originally prescribed by the patient’s provider.

Step therapy is also known as “fail first” because it requires a patient to fail on an insurer-preferred drug first. For patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, this protocol may result in worsened health outcomes. A survey by the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation found that as many as 40 percent of IBD patients had been subject to step therapy, and 58 percent of those patients were required to fail two or more drugs before being granted access to the drug their doctor originally prescribed.

“During these delays in optimal treatment, patients are at risk, not only for their physical well-being, but also for their quality of life,” said Dr. Ross Maltz, co-chair of the Government and Industry Affairs Committee of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation’s National Scientific Advisory Committee. “In some instances, insurance policies can impede patient access to the care they need and affect the patient and provider decision-making process.”

Groups are working to change this process through legislative reform, but in the meantime, if you are subject to a step therapy requirement by your insurance provider, you can appeal. The best approach is to work with your doctor to prepare a written letter that contains:

  • A clear statement that you are appealing a denial of coverage for your prescribed medication
  • The name of the medication that was denied
  • A detailed explanation of previous treatments or factors that led your doctor to prescribe the denied medication
  • Any studies or evidence that support the use of the prescribed medication
  • The specific health risks you experience now or may in the future without the medication that was originally prescribed
  • A clearly stated request for approval of the specific prescription, including the medication name and dosage

Once your letter is finished, file it quickly and pay attention to dates. There can be time limits on how quickly you must file an appeal after a claim is denied. Make sure you keep copies of all correspondence from yourself, your provider, and your insurance company. Also keep a record of all names and titles of the individuals you speak to and any case or authorization numbers for reference in the future.

To find more information and resources, visit crohnscolitisfoundation.org/steptherapy.

When Insurance Impacts Health

When you have cancer, arthritis, or an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, you may encounter more than just the physical and psychological effects of the illness.

Take Brannen for example. When he was just 3 years old, Brannen began experiencing debilitating abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. At 4, Brannen was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a painful, medically incurable disease that attacks the digestive system and can cause delayed growth and development.

Brannen tried many different medications and treatment plans over the course of 10 months with results that ranged from ineffective to creating adverse reactions with intense pain and violent vomiting. He cried himself to sleep and struggled in school because he was so distracted by the pain and nausea.

Nearly a year later, Brannen finally found a medication that allowed him to resume a symptom-free life as a 5-year-old. He began to eat, gain weight, and grow again. However, his parents were then faced with another obstacle.

After six months on the medication that put him in remission, Brannen’s insurer denied further coverage. The insurance company subjected him to step therapy, the practice where a patient needs to fail one or more insurer-preferred medications before they will cover the one originally prescribed. For Brannen, this meant more pain, more nausea, and more days not being the carefree child he was learning to be.

When IBD patients like Brannen are subjected to step therapy, they can experience a delay in optimal treatment, which may cause worsened health outcomes, up to and including surgery and a decreased quality of life. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation

Celebrate Literacy this Year

Teaching a child to appreciate reading not only promotes academic achievement, but it also it opens opportunities for the imagination to soar and for kids to learn about topics beyond their wildest dreams.

This year, you can help promote children’s literacy with these ideas:

Give books to children. You can find a book on virtually any topic, aimed at nearly every age and reading level. If you’re not sure what a child likes to read, simply choose a book about a topic he or she enjoys, or a favorite fictional character.

Support organizations working to promote literacy. Many organizations you conduct regular business with may have selected literacy as a cause that they support. For example, the Toys for Tots Literacy Program was developed by The UPS Store and the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. This program, celebrating its 10th anniversary, provides books and educational resources to underserved communities. As part of the program, $10,000 worth of children’s books will be donated to 10 nonprofit organizations in support of children’s literacy in 2019.

Create traditions around reading. Making books part of family rituals can help instill a love of reading among kids. You might set aside an evening for a reading marathon or read a bedtime story every night. You can also find creative ways to get young readers involved, such as assigning one child each night to read that day’s mail aloud to the family.

Attend events that shine a light on literacy. One of the year’s most anticipated events is the annual Tournament of the Roses Rose Parade on New Year’s Day, which will include The UPS Store’s float titled “Books Keep Us On Our Toes” which aims to inspire people to experience life through the joy of reading. After the parade, spectators can view the float up close, and the store will hand out 10,000 children’s books – many of which were donated by Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company – to parade-goers and post-event attendees.

Encourage kids to get hands-on with books. Reading isn’t the only way to appreciate books; kids can get creative and make their own literature, too. Encourage them to write and illustrate their own stories they can share with the family.

For more information on the float or to make a contribution to support literacy, visit theupsstore.com/literacy. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
The UPS Store

Amazon Prime Reveals Member Favorites with Best of Prime 2018

Over one hundred million people around the world are Prime members, but how do they enjoy the best of shopping and entertainment from Amazon? Just in time to provide inspiration for the holiday season, Amazon’s annual Best of Prime celebrates what members shopped for, watched, read, played and listened to between Oct. 1, 2017 and Sept. 30, 2018, unless otherwise noted.

Undeniably, fast delivery defined the last year. Around the world, two billion products were ordered by Prime members for delivery in one day or faster. Some members even received orders ranging from wine to Nintendo systems in as quickly as nine minutes with Prime Now.

Curious to know more? Drumroll, please … Prime members’ highlights from the past year include:

Prime Member Favorites

When shopping, Prime members’ in the U.S. were definitely interested in technology and Alexa. Members’ most popular purchase of the year in the U.S. was the Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, followed by the Echo Dot. Other favorites include:

  • Panasonic ErgoFit In-Ear Ear buds Headphones (Electronics)
  • Chuckit! Ultra Dog Ball (Pets)
  • Nerf N-Strike Elite Strongarm Blaster (Toys & Games)

Whole Foods Market

Prime members have adopted the new savings benefit at Whole Foods Market at one of the fastest rates in the history of Prime:

  • Outside of Prime Day, the best-selling Prime member deal saw members scoop up enough organic apples to bake more than 350,000 apple pies.
  • Prime members experienced ultrafast delivery from Whole Foods Market stores through Prime Now. Prime members in Austin, San Francisco and Boston took advantage of this service more than any other city.

Prime Video

Throughout the last year, Prime members were also curling up on the couch with their TV, tablet or smartphone watching Prime Video:

  • This just in: The two most binged Prime Original series worldwide included Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan starring John Krasinski and Homecoming starring Julia Roberts. (data through Nov. 2018)
  • Prime members loved The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and so did the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. The series won more Emmy Awards than any comedy series ever has for a single season, including “Outstanding Comedy Series.”
  • Early risers in the U.S., U.K. and India streamed more Prime Video than any other country between the hours of 7 and 9 a.m. local time.
  • Night owls in Japan, Germany and Spain streamed more Prime Video than any other country between the hours of 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. local time.
  • The nine NFL games thus far on Prime Video and Twitch combined to reach 20 million total viewers in over 200 countries and territories as well as all 50 U.S. states. (data through Nov. 2018)

Prime Music

In the past year, members worldwide tapped their feet to the hits on Prime Music:

  • The most streamed artist was Justin Timberlake.
  • Members’ favorite albums included Man of the Woods by Justin Timberlake, Camila by Camila Cabello, Astroworld by Travis Scott and Mitchell Tenpenny EP by Mitchell Tenpenny.
  • Members’ favorite 2018 songs included: “The Middle,” by Zedd, Maren Morris & Grey; “Lose It,” by Kane Brown; “Idgaf,” by Dua Lipa; “Better Now,” by Post Malone; and “Done For Me,” by Charlie Puth, featuring Kehlani.
  • The most requested song via Alexa was “The Middle” by Zedd, Maren Morris & Grey.

Twitch Prime

Prime members around the world couldn’t get enough of the free video games and in-game content with Twitch Prime last year:

  • Members claimed a total of more than 50 million free games worldwide, with hundreds of hours of free gameplay available for each member.
  • Members also made their favorite games better with Twitch Prime, downloading 55 million pieces of in-game loot across 17 blockbuster games worldwide, including League of Legends, Overwatch and PLAYER UNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS.

Prime Reading

Prime members in the U.S. also loved a good page-turner:

  • They say the book is always better than the movie, but what about the comic book? Prime members tested that theory out with “Black Panther,” Prime Reading’s most beloved comic-to-movie adaptation.
  • Members love mysteries – half of Prime Reading’s top 10 most read books this year were Mystery novels, including “Say You’re Sorry,” the most read book of the year.
  • The top five most borrowed titles by Prime members in the U.S. included “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Milk and Honey,” and “Say You’re Sorry.”

Amazon’s Best of Prime 2018 can be found at www.amazon.com/bestofprime and new members can sign up for a free 30-day trial at amazon.com/prime. (BPT)

5 Tips for Staying on Track in the New Year

While many people often wish maintaining good health was as easy as following an equation, health doesn’t have a start or end date. Once the allure of the new year wears off, it can be easy to let those resolutions go by the wayside.

When you focus on making small, positive changes, you can move your health goals forward throughout the year, no matter where you are on your health journey. To help stay on track, consider these easy-to-implement ideas from registered dietitian Annessa Chumbley:

Write it down. Using a nutrition journal and keeping a record of everything you eat and drink can help track progress and reveal small changes that need to be made. Alternatively, downloading a fitness tracking app can help keep you accountable digitally. With a variety of options available for most operating systems, there is almost certain to be one to meet your needs, whether you’re looking for a companion app to track progress or something more in-depth to help guide you through workouts and meal planning.

Start your day with protein. A high-quality protein source can set the stage for sustained energy levels throughout the day. Having an on-the-go source of protein on-hand, such as Premier Protein’s ready-to-drink chocolate and vanilla shakes featuring 30 grams of protein and 160 calories and 1 gram of sugar, can help ensure you’re starting the day with a proper foundation for success.

Hydrate all day. Hydration is a foundation of good health. Before bed each night, put a 16-ounce bottle of water in the bathroom then drink it first thing in the morning for a daily energy boost. For an easy and healthy way to add flavor to your water during the day, consider putting an herbal tea bag of your choice in it. For example, Chumbley recommends ginger as a digestion-helper, mint as a caffeine-free way to awaken and chamomile to calm.

Make healthy swaps. Looking for alternatives is an easy way to eat healthy. Consider swapping out heavier carbs for vegetables such as grilled Portobello mushrooms as pizza crust or zucchini noodles instead of pasta. Swap mayo for avocado when eating egg, chicken or tuna salad. You can also use the sweetness of ripe bananas to decrease the need for added sugar in recipes like cookies, muffins and pancakes. For an additional nutrition boost, consider adding a scoop of gluten-free protein powder like Premier Protein’s line of 100% Whey Powders, which are available in chocolate or vanilla milkshake flavors and feature 30 grams of protein and 3-4 grams of sugar per scoop, plus no artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners.

Get moving. Commit to stepping outside and taking a daily walk. Whether it’s 1 mile or a walk around the block, you can burn calories and receive the added benefits of mental clarity, increased energy and improved digestion.

“Use these tips as one small thing that can make a powerful positive impact on your day,” Chumbley said. “Choose one of these and do it every day. Keep the strategy simple so you’ll be more likely to stick with it. When implementing these health tips, think ‘progress’ not ‘perfection.’ If you are progressing, you are successful.”

Find more tips and products to help live a healthy lifestyle at PremierProtein.com. (BPT)

This Season’s Hottest Leather Bags

This season, top off your outfits with the ultimate statement accessory: an El Vaquero leather bag.

Each bag is carefully crafted by hand in Italy and is characterized by fringe detailing. Whether you’re looking for a day-to-day bag or a gift for that special someone, El Vaquero luxury bags are made to stand the test of time with its 100% calf leather composition. These bold bags are more than just a fashion accessory; Its carryall sizes and user-friendly zips and buckles serve both fashion and function.

Taking inspiration from the Wild West, El Vaquero bags are carefully-crafted works of art made with the true modern bohemian woman in mind. From muted tones in Jet Black and Chestnut to rich colors in Indigo and Crimson, these accessories are the perfect addition to any ensemble.

Established in 1975 by designer Valerio Giuntoli, El Vaquero specializes in artisanal leather goods for the free-spirited woman. Each item is hand-crafted with utmost scrutiny by expert artisans to ensure the resulting product is embodied in Tuscany heritage and boasts an authentic vintage spirit.

El Vaquero shoes and accessories are available for purchase on their newly launched e-commerce store here.