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Keep on track with the Mio FUSE health monitor

 

feet on a bathroom scale - isolated

 

I will admit that I am not a very active person. I’m not a “couch potato,” but I’m not one to get overly physically active either.

My exercise of choice is walking. I do a lot of it with my job.

Not too long ago I picked up counter to help me see how many steps I make on a daily basis. My goal is 10,000 – which is the recommended number of steps we should all make daily. I got close only once (9,834 steps). I’m determined to reach my 10,000 steps goal.

I have looked into health monitors in the past – specifically the kind that you wear. Most just look too obvious, or they are too complicated to use.

I was recently introduced to a health monitor called Mio FUSE.

Mio FUSE, is a waterproof wrist-based heart rate, sleep and activity tracker that completely eliminates the need for those bulky and uncomfortable chest straps. The heart rate monitor also works with the Mio GO App (available for Android and iOS) to monitor progress overtime or analyze individual workout data (max heart rate, steps, speed, pace, distance, time and calories burned).

MIO Fuse 1

This sounded interesting to me. I like the idea of knowing what my heart rate is. The walking I normally do is at a casual pace. I know for health reasons I need to get my heart rate to go up. My doctor tells me that all the time. My little step tracker doesn’t tell me anything more than how many steps I took.

The Mio FUSE is more than just a step tracker and heart rate monitor. It also tells time (like a regular watch), sleep, calories, distance, pace and goal. In order to track your sleep you need to update the software for the product. I have not done that as of yet. I’ve mostly focused on the other things the monitor can do.

Set up was easy. There is a video and more information on how to set it up on the Mio site (MioGlobal.com/SetUp). Simply select your device (Mio offers several different monitors/trackers) and take it from there.

I’m “technologically challenged” at times and I was able to set up the Mio Fuse with no problem.

The Mio Fuse does stand out a bit – meaning it is noticeable, but it’s not as bad as other, similar products. It could pass as a bracelet in a way. Or a fashionable watch (it does tell time).

Displaying the time - the display is clear it just looks fuzzy in the photo because it displays just for a few seconds and my camera wasn't steady enough.

Displaying the time – the display is clear it just looks fuzzy in the photo because it displays just for a few seconds and my camera wasn’t steady enough.

A concern of mine was that it wouldn’t fit or it would be too snug. I have a thick wrist. I was happy to see that the band for the Mio FUSE is very generous and fit my wrist perfectly. It’s even easy to get on and take off.

When you are not tracking your numbers the Mio FUSE is completely black (nothing is displayed). When you want to check your numbers you simply touch the sides of it and a digital display appears. You use the invisible buttons on the sides to scroll back and forth through the various options.

I like that you touch it instead of buttons. It gives it a more sleek look that way.

Learning about my heart rate was a bit tricky. I wasn’t sure what my target range should be. I had to look it up. I found on the American Heart Association website that my average heart rate should be between 170-175. My goal range should be 85-149. I’m in between ages on the chart that I found, that is why I used the range (I should fall some where in those ranges).

The Mio FUSE has showed me that I have not been working out my heart like I should. The only time I find that I am around my target range is when I am walking up the stairs where I live (we have six flights of stairs to walk up/down). Knowing this has made me try and walk a bit brisker when I am at work. It’s helping. My heart rate is slowing inching towards my goal range. I’m not there yet, but the monitor is helping me to see how much closer I am getting.

Mio FUSE charger - the device connects with the plug via a magnet.

Mio FUSE charger – the device connects with the plug via a magnet.

I like that I can glance at the numbers – even at work – quickly and easily. I am not allowed to use my cellphone at work, but the Mio FUSE is not a problem at all since I only need to glance at it for a few seconds.

I neglected to mention that there is a FREE app you will need to download for the Mio FUSE as well. It’s a handy app that helps to keep you on track too. There are very options that you can set up so that you are getting the most out of your Mio FUSE.

If you are would like to learn more about Mio FUSE you can visit the Mio website at www.MioGlobal.com. This tracker/monitor retails for $129. Mio offers other trackers/monitors which might be more budget friendly.

You can also find the brand on social media. All of their links are found at the bottom of their website.

What do you think about Mio FUSE? Does it sound like a product you would like to have?

Do you keep track of your steps, heart rate and so forth?

MIO Logo

Kimberly

*I received a free product sample to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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Teens and Drugs: Don’t Look the Other Way

 

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Many people use prescription drugs for relief from chronic pain, depression, anxiety, and ADHD. Unfortunately, many people abuse these drugs and then find themselves addicted. Some of these abusers take more than the prescribed dosage. But, more often than not, the abuse comes from people who do not have a prescription at all.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, of the number of abusers, teens and young adults between the ages of 18 to 25 rank the highest. In a single year, 2014, over 1,700 died of an overdose. This figure does not include young adults that required medical treatment or a hospital stay. If you see a change in your child’s behavior take notice and act without delay. The sooner he/she gets help at a recovery clinic, the more likely positive changes will be permanent. Pinnacle Peak Recovery, an Arizona drug rehab program lists a number of programs that use proven treatment modalities like CBT, DBT, EMDR, and Experiential Therapy that can help your teen if they have an addiction problem.

Drug abuse is on the rise. And for teens, the probability of having someone approach them is more common than you think. Dealers are in middle schools, high schools, and colleges, often disguised as friends. And what they’re pushing often originally comes from a pharmacy shelf. Of these prescription drugs, the most common on the streets are opioid pain relievers, ADHD and anti-anxiety drugs. The reason they are so available in colleges is that students are under a lot of pressure to get good grades. The ADHD drugs help them to focus, making studying easier. The problem is that they soon begin to rely on them for daily use.

Medicine

Teens and young adults want to fit in with their peers. If approached at school or a party, many will try them just to look cool. Some may never take a pill again, but others now contact the person who introduced them to get more. Despite your best efforts, any child can find themselves addicted. This is a serious matter. They are taking something their body doesn’t need and may lead to serious consequences down the road.

If you suspect your child may have a problem with drugs, don’t ignore it. Take the time to sit with them and discuss the dangers of using these types of medicines. If they admit that they have tried but are not using, keep an eye on them. If you observe changes in their behavior, grades and appearance these may all be cause for alarm. Since prescription drugs are only safe when monitored by a doctor, teens and adults are at risk.

If you discover that your teen has a drug problem get them help fast. Along with rehab, you should also keep your child in counseling to uncover the underlying reason for the abuse. While some do it just to experiment and get high, others do it to avoid their life. Getting the proper help can mean the difference between a life of dependency and a bright future.

You love your children and want the best for them. But, sometimes despite your efforts, they get into trouble. A child hooked on drugs could lead to deadly consequences. This is a growing problem across the United States. It’s not partial to any economic or social group. Educating your teen before they reach puberty is a step in the right direction. Keeping them busy with sports and after-school programs will also help. It may just give them the confidence they need to say no to drugs.

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Skin Cancer Awareness Month Tips from Sophia Ruan Gushee

 

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May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, which is a great time to detox your sun protection strategy as the sunniest months are just around the corner. Check out these nontoxic options and tips from Sophia Ruan Gushee, author of A to Z of D-Toxing: The Ultimate Guide to Reducing Our Toxic Exposures.

Use your diet to fight the sun’s damaging effects.

Various fruits and vegetables offer many nutrients that boost your body’s natural defenses against sunburn and skin cancer. For example, lycopene – of which great sources include watermelon, tomatoes, papaya, pink guava, red bell peppers and pink grapefruit – help sun protection. In one study, 5 tablespoons of tomato paste daily increased protection against sunburns by 33%.

 Avoid the sun at its most powerful times of day.

According to the CDC, the hours between 10am and 4pm pose the biggest risk of UV exposure. These are prime hours to seek shade, or to stay indoors. This is especially important when your area’s UV index is a 6 or above (which is considered “high”). To check what your UV index is, use one of the many resources online (like this UV Index Map from weather.com), or download a phone app (I use Haze by Robocat) which will provide UV information, too.

Wear protective clothing.

Protective clothing — along with shade — is your first line of defense! Use hats and clothing that cover your body and protect it from the sun. Keep in mind that light-weight fabrics with low density may not provide much protection, so think twice about what clothing will be a better choice. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, polyester and rayon provide good protection, while refined and bleached cottons do not.

Hats are important, especially since the face and neck are particularly susceptible to common forms of skin cancer! Look for hats with large brims that provide shade to the front, back, and sides of your face, neck, and ears.

Choose healthier sunscreens.

To avoid the harmful chemicals in sunscreen and find healthier options, consider products that contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, are broad-spectrum (which will guard against both UVA and UVB rays), as well as water-resistant. Avoid sunscreens that contain oxybenzone, vitamin A (AKA retinal palmitate, which may promote the formation of skin tumors and lesions), nanoparticles, and insect repellant (use insect repellant separately since you may need to reapply sunscreen often). Lastly, use the Environmental Working Group’s sunscreen guide to identify products that have a low hazard assessment, and refer to A to Z of D-Toxing for more sunscreen tips.

Young woman applying sun protection product to skin

*I was not compensated for this post. I posted this for the benefit of site readers. The opinions expressed are that of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect my own. 

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5 Indispensable Facts about Folic Acid That Every Woman Should Know

 

Preganant Women

If you are a woman, conscious about your health and well-being then here are the 5 indispensable facts about folic acid that you may know.

What is folic acid?

Good health requires care right from birth. Some vitamins and minerals are vital to human body from mother’s womb as they support mental and physical growth. Amongst many vital nutrients administered to the baby while in embryo, folate plays a major role. Folate and Folic Acid are same, where folate is the natural form of vitamin B while folic acid is the synthetic form of folate. Many foods contain folate but it is difficult to get the daily supply of folate just from food especially during pregnancy or some health conditions, this is where folic acid comes into play. One may be required to take this vitamin through external sources to avoid any health problems and ensure proper growth.

Sources of folic acid

As stated earlier, folic acid is the man-made form of folate and would be found in supplements. You will get folate in various foods naturally. The natural sources of folate include various fruits and vegetables –

  • Leafy Vegetables – Spinach, kale, lettuce, and broccoli.
  • Green Vegetables – Asparagus and okra.
  • Fruits – Melons and bananas.
  • Beans – Kidney beans and black-eyed beans.
  • Mushrooms – All types of mushrooms and yeast.
  • Meat – Beef kidney and liver.
  • Juice – Tomato juice and orange juice.

Folic acid is added to many food sources since 1998 following the guidelines from food and nutrition department. Foods containing folic acid are –

  • Cereals
  • Pasta
  • Bread
  • Flour
  • Cookies
  • Crackers

You can include the above foods to your diet in order to meet your daily folic acid requirement. While these natural sources would add a lot to your folate store, there would be special instances when you may be required to resort to the folic acid supplement.

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Why women need more folic acid?

Folic acid is required by people of all age groups but women may require more folic acid during her age of conceiving. More folic acid during the pregnancy would ensure proper growth of fetus. Some of the birth defects commonly resulted because of lack of folic acid are –

  • Anencephaly – The brain development of the fetus is inhibited in this problem. The baby would die in mother’s womb or in very short time after birth due to this birth defect.
  • Spina Bifida – This condition occurs when the spinal column of the baby doesn’t close due to birth defect. The spinal cord stays unprotected and inhibits the functions of nerves that control limb movement. The baby born with this defect would have to undergo many surgeries. The condition results into lifelong disabilities.

Folic acid is important for the physical and mental growth of fetus. Other that the birth defects, the lack of folic acid may result into many health problems in adults. Appropriate amount of folic acid in your body would prevent many health problems like –

  • Heart Problems – Folic acid keeps your blood healthy. The healthy blood circulates properly through the body, which may exert less pressure on heart. The result is healthy heart and freedom from many health problems.
  • Anemia – Healthy blood is rich in all vital nutrients. The iron and hemoglobin content is maintained with folic acid. One can avoid health problems like anemia by keeping the folic acid levels up in the diet and via supplement.
  • Cancer Prevention – The cell changes that would finally lead to cancer can be prevented by regulating the folic acid levels.

Folic acid requirement in women

Women of child bearing age may require more folic acid whether they conceive or not. The general requirement of folic acid amounts to 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid daily. Regular intake of about 0.4 to 0.8 mg of folic acid daily before getting pregnant would protect the baby against most of the birth defects.

Here are the amounts of folic acid required by women in various situations.

  • Women who are planning for the baby or have already conceived – Women in the child bearing age may require 400 mcg to 800 mcg of folic acid. This dosage is apt even for the pregnant women. Doctors may recommend folic acid supplement during the entire pregnancy. If you are already planning the baby, then start taking folic acid as the prenatal supplement for healthy pregnancy.
  • Women planning for another baby after losing baby due to brain or spine birth defect – Losing a baby due to folic acid deficiency would be painful and also a trigger for your next pregnancy. Your medical practitioner may increase the folic acid dosage by 10 times if you have already experienced problems in your first pregnancy. The recommended dosage would be 4000 mcg.
  • Lactating mothers – Lactating mothers require 500 mcg folic acid to meet with the requirements of baby and mother effectively.
  • Family history of spina bifida – If the expecting mother or any of her immediate family members are suffering from spina bifida, the folic acid dosage may be increased to 4000 mcg or as prescribed by the doctor.
  • Having other health conditions – Those suffering from other health conditions like Type 2 Diabetes, Epilepsy, kidney problems, liver problems, arthritis, celiac disease, sickle cell disease or inflammatory bowel disease may require more folic acid than normal.

How to ensure that you get sufficient folic acid

Folic acid is the part of multi-vitamin supplements and women can have their daily dose of folic acid from multi-vitamin. These power pills would have 400 mcg of folic acid that would help you meet your daily need of folic acid. Those looking for higher dose of folic acid can get it from the sole folic acid tablets. Doctors may prescribe this to individuals who need more folic acid due to special health conditions.

These 5 facts about folic acid would ensure your health as a woman and also make sure that there is no birth defect found in generations to come.

beautiful baby looking out from under blanket

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To The Brink And Back – Surviving Lung Cancer by Linda Wortman

 

Lung cancer

8 year 5 month lung cancer survivor…but who’s counting?

It all began in 2008 when I was enjoying my 35th year of working as a flight attendant for a major airline. Flying has given me many fond memories, including meeting my husband, a pilot, on my third flight in 1973. Together we traveled the world and were known as the “Flying Wortmans”.

Meeting people from around the world taught me the value of mindfulness. I had a successful career in the airline business and was eventually appointed Government Affairs Chair. In this position, I had the opportunity to walk the halls of Congress in our nation’s capital advocating for the safety and health of passengers and crew members, all while I continued to fly on an international schedule.

In late 2007, I was standing at the boarding door greeting passengers just like any other day on the job, when suddenly, I started coughing and couldn’t stop. I remember thinking, am I going to choke to death? My worst health scare up until this point was a shattered wrist that put me into reconstructive wrist surgery at the Mayo Clinic. Little did I know that I was going to embark on a whole new journey that would change my life forever.

It all happened so fast…

In January 2008, during a routine physical at the Mayo Clinic, I mentioned my weird cough and mild shoulder pain. I ended up getting a cautionary CT scan and within two days I was being wheeled into thoracic surgery to have my upper left lung lobe removed where a 3cm tumor had taken residence along with a wedge in my lower left lung lobe. Non-small cell adenocarcinoma lung cancer, Stage 1A, was responsible for my cough, shoulder pain and fatigue.

Radiology technician performs mammography test

Following the operation, I did not know where my next breath would come from. My husband stood by my bedside and had to tell me to breathe, breathe, breathe. If you can imagine, for me the pain was 10 times greater than giving birth. It hurt to move and recovery took months. The toll it took on my family was even more exhausting. Each of my family members dealt differently when they heard the words: “Mom has lung cancer”. They each reached their breaking point at different times and reacted in ways that changed our lives forever. It is heartbreaking to see tears, anger, and fear in your own children’s eyes.

The 5-year lung cancer survival rate is only 17%, and this #1, silent cancer killer takes more lives each year than colon, breast, and pancreatic cancers combined. With the prevalence so high, how could I not know that anyone can get lung cancer, even never smokers?

For two years, my private practice doctors thought I was a normal, healthy and athletic mom, and never recommended a chest x-ray for my cough, in fact they suggested it was perhaps psychological.

When my husband and I returned home, I doubted I could walk our flight of stairs. Months later he lovingly tied my cross country ski shoes (it hurt to bend over) and put my skies on and said, “Let’s go!” What once took 80 minutes to complete 12 kilometers, now took over an hour just to creep 200 feet. I could not catch my breath! I was fortunate to participate in a study that taught me how to breathe again with voice guided meditation practice, which I live and run with today, eight years later. I now have two of four kids practicing meditation and our daughter teaches it.

Three years after surgery, we were enjoying the Clarksdale Spring Blues Festival in Mississippi. I saw a sign promoting a 5K walk/run in honor of a little girl with cancer. The morning of the race, I decided to participate. I ran and finished second in my age group, without wearing proper running shoes. I wanted to test my endurance. Running, quickly shifted to a means for me to raise awareness about lung cancer.

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On Mother’s Day 2014 my husband and I completed the 2-year goal of running a 5K race in all 50 states. We then began embarking on the goal of running a 10K in every continent. Our mission is to let others know with proper diagnosis, CT scanning and proper treatment, there can be hope after a lung cancer diagnosis. Research is making advancements with genetic research and targeted therapies and I want to do everything that I can to support funding for more research.

We were celebrating my fifth year of survival in Washington, D.C. My husband and I stopped by the American Lung Association offices unannounced. As a lung cancer survivor I was welcomed into the offices with compassion and understanding, the staff understood the importance of getting people out of the lung cancer “rut”. The Lung Association supports research, the importance of writing letters to congress, and requesting policies that protect the health of every lung cancer patient, survivors, their love ones and future generations.

I was so happy to learn about the Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE, which is an army of lung cancer survivors and loved ones that are bravely taking a stand to fight lung cancer’s growing numbers. It is the voices of “heroes,” as we call them, that will change the perceptions of lung cancer so research and treatment options are successful and quality of life with determination can beat this devastating disease. To get involved and join the conversation check out LUNGFORCE.org.

LUNG FORCE LOGO

*This is a guest post. The opinions expressed are that of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect my own. There was no compensation. I posted this to educate readers about Lung Force. 

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National Women’s Health Week – Tips for a healthier YOU

 

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Did you now that this week is National Women’s Health Week?

Why is it that many women don’t make their health a priority? We tend to put everyone else’s health first. I find that I am guilty of doing that. When it comes to my family I am always on top of their health. I make sure my kids and my husband go for yearly exams. I even make sure my husband visits the Cardiologist twice a year, as well as the Urologist to get his prostate checked. But when it comes to me and my health, I honestly don’t think about it. I could be walking around with a limb dangling off and I’d still put my family’s health needs first.

I know I need to stop doing that and focus on my health. After all, if I’m not around who is going to take care of my family?

Here are some of my favorite tips for a healthier you. This would apply to anyone, not necessarily women.

health - wet apple

Eat healthier. 

I don’t think that I really need to dive into this one – it’s pretty much self explanatory and unless you were living under a rock you already now that you should always strive to eat better.

I tell my kids all the time that it’s OK to enjoy a cookie or some chips from time to time. After all, we’re human and we enjoy yummy stuff. Go ahead and and enjoy a cookie or two – but not five or six cookies. And it’s OK to have a snack size bag of chips – just not every day.

It’s perfectly find to splurge from time to time as long as the rest of the time you are making better for you choices.

Drink plenty of water. 

I’m surprised by how many people DON’T drink enough water. Their #1 complaint is that water is boring or tasteless. If that is the case, add something to the water. A squirt of fresh lemon, or fruit infused water, is totally delicious.

I LOVE a cold glass of water. Nothing is more refreshing and thirst quenching.

I am grateful that my son and husband drink more than enough water. They each have these giant mugs that hold 83 ounces of water. My son drink at least two a day and my husband close to it.

I’m still trying to get my daughter to drink more water.

I love it when we eat at a restaurant and my kids opt for water instead of soda. They are teenagers and they are welcome to have soda if they want since we don’t drink it at home but they choose water.

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Get plenty of sleep. 

This is something I am VERY bad with. I never get enough sleep. If I get 3-4 hours of sleep per night that is a lot. I tend to go to bed late and get up early. I don’t want to get up early but I have to for my job.

I try to take a nap whenever possible.

We need to get ample sleep to help our bodies heal and repair.

Lack of sleep contributes to major health issues like increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease and stroke.

My #1 tip is to disconnect from technology at least a half hour before bed to give your mind a chance to unwind. Also, DON’T keep your phone near your bed because it’s too tempting for you to check tweets and Facebook status in the middle of the night.

Get in a little “Me time” every day.

As a busy mom who is always on the go, it’s hard to find any “me time.” I work two part time jobs, run a blog, care for my family and take care of my home. I’m literally on the go from the time I wake up (5:45 AM) until midnight.

I make an effort to carve our some me time whenever possible. For example, when I’m home in between jobs, and my husband is at work and my kids at work/school, I like to sit on our balcony with a cup of tea or coffee and just close my eyes and listen to the sounds around me (wind, birds, cars…). I also love to curl up on the couch and read a chapter in a book or a magazine. I also love to color. I color in both coloring books and on an app on my phone. I find coloring especially relaxing.

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Take care of your oral health.

One thing I think many people over look is their oral health. Brushing your teeth 2-3 times daily, flossing and regular dental check-ups are not only important to keep your teeth healthy – it can also keep YOU healthy.

Poor oral health is linked to other health issues, including heart disease. In addition, you want to keep your teeth looking good and avoid things like gum disease, cavities and bad breath.

Oral issues can also be VERY expensive. If you have ever had a root canal and a crown/cap you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Just YESTERDAY I accidentally swallowed a crown. I didn’t even know it was loose. Thankfully I was able to see my dentist right away, but our insurance won’t cover the cost of the new crown. That means I am going to pay HUNDREDS of dollars for it.

I blame my lack of oral care when I was younger on my issues today. Back in the day I didn’t brush 2-3 times a day. I brushed only once per day and we never used floss growing up and I visited the dentist once a year.

When taking your oral health into consideration you should make sure to choose products that will provide you with the most benefits. Take for example Colgate products.

Colgate Toothpaste

Products like Colgate Total® Daily Repair Toothpaste give you a deep down clean to remove plaque and other yucky stuff, leaving your breath fresh and your teeth white.

In addition you should floss daily and rinse your mouth with products like Colgate Total® Daily Repair Mouthwash. Colgate Total® Daily Repair helps to repair some of the daily damage done to you teeth and gums, as well as helping to kill the germs that cause bad breath. This is a new product that I recently had the opportunity to try out. I love how minty fresh my mouth feels when I use it.

Colgate Mouthwash

Colgate sent me these products to review, as well as a new toothbrush (I use a power toothbrush, not a manual one, so I gave it to my hubby) as well a a “selfie stick.” I was encouraged to take a selfie to show off my smile after using these Colgate products and share it on social media. The only problem is, I don’t smile with my teeth. I smile – it’s just not a “toothy” one. I always thought when I smiled showing my teeth that I looked rather demented and scary. LOL!

Here is my selfie – minus my teeth.

Kimberly Vetrano - She Scribes

You can check out other people’s selfies by searching the hasthtag #MyColgateSelfie.

If you would like to learn more about these and other Colgate products, visit Colgate.com. You can also check out the brand on social media (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube). Social media links are found at the bottom of their website.

Don’t forget to check out Colgate’s coupons and special offers page.

Do YOU put your health first?

Do you have any other tips you would like to share?

Are you a fan of Colgate products? If so, what is your favorite product/products?

Colgate Logo

Kimberly

*I received free product samples to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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