By Healing Lifestyles and Spas It seems we’re always walking a fine line between being good: opting for the rice cake instead of the cupcake, and being guiltily, indisputably bad, bad, bad: Waiter! Bring me that cupcake, after all. And add a side of candied bacon ice cream. The human brain is actually what determines whether something is good for you or bad for you—not based on reality, fact or science, of course, but based on a faulty belief you might have been carrying around for decades. But being healthy doesn’t have to be so black and white. And it certainly doesn’t have to be constricting, boring or unappealing. Healthy can be sexy. In fact, it’s the new sexy! Sex up your health life with these 10 steamy tips by Tracy Shields, writer, triathlete and nutrition junkie, co-owner and Marketing Director of N3 Oceanic, Inc., maker of Res-Q products, and Nature’s Shield, a subsidiary of N3. It’s sexytime! Flirt: Did you know that flirting is a healthy de-stressor? Researchers at the University of Washington found that flirting in the workplacehelps employees to increase their happiness and de-stress. Flirting, when appropriate, can also keep levels of oxytocin (the “love hormone”) high in both males and females. Wink, wink! Eat more aphrodisiacs: There’s no such thing as a fried, battered, processed aphrodisiac loaded with trans-fats. The very essence of an aphrodisiac — a food that, in ancient times, aided fertility and sexual performance — is that it has the ability to offer high amounts of nutritional value so as to increase libido. Foods such as almonds, avocados, bananas, chocolate, figs, garlic, ginger, honey, and of course, oysters, have all been touted through the centuries as great performers. Lucky for your waist-line, chicken wings aren’t on the list. Swim: Swimming is sexy. Alone or with a partner, there’s something beautiful and tantalizing about a body gliding through a pool of clear water. Even a brisk dip in a cool Northern lake during summer is, well, hot. And, ahem, there’s always skinny dipping. Leisurely swimming, by the way, can burn up to 650 calories. Sexercise: It’s almost cliché now. Sex burns calories. It’s exercise. But the truth is, the amount of calories burned depends on, er, the energy manufactured during the act. Just as you can’t burn any calories at an aerobics class just lying on the mat, neither can you do so during sex. So, don’t just lie there. Get your heart rate up and get busy! Need a few ideas? Try the “Standing Ovation.” Wine & Dine: Decide on a stressless dinner and go out to eat. And I’m not talking about some beer and shots joint down the road. How about a wine and oyster bar in the city? Red wine, if you haven’t already read the studies, is packed with Resveratrol (also, coincidentally, an ingredient in today’s Bite Beauty prize), a naturally occurring antioxidant that helps eliminate free radicals in the body and aids in longevity. Oysters are packed with zinc to help fortify the immune system. Both are aphrodisiacs, and even if they weren’t, how sexy is a wine and oyster bar with a bunch of your friends, or your second half? Chocolate Massage: There’s something decadent, erotic and oh so healthy about a chocolate massage. But, as bad as that sounds, don’t forget that chocolate is packed with antioxidants. And the mind-body-spirit effects of a professional massage are priceless. There are hundreds of great spas that offer this crazy sexy service (such as the 60 Min Whipped Hot Chocolate Massage at Spa West in Westlake, Ohio in our July Spa Deals.) Misbehave: I’m not talking about robbing a bank or shooting up a convenience store. But how about a little mischief to get the adrenalin going? Adrenalin is your stress hormone and believe it or not, some stress is good for you. The fight or flight response “speeds up heart rate and increases blood pressure,” allowing you to have that “I feel alive” sensation. Trouble is, prolonged, nagging stress, where your adrenal glands are triggered non-stop is not good. So, think quickie in the park, playing hooky from work, booking a last-minute flight to Vegas; liberate yourself a little. It’s good for your spirit. Get Naked: For some of us (me included), getting naked is the last on my list of sexy things to do, let alone healthy. And yet, “garments limit the flow of air over the skin and interfere with the evaporation of perspiration.” Getting naked—at least for a little while—also helps skin to breathe and take a break from restricting clothes that may have many harmful chemicals, dyes and allergens. And if you feel completely uncomfortable with even the tiniest bit of flesh showing, try switching to 100% organic cotton clothing, which is breathable and has been manufactured with less harmful chemicals. Soak it up: Bubble baths used to be all the rage. Now it’s the soak. Draw a bath and avoid reaching for the bubbles. Instead, sprinkle some healthy alternatives into the tub: oatmeal is great for psoriasis, dead sea salt has an exfoliating effect, rosemary, orange, aloe, lavender or eucalyptus soothes and opens pores. For a super sexy effect, draw a jasmine and sandalwood scented bath for two. Think Sexy: Your brain is your most powerful tool. Not only does it have the capability of defining the objects and actions of your life, but it has the power to redefine them if the old definition isn’t working. Case in point: who says rice cakes, broccoli, and a sweaty aerobics class isn’t sexy? You do. There’s so much about a healthy lifestyle that can be considered “sexy.” But you need to reinforce your brain’s positive way of defining what sexy is. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help you “become aware of inaccurate or negative thinking,” as well as create positive impressions with respect to events or actions you’d normally prefer to avoid. My point? Don’t give up on healthy just because you believe it’s boring or limited. Start to see sexy in all your healthy ways. The more you transform your thinking, the more solid your commitment to your healthy lifestyle becomes.