Author Archives: Mia

5 Things You Should Never Do Before You Work Out

 

Craft a killer playlist. Get dressed in your workout best. Perform a light warm-up. You know what to do to get ready for an awesome workout. But there are some things you should never—and we mean never, ever—do before a workout. Like these five workout-wrecking mistakes:

1. Drink Just One Glass of Wine at Happy Hour
“Any amount of alcohol before working out is too much,” says certified strength and conditioning specialist Mike Donavanik. “Depending on the tolerance level one may have, it may affect some more than others—but either way, you’re looking at possible drowsiness, dehydration, narrowing of your blood vessels, impaired motor function, and a number of other side effects, which just aren’t conducive to working out.” What’s more, drinking even one glass of alcohol can lower your blood-sugar levels, which can lead to everything from shakiness and weakness to flat-out injury, says Georgie Fear, R.D., author of Lean Habits for Lifelong Weight Loss.


2. Chug More Than a Few Cups of Water
It’s an hour before your workout, and you just realized you’ve drunk shockingly little so far that day, so you down a bunch of water. We’ve all done it. But if you drink too much, it could backfire. Your kidneys can process close to a liter of water an hour, so if you drink more than that, you could put yourself at risk of a rare but serious condition called hyponatremia, in which the blood becomes diluted and the concentration of sodium ions drops too low, says Fear. Symptoms include a loss of energy, muscle weakness, and cramps, none of which make for a good workout. On the more dangerous end of things, it can cause seizures and coma.

Luckily, it’s unlikely that you’re going to down a two-liter bottle of water before your workout, but Donavanik recommends capping your intake even lower: at to two to three cups of water two to three hours before exercise—for your stomach’s sake. “If you have a stomach full of water and you’re doing intense exercise like sprints, jumps, and inversions, you feel that water moving around in your stomach—and it’s super unpleasant,” he says. “It can also cause you to cramp, feel nauseated, and possibly throw up.”

3. Hit Up the Indian Food Buffet
“Eating a big, spicy meal is a no-no if you don’t want reflux or heartburn during your workout,” says Fear. It doesn’t sound pretty: “Combined with jostling around, a full stomach increases the risk of acidic stomach contents contacting and irritating the inside of the esophagus and giving you that familiar heartburn sensation,” she says. ​“Reflux can torpedo your workout by making it less comfortable to work at your full intensity, giving you a sour taste in your mouth or even causing you enough pain to pack it in early.” ​

Plus, even if you somehow sidestep heartburn (lucky you), you still may have cramping and reduced exercise function to deal with. “If you start to work out while your body is still digesting food, the body now has to also shunt blood into the muscles being worked,” says Donavanik. “So now you aren’t getting enough blood supply to your stomach to help properly digest your food, and you aren’t getting an adequate blood supply to your muscles.” If you’re planning an intense workout, avoid meat, eggs, corn, and anything else that’s hard for your stomach to break down within a couple hours of hitting the gym. Stick with lighter foods, like fruit and carbs, within a couple hours of your workout, he says. Bonus: Since they are easily digestible, your body will actually be able to use them to help you power your workout.

4. Have Crazy, Wild Sex
“If two people are really going at it, sex can be detrimental pre-workout because you’re expending a lot of energy,”  says Donavanik. “Not just that, but during sex, oxytocin is released, which kind of mellows you out and gives you those feel-good vibes. So if you’re planning a hardcore bootcamp workout, skip the pre-workout sex.”

5. Try to Touch Your Toes
Static stretching (think: bend and hold) before a workout is a no-go. “When you work out, your muscles need to contract as intensely and forcefully as possible,” says Donavanik. “So when you put them in a stretched state beforehand, you limit their ability to do their job efficiently. It’s like you’re taking away their tools for success.” For instance, in one study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, exercisers who static stretched before performing a squat reduced their strength by 8.36 percent and lower-body stability by 22.68 percent, compared to those who performed dynamic stretches before getting their squat on.

All gifs courtesy of giphy.com

 

Source: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/

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5 Things You Should Always Keep From Your Partner

Do you tell each other everything? Wrong, says Kathy Lette, as she gives her (tongue-in-cheek) guide to the secrets essential for cohabitation harmony with your partner…

‘Love prepares you for marriage the way that needlepoint prepares you for round-the-world solo yachting. Nobody ever said marriage was going to be easy. But one thing’s for sure. Honesty is not always the best policy when it comes to your partner. Psychologists encourage couples to tell each other everything…who did they train under, Dr Seuss? I’m not encouraging you to lie – it’s more a case of selective honesty. Here are the 5 things you should always keep from your partner…

1. Shoes…as in cost of. One of the biggest differences between the sexes is that men only need one pair of shoes for the year, and maybe four for their entire life. They don’t understand it’s genetically impossible for a woman to walk past a shoe sale and not buy something irrational and strappy that gladdens the heart. If new shoes aren’t spirited upstairs immediately, your partner will ask how much money you spent – a question to be stepped around as carefully as a dozing anaconda.

2. Scrapes…as in along the side of the car. Every man thinks he’s an excellent driver. When a bloke gets a noteunder his windscreen saying ‘parking fine’, he presumes it’s a complimentary comment on his driving skills. He also secretly thinks every woman is bad behind the wheel. Even if another driver has dented the bumper he will still assume it’s your fault. But if you do scrape the car, just act innocent to avoid your partner exceeding the recommended daily allowance of Smug Gloating.

3. Camping phobia…one of life’s great mysteries is why people are divided into those who like the outdoors and those who like the indoors, and why they invariably end up married to each other. I foolishly confessed to my first husband how much I hated camping and he then spent every holiday trying to convert me. If you’re like me, make up some life-threatening allergies – to flies, flowers, frog spawn. Otherwise, a couple of nights under canvas and you’ll soon discover that your marital union is so solid because you have so much in common…namely mutual contempt and acrimony.

4. Skills…you’d rather not have. My father Mervyn worked in optic fibre. We nicknamed him Optic Merv. He trained his four daughters to fix fuses, mix cement and put up wallpaper. As I don’t fancy spending a life in overalls, my only attempt at DIY resulted in a very embarrassing call to emergency services after I trapped myself in a flat-pack wardrobe I was assembling.

5. Allergy…to his old mate. My husband has a friend who went straight from puberty to adultery. His marriage vows clearly read ‘to love, honour and betray’. Now on his third divorce, he’s taken to dropping round for a nightcap. Being honest about your loathing will only bring out your partner’s loyalty. Much better that you pretend to like his pal a little too much and let the ‘green-eyed monster’ do the rest. Yes, the secret of a happy marriage is to keep most things secret.

Source: http://www.womanandhome.com/

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Healthy easy recipe: Peppy Tomato Oats Penne Pasta

Healthy easy recipe: Peppy Tomato Oats Penne Pasta

 

Eating a meal should be both – a healthy and an enjoyable occasion for your child — a fact that many parents may overlook sometime when planning a meal for their growing children. The amount of food that a child needs differs according to height, weight, build, gender, and activity level. Don’t force them to eat more food than they want or need.

If your child is in no mood to have rotis then you can cook some other healthy food like Peppy Tomato Oats Penne Pasta dipped in Pink sauce or oats puree.

Read below how to prepare Peppy Tomato Oats Penne Pasta dipped in Pink sauce and get their – WOW reaction instantly.

Ingredients

200 gm Whole wheat Penne Pasta (cooked)

    1/2 teaspoon Saffola oil

    1/4 onion, diced

    1/2 clove garlic, minced

    4 tbsp tomato puree

    1 basil leaf

    1/8 teaspoon dried oregano

    1/4 teaspoon salt

    1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

How to Prepare Penne Pasta?

  • Boil some quantity of water in a vessel.
  • Add Penne pasta and let it boil for 15 minutes.
  • Before pouring the water out from the vessel, grab a piece and check whether it’s properly steamed (cooked) or not.
  • Check if there is a thin white line in the center.

How to Prepare Pink sauce?

  • In a saucepan, sauté some piece of onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat. Be sure it doesn’t burn.
  • Add tomato puree, basil, oregano, salt and pepper.
  • Bring it to boil for 5 minutes (until most of the liquid evaporates).
  • Stir in Oats Puree
  • Reduce the heat and simmer it for 5 more minutes.
  • Toss the sauce with Penne, garnish with basil leaves

 Yuhoo… it’s ready to be served!  

 

Source: http://www.indiatvnews.com/

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12 Powerful Photos That Illustrate What It’s Like to Suffer From Anxiety

In her series “My Anxious Heart,” photographer Katie Joy Crawford shares her battle with general anxiety disorder in the hope that her experience will help others identify and heal their own suffering. “The physical ramifications of the disorder, such as a racing heart, dizziness, shortness of breath and lightheadedness, frequently go unnoticed or are misinterpreted by those who have never suffered from anxiety,” she wrote on her website.

The photos, which are complemented by captions, show the constant presence of the disorder in her daily life. “It’s not always terrifying, it’s not always strong and it’s not always intense, but it’s always close by,” Crawford told The Huffington Post.

They depict varying stages of anxiety, from losing focus to feeling suffocated despite seeing the rise and fall of her chest. While she understands that not everyone has the same experience with the disorder, she hopes that the photos can serve as a reference for those who need them.

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“Through this personal journey, I have grown and found that depicting my fears has become therapeutic, as well as a gateway for others to express their oppression and being their own healing process,” she wrote on her site. Check out the powerful images below.

1.

a glass of water isn’t heavy. it’s almost mindless when you have to pick one up. but what if you couldn’t empty it or set it down? what if you had to support its weight for days … months … years? the weight doesn’t change, but the burden does. at a certain point, you can’t remember how light it used to seem. sometimes it takes everything in you to pretend it isn’t there. and sometimes, you just have to let it fall.

2.

my head is filling with helium. focus is fading. such a small decision to make. such an easy question to answer. my mind isn’t letting me. it’s like a thousands circuits are all crossing at once.

3.

i was scared of sleeping. i felt the most raw panic in complete darkness. actually, complete darkness wasn’t scary. it was that little bit of light that would cast a shadow — a terrifying shadow.

4.

they keep telling me to breathe. i can feel my chest moving up and down. up and down. up and down. but why does it feel like i’m suffocating? i hold my hand under my nose, making sure there is air. i still can’t breathe.

5.

numb feeling. how oxymoronic. how fitting. can you actually feel numb? or is it the inability to feel? am i so used to being numb that i’ve equated it to an actual feeling?

6.

a captive of my own mind. the instigator of my own thoughts. the more i think, the worse it gets. the less i think, the worse it gets. breathe. just breathe. drift. it’ll ease soon.

7.

it’s strange — in the pit of your stomach. it’s like when you’re swimming and you want to put your feet down but the water is deeper than you thought. you can’t touch the bottom and your heart skips a beat.

8.

cuts so deep it’s like they’re never going to heal. pain so real, it’s almost unbearable. i’ve become this … this cut, this wound. all i know is this same pain; sharp breath, empty eyes, shaky hands. if it’s so painful, why let it continue? unless … maybe it’s all that you know.

9.

i’m afraid to live and i’m afraid to die. what a way to exist.

10.

no matter how much i resist, it’ll always be right here desperate to hold me, cover me, break down with me. each day i fight it, “you’re not good for me and you never will be”. but there it is waiting for me when i wake up and eager to hold me as i sleep. it takes my breath away. it leaves me speechless.

11.

you were created for me and by me. you were created for my seclusion. you were created by venomous defense. you are made of fear and lies. fear of unrequited promises and losing trust so seldom given. you’ve been forming my entire life. stronger and stronger.

12.

depression is when you can’t feel at all. anxiety is when you feel too much. having both is a constant war within your own mind. having both means never winning.

 

Source: http://www.cosmopolitan.com/

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Simple Natural Health Tips Infographic

Below is a fantastic infographic and article from Dr. Mercola for staying healthy naturally.

Stay Healthy from Head to Toe with These Natural Health Tips
The state of health of many people today is quite alarming. According to statistics, two-thirds of American adults are overweight, while over a quarter of adults now fall into the obese category. Type 2 diabetes is prevalent, with one in four Americans now diabetic or pre-diabetic.

Since the mid-1990s, the number of Americans suffering from at least three chronic illnesses almost doubled. Life expectancy has decreased, while infant mortality has increased. Illnesses once considered rare – like heart disease, stroke, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease – are now common. Some are even approaching epidemic levels.

But here’s something that’s even more disturbing: Americans spend twice as much on health care per capita than any other country in the world, but rank last among industrialized countries in terms of quality of care.

We spend more money to stay healthy, but we maintain a poor state of health. Why is this happening?

It is time for you to take matters into your own hands, so you can start moving up the ladder of optimal health.

You Are Being Brainwashed by the Conventional Health Paradigm
If you have been reading Mercola.com for some time now, then you know that the current health paradigm is fundamentally flawed.

Here’s one example: Americans were estimated to spend more than 280 billion dollars on prescription drugs in 2013 alone. But these prescription and over-the-counter drugs are now actually a leading cause of death in the country, resulting in more deaths than motor vehicle accidents!
The sad fact is that many people have been led to believe that being optimally healthy depends exclusively on the quality of drugs and medical procedures that you receive – and how much you spend for them.

But keep in mind that your health is YOUR responsibility. You are the only person who can make the lifestyle decisions that contribute to your wellbeing. It is up to you to take the steps to preserve your health and promote your wellness.

Remember, your body is designed to be healthy – and once you provide it with the tools and the essentials for self-healing and preservation, then you won’t have to resort to medical intervention.

Natural Health Tips to Help You Get Moving Toward Optimal Health
When it comes to achieving or maintaining optimal health, many people are usually concerned about their heart, eyes, bones, and brain. And no wonder – these are some of the most important and prominent parts of the body that need extra care and attention.

Taking care of your vital body parts is fairly simple – all you need to do is to make a few tweaks to your everyday habits.

Dr. Mercola has created a simple but informative Natural Health Tips infographic (below) that will provide you with basic but efficient ways to help keep your most vital body parts in good shape and help them work efficiently.

Through this Mercola infographic, you will learn:

Easy techniques to ensure that your digestive system – your stomach and intestines – will run smoothly
How to keep your skin healthy and glowing through a healthy diet
Which nutrients and natural herbs work best for relieving joint pain
Heart-healthy tips that will help you stay away from dangerous drugs
When it comes to your own body, it is important for you to take charge. Stop listening to conventional health advice that can put you in danger. Instead, follow these simple tips to take control of your health.

 

Source: http://healthpositiveinfo.com/

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3 Tips to Apply Sunscreen the Right Way

You know you should wear sunscreen when you go out in the sun for any significant amount of time. Heck, the advice is up there with “Don’t run out in the street,” “Wear your seatbelt,” and “Don’t eat that gum you found on the sidewalk.” But according to new research, most people don’t regularly apply sunscreen — and when they do, they don’t use enough, which diminishes the product’s effectiveness.

A sunscreen’s SPF depends on the thickness of the layer applied. Studies show that people typically apply a thinner layer of lotion than experts recommend, resulting in an SPF that’s 20 to 30 percent less than the label says.

Tests that determine SPF use a standard layer of 2 milligrams of sunscreen per square centimeter. A recent study, however, observed 50 subjects applying different types of sunscreen, and found that people apply only 1.1 milligram of lotion sunscreen, 1.6 milligrams of spray sunscreen, and .35 milligrams of stick sunscreen per square centimeter of skin. (Watch the video above for three tips on how to apply sunscreen so that you reap its full protection from harmful ultraviolet rays.)

Improper application is only one problem with sunscreen use. Fewer than 30 percent of women and 15 percent of men wear sunscreen on their face and body when they go out in the sun, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), published today in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Study author Dawn Holman, MPH, behavioral scientist with the CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, underscores that applying sunscreen is only one part of protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. “In the real world, we know that in addition to sunscreen, you’re going to need other forms of protection [such as hats and long clothing] to make sure you’re fully protected and are taking care of your skin when you’re outdoors,” she tells Yahoo Health.

It’s important to note that the 4,000 adults surveyed the CDC study weren’t simply asked, “Do you use sunscreen?” Rather, the subjects were asked how often they used sunscreen on their face, body, or both when they went outside on a warm sunny day for more than an hour. Anyone who replied “always” or “most of the time” was classified as a regular sunscreen user.

“We really want to get at people’s sun protection when they’re going to be outside for an extended period of time,” Holman explains. This allowed researchers to assess behavior when people are spending a lot of time outdoors and have a higher risk for sun damage.

The study also looked at sunscreen application on the face and body separately. About 43 percent of women said that they applied sunscreen to the face, compared with 18 percent of men. Men were also less likely to apply sunscreen to exposed skin on the body compared to women.

Even a diagnosis of skin cancer in the past year didn’t move the needle much. Approximately one-third of men and half of women with recent skin cancer applied sunscreen to both the face and body when they went out in the sun.

Although the study didn’t specifically ask why people didn’t use sunscreen, Holman says that the data offers some clues that might help explain the findings.

For one, low sunscreen use among men is consistent with other research. “There’s some evidence to suggest that men may see sunscreen use as kind of a more feminine behavior because it is a lotion or cream they’re applying, so for some, they may just see that as something as women do,” Holman says. That may change with products that specifically target men, she adds.

People with lower household income were less likely to report regularly using sunscreen. “That could suggest that the cost of sunscreen might be a barrier to regular use for some people,” Holman says.

In addition, nearly 40 percent of people surveyed weren’t sure if their sunscreen offered broad-spectrum protection. Experts recommend a broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect against both UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays cause skin burning, while UVA rays cause aging and wrinkles. Both types are linked to skin cancer.

“We encourage that sunscreen use be used in combination with other forms of protection,” Holman continues, “including staying in the shade when you’re outdoors if possible, using clothing for protection, and wearing a wide-brimmed hat to protect the top of your head, neck, face, and ears.”

Source: https://www.yahoo.com

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Struggling With the Transition to Eating Vegan? Try These Life Saving Tips!

Deciding to eat a more—or completely—plant-based diet is a health choice many people are advocating and taking part in today. The last decade, we’ve learned more about the harmful and unnecessary effects of factory farming than ever before. As a result, people everywhere are starting to wake up and make changes, starting with how they eat. No longer is the massive amount of animal foods necessary for us to eat well, be happy and thrive, or survive. We’re now looking to mostly (or all) plants to do that for us, even though we still have a long way to go.

Helping Our Body Feel Its Best During the Change

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When it comes to health, however, not everyone opts for a plant-based diet to become healthier. Many people just do it for the animals or environment, which are both great reasons to do so. However, what most people don’t realize or think about initially, is that at some point, health issues may arise because the body is going through so many changes internally by eating new foods. Animal foods contain certain hormones (natural or added) and other properties that interact with our cells and change how they function. Some of these are straightforward vitamins and minerals they contribute, while others are simply the way the proteins or fats metabolize differently than plants, and their effects on our digestion. Though plants provide vital nutrients that support the body, the transition away from animal products can still be tough for some, even though it’s easy for many others.

Because most of us come from a past of eating animal products, our bodies adapted and stored some of their hormones in our cells, and also adapted to digest and assimilate these foods into nutrients. Whether you’ve had health problems by eating animal foods or not, it’s still smart to realize that the body may need some time to adjust and to be aware of some issues in case they ever come up.

Possible Troubleshooting Issues and How to Deal With Them

Not everyone experiences health troubles during the transition, but in case you ever do or have, here are some common issues you may encounter and some ways to be aware of them so you can work through them to serve your body best.

1. Blood Sugar Imbalances

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It’s important to realize that an imbalance of blood sugar can initially be temporary as the body shifts away from animal foods that take a very long time to digest because they have denser sources of protein and fats. Protein and fats can have a beneficial effects on blood sugar because they initially lower insulin levels and halt hunger, though that doesn’t mean animal sources are the healthiest for our blood sugar (or our bodies) on a long-term basis. Sometimes in the beginning, the body may feel more hungry because blood sugar levels are changing and adapting to a new diet, so it’s very important to eat plenty of whole foodsduring this time, not just processed substitute foods. This will ensure that your body gets the crucial minerals it needs from plants to help keep your blood sugar balanced. These nutrients include: magnesium, fiber, and plant-based proteins and fats. The best options are leafy greens, non-starchy vegetables, nuts, seeds, healthy fats like coconut and avocado or olives, beans, legumes, and whole grains and fruit. If you still have problems, you can try lowering the amount of grains and fruits you eat to 1-3 servings a day, as some people find their excess carbohydrates may cause some blood sugar spikes in comparison to lower carbohydrate plant-based foods.

Foods like chia, greens, nuts, hemp, legumes, and vegetables are excellent for your blood sugar levels because they contain fiber, magnesium, protein, iron, and large amounts of easy-to-digest vitamins and minerals.

Heightened Hunger

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Hunger is a sign you’re not eating enough, aren’t eating enough fiber-rich whole foods, aren’t eating enough protein or healthy fats, or aren’t eating often enough. Many people who come from a background of eating animal foods are used to eating less food because those foods are harder on the body to digest. Some can stay in the digestive tract 9-12 hours depending on the meal, which makes you less hungry during the day. Plants are largely vitamins, minerals, easy-to-dissolve fats, fiber, natural sugars, and easy-to-digest proteins. This means they digest much faster, which might leave you hungrier more often. Do not be afraid to eat!Your body needs food and you can’t expect to feel your best if you don’t listen to that calling. Remember, stick to whole foods to give your body the best nutrition, and keep a variety of healthy plant-based milks, nut butter, hummus, and other filling foods on hand that can be added to meals and snacks.

Digestion Upset or Changes

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This is an issue many people deal with and no one seems to want to talk about it, but it’s very important. Digestion isn’t something any of us should be embarrassed about, nor is it an uncommon issue. It’s essentially how our bodies turn food into fuel and how efficiently they do so. Poor digestion also doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong if you’re experiencing it. In fact, digestion problems are one of the top health problems in our society today with IBS being the number one gastrointestinal complaint. A good bit of people deal with digestive struggles while transitioning to a plant-based diet, though most of the time these issues get better within a few weeks or months. Some people also transition perfectly and don’t struggle at all; everyone’s bodies are different. Gas and bloating may be due to eating too much fiber, while frequent bathroom trips are likely just the body adapting to eating more fiber-rich, cleansing, natural foods versus animal foods. If you have bloating all the time, you may need to consider laying off the beans, legumes, and the fruits at first or simply minimize them. You may also consider eating more pseudograins (quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat or millet) versus typical grains. Though these foods are healthy, they can cause some bloating or fermentation in the digestive tract for many people, so see how they work for you.

Be willing to make changes when  necessary and give your body the support it needs. And remember that as the body is cleaning house, it will take a little time to adjust. So allow yourself to find what foods work best for you and implement whatever you need. Emphasize easier-to-digest foods like cooked vegetables and greens, smoothies, porridge, rice, coconut and avocado, root veggies, soups, and be sure you give your body enough healthy and natural fats, vitamins, and minerals.

It’s also important to make sure you’re taking a multivitamin, as well as a vitamin B12 supplement. Both of these can actually regulate digestion because the gastrointestinal tract needs certain vitamins and minerals to even function properly. You can also look into eating probiotic-rich, fermented foods or taking a probiotic to supply the gut with extra support, which is actually great advice for everyone. If you need further help, you can also look into taking a digestive enzyme supplement and eating smaller meals more frequently versus heavier meals twice or three times a day.

Hormone Changes

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As the body detoxes from animal foods, it also lets go of some of their hormones that have been stored in the cells for years. Our fat cells (which we do need some of to function well, believe it or not) actually store all hormones we produce and what we take in. In fact, this is why cholesterol is produced by the body: because it’s crucial to producing hormones we need to be healthy and to feel our best. Without our body producing enough cholesterol on its own, we can suffer serious hormonal changes that can impair our health. But we don’t need the eggs or other animal foods to get enough cholesterol because they contain added dietary cholesterol that plants don’t have. Instead, emphasize beneficial fats like avocado, coconut, olives, almonds, cashews, walnuts, sunflower seeds, chia, hemp, flax, cocoa and cacao, and pumpkin seeds which will support the body’s ability to produce cholesterol on its own. The body is adequately capable of making what it needs if we give it enough real food-based, healthy fats.

Hormone changes can also occur due to the cleansing of added hormones in animal products that contain toxic estrogens, so give your body a little time to make the adjustment and be sure to eat plenty of green vegetables, root vegetables, and leafy greens that especially support the detoxification of estrogenic compounds. You also need to make sure you’re taking a vitamin D3 supplement. Vitamin D acts directly like a hormone in the body,contributes to healthy colon and heart function, and also helps supply the brain and neurotransmitters with what they need to feel well. Vitamin D2 (derived from yeast) found in most vegan fortified foods is not as easily metabolized as vitamin D3. Look for vegan vitamin D3 supplements when choosing one which you can find in both liquid and gel caps.

Overall, your hormones should start to feel much better and balanced on a plant-based diet; just be willing to help your body transition properly by eating a healthy diet and make sure you’re getting enough nutrition. See our plant-based nutrition guide here if you need some help!

Keeping the Bigger Picture in Mind

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Remember that it’s important to be patient with your body and listen to it. You can help it transition more successfully by doing so and can also stay focused on why you’re choosing to eat a diet higher in plant-based foods. Many people find all of these health struggles above actually improve during the transition, but don’t feel bad if you’re not one of them. If you’re eating a healthy diet, getting enough rest, and making sure to live a healthy lifestyle otherwise, these troubleshooting tips can be worked through to give your body what it needs. And remember, it’s not about perfection, nor is it a race to eat the “perfect” plant-based diet, (which is different in the eyes of everyone).

We’re all in this together, so if you have a health question or concern, don’t be afraid to reach out. We’d love to hear from you and see if we can help!

Lead Image Source: Flickr

This content provided above is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Source: http://www.onegreenplanet.org/

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How Spices Work Like Medicine

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I’m one of those cooks that combines whatever I find in the fridge or pantry without a plan. I’ll throw spices and foods together like a mad scientist, kind of how I did in Organic Chemistry in 1987 (hoping I wouldn’t blow up the lab). Recently, I went to my first cooking class, “Secrets of Indian Cuisine” at Sur La Table.
Focusing was difficult since I was distracted by the incredible aroma of the garlic, onion and seasonings which were simmering in the pot. Our chef taught us how to create the most amazing Chicken Tikka Masala I’ve ever tasted! In between bites and moans, I asked why his tasted so much better than the restaurant version. He said, “The secret is the spice you use.” He did not use the powdered spices you get from a regular grocery store. His were fresh and he turned both the cumin and coriander seeds into powder using a little electric coffee grinder.

Our eyes widened as he passed around his freshly ground spice with the same store-bought version. The color was completely different. One whiff and his point was made! I decided it’s worth the extra 5 minutes to use spices his way. Indian spices are some of the healthiest on the planet and can act as an aphrodisiac, antibacterial, immune booster, respiratory aid and digestive tonic. I recommend these:

Garam masala– This is not one spice, it’s a blend which differs regionally. It usually contains cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, peppercorns, bay leaf and mace (not the kind of mace you spray in a mugger’s face, this “mace” is a waxy red coating off a nutmeg seed.) Garam masala can help you with digestion and respiratory conditions.

Nutmeg– It contains myristicin which inhibits an enzyme in the brain that contributes to memory loss. Eugenol, isolated from cloves contains an antiviral that is so strong it can kill the virus associated with shingles and herpes cold sores. Garam masala is used as a finishing spice, not intended to be heated.

Curry– This contains a blend of spices, including turmeric known for it’s anti-cancer benefits and ability to reduce inflammation. Curry blends may cause diarrhea in sensitive people. In case you have ever experienced an Indian food reaction, curry is the ‘laxative.’
Coriander– It’s from the seeds of the cilantro plant but it tastes nothing like cilantro. Lightly toast them to extract more flavor. This spice reduces insulin and blood sugar and one study suggests it binds heavy metals such as lead.

Green cardamom seed– During cooking class, I gently popped open the seeds in a mortar and pestle by tapping them, and then simmered both the seeds and outer shells in oil. Cardamom is rich in minerals, especially potassium so it’s medicinal action on the body is to reduce blood pressure and control blood clot formation. Chewing the seeds helps with bad breath. What a difference compared to the store-bought powdered type. This spice is used in chai tea. There’s also a black cardamom seed which has more of a smokey flavor.

Cumin seed– This is rich in iron in case you have anemia. Cumin is the seed of a small parsley plant. It helps you secrete bile acids and pancreatic enzymes and that helps you break down your food. It also has anti-diabetic actions like the sulfonylurea medicines. Chewing and eating slowly can also help you break down food more efficiently. Cumin contains pyrazines, which are strong antioxidants. Cumin spice improves the action of enzymes in your liver so that you can detoxify better, and this will also help with constipation.

Fenugreek– You can buy the seeds and crush them. They have estrogenic properties so some women use them to control hot flashes, or to induce breast milk production. Older folks can benefit from the cholesterol lowering properties of fenugreek. In a 2011 edition of “International Journal of Experimental Pathology” lab animals fed a diet laced with fenugreek enjoyed reduced cholesterol by 42 percent and fewer gallstones by 75 percent.  Fenugreek also reduced oxidation of lipids in the liver by up to 22 percent.

Ghee– This type of butter originated in India. It’s butter that has been slowly melted to separate the milk solids from the golden liquid on the surface. It’s simmered slowly until the milk solids start to brown, so the resulting butter has a nutty, caramel-like flavor and aroma. You can make this at home or buy it an Indian specialty grocery store.

Basmati rice– It’s a long-grain rice native to India. You can buy this at any grocery store or specialty market. He soaked his grains for a few hours then poured off the water and cooked it like you would regular rice. This makes it easier to digest.

Here’s the recipe that I’ve adapted which originally came from Sur La Table. I highly recommend their cooking classes. They’re fun, and inspiring.

Tikka Masala sauce
4 tbsp ghee
1 small yellow onions, sliced
2 tea minced garlic
2 tea minced ginger
1/2 cup tomato paste
12 green cardamom pods
1 tea crushed red chile flakes
4 tea ground turmeric
2 tea ground coriander

2 tea ground cumin

1 can (28 ounce) crushed peeled tomatoes
2 cups heavy whipping cream

2 tea garam masala
Sea salt to taste
1 tbsp lemon juice (to taste)

Directions: Place ghee into a large saucepan over medium heat. When ghee is melted, add the onion and cook until tender about 5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook another minute longer. Stir in the tomato paste, chili flakes, cardamom pods and seeds (which you gently break apart in a mortar and pestle). Cook and stir frequently until the tomato paste darkens in color, about 5 minutes. Add remaining spices until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes to your sauce and bring everything to a boil while stirring. Then reduce heat to simmer, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Stir in the cream and simmer gently, about 15 more minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and lemon juice as you wish.  This is your sauce. Some of you will just pour this over plain chicken and eat it, but the REAL way to make Chicken Tikka Masala is to use this sauce and pour it over chicken that has been marinated.  Here’s the recipe to marinate your chicken.

Chicken Marinade
You can do this the night before, or even a few hours in advance.

Mix together the following to cover your chicken: 
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tbsp minced real ginger (not powdered)
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/4 tea ground cumin

1/4 tea freshly ground mace
1/4 tea freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 tea ground green cardamom

1/4 tea chile powder
1/4 tea turmeric powder
3 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
Add the 6 skinless boneless chicken thighs to marinate

Directions: Time to cook your marinated chicken. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Position the rack in the center. Arrange your chicken on a cooking sheet, or even better put it on top of a wire rack on the cookie sheet. Arrange it all on a single layer and cook thoroughly until it has begun to brown. This should take about 10 to 15 minutes.
To serve:
Place cooked rice on the plate and place your chicken on the plate. Cover with Tikka Masala sauce and serve immediately.

 

Source: http://www.betterhealthpublishing.com/

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Natural Muscle Relaxers and Soothers

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Dear Pharmacist,

I went on a hike that was way too steep and long. My muscles don’t recover quite as fast as when I was younger.  What can I do or take?  –H.N., Boulder, Colorado

Answer: If it were me, I’d take a hot bath with Epsom salts and a few drops of essential oils. The most important muscle relaxers include cypress, wintergreen, rosemary or basil. In fact, if you plan on working out hard, just rub a few drops of the oil into your muscles. If you feel the need, you could always ask your doctor if an over-the-counter pain reliever is okay for you. Even though they are sold without prescription, they have interactions, they affect the stomach or liver, and they have cautions so I’m not sure what is right for you.

Here’s the thing though, most people suffer with chronic muscle soreness, they don’t just overdo it from a hike or a horseback ride.  If your muscles hurt all the time, or feel weak, I suggest you look in your medicine cabinet! Over 300 medications rob your body of CoQ10 (ubiquinol) and that can lead to muscle weakness, spasms, leg cramps, charley horses and other problems. Cholesterol drugs and blood pressure pills are the most infamous culprits, but it can also happen with diuretics, estrogen hormones, steroids and antibiotics. I wrote the book on this topic of nutrient depletion, so please refer to your copy of Drug Muggers for more on that. Let’s get back to acute muscle pain now.
The three most popular pain relieving medications are acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve). Natural anti-inflammatories won’t work quite as fast but they deserve honorable mention because they have other incredible health benefits. For example, boswellia,curcurmin and bromelain are known to have natural pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties.

Moist Heat Therapy Pads:  These non-medicated, odorless pads are sold by various companies and some of them are even air-activated so they get kind of toasty on your skin, very similar to the moist heat of a shower.  They help ease muscle/joint aches or pain associated with PMS, overexertion and strains for up to eight hours.

Menthol medicated patches and creams:  This creates a unique cooling sensation on the skin, but it doesn’t support muscle health or heal the problem.

MSM creams, lotion and supplements- There’s debate about whether this goes into the skin or not, but I think it does. In fact, many people report benefits from these products, especially with flexibility, muscle cramps, spasms, minor joint pain and knee pain. MSM is also available in supplement form.

Capsaicin: It’s the active ingredient in chili pepper and you can buy it at pharmacies nationwide. I suggest the patches or roll-on for ease but you can use a lotion (just wash your hands).  These work fabulously for me, especially around my tight traps and you get even better results with repeated applications.

Malic acid and magnesium: These are two supplements that I consider a one-two punch for muscle pain. They help with anxiety and muscle tenderness.

Muscle spasms, strains and cramps are something most all of you will experience in your life at some point or another. They’re usually easy to avoid unless you are very athletic or you have an autoimmune disorder. You may not even know if you have one, but lots of people with neuropathy and demyelination (which can trigger the spasms, strains and cramps) stem from undiagnosed autoimmune disorders. You can learn more about that Click Here
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Sleep hacks, 37 of them

(CNN)We know we’re supposed to get enough sleep, and we really try.

But we also know it’s often easier said than done.

Luckily, there are a handful of helpful tips and tricks experts swear by, to combat sleep problems both big and small. Whether they’ll help you get into bed more relaxed or get out of bed more rested, we’ve compiled our definitive list of all the best sleep tips — just about ever.

1. Set an alarm to go to bed

If you find yourself consistently wishing you had hit the hay earlier but staying on track with a calming bedtime routine is virtually impossible for you, consider setting yourself an alarm — to go to bed.

2. Resist the urge to snooze

Sleep caught between soundings of that alarm is just not high-quality sleep. The snooze button often disturbs REM sleep, which can make us feel groggier than when we wake up during other stages of sleep. You don’t have to launch out of bed in the morning, but setting the alarm for a slightly later time and skipping a snooze cycle or two could bring big benefits.

3. Go easy on the alcohol before bed

While that nightcap really can make it feel easier to fall asleep, when your buzz wears off later in the night, you’re more likely to wake up frequently.

4. Slip on some socks

Some people have the unlucky lot in life of colder-than-comfortable extremities. But having warm hands and feet seems to predict how quickly you’ll fall asleep, according to a 1999 study. Speed up the process by pulling on a pair of clean socks before climbing into bed.

5. Keep your bedroom dark

Even the most inconspicuous glow — like that from a digital alarm clock — can disrupt your shut-eye. If you can’t seal up all the light sources in your room, consider using a comfy eye-mask.

6. Keep it cool

Temperature in the bedroom is a little bit of a Goldilocks situation: A room that’s too hot and a room that’s too cold can both mess with your sleep. Aim for somewherebetween 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit, Dr. Christopher Winter, M.D., wrote in a HuffPost blog.

7. Power down an hour before bed

Dim the lights and turn off all your devices — smartphones, laptops, TVs, all of which belong outside the bedroom — about 60 minutes before bedtime. Bright light is one of the biggest triggers to our brains that it’s time to be awake and alert, so start sending the opposite signal early.

8. Cut caffeine by the afternoon

Your afternoon jolt stays in your system longer than you might think. Experts recommendedlaying off the caffeine by early afternoon to guarantee it won’t keep you up in bed later.

9. Exercise regularly

In the National Sleep Foundation’s 2013 Sleep In America survey, regular, vigorous exercisersreported getting the best sleep. The best news is that it doesn’t take much: Adding even just a few minutes of physical activity to your day can make a difference in your rest.

10. Just try not to do it too close to bedtime

Most of us don’t exercise intensely enough to really rev ourselves up so much that we override the sleep-promoting benefits of regular workouts. However, especially in people with trouble sleeping, making sure your sweat sessions end at least a couple of hours before bedtime is generally a good idea.

11. Avoid heavy meals when it’s late

Your body isn’t meant to be digesting while you sleep, so a big meal too close to bedtime may keep you up at night. Protein is especially hard to digest, so if you have to eat late, opt for lighter fare.

Related: 5 ways your sleep affects what you eat

12. Paint your bedroom a tranquil color

Maybe it’s a relaxing blue or a warm yellow — the exact shade doesn’t matter so much as long as it calms you. But do go for a matte finish rather than a high-gloss one, Michael Breus, Ph.D., told HuffPost in 2012.

13. Reserve the bed for sleep and sex only

Reading in bed is a form of relaxation, right? Yes…and no. A page-turner, a mystery or any other book that demands your emotional and intellectual attention may be more distracting than relaxing. Opt for lighter reading before bed, and keep it to the couch or your favorite comfy chair.

14. Keep your bedroom quiet

Noises like whirring electronics or ticking watches can easily be left outside the bedroom. For snoring bed partners or blaring sirens outside your window that are slightly more difficult to avoid, try a handy pair of earplugs.

15. But not too quiet

When your sleep haven is so silent you could hear a pin drop, every occasional bump in the night becomes that much more evident and disruptive. You might want to consider a white noise machine if your bedroom verges on the too-quiet side of the spectrum.

16. Ban furry friends from bed

Every little purr or tail wag is likely to disrupt your sleep, no matter how much you two enjoy cuddling. Plus, the animal dander Fido and Fluffy bring with them into the bedroom can trigger reactions in people with allergies, further disrupting their slumber.

17. Make sure your mattress fits

Believe it or not, lots of tossing and turning may be less about you and more about what you’re lying on. That’s right: An uncomfortable mattress might the source of your sleepless nights. Whether that’s because it’s lost its cushioning or because it’s simply too small, it’s important to recognize the signs that it’s time to buy a new one. Expect to make a swap every five to 10 years, according to Consumer Reports.

18. Nap — wisely

When done right, a little daytime snooze won’t destroy your nighttime slumber, and can boost memory, alertness and job performance while you’re at it. Just make sure you limit your nap to 30 minutes, max, and don’t snooze too close to bedtime.

19. Try separate blankets in a shared bed

If your bed partner is constantly stealing all the covers or one of you sweats while the other shivers, it might be a good idea to try making the bed with separate sets of sheets. “Use only one fitted sheet to start,” Robert Oexman, D.O., director of the Sleep to Live Institute told HuffPost in 2013. “Then make the top-of-bed with twin-size flat sheets and blankets to meet each person’s needs. If you’re worried about how that will look — no problem — you can cover this up with a single comforter when dressing the bed each morning.”

20. Keep a consistent sleep/wake schedule, even on weekends

Sticking to your work-week sleep and wake schedule over the weekend sounds like torture to most of us, but it’s actually a wise move where sleep is concerned. Staying up and sleeping in later than normal can shift your body’s natural clock in the same way that cross-country travel does. This so-called social jet lag can make it extra difficult to fall asleep when Sunday night rolls around, making for even more unpleasant Monday mornings.

21. Work through your thoughts about the day before getting into bed

Anyone who finds his or her mind racing in bed may not have taken enough time to process the day first, Michael A. Grandner, Ph.D., instructor of psychiatry at the Behavioral Sleep Medicine program at the University of Pennsylvania told HuffPost in 2013. “A better approach would be [to] take some time in the evening to work through the day, make lists to do tomorrow and clear your mental desktop of the stuff that you still have to think about,” he says. “Then, get into bed.”

22. Strike a pose, say a prayer

Yoga, meditation, even prayer are all helpful tactics to coax your mind to wind down. These quiet activities may help you slow your breathing and heart rate and drift off sooner.

23. Take deep breaths

If the quiet reflection above isn’t your style, some simple breathing exercises may do the trick. Breathing deeply mimics how your body feels when it’s already relaxed, so after inhaling and exhaling for a few rounds, you just might find yourself feeling calmer. That’s because deep breathing stimulates the body’s naturally-calming parasympathetic system, NPR reported.

24. Try aromatherapy

The scent of lavender has noted benefits for sleep. A small 2005 study found that a sniff before bed led to more deep sleep. And a 2008 study found that lavender helped women with insomniafall asleep more easily, the Wall Street Journal reported.

25. Take a hot bath

A cozy soak raises your body temperature slightly. Then, when you hop out, you’ll cool down quickly, which mimics the natural drop in body temperature caused by the brain as it readies the body for sleep. A warm bath before bed seems to help people fall asleep more quickly, but also get better quality sleep, according to a small 1985 study.

26. Experiment with progressive muscle relaxation

This relaxation exercise involves tensing then relaxing the muscles throughout the body, directing your attention to each as you go. It can improve sleep quality and reduce fatigue.

27. Visualize

It might feel a little silly the first time you try it, but go ahead and imagine yourself somewhere calm, relaxing and sleep-inducing. This deep relaxation method can slow brain wave activity, coaxing you toward sleep. Start with a few imagery ideas here.

28. Write down what’s bugging you

If other relaxation tricks won’t cut it, get literal with those racing thoughts and put them on paper in a worry journal you keep by your bedside. Clearing your mind of this mental clutter can help you drift off more smoothly.

29. Get out of bed if you really can’t sleep

If all else fails, get out of bed. Continuing to lie there only stresses you out more, making it even more difficult to nod off. Experts recommend getting out of bed to do something else — as long it’s relaxing and doesn’t involve bright light. Then, climb back into bed when you’re really tired.

30. Get some sunlight first thing in the morning

There’s nothing quite like bright light to trigger your brain to stay awake and alert. Getting somenatural light — you’ll want to aim for about 15 minutes — first thing in the morning can help night owls reset their biological clocks and ease into sleep a little earlier.

31. Combat snoring

About 37 million American adults snore regularly. It certainly disturbs a bed partner’s sleep, but “sawing logs” can disrupt the snorer’s sleep, too, leading to more daytime sleepiness, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Some simple tips may help you keep it under control, like sleeping on your side instead of your back, avoiding alcohol before bed and even losing weight. Many experts recommend sewing a tennis ball into the front pocket of an old t-shirt, and then wearing it backwards to make sleeping on your back uncomfortable enough to help you stay on your side.

32. Get checked for sleep apnea

It’s possible that your snoring could be a sign of sleep apnea, a potentially-harmful sleep condition in which people stop breathing for brief periods, sometimes as many as hundreds of times a night. Lifestyle changes like losing weight and avoiding alcohol may help people with sleep apnea too, but often, to get the best rest, additional treatment — typically with acontinuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine — is required from a doctor.

33. Try a new pillow

Dust mites might just love your pillows even more than you do. In some people, the build up of these critters can trigger allergic reactions that make it harder to sleep, according to The New York Times. Generally, pillows should be replaced every 12 to 18 months, WebMD reported.

You’ll also want to make sure you’re sleeping with the right pillow. Stomach sleepers, for example, need very thin, flat pillows, and side sleepers need something a little firmer to fill the distance between their ear and shoulder.

34. Don’t stress about sleep

We’re certainly not saying to shrug off your shuteye like it doesn’t matter, but don’t stress yourself out about getting adequate time in bed, either. The more anxious you get about getting enough sleep, the more difficult it will be to actually get any.

35. Avoid drinking too many liquids too close to bedtime

Don’t go dehydrating yourself, but consider cutting off your water supply a couple of hours before bed to save yourself middle-of-the-night trips to the loo.

36. Quit smoking

Nicotine, like caffeine, is a stimulant, and consequently could keep you up at night. Smokers arefour times more likely to say they feel tired when they wake up than nonsmokers, according to a 2008 study. As if you really needed another reason to kick the habit.

37. Consider therapy

Maybe your sleep troubles are a little more serious and could use the insight of a professional.Cognitive behavioral therapy is considered the gold standard when it comes to treating insomnia, and usually involves meeting with a therapist for various sleep assessments, keeping a sleep journal and adjusting some of your bedtime habits.

Source: http://edition.cnn.com/

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