Oct 19

Limiting the Use of Processed Food to Improve Your Health

Processed FoodIt is best to limit the use of processed foods to improve your health (processed meaning things were done to it, it is not directly or closely linked to the whole, natural food; usually these foods are in boxes or bags), unless the whole grain rice with spices, herbs and other food in a box with no unnatural additives is much better for you than the usual fast food.

Read those labels as well. If you cannot pronounce or understand what an ingredient is, do not consume it. If a product says ‘enriched’, this does not make it a better product.

In fact, things are enriched when they have had those enriching items taken away. Processing foods uses heat, cold, light, drying, or crushing which all serve to deplete vitamins and minerals in the food. To replace these essentials means the food was already compromised.

Look for foods that are as close to their natural state and as fresh as possible. The best foods are fresh straight from the earth. The next best is fresh from the produce or bulk section. Then comes frozen, dried, and canned, respectively.

You may wonder how the Standard American Diet (SAD diet) affects your health besides flavor and price. Processed foods, as mentioned above, typically contain less vitamins and minerals than the original foods that made them up.

If you eat food mostly from packages or boxes and are not reading labels, not only are you not getting valuable nutrients, but also you are consuming items that may be depleting nutrients in your body. Sugar uses B vitamins from your body. Preservatives and additives put an extra burden on your liver, whose job it is to break these compounds down so your body can get rid of them.

What your body cannot get rid of, it will store in fat, so these chemicals will not be running around causing harm where they do not belong. No where in nature will you find a body needs ‘blue dye 2′ or ‘propylene glycol’ necessary and good for survival.

Fat is the best storage place for these toxins. Fat is found not only right under your skin but also lining your nerves and in your brain. These may not be places you wish toxins stored.

We commonly hear that fat is bad and cholesterol is bad from the media. We do need fat and cholesterol to live. Fats and cholesterol are large components in healthy skin, all your cells, hormones, and your brain and nerves. They are also a good source of energy when needed. It is not good to severely limit these items from the diet.

It is the quality of the fats that you consume that makes the difference. Some fats that are good for your body are called essential fatty acids, or EFA’s. Your body cannot make these fats, therefore the essential aspect. You can find these helpful fats in flax seeds, fish, evening primrose oil, borage oil, and some other oils and foods.

If you eat fat mainly from grass-fed animals, butter, fruits, vegetables, grains, fish, and get some EFA’s in your diet, you will do well. Margarine contains fats called ‘trans fatty acids’ which helps it stay solid at room temperature. These trans fats contribute quickly to atherosclerosis and heart disease. Trans fats are also found in many processed foods like chips, fries, and some diet foods.

Please read labels. Do not eat any foods that say ‘trans fatty acids’ or ‘hydrogenated’ or ‘partially hydrogenated’. Hydrogenation is the process that forms the trans fats.

Oct 12

Increasing Your Life Energy

Energy is the natural resource in shortest supply, especially for the 100 million Americans who are suffering from chronic or incurable illness. Just thinking of everyone who needs you can sap out what little energy you have left. Maybe you feel like you can’t possibly get it all done. But you know you have to.

People depend on you everyday. Your family, friends, coworkers, clients, and even your pets! To meet the demands of life today, you can’t afford to have your energy depleted. So here are some ways to easily boost those energy levels right away.

Breathe. Go out the door (get as bundled up as necessary) and close the door. Take in deep breaths for 10 minutes. You would not believe just how much better you’ll felt. If where you are is smoggy, or if there are no way you can get outside, get an air purifier and you will have the benefits of the negative ions anyway.

Exercise is the energy creator. Move your body, no matter how little. If you cannot even move your ankle or wrist joints around in circles, imagine yourself doing it. You know you need it, so why fight it? Take a walk, even if it is winter. If you can’t walk outside, walk in a mall. Stretch, elongate those tight muscles. Dance! Put on your favorite music and move around (again if you cannot move even minimally imagine yourself doing this.)

It feels so good. If you’re bedridden or for some other reason can’t exercise today, at least visualize doing it in your mind. We are meant to exercise. The nervous and endocrine systems need stimulation to release endorphins (those feel-good, energy enhancing chemicals).

Pump up your energy in your attitude. Think of life as a school. When you quit learning, you begin dying. Open your mind; learn something new every day. Make it a game! Write down your new find in a spiral notebook – nothing fancy. It’s fun to look back and see how much more knowledge you’ve captured over time.

Clutter – the silent energy sucker. You’ve heard it before – what’s on the outside is a reflection of what’s on the inside. Surrounded by clutter? It has a real physical effect on your energy levels. Don’t worry. I’m not going to ask you to clean out your garage or over-stuffed closet all at once. Set a timer and just take 15 minutes a day to de-clutter your space. It’s all about baby steps.

Keep your water intake high. Studies show lack of water is the number one trigger of daytime fatigue. In fact, a mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a printed page.

Let it go. There is a direct relationship between buried anger and your energy levels. Holding onto a grudy or not moving on in your life hurts you more than it hurts anyone else. It only helps you physically and energetically to acknowledge that people have their limitations. If you were hurt, you don’t have to trust that person again. Forgive and letting go is a selfish act you do to make yourself feel better. Be a little selfish!

Money can’t buy you happiness. But most people refuse to believe it. If you find you are doing things you find unpleasant just for a paycheck, you can be assured your energy is depleted.

If you dislike your job or if you have not been able to work because of your condition, try this exercise. Scan the newspaper for 10 jobs in 4 different fields you could do. These don’t have to be jobs you WANT to do. Just ones that you COULD do. This exercise is meant to teach flexibility.

It re-frames you in a light you don’t normally see yourself. With this expansion of possibility, you’ll feel less trapped. More hopeful. More energized! Once you see something you might like to do ask friends if they know of a way to do this in the amount of time you have.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking these tiny things won’t make a difference. Each little step you make will help your body in powerful ways. These suggestions are just a beginning to discovering more energy in your life.

Oct 05

Improve Your Health with Walking

Improve Your Health with WalkingMany people today are afflicted with “coach potato-itis!” They come home from work, switch on their TVs and forget that their bodies need maintenance. But one day reality comes crashing through when their doctors say, “You have a problem!”

Did you know that walking is one of the simplest activities you can do to dramatically increase your level of health? Through a fun and inexpensive walking program that promises many benefits, such as;

Increase your energy level. Since walking is an aerobic exercise, it helps the heart and lungs become more efficient. Both PCOPF (the President’s Council on Physical Fitness) and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK) state that a regular walking program can lower resting heart rates and blood pressure. It can help burn excess calories and increase muscle tone too.

Walking can enhance your mental health. Taking regular walks can help reduce stress and enable you to sleep better. It can also help relieve symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress. When you walk, your body produces endorphins which produce a feeling of wellbeing.

It’s fun! The President’s Council on Physical Fitness (PCOPF) calls walking the most popular form of exercise. It can be very enjoyable taking walks with a friend or loved one or even in groups.

Here’s what you’ll need as you begin your new walk-for-health lifestyle. Purchase a pair of comfortable shoes, sunscreen or a hat and sunglasses. Choose loose-fitting garments. Bring along a bottle of water on warm days.

But before you briskly stride out the door to begin your new adventure, you’d better check with your doctor first if you experience any of these symptoms:

Persistent dizziness

Chronic shortness of breath

High blood pressure

Heart problems

Chest pain

When you’re ready to begin walking regularly, there are some precautions to take. Walk during daylight hours or at night only in well-lit areas. Be sure to obey all traffic rules for pedestrians. If you decide to wear headphones, make sure you can still hear what’s going on around you – like cars honking. Stop and rest if you start feeling sick to your stomach, dizzy or experience unusual pain.

Try to walk whenever possible as part of your daily activities.

For example, park a distance from stores so you can get some extra exercise going to and from your destination.

Why not visit local parks to enjoy the beauty of nature while you’re exercising?

Check out the neighborhood where you live to find good routes.

On rainy days you can walk in malls instead of doing without your exercise time.

It’s a good idea to make a habit of selecting stairs instead of elevators when you need to spend time in office buildings.

It’s more fun if you have a companion. This is good exercise for dogs too – they love to go for walks!

Experts recommend thirty minutes of brisk striding per day. It’s best to walk every day, but you only really need to walk five days a week. This can be broken down into smaller segments of time – three ten-minute walks instead of one long 30-minute one.

Try to stride as fast as you can without overexerting yourself. You can tell when you are going at a brisk pace because your heart will beat faster and you’ll breathe deeper. However, your heart should not be racing and you should still be able to carry on a conversation.

So get off the couch, put those chips down, slip on your comfortable shoes and start striding your way to better health!

Sep 28

Are You Suffering From Constipation?

ConstipationMany Americans have experiencing or suffered from constipation. Over 4 million people each year report being constipated. Cases of colon cancer are rising steadily. To understand why you may be suffering, you first need to know exactly what constipation means.

Constipated is a condition where you have difficulty passing stools and do not have daily bowel movements. In order to be diagnosed with constipation, you must have at least two of the following symptoms for at least 12 months:

Hard or pellet-like stools at least 25% of the time

Straining with bowel movements at least 25% of the time

A feeling that you don’t completely empty your bowels at least 25% of the time

Fewer than 5 bowel movements per week

The causes of constipation

The most common cause of constipation is a lack of adequate amounts of water, exercise, stress and fiber in the diet. The longer the stool sits in the large intestine waiting to be passed, the harder and less easy to pass it becomes.

There are many other reasons that you may find yourself constipated. Common causes of constipation include:

A change in schedule, such as traveling or anything that changes your daily routine

Repressing the urge to have a bowel movement

An increase in your stress levels

A lack of exercise and poor dietary habits

Loss of activity as a result of injury or aging

Pregnancy

Medication use

Constipation may also be a result of another health problem, such as irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes or other illnesses.

Older people (over the age of 65) still experience constipation more often than other adults. This is often due to an increase in medications and loss of mobility. Recently, over the last 10 years, children as well as adults are becoming constipated.

Most doctors attribute this to a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, and poor nutrition. Studies now show that 50% of the children in America are obese and uneducated about proper diet and healthy living.

A more uncommon type of constipation results from an actual obstruction in the large intestine. This can be caused by an obstruction such as a tumor or gallstone that is wedged in the intestine. High stress levels can also cause the muscles in the bowel to constrict or contract at different times.

Normally the muscles in the upper part of the intestinal tract contract, as the lower muscles in the bowel relax. When the lower muscles in the bowel are contract or go into a spasm instead of relaxing, problems start to occur.

The bowel may also be obstructed if the large intestine has twisted on itself. Sometimes after any type of abdominal surgery scar tissue will grow internally and pinch off or restrict a section of your bowel. Another possible cause of bowel obstruction is from connective tissue diseases such as lupus or scleroderma.

If you’re experiencing symptoms from constipation for more than two weeks, it’s a good idea to seek the advice of your doctor. Together you can pinpoint the causes of your constipation and choose the best treatment options.

Make sure you pay attention to your bowel habits and keep your colon and intestinal tract clean. Do not consume products containing aspartame, mineral oil, milk of magnesia or high fat content. Increasing your water intake, exercise, a high fiber diet and using safe and natural oxygen based intestinal cleanser can keep your bowels regular.

A clean colon can prevent and reduce: Bad breath, body odor, constipation, depression, diverticulitis, colon cancer, fatigue, gas, stomach pain, bloating, weight gain, headaches, hemorrhoids, indigestion, appendicitis, insomnia and varicose veins.