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4 Easy Ways to Clean Up Your DietEating healthy is a goal for many of us. Unfortunately, a lot of people give up on this goal without even trying.

For most people, approaching a lifestyle change can be daunting. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Remember, small steps always make a big difference. Take small steps and start making small changes in your diet today. Here are some tips to get you started.

Prepare your own food

Lack of time is one of the most common excuses for eating a poor, unhealthy diet.

Regardless of the quality of fast food chain or restaurant, eating out means consuming more calories than the food you would prepare from your own kitchen.

Plan ahead and take some time to prepare your own food. This way, you’ll be forced to eat healthy and feed your family with heart-healthy meals.

Stop consuming non-organic coffee

For billions of people all around the world, caffeine is responsible for a jolt of energy that starts the day. But the problem with caffeine is that it becomes addictive. Instead of the usual 1 cup, you’ll eventually need 3 to 4 cups of coffee just to wake you up in the morning.

We understand that breaking the morning caffeine habit could be extremely difficult, but try to slowly wean yourself off any caffeinated products. Once you go back to a caffeine-free lifestyle, you’ll notice that your body composition will improve and your energy levels will become more stable.

No sugary beverages

Sugary beverages like sodas, smoothies and fruit juices have been proven to cause numerous health issues such as diabetes, heart diseases and obesity. Resist the urge of reaching for a can of soda and make your own flavored water instead. Add some fruit slices and fresh herbs to your water and enjoy a refreshing drink without the added sugar.

Keep hydrated

Studies revealed that roughly 90% of people are dehydrated. This affects your health, immunity, energy and vitality.

Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water a day. Keep a bottle of water handy and sip from it often.

Food and Mood: Stress-Busting and Feel-Good FoodsDo you eat more when you’re feeling stressed? You are not alone. In fact, in a survey that was conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health and the PNR, more than one-third of the participants revealed that their diets change during stressful times.

When the stress hits, a lot of people tend to turn quickly on highly refined carbohydrates like white pasta or bagel or sugary foods. Learn how to cope with stress by stacking up on these stress-busting foods and put them on your plate when you feel overwhelmed.

Asparagus

Experts believe that depression may be linked to having low levels of folic acid. Asparagus helps boost this mood-enhancing nutrient.

The good news is, it’s easy to fit asparagus into almost any meal. Plus, a single cup is enough for your daily needs.

Avocado

Feelings of anxiety may also be rooted from Vitamin B deficiency. Fortunately, avocados are loaded with this stress-relieving Vitamin. To top it all off, this green wonder contains potassium and monounsaturated fat, which helps lower blood pressure.

Oatmeal

Carbohydrates trigger the brain to produce a relaxing brain chemical called serotonin. Experts believe that the more slowly your body absorbs carbohydrates, the more slowly serotonin flows. Since oatmeal is high in fiber, it may take your stomach a while to digest it. For a quicker release of serotonin, you might want to top it with a swirl of jam.

Milk

It is a well-known fact that a glass of warm milk is the best way to combat insomnia and restlessness. This is because milk is packed with protein, calcium, Vitamins B2 and B12 and antioxidants.

The protein in milk is known to have a calming effect and soothes tension, while potassium helps addresses muscle spasm that is often associated with feeling tense.

Orange

If you are feeling stressed, go ahead and pour yourself a glass or orange juice. Or better yet, peel yourself an orange. Vitamin C is the magic nutrient here.

Vitamin C is another powerful vitamin that is known to lower a person’s cortisol and blood pressure levels.

 

5 Tips on how to Avoid Tempting Treats
We’ve all been there: at a party, at a co-worker’s birthday celebration in the break room, at restaurants, and even up and down the grocery aisles.  Tempting treats can not only sabotage weight loss/maintenance goals, they can wreak havoc on moods, hormone balance, blood sugar balance, and your immune system.  It’s really not a matter of willpower or strength vs. weakness on your part, it is a biochemical response to highly addictive (therefore, seductive!) ingredients in many sweet, salty, and overly processed but always tasty and tempting treats.  Most name-brand-mass food manufacturers use the least expensive ingredients in packaged food. They also hide sugar, fat, and additives in various forms, which may make our taste buds happy temporarily, but ultimately affect our “bottom” line and tummies in an undesirable way. These tempting treats drastically affect our blood sugar balance and body’s ability to regulate hormones, which affect our brain’s ability to function optimally, resulting in fatigue, irritability, inability to make clear decisions, and memory problems.
Here are 5 tips to consider to keep control and balance when tempting treats come your way:
1. Do not attend a social function, or grocery shop on an empty stomach.  Drink an 8 oz. glass of water, and eat a small serving of healthy protein (i.e., hard-boiled egg, 1/4 cup raw nuts, a protein shake) at least 30 minutes before you go to an event or the store. If protein isn’t handy, eat an apple or orange, or some raw veggies. Fiber and protein stave cravings, and are filling and nutrient-dense to the body, so you won’t biochemically be as crazed for sugar/salt.
2. Stay hydrated.   Many times our “hunger pains” are actually our body’s way of telling us we are thirsty, and possibly dehydrated. Water is by far the best way to hydrate. It also naturally energizes the body, and it fills us, while helping absorb good nutrients from our food and eliminate toxins from the body. If you’re at a social function, and you know that alcohol may sway you to the tempting treats, stay away from alcohol or make sure you have one full glass of water between cocktails. Club soda or sparkling water with a “splash” of fresh juice or squeezed lemon/lime can really provide satiety and a means of “clean control” at a social gathering, staving the munchies and over-drinking.  Although green tea is not hydrating, this is also a nice energizing and anti-oxidant-filled beverage to have instead of munching on unnecessary treats.
3. Have shopping boundaries.  When going to the grocery store, shop the outer perimeters (produce, meat) vs. the inner aisles and bakery section. If you have a special occasion or company to buy for that you think warrants the extra “treats”, i.e., chips/dip, cakes, cookies, etc., then have a plan before you get to the store. Budget a small amount of money and quantities of those things you’ll buy “especially for them” and then leave the aisle. Put it in a special part of your pantry that you’ll access only when providing those items for them, so they are not out in the open on a counter or platter. Make a grocery list with only one-two maximum “treats”, and stick strictly to that list. Eventually make a list with no treats so those foods are not even in the home to tempt you.
4. Fresh vs. Fad.  We eat what is available and convenient. So make fresh available! Food that is fresh, from the earth, and prepared at home, will always win over the chain restaurant dishes, fast food, and food in wrappers/cans/packages. Challenge yourself to surround your workspace and home with easy-access fresh food. Raw carrots, avocado, fruit, sliced zucchini/cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, nuts, cold chicken leftover from the night before… all in place of the 100-calorie pack pretzels, chex mix, popcorn, cookies, etc.  If you eat a cup of veggies dipped in hummus or guacamole or salsa, you’ll be more satisfied than eating a cup of corn chips, cheese puffs, or candy. The more fresh you eat vs. fad/fat, you’ll start to want that and shift your habits to healthier ones. Experiment and have fun with being creative with fresher foods–you’ll be surprised how easy and quick they can be.
5. Slow down and “think before you eat”.  Our culture is all about faster, better, and more….  Slow down when it comes to food. What this means is, don’t make your meals or snacks an after-thought—something you do “on the go”, “whatever you can grab”.  If you can make a conscious (not complicated) gameplan each day or week about the kinds of foods you will eat, and stick to the plan, you will be armed and in control. Have nuts or an apple in your purse or car, so when you’re commuting to/from activities, the drive-thru window doesn’t have to be your only option. Pack your lunch, and then set aside one day a week to eat out if that’s what you like to do, but know what you’re ordering before you get there. Think to yourself before just sub-consciously ordering a sandwich, fries, or something from the vending machine: “am I hungry, do I want this, is it going to serve me?” Stop and consider “why” you’re grabbing something. Lastly, once you are sticking to your plan and slowing down enough to “think before you eat”, chew your food slowly and deliberately. Savor every bite. When you eat slower, you won’t “need” as much food to be satisfied.

Experts believe that the key to a healthy diet is taking in a wide variety of foods but
taking into account the number of calories per serving.
Listed below are a few helpful tips that would help you maintain a healthy diet by
adhering to this principle while allowing you to enjoy your favorite foods.
Eat fruits, vegetables and whole grains

Survey reveals that most Americans don’t get to eat as much of these foods. If you
are taking in 6-11 servings of pasta, cereal, rice and bread group, then at least 3
servings of which should be whole grains.
Also, you should eat at least 2-4 servings of fruits and vegetables. If you don’t like
them that much, give them another chance. Try to browse through the internet for
simple yet healthy recipes.

Eat a variety of nutritious foods
In order to maintain good health, our bodies need at least 40 different nutrients.
And you can’t get all those nutrients in a single food group. Your food selection
should include meat, fruits and vegetables, whole grain products and dairy
products. Also, a person’s food intake depends on his caloric needs.

Maintain a healthy weight
A person’s ideal weight depends on a number of factors including age, height and
sex. Excess fat could increase your chances of developing diabetes, stroke, heart
disease, high blood pressure and some forms of cancer.
Being too thin, on the other hand, could increase your risk of menstrual
irregularities, osteoporosis and other diseases. Adhering to an exercise program can
also help you maintain a healthy weight.

Reduce food intake
If your favorite food is high in fat, salt or sugar, then eliminating it from your diet is
not the solution. Rather, you have to control how much you take in and how often
you eat these foods.
If fried chicken is one of your favorites, you are still free to enjoy it. You just have to
eat it less often.

Make gradual changes
You are not expected to magically change your eating habits overnight. People who
try to change their diet significantly are less likely to succeed. Most of the time,
these people would go back to their old eating habits within a few weeks.

A healthy person eats nutritious foods, exercises regularly and stays away from
vices. It may sound simple, but people who have tried to change their habits know
how difficult it is. Most people choose to make drastic changes. However, they lack
motivation and eventually give up.

The key to living a healthy life is by taking on small changes and incorporating it
into your daily routine. Mind you, small changes lead to big results.

Enough sleep

Easy Tips to a Healthier Life

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lack of sleep makes you feel tired and lessens your concentration level. It could
also affect your health, especially your heart.
While experts claim that adults should rest for at least 8 hours a day, people are
different and their sleep requirements also vary. If you usually feel sleepy between
4 to 6pm, then you’re probably not getting enough rest.
Drink a glass of water in the morning

Easy Tips to a Healthier Life

As you wake up in the morning, drink a glass of water at room temperature. You can add in a slice of lime or lemon if you wish.  Water helps flush out the toxins, increase our metabolism and cleanse our system.  Some people even believe that it helps us reduce weight.

Snack the healthy way

Easy Tips to a Healthier Life

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As much as possible, do away from unhealthy snacks like potato chips, cookies, candies, salted nuts as they contains lots of sugar, salt and fat. Instead, munch on fresh fruits and raw nuts as they are rich in vitamins and minerals.
Never skip breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially for people who want to
lose weight. If you skip breakfast, you are more likely to get hungry before lunch
and would start to snack on foods that are high in sugar and fat.
Research revealed that people who eat breakfast are less likely to develop diabetes
and to be obese compared to those who don’t eat breakfast.

Take a walk

We are all aware of the advantages of physical activity. However, most people don’t
have time or the desire to exercise. If you don’t have time, explore your options to
be more physically active. Use the stairs instead of the elevator.
According to research, we only need to walk for about 125 to 200 minutes per week
in order to stay healthy and improve our heart health.

Easy Tips to a Healthier Life

It may be freezing outside but this doesn’t mean that you have to stay indoors all winter. There are a lot of ways to stay active during the winter. Plus, you can have fun and stay in shape at the same time.

Here are a few tips to stay active and keep the body you love during the winter season.

Get familiar with the mall

No. We’re not asking you to go on a shopping spree. Instead, go out and take a walk inside the mall. This provides a safe and climate controlled environment where you can walk around for a few hours. Also, feel free to go window shopping while doing so. Just be sure to wear a nice pair of walking shoes.

Buddy up

Exercising outside with a bunch of friends during the winter season does not only provide motivation, it is also a safety feature. So, get in touch with your friends and use this season to hangout and stay active together.

Also, be sure to bring your cell phone with you and place it in a waterproof pouch.

Try a winter sport

The winter weather offers a wide variety of activities that you can enjoy with the entire family. Sledding, snowboarding, skiing and ice skating are just some of the activities that you can engage in during this season.

Take a skating or ski lesson with a few friends or spend an entire afternoon sledding with your family. These activities do not only help you stay active, it also allows you to spend quality time with your loved ones.

Switch up your routine

If you love exercising outdoors, you can use the change of weather as a reason to try something new. There are thousands of ways to stay in shape. So, try to change up your workout routine before the start of each season.

Invest in fitness DVDs

This allows you to exercise at home anytime. You can go online and determine the type of exercise you’d like to do at home. If you live in an apartment, Pilates or Yoga would be perfect since it involves a lot of mat work. If you have a bigger space, Zumba may also be a great option.

Indulging on classic dishes like pumpkin pie, hot chocolate, mashed potato and prime ribs is a part of the holiday fun. However, taking in too much of these could make you feel heavy and bloated. Luckily, there are a few healthy tweaks that you could do in order to help lighten up your favorite holiday treats without sacrificing the taste and your figure as well.

Cheese tray

When serving cheese, try to incorporate reduced-fat cheeses to your usual cheese selection. This way, health-conscious individuals shall have better options. Also, don’t forget to round up your cheese tray with whole grain crackers and fresh fruits like pears, apples, figs and grapes.

Mashed potato makeover

Though potatoes by themselves offer a long list of nutrients like Vitamin C and potassium, you’ll be sacrificing its nutritional integrity by adding in loads of fattening ingredients like heavy cream, butter and whole milk.

To lighten up this tasty treat, use low fat buttermilk instead of full-fat dairy. Plus, ramp up the flavor by adding in spices and fresh herbs like roasted garlic or chipotle pepper.

Slim with skim

During the Christmas season, it’s fine to indulge on peppermint lattes and hot chocolate. However, considering the amount of food you’ll be taking in, it is best to trim down on the calories where you can. So, instead of whole milk, request for skimmed milk. By doing so, you could save up to 100 calories per 16 ounce serving.

Cut the crust

If you’re the type of person who eats pumpkin pie just for the filling, you might want to skip on the crust completely. By doing so, you could shave off at least 100 calories per slice.

Stick to your usual filling recipe and pour it into individual ramekins. Then, bake it until it sets. Top it off with whipped cream and you’ll get a delicious pumpkin custard with a cute presentation to match.

Rethink your roast

For meat lovers, a holiday celebration would never be complete without a perfectly cooked slab of prime rib. However, at 720 calories per 6 ounce slice, the stats alone could make your heart skip a beat.

For an equally tasty meal without all the damage, you might want to consider lean beef tenderloin since it has about half of the calories. If this does not work you, you could also try other lean holiday entrees like pork tenderloin or roast turkey.

 

Healthy eating is not about depriving yourself from the food you love or maintaining a slim figure. It’s about staying as healthy as possible and feeling great about it. Fortunately, this could all be attained by sticking to some nutritional basics and applying them to your daily diet.

In this article, we’ll help you plan and create healthy and tasty meals and expand your range of healthy and delectable food choices. Read on and enjoy the perks of sticking to a healthier eating habit.

Simplify

Instead of obsessing yourselves over calorie counts and measuring food sizes, think of your diet in terms of freshness, variety and color. By doing this, it would be easier for you choose a variety of healthy foods without the complications of counting calories and serving sizes. Focus on the foods you love, create easy recipes and incorporate fresh ingredients.

Make gradual changes

Shifting to a healthier diet cannot be done overnight. That’s not realistic either. Also, a person who tries to change everything at once tends to cheat or easily give up on their new diet plan.

Take small steps such as adding a vegetable or fruit to your diet once in a while. Also, when cooking, you could switch from butter to olive oil. As you start to adapt to these changes, feel free to add in more healthy foods into your diet.

Incorporate exercise and water in your diet

Water helps flush out toxins and waste products in our system. With the lack of water in our body, this could result to dehydration; thus, causing headache, lack of energy and tiredness. Staying hydrated is important.

Most people mistake thirst for hunger. Drink a glass of water to know if you are really hunger or you’re just thirsty. This could also be helpful for people who are on a diet.

Find an activity that you enjoy and add it to your daily routine, just like adding in a few fruits and vegetables in your diet every day. Exercise comes with a long list of benefits. And you can get all these by staying active and spending a few minutes a day exercising.

By adhering to a regular exercise program, plus, incorporating a few servings of healthy foods, you are on your way to a healthier lifestyle.

Hard to ignore all those tempting sweets during the holidays? Do you dread the holidays with all those tempting, fattening foods? This year, be prepared for the season with these tips from WebMD.com

1. Exercise, exercise, exercise

“Setting a regular fitness schedule is the key to keeping weight off in winter,” says Lisa Giannetto, MD, an assistant clinical professor in the Diet and Fitness Center at the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. “Come five o’clock, when it’s pitch black and cold out, you’re a lot more likely to go to your warm home and watch TV if you don’t have a regular fitness schedule that includes a variety of types of exercises.”

2. Never go to a party hungry

“Fruits and vegetables are where we need to get our carbohydrates, and not from alcohol and brownies,” says Jule Anne Henstenberg, RD, director of the nutrition program at La Salle University. “Use high-fiber fruits and vegetables to fill up before a party.” Eat a bunch of baby carrots, a big salad, or an apple, for example, to curb your desire for empty party-food calories.

“When we eat outside the home, studies suggest that we may take in 40% more calories than we would otherwise,” says Cheskin. “We even have seen this finding replicated in animal models.”

So much of our eating is not related to hunger, he says. The more variety of foods available at a meal, the more likely you are to eat more food.

“The stress of a social setting and an environment with many food choices and alcohol will tend to foster overeating,” Cheskin says. “So these are good times to be on guard.”

3. Avoid alcohol

Alcohol is loaded with calories. And since “many holiday celebrations involve drinking, it’s easy to take in a lot of calories without being aware that you are,” says Scott Isaacs, MD, clinical instructor of medicine at Emory University and medical director at Intelligent Health Center. “Drink a glass of water or a diet soda before and after each alcoholic beverage to help pace yourself and to dilute calories,” says Isaacs, who is also the author of Hormonal Balance: Understanding Hormones, Weight and Your Metabolism.

4. Practice calorie damage control

“If you do overeat, don’t ‘fall off the wagon.'” says Isaacs. “Make up for it by cutting your calories for a few days and adding extra exercise.”

And get exercise in anywhere you can, says Giannetto. Take a brisk walk on your lunch break and after dinner. At work, use stairs rather than the elevator.

“When you get just 100 fewer calories per day through dieting and exercise or both, that is the equivalent of 10 pounds per year.”

5. Remember to have fun

“The main reason you’re at a party is to see people and celebrate, not to eat a lot of high-calorie foods,” says Cheskin. “So be aware of why you’re there and make that your focus.”

 

The next time you look in a mirror, think about this: In many ways you’re more microbe than human. There are 10 times more cells from microorganisms like bacteria and fungi in and on our bodies than there are human cells.

Scientists increasingly think that these microorganisms have a huge influence on our health. Without them, our bodies don’t seem to do as well. We don’t seem to be as healthy and might actually get sick more often.

But these tiny compatriots are invisible to the naked eye. So we asked artist Ben Arthur to give us a guided tour. Join me as we dive into the rich universe of the human microbiome.

(Source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/11/01/242361826/exploring-the-invisible-universe-that-lives-on-us-and-in-us)