Why Your Liver Is Important Your liver has a lot of responsibility and is in charge of helping your body rid itself of harmful toxins! Taking care of it and making sure it is working will go a long way in improving your overall health!

The liver plays a central role in all metabolic processes in the body.  Its main job is to filter blood coming from the digestive tract before passing it to the rest of the body, but there are several important functions the liver performs:

–  Bile production and excretion (an important digestive liquid)

–  Excretion of bilirubin, cholesterol, hormones, and drugs

–  Metabolism of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates

–  Enzyme activation

–  Storage of glycogen (energy in the form of a sugar), vitamins, and minerals

–  Synthesis of plasma proteins, such as albumin, and clotting factors

–  Blood detoxification and purification

The liver is also the only organ in the body that can grow cells and regenerate itself.  It can be removed from the body, split in half, and transplanted into two different recipients.  Plus, a living person can donate a portion of their liver while having both portions regrow and function.  A healthy liver is important for many reasons and there are several things you can do (and not do) to protect it from damage so it can keep your body functioning properly:

 

  1. Eat a high fiber diet, including fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole grains
  2. Load up on healthy protein (vital for fighting infections and healing a damaged liver); include low fat or fat-free dairy, lean meats, and plant-based sources like beans, legumes, and lentils
  3. Avoid trans fats found in processed foods; opt for healthy fats found in nuts, seeds, flaxseeds, avocados, olive oil, and fatty fish
  4. Stay well hydrated
  5. Avoid consuming high amounts of salty and sugary foods
  6. Control your weight…avoid obesity
  7. Limit alcohol consumption
  8. Don’t abuse over-the-counter medications (especially acetaminophen)

 

There are a few common symptoms you might notice if your liver isn’t working well:

–  Chronic fatigue

–  Gastrointestinal issues (upset stomach, nausea, vomiting)

–  Decreased appetite

–  Dark colored urine

–  Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)

A liver detoxification is sometimes all that’s needed to clean out this important, multi-functional organ and get things running smoothly again.  There are many liver detox products and recipes out there, and some might be a bit too harsh for the average person. We have our Liver Detox formula that’s gentle enough for almost everyone, yet gets the job done.  The all natural ingredients help to cleanse and protect the liver so it can properly take care of you. Please be sure to check with your healthcare professional about your personal health situation and any medications you might be taking just to make sure all is clear for you to do any type of liver detoxification.  

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With BBQ and grilling season upon us – there are some easy swaps and changes you can make for healthier BBQs!! With just a few small tweaks you can cut calories and help you stay on track!

With warmer weather just starting to arrive it’s time to uncover and clean off the barbecue and commence with grilling!  While it is a bit healthier to grill foods (usually not many fats are needed) the sauces that are used can increase the sugar content too much and make a healthy cooking option not so healthy after all.  Items like lean meats, chicken breast, fish, vegetables, and even fruit, all taste fantastic when grilled and sometimes the flavors of certain items are even enhanced when cooked over an open flame.

The way you cook on the grill is almost as important as what you cook.  Proteins (meat, chicken, and fish) sometimes stick when no fats (butter or oils) are used to a little bit of olive oil is fine…just a little bit though.  Olive oil is a healthy choice and a little goes a long way. There are now nonstick grilling mats and pans specifically made for the barbecue and these, of course, require no butter or oils to prevent sticking…making them a great healthy option.  You can also cook things in tinfoil “packets”…vegetables and fish are good options for this method…so as to keep items from falling through the grates of the grill. It also steams the food so you aren’t having to use anything on the items to prevent sticking.

 

Another pitfall for people looking to eat healthy and enjoy a barbecue are the sauces used to marinate the proteins.  Sugar is usually in large quantities in these sauces as it imparts a lot of flavors when it caramelizes. Even a healthy fish filet can be rendered unhealthy by a high-calorie sauce, so whenever possible use marinades and sauces sparingly and AFTER cooking to minimize damage to your diet.  Also, remove any visible fat from meat and the skin from chicken and turkey for the best option.

 

There are many healthy barbecue recipes to try with a variety of foods and depending on your preference, there are many variations.  Here are a few links to sites offering healthy barbecue recipes that you might want to try:

 

  1. https://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipes/dinner/grilling-recipes/
  2. http://www.cookinglight.com/food/top-rated-recipes/five-star-grill-recipes
  3. https://www.delish.com/entertaining/g2167/healthy-grilling-recipes/
  4. https://www.bonappetit.com/gallery/healthy-grilling-recipes
  5. https://www.cookincanuck.com/15-healthy-barbecue-grilling-recipes/

 

Side Dishes are also an area where many people eat more calories than they realize and a diet can really be derailed due to a great side dish.  Potato salad, macaroni salad, coleslaw, and baked beans are the traditional sides at most barbecues, but they are loaded with fat and calories (and sugar as well) and aren’t on any weight loss program.  While they’re delicious, it’s best to avoid them and opt for things like grilled vegetables, a leafy green salad, bean and avocado salad, or even a baked potato cooked on the grill.

 

When it comes to dessert, a couple of good things to grill in the fruit category are pineapple slices and peaches.  The fruit sugars in these delicious items caramelize when grilled and they become very sweet. They are great options that are still healthy when it comes to barbecue fare.  Even small changes to your normal barbecue dining can mean positive results for your health and make eating better easier and easier every time you incorporate them.

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Apple Cider Vinegar has become all the rage, but why?? Is it worthy of all the buzz – here are 8 surprising benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar that you might not be aware of!

There has been a lot of mention lately about the benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar and what all it can do for you…but why exactly is it so popular?  Just some of the many benefits include weight loss, possibly lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, stabilizing blood sugar, enhancing skin health, and relieving acid reflux symptoms.  But what exactly is apple cider vinegar and why is it so good for you?

Apple cider vinegar is a vinegar made from apples, sugar, and yeast.  ACV, as some call it, is the most popular type of vinegar in the natural health community and specifically when it contains “The Mother”…the sediment left in the vinegar when it’s unrefined, unpasteurized, and unfiltered.  This “mother” is a cloudy colony of beneficial bacteria that helps create vinegar through a secondary fermentation process. This makes a vinegar that is high in acetic acid, antioxidants, and probiotics and a better all-around choice for health than the traditional “clear” ACV.

There are many benefits of consuming apple cider vinegar due to its high potassium and enzyme levels.  Here are just a few of the ways to use ACV:

  1. Helps Stomach Troubles:  mix 1-2 Tbl. into water or juice and drink when needed.
  2. Soothes a Sore Throat:  mix equal parts ACV with warm water and gargle every hour.
  3. Prevents Indigestion:  mix 1 tsp. honey and 1 tsp. ACV into a glass of warm water and drink it 30 minutes before eating.
  4. Clears a Stuffy Nose:  mix 1 tsp. ACV into a glass of warm water and drink to help sinus drainage.
  5. Aids in Weight Loss:  the acetic acid suppresses appetite, increases metabolism, and reduces water retention so try taking about 2 oz. straight before meals.
  6. Reduces Nighttime Leg Cramps:  mix 2 Tbl. ACV and 1 tsp. honey into warm water and drink before going to bed.
  7. Helps Control Blood Sugar:  have 2 Tbl. of ACV before bed or mix equal parts ACV and water then drink before eating a high carbohydrate meal.
  8. Boosts Energy:  mix 1-2 Tbl. of ACV into a glass of chilled vegetable juice or water when you’re feeling tired.

There are also topical ways to use Apple Cider Vinegar that include getting rid of dandruff, clearing acne, fading bruises, whitening teeth, and banishing bad breath.  However, you choose to use Apple Cider Vinegar just know it’s more than something to use for dressings or to cook with. Apple Cider Vinegar is a multi-purpose player in your health regimen that has been used for centuries both internally and externally for health, wellness, beauty, and flavor!

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If you are eager to drop some pounds but cannot find the time or money for a gym, consider the yard work calories that you could burn off. You do not have to join a gym, pay fees and rearrange your schedule in order to lose weight. Weight loss opportunities are all around you, especially if you have your own yard or land. The best thing about working off calories in the yard is that you actually accomplish something while you shed the weight instead of staring at a lot of other people on stationary bikes at a gym.

Using yard work calories to lose weight is a fantastic and worthwhile way to help shape up, not only can you shed pounds but you will also be accomplishing the task of beautifying your yard!

Why Yard Work?

You could lose weight on your own time in many ways. You could easily find an exercise regimen on the Internet and follow it in the privacy of your own home. However, it takes a lot of discipline to follow these guidelines and it may require time that you do not have. Let’s face it, everybody is busy these days. If you still have a yard in which to work, you may be doing a lot of overtime or keeping up with two or three jobs. Fitting in some time at the gym can be hard to justify, no matter how important your weight problem is to you.

Yard work, however, is inevitable. You have to fit it into your schedule. You can really kill two birds with one stone here because both yard work and exercise are not very exciting tasks for most people. However, most people also understand their necessity. This should give you more enthusiasm for your yard work and your exercise. Instead of eagerly awaiting to get the minimum done before you return to the shade or the air conditioning of your home, you can take satisfaction as you put in the extra time to really accomplish some serious projects outdoors while you simultaneously drop some weight.

How Can I Calculate Yard Work Calories Burned?

One nice thing about going to the gym is that they have a lot of instruments and charts that can explain to you just how many calories you burn with each allotment of time in an exercise or with each pound of resistance. Thanks to the Internet, however, you can get some of the same information using pages derived from a yard work calories calculator. The number of calories burned at each activity depends on the amount of time that you put in and how much you weigh. The figures in the examples that follow are rough but usable.

Yard Work Calories – at 125 Pounds

If you begin this weight loss stratagem at 125 pounds, you will need to spend an hour raking leaves or planting shrubs to burn off about 240 calories. Mowing the lawn and pulling weeds will each burn around 30 more calories than that. Naturally, as you increase the strength required, you increase the number of calories burned. Digging will eat up about 300 calories per hour and chopping wood burns more than 350 calories in the same time period.

Yard Work Calories – at 155 Pounds

Since you are carrying more weight around, the same activities will burn more calories in return for the same intensity. This is one of the few times that extra weight pays off! Raking those leaves will now burn nearly 300 calories in just one hour. Mowing the lawn will use more than 330 calories at this weight and digging now burns more than 370. As a 155-pounder, you will use up 446 calories per hour while chopping wood.

Yard Work Calories – at 185 Pounds

Now raking leaves burns more than 350 calories per hour, mowing burns 400 and digging nearly 450. Chopping wood for an hour at this weight will require more than 530 calories.

How Do I Get Started?

A lot of people are unenthusiastic about yard work and simply go at it willy-nilly for a while before quitting. You should strategize about how many yard work calories per hour you want to burn. You can base your landscaping activities around how many calories you need or want to lose that day. This should help you complete plans for your yard while you shape your body.

Be Careful

It is easy to get a little too enthusiastic about shedding pounds and beautifying the scenery around your home. It is most likely that the sun will be out when you do this work and you will sweat a lot. Apply sunblock generously and drink lots of water while you work. Staying hydrated is important to help your body adjust to exercise properly and also to keep you from dehydrating out in that sun. Watch out for regional pests, such as snakes and insects that could cut short your workout with a nasty bite or sting.

 

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Molasses, whether it is pomegranate molasses, sorghum molasses or blackstrap molasses, is a healthy substitute for sugar. Believe it or not, molasses is a staple diet in America. Pilgrims brought molasses in the country when they first visited the continent centuries ago.

Some people find molasses too sour. Others find it too sweet. Meanwhile, there are those who think molasses is too rich or sugary. However different people’s opinions are, the fact is that molasses are difficult to acquire thus the need to find a good molasses substitute.

Molasses is a common ingredient used in pies, cookies, and cakes. Due to its high sugar content and the risk, this brings to one’s health, the following are a slew of molasses substitute you could use.

Molasses is a common ingredient used in pies, cookies and cakes. Due to its high sugar content and the risk this brings to one's health, the following are a slew of molasses substitute you could use.

Yogurt

Yogurt is a decent substitute for molasses in recipes. Though yogurt tastes differently from molasses, it possesses similar properties once it is utilized in cooking or baking.
Yogurt is also a good source of calcium as it contains healthy proteins. Yogurt is also ideal for vegetarians. When this molasses substitute is used in baking, make sure that it is properly strained. Proper straining requires that you put a cheesecloth over a bowl, pour the yogurt through the cheesecloth and allow it to strain overnight through the cloth. If you want to acquire the best and healthiest yogurt source, make sure you use brands, which indicate that the yogurt is made using nonfat or low-fat milk. Such yogurts not only help fight obesity, it also prevents chronic disease such as cancer or stroke.

Applesauce

Applesauce is another molasses substitute that serves as a healthy alternative. However, applesauce is not as sweet as molasses, its moisture and texture is similar. Plus, applesauce contains large amounts of critical minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. It also contains fiber essential to treat and prevent stroke, obesity and other cardiovascular diseases. As much as possible, use applesauce that is low in calories and sugar.

Feel free to make your own applesauce. All you have to do is combine sliced and peeled apples in a large pot. Add water, cinnamon, and sugar. Heat this mixture until it boils. Decrease the quantity until the sauce thickens. This applesauce will definitely be nutritious as much as it is delicious.

Honey

Honey is considered as the most healthy and popular substitute for molasses in recipes. This golden liquid is naturally produced by bees and was used for centuries as a preservative and sweetener. It is also a good antioxidant and possesses anti-bacterial properties, which boosts the immune system. Honey also helps prevent fatigue when exercising. The main reason why honey is a good molasses substitute is due to its good taste. While molasses could either be sweet, bittersweet or unpleasant, honey is always sweet and pleasantly delicious. The best-tasting honey is raw honey since it has not been treated after being removed from the beehive. Take note that pure or natural honey is not really natural or pure as it has been processed thus it is inferior to raw honey.

Barley Malt Extract

Barley malt – similar to honey – is gold in color, has a thick consistency and is sweet. It is utilized to improve and sweeten foods such as ice cream, bread, cereals, and bagels. It is also used to sweeten tonic beverages and is essential in brewing non-alcoholic and alcoholic beer. Barley malt is a molasses substitute in baking due to its aesthetic qualities and nutritional value. It is also rich in easy-to-digest protein. It is similarly high in vitamin B and amino acids. Barley malt is also used to soften stool and treat children’s constipation. Barley malt could also serve as a standalone supplement and critical substitute for molasses in recipes.

Maple syrup

Maple syrup is the preferred sweetener for numerous generations. It is essentially a molasses substitute that is usually used in porridge, pancakes, waffles, French toast, and oatmeal. Maple syrup is also healthy as it contains calcium that is essential for tooth and bone health.

Other equally effective and tasty molasses substitutes include brown rice syrup, golden syrup, corn syrup, Karo syrup and muscovado sugar. Brown rice syrup is amber-colored syrup that tastes half as sweet as actual sugar. Meanwhile, golden syrup is a classic syrup that is lighter in flavor compared to molasses. Corn syrup is a type of syrup that comes from maize starch. Karo syrup is also corn syrup that is available in light and dark varieties. Muscovado sugar tastes like molasses but is actually an unrefined version of brown sugar.

All in all, recipes which require molasses include pecan pie, gingerbread, and even barbecue sauce. Molasses are specified for these recipes due to its unique color and taste. Though molasses substitution is essential, these alternatives could not duplicate the unique taste of molasses.

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When it comes to eating fats these days the mantra has changed a bit from years past.  It used to be that “fat free” was the standard to follow if you wanted to lose weight…but not so much anymore.  Now we realize that “healthy fats” are an important part of losing weight…in moderation, of course. So what are the fats that we should be eating while trying to lose weight and exactly how much is okay?

There is a lot of misconception out there in regards to what healthy fats are, how much we actually need, and what is good for us (especially when trying to shed a few pounds).  First, let’s address what a “healthy fat” is and how much the average person needs. Healthy fats are found in many natural foods like fatty fish, avocados, nuts, seeds, beans, olive oil, eggs, etc. and the average person should have about 50 grams of “healthy fat” daily.  Now this varies depending on your size, dietary requirements and restrictions, and whether or not you’re trying to lose weight. It’s also expressed in a percentage in relationship to calories but 50 grams is on the lower end and a good average number.

There are so many different variations on the role of healthy fats In weight loss, it can be confusing and misleading in a lot of ways!

 

Now on to what you should be eating if you wish to shed a few pounds.  Many people think they have to completely cut out all fats in order to lose weight…not true.  What usually causes weight issues is actually too much sugar and starch (carbs) and not so many fats…unless you’re eating a lot of saturated (unhealthy) fats that is.  Healthy fats are essential for energy, for proper nerve and brain function, to support cell growth, and to help protect your organs. Fats also help the body absorb some nutrients and produce certain important hormones.  The key is to eat healthy fat options and NOT indulge in unhealthy ones.

So, what are some things to remember when trying to lose weight AND still eat healthy fats?  Here are a few tips and tricks for eating healthy fats while trying to lose weight:

  1. Not all oils are created equal:  Try using these oils for cooking and dressings…coconut, peanut, avocado, macadamia nut, walnut, olive, canola, and flaxseed.
  2. Natural fatty foods:   Use in moderation…avocados, whole eggs, fatty fish (salmon, herring, mackerel, tuna, etc.), nuts & nut butters (almond, cashew, walnut, peanut, etc.), seeds (flax, chia, pumpkin, etc.), beans & legumes (lentils, peas, etc.), coconut, full fat dairy (Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, cream cheese, feta, mozzarella, Swiss, etc.), beef, chicken, and dark chocolate.
  3. Moderation is the key:  As with most things health-related…moderation, moderation, moderation!  Don’t have too many “natural” fats as this can put on weight and might cause cholesterol issues.  Still select lean cuts of meat and poultry and balance fat intake with proper nutrition in other categories (vegetables, fruits, healthy grains, etc.).  And always incorporate exercise daily into your routine as a sedentary lifestyle not only puts on weight and keeps it there but the negative health effects are numerous.

Eating healthy fats isn’t a license to overindulge and certainly not meant to give the green light to too many burgers, fries, and pizza nights.  There are still calories in healthy fatty foods, so counting those calories is still a part of balancing what you eat with what you do to burn it off.  Hopefully, this information provides you with a head start on understanding ways to incorporate healthy fats into your diet and maybe lose some weight in the process.

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With Pre-Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes becoming such an epidemic is taking control now and following a Diabetic Diet right for you?

An estimated 23.1 million people in the United States have currently been diagnosed with diabetes and the Center for Disease Control estimates that another 7.2 million have undiagnosed diabetes, while another 84.1 million adults have pre-diabetes.  Sound like an epidemic? Well, many healthcare professionals believe it is and if not controlled much better the statistics are only going to get worse. So, what do you do to avoid becoming one of these statistics? Try eating like you have diabetes and enjoy the benefits of what this healthy association with food brings you.

I have had diabetes for a couple of decades and my doctors believe that I actually was suffering from it long before being diagnosed.  I found out when pregnant with my first child I’m now insulin dependent as things have progressively become worse with my pancreas not producing hardly any insulin.  So…this means that I MUST eat a diabetic diet in order to stay healthy…but when you examine what a diabetic diet is you can see how it’s beneficial for everyone…diabetic or not.

 

In a nutshell, eating like a diabetic means that you’re having low-carb selections, plenty of protein, minimal healthy fats, and of course…avoiding sugar!  Well, believe it or not, this is easier said than done since nature provides plenty of “sweet” options that are healthy yet high in sugar. Many people think “avoid sugar” means to not put “the white stuff” in food and drinks, avoid regular soda, etc…but it also means avoid “natural sugar” as well.  Items like mangos, bananas, pineapple, cherries, grapes, and especially ANY dried fruits (drying concentrates the natural sugars in the fruit) are all naturally high in sugar and should be eaten VERY sparingly or not at all. Items that are high carbs and starches (wheat, rice, winter squashes, parsnips, potatoes, corn, etc.) also need to be greatly minimized in the diet or omitted altogether.  

It’s not always easy to know what to eat and what not to eat and there are literally thousands of diabetic diets, food lists, etc. out there that sometimes only add to the confusion.  The best way to look at “eating like a diabetic” is to help your body stay healthy and NOT cause yourself issues by incorporating some of the basic principles of a diabetic diet that are the easiest to follow:

  1. Avoid “the white stuff”…this means white flour, white rice, white root vegetables, and of course…sugar!
  2. Cut out sugary drinks…juices, sodas, energy drinks, coffee concoctions, and even those smoothies that do contain some healthy ingredients but usually a whole lot of sugar.
  3. Avoid artificial sweeteners…these are actually many times sweeter than real sugar and make your brain and body crave more sweetness…making cutting back exceptionally difficult.
  4. Eat items as they appear in nature…avoid packaged foods as much as possible as well as eating out too much.  Many times sugar and/or fats are used for better flavor (not to mention too much salt) and can cause multiple problems with keeping to a proper diet.
  5. Still, watch your calories…even if you’re eating healthy and like a diabetic you still need to watch how many calories you’re consuming as being overweight contributes to increased risk for diabetes.

Here are some specific food items in a “lowest to highest” layout that might help you better understand what I mean and give you a good head start to making changes:

Low Carb Vegetables

This list is roughly arranged from lowest to highest carbohydrate counts, but all are non-starchy and generally low in carbohydrates:

  •  Sprouts (bean, alfalfa, etc.)
  •  Greens – lettuces, spinach, chard, etc.
  •  Hearty Greens – collards, mustard greens, kale, etc.
  •  Radicchio and endive count as greens
  •  Herbs – parsley, cilantro, basil, rosemary, thyme, etc.
  •  Bok Choy
  •  Bamboo Shoots
  •  Celery
  •  Radishes
  •  Sea Vegetables (Nori, etc)
  •  Mushrooms
  •  Cabbage (or sauerkraut)
  •  Jicama
  •  Avocado
  •  Asparagus
  •  Okra
  •  Cucumber (or pickles without added sugars)
  •  Green Beans and Wax Beans
  •  Fennel
  • Cauliflower
  •  Broccoli
  •  Peppers (all kinds)
  • Summer Squash (including zucchini)
  •  Brussels Sprouts
  •  Scallions or green onions
  •  Snow Peas/Snap Peas/Pea Pods
  •  Tomatoes
  •  Eggplant
  •  Tomatillos
  •  Artichokes
  •  Turnips
  •  Pumpkin
  •  Rutabagas
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Celery Root (Celeriac)
  • Carrots (use with caution)
  •  Onions
  •  Leeks
  • Water Chestnuts

 

  • Starchy (High Carb) Vegetables,  The main veggies to be avoided when reducing carbohydrates are the starchier vegetables:
  •  Beets
  •  Peas
  •  Winter Squashes (particularly acorn and butternut)
  •  Parsnips
  •  Potatoes (all forms)
  •  Corn
  • Plantains

Choose Low Sugar Fruit
Fruit is an area where some of the low carbs diet part company.  These are sort of arranged by sugar content, taking volume and weight into account. This is not an exhaustive list.  Good news: the fruits lowest in sugar are some of the highest in nutritional value, including antioxidants and other phytonutrients.

Fruits lowest in sugar

  •  Lemon & Lime
  • Rhubarb
  • Raspberries
  • BlackberrieS
  • Cranberries
  • Strawberries
  • Casaba Melon
  • Papaya
  • Watermelon
  • Peaches
  • Nectarines
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Honeydew Melon
  • Apples
  • Guava
  • Apricots
  • Grapefruit

Fruits fairly high in sugar

  • Plums
  • Oranges
  • Kiwi
  • Pears
  • Pineapple

Fruits very high in sugar

  • Tangerines
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Pomegranates
  • Mangos
  • Figs
  • Banana
  • Dried Fruit (dates, raisins, prunes, etc.)

It’s definitely NOT easy to always be so mindful of what you’re eating, how you’re eating, and when you’re eating…but it’s a whole lot easier to do it out of a desire to be more mindful and healthy than it is out of necessity due to a disease.  Even little changes can make a difference and the more you do it the easier it becomes…really!

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Your Metabolism:  What Helps & What Hurts

 

Metabolism…What is it?  What does it do? Well, basically, it’s the sum of everybody function…everything your body does.  Each time you eat your body breaks down the food into energy that keeps your body running. Everything from keeping your heart beating and your legs moving to your mind thinking and regulating everything happening in your body.  People with a fast metabolism burn calories at a greater rate and therefore require more calories…those with a slower metabolism don’t burn as many calories and need to watch how many they consume or the excess will be stored as fat.

There are several things that negatively affect metabolism, some can be avoided but some can’t.  Here are some things that negatively affect (or slow down) your metabolism:

Age:  The older you get the slower your metabolism naturally becomes

Gender:  Women have, on average, slower metabolisms than men

Body Size & Composition:  More muscle mass burns more calories, contributing to a higher metabolic rate

Hormonal Imbalance:  Estrogen in women and Testosterone in men decline as we age and slow metabolism

Poor Nutrition:  People who eat food high in refined sugars and/or saturated fat, and food with poor nutritional value tend to have a slower metabolism

Stress:  This causes cortisol levels to rise which can cause overeating and weight gain

Insomnia:  Sleep deprivation can cause a dysregulation of cortisol, insulin, and leptin…all negatively affecting metabolism

Chronic Diseases (Diabetes, Hypothyroidism, Cushing ’s syndrome, etc.):  These particular diseases slow metabolism as part of their attack on the body

Obesity:  This slows metabolism because obese individuals have a higher fat mass and a lower muscle mass and therefore a slower metabolism

Medications:  Several medications for chronic conditions can slow metabolism (antidepressants, insulin, steroids, hormone therapies, etc.)

Physical Inactivity:  Lack of exercise can cause fat gain and slow metabolism due to a sedentary lifestyle

 

On the flip side, here are things you can do to increase your metabolism and start burning more fat:

 

Eat Regularly:  Eating several small meals during the day is a good way to keep your metabolism running at top speed

Eat Plenty of Protein:  Have protein with every meal to feel full faster and stay full longer to prevent over eating

Drink More Cold Water:  It fills you up, helps you at less, and cold water makes your metabolism speed up as your body uses energy to heat it up to body temperature

High-Intensity Workout:  These force the metabolism to run at a high rate and stay running high even after the workout is over

Build Muscle:  Muscle is more metabolically active than fat, so building muscle can increase your metabolism in general, even when resting

Stand More…Sit Less:  Standing burns more calories and is better for posture than sitting

Green or Oolong Tea:  Both of these help increase metabolism and burn fat

Eat Spicy Foods:  Peppers contain capsaicin, a substance that can boost metabolism

Get Plenty of Rest:  A good night’s sleep keeps the body healthy and the metabolism running at its optimal level

Drink Coffee:  The caffeine in coffee can boost metabolism and promote fat burning (this does not include other caffeinated beverages)

Use Coconut Oil:  Replace other cooking oils/fats with coconut oil…the medium-chain fats in coconut oil can increase metabolism

Even if you are dealing with some of the things that typically slow metabolism, you can still do some of the beneficial recommendations to increase fat burning despite your personal health situation.  It’s never a bad thing to eat better, exercise a bit more, get better rest, and so on, which not only increases metabolism but contributes to a healthier body overall…and that’s the key to feeling better.  So happy fat burning!

 

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It’s that time of year again!  The red, itchy, watery eyes, scratchy throat, sneezing, and runny nose symptoms of Allergy Season are here!  Spring is considered to be a tree pollen season but flowers, grasses, and mold spores wreak havoc on us as well as we sniffle and sneeze our way through the day.  When a harmless substance like pollen or mold enters the body of a person that’s allergic to it the immune system overreacts by producing antibodies that attack the allergen…this is what causes those annoying allergy symptoms and can make life miserable for anyone prone to this reaction.

There are different allergic responses that people have to seasonal allergy triggers that sometimes make it difficult to function properly.  Occasionally fatigue and body aches can be a part of an allergic response to seasonal triggers so it makes it difficult to differentiate allergies from a cold.  Both conditions involve sneezing, a runny nose, and congestion, but colds usually include coughing and a sore throat, but some people do have these symptoms with severe allergies as well.  The itchy, watery eyes, however, are common for seasonal allergies but rare for colds.

The toll that allergies take on the body varies by individual as do the symptoms so the treatment can vary as well.  Many people reach for an over-the-counter solution if symptoms are bad enough but more and more people are opting for the more natural remedies available to achieve relief. A Neti Pot is one way people are finding allergy relief…it “rinses” out the sinuses with a salt water solution that relieves congestion and clears out allergens.  Also, staying indoors when outside levels are high and using a good air purifier are ways to ease symptoms. Here are some other ways that many people can treat and sometimes prevent allergies:

  1. Eat an anti-inflammatory, alkaline diet (the earlier you start this the better it works)…include ginger, turmeric, garlic, lemons, leafy greens, probiotic-rich foods, bone broth, coconut milk, almond butter & seeds, Gluten-free flours/grains, etc.
  2. Have local raw honey (bee pollen) to help build up your immune system to lessen and prevent attacks
  3. Try Apple Cider Vinegar (Organic unfiltered with “The Mother”…mix 1 tablespoon in a glass of water and drink 3 times a day)
  4. Quercetin…a plant flavonoid that’s a natural antihistamine and is found in various foods like apples, peppers, dark cherries, dark berries (blueberries, blackberries, etc.) tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, sprouts, spinach, kale, citrus fruits, red wine, and others
  5. Stinging Nettle…soak the leaves for a medicinal tea that helps relieve allergy symptoms (they can be used alone or added to an herbal tea of your choice)
  6. Eucalyptus Oil & Frankincense Oil…use them topically as a massage oil or in a diffuser
  7. Probiotics…these improve gut health (more than 80% of immune function is stored in the gastrointestinal tract); works in the gut to improve immune system function and help defend you against infections, viruses, allergies and more.

However, you choose to treat and/or prevent allergies just keep in mind that natural remedies are a bit of a commitment compared to over-the-counter options and take longer to work.  As always, please check with your healthcare provider for specifics about any remedy and your personal health situation.

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Meditation is a word that means different things to different people and takes on many different forms.  By way of a general consensus definition, meditation is a practice by which a person uses a technique, such as focusing on a particular object, thought, or activity to achieve mental clarity and an emotionally calm state.  Sometimes the purpose of meditation is to just clear your mind and not focus on anything as a way to de-stress.

You’re probably most familiar with the cross-legged person sitting up very straight with the back of their palms on their knees, chanting “OM” repeatedly.  That’s one way to do it…but there are as many wants to practice meditation as there are people practicing it and that’s what is so appealing about it. The practice of meditation doesn’t have to be one where you do much…you can just find a quiet place and a comfortable position, then try to clear your mind and relax…or you can focus on an object or thought, with or without making any kind of sound…whatever suits your purpose for meditating.

 

Here are some of the important benefits of meditation:

 

  1. Reduces stress
  2. Controls anxiety
  3. Improves immune system health
  4. Improves heart rate
  5. Helps lessen inflammatory disorders
  6. Improves breathing
  7. May reduce age-related memory loss
  8. Promotes emotional health
  9. Improves sleep
  10. Can decrease blood pressure
  11. Helps control pain
  12. May help fight addictions
  13. Enhances self-awareness, focus, and productivity
  14. Lengthens attention span
  15. Can generate kindness

These links can help you get started with your own meditation practice so you can start reaping the benefits of a calm and focused mind and a healthier, well-balanced body…the two are most definitely connected:

 

It’s just as important to take care of your mind and soul with calming practices as it is to take care of your body with a healthy diet and exercise.  Meditation won’t take away the stressful elements of life, but it will help you not respond destructively when they come around. Happy Meditating!

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