Thursday, May 27, 2010
One of the most critical things that you must focus on if you hope to be successful in your quest to lose body fat is to eliminate all the added sugar from your diet.
By far and away, one of the biggest contributors being seen in today's obesity problem is the high intake of sugar. People everywhere are wolfing down processed foods, fast foods, snack foods, and the biggest sugar bomb of all- soda- and are paying a hefty price.
The worst part of this problem is that unlike fat, sugar will spark hunger levels to surge even higher as the insulin level in the body skyrockets to an all time high. This sends you on a cycle of binge eating which then not only causes you to eat loads of carbs and sugar but loads of calories as well.
Our diets are easily topping over 3500 calories per day, which is more than the vast majority of us-even those who are incredibly active, require to maintain our body weight.
As awareness is being raised about all the problems that accompany such a high sugar intake, more people are starting to take action and eliminate the foods that are at the top of the problem list.
That said, however, many are missing a few of the biggest contributors that are sneaking in right under their "sugar radar". The following foods may not be conventionally thought to be high in sugar, but you need to take a closer look.
When further examining what they are made of, you will quickly discover just how much sugar these actually contain! Here are the main culprits to watch!
1. Spaghetti sauce
So you sit down to your plate of pasta at night and think you're making the healthy choice by choosing a tomato-based sauce rather than the creamy sauce that you would have preferred? Well, you would be suprised to know that just half a cup of that tomato sauce contains as many as three teaspoons of sugar.
This translates to almost 50 calories from pure sugar per serving and most of us are using more than just that single half-cup serving.
Add this sugar to the high volume of carbohydrates coming from the pasta in the first place and you've got yourself a problem.
If you want to ensure that this meal choice is a healthy one, opt for a spaghetti sauce that specifically labels it self as sugar-free.
2. Ketchup
If you look at the stats of the most common-consumed vegetable, it's sad to say that potatoes are at the top of the list. And how is most of the potatoes being eaten?
If you said "served up as French fries", you'd be correct. While the trans fat content typically found in French fries is really bad enough, to add to the problem you've got the slug of ketchup that gets smothered on top. Sadly, some people may even view ketchup as healthy since it comes from tomatoes, but most ketchup is anything but.
Ketchup itself is incredibly high in sugar with almost 20% of the condiment being comprised of this sweet ingredient and can contribute a significant number of calories.
If you're eating three or four tablespoons with your meal you could be in for an added 80 to 100 calories that you weren't expecting. Add this amount of ketchup everyday for a month and you've just gained a solid pound of body weight.
The reality of sugar is quiet startling to some people but a little bit here and there translates to a very large amount of over time, so it's vital that you take steps to cut out as much as possible.
There are sugar free varieties of ketchup now available for purchase, so be certain to stock up on one of those.
Class Ketchup
3. Low fat salad dressing
You've heard it many times before- if you want to keep your salad abiding by the 'weight loss diet rules', always opt for low-fat salad dressing. Unfortunately, this rule may not be all that correct.
As the fat gets removed from these variations, often times sugar gets added in so now you're replacing one harmful diet ingredient with another and your not all that better off.
Manufactures know that if a product doesn't taste appetizing you are no longer going to purchase it, and since the dressing doesn't taste all that well without fat, something must get added. Sugar is the solution to turn to.
If you are careful to only use a small amount of regular, full fat dressing and choose one thats made with olive oil so you're taking in healthy fats, you can stick to the regular variety here.
Often there are fat-soluble vitamins found in your salad, as well, so using the regular variety will help increase the absorption rate of these nutrients.
4. Bread
All those no-carb diet followers out there likely will not have to worry about this food as it got banned from their diets a long time ago, but for those of who aren't quiet that extreme in their approach, its important that you take a good look at the ingredient listing of the bread that your serving up.
Be on the lookout here for either sugar of corn syrup as both terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Either one will spell trouble for your fat loss diet so if the particular bread your using happens to list this as one of the top ingredients, its time to put that bread back on the shelf and go with something else.
5. Fruit flavoured yogurt
Another place you must watch for added sugar is in your favourite afternoon snack: yogurt. The larger portion of fruit flavoured varieties out there can easily come in at over 15 grams of sugar per serving.
So while you think you are getting a nice low-cal snack that sticks within your plan, your not doing much in the way of promoting health or stopping hunger levels.
For better results, you'd be far smarter to either choose simple cottage cheese with some fruit mixed in (which is also far superior source of protein as well), or serve up one of the sugar free varieties of yogurt instead.
More and more brands are coming out with sugar free variations and these are typically also lower in calories so there an even better choice for those following a fat loss diet. With these freed up calories, mix in some bran buds cereals (or another high fiber cereal) to further help slow the digestion of the nutrients in the body and also boost the overall nutrient content.
So be very careful with your diet and the intake of sugar your consuming. Sugar is everywhere these days, and unless your examining the foods your eating with a magnifying glass, there is a very good chance that your eating far more than you initially thought.
By increasing your awareness of where this hidden sugar most commonly lurks, you are taking one step forward in fighting this very serious problem for good.
Monday, May 24, 2010
  1. Drink a glass of warm water upon waking. Squeeze half of a lemon in it. This begins hydration after not drinking all night. It may also cause a mild laxative effect. The pH of the lemon juice will help maintain the stomach’s natural acidity so you will be ready to properly digest breakfast. Cold water first thing in the morning can be a bit harsh, and warmer temperature causes more G.I. track stimulation.
  1. Stay hydrated. Since you’re off to a good start, be sure to keep the water flowing all day. Sodas don’t cut it. They are loaded with sugar and chemicals. Diet soda is better than regular, but some artificial sweeteners are somewhat controversial. Stick with water and your body will thank you in so many ways. After all, we are composed of 70% water.

  1. Eat breakfast! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially after fasting all night. A balanced breakfast will provide you with sustained energy and blood-sugar levels through out the morning. This also kick-starts your metabolism. Breakfast means actual food, not just coffee and/or a ciggy.

  1. Take a good multi-vitamin daily. This is a very easy and inexpensive way to make sure you’re getting all of the vitamins and minerals you need to function at your optimum. Supplements have come a long way in quality and absorption. When you’re on the go, it is almost impossible to get all the recommended vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat. Worst case, you’ll pee out the extra vitamins you don’t require. Take your multi in the morning with breakfast. Taken on an empty stomach can cause upset or nausea.

  1. Don’t overdo your morning cup of coffee. Some of us are so addicted to caffeine that we can’t even feel normal until after that first cup. A warm cup of freshly ground brew certainly does hit the spot in the morning and is a ritual we all grew up with. The irony of coffee for breakfast is that in the morning our energy levels are highest, (assuming we had a good night’s sleep), and don’t require any boosting. In fact, the brain-inhibitory neurotransmitter known as Adenosine, which induces mental fatigue and grogginess, is at it the lowest levels when we first wake up, (Not to be confused with melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone). Adenosine then accumulates throughout the day, just as the buzz of your morning coffee is fading. Caffeine blocks our adenosine receptors and literally staves off mental fatigue. A cup of coffee in the morning is certainly okay, but if your cup is ‘bottomless’ and next thing you know you’ve consumed half a pot, then you are setting yourself up for dehydration and an afternoon energy ‘crash’, and you're stressing your adrenal glands by over-stimulating them.

  1. Consume caffeinated beverages strategically. A post-lunch or afternoon cup of coffee would serve us better than a cup at breakfast, if we follow our normal energy patterns more closely. So why not have two cups of coffee then? One with breakfast and then another cup post-lunch? Sure, but if you drink much more than 2 to 3 servings a day of coffee you will build up a tolerance to it and it will lose its efficacy. Instead, the only mental effect you’ll notice is when you don’t have any coffee and headache sets in. Too much caffeine in one serving can cause us to feel jittery, irritable, nervous, and even panic attacks in some. Caffeine is also a diuretic and too much contributes to dehydration, and chronic over-consumption can contribute to adrenal fatigue. Everyone has their own tolerance, but a normal cup of coffee, as in a Starbuck’s Regular, or standard mug at home, contains about 100 to 150 mg. One espresso shot contains about 80 mg. One dose of ‘No-Doz’ pills contains about 200 mg. A cup of black tea has about 75 to 100 mg. Green tea has less caffeine. Tea is healthier than coffee because all types are full of antioxidants and Polyphenols, that fight cancer. Tea also fights halitosis, as it kills bacteria in the mouth. Diet Coke has only about 40 mg of caffeine. And don’t forget to consider all of the caffeine you may be consuming in other areas of your diet, unknowingly. Chocolate/cocoa, energy-drinks and bars, diet pills and supplements, and most non-herbal teas, may contain caffeine.

  1. Eat well-balanced, smaller meals, frequently throughout the day. If you’ve read any of my postings up to this point, you’re probably sick of hearing this line. But it is so valuable and so helpful in many ways. The bottom line here is sustained and consistent blood-sugar levels and therefore consistent mental energy levels. Sustained energy comes from meals combining complex carbs, protein and some fat, resulting in a slow and steady insulin secretion during digestion. High-carb meals promote serotonin increase in the brain, causing us to feel pleasant, but somewhat sleepy. This is because carbs allow the amino acid tryptophan to pass through the blood/brain barrier, where it is a precursor to serotonin. At the other extreme end of the spectrum is that a no-carb diet leaves you in a constant state of low blood-sugar, and mental focus is almost impossible in this state. BALANCED EATING is the key. Small, frequent meals won’t inundate your digestive system. Digesting a large meal requires a great deal of effort from your body. Granted there are times when we feel a blood-sugar crash, (‘bonking’), and need a quick sugar snack. For times like these reach for whole fruit first. The fructose-sugar in fruit is sweeter than cane sugar, and fruit is packed with nutrients and fiber. And surprisingly, semi or bitter-sweet dark chocolate is very mentally energizing providing sugar, caffeine, dopamine increase, and even anti-oxidants. Be forewarned however, that these fun sugar buzzes are usually followed by a low.

  1. Take a post-lunch power nap, or meditation. Not all of us are nappers, or are in a work-environment that permits napping, but a power nap can work wonders in restoring your mental energy. A power nap, by definition means 25 minutes or less so that you do not enter into a deep stage of sleep. Ideally, you drift off into a light REM stage of sleep within 5 minutes of closing your eyes, and should wake before deep sleep. If you enter deep sleep, then it is better to nap for a full sleep cycle lasting up to 1.5 hours, otherwise you will wake up groggier than when you started. Meditation and relaxation-breathing can be substituted in place of a nap, and for those experienced in this sort of technique, it can be just as restorative if not more. The latter is also an excellent de-stressing method. During meditation you can recite a positive mantra to empower your subconscious. (Stop laughing…it works if you believe!)

  1. Exercise for at least 30 minutes per day. As you have already heard from me so many times before, exercise boosts your metabolism, allows you to vent negative emotions, is an outlet for stress-relief, and when not overdone, resets your mental energy. You will also feel good about yourself for the rest of the day. It is preferable to exercise in the morning when your energy and hormone levels are highest, but can be a great way to de-stress after work. Try to avoid exercising 4 hours before bed-time, because this can make it hard to fall asleep. If you absolutely do not have time to exercise, a brisk 10 minute walk can wake up your mind and stimulate circulation. Especially if you can walk outside in the sun and fresh air. If you don’t even have time for that, get up out of your chair and stretch for 5 minutes….you slacker!

  1. Get a 5 minute head, neck and shoulder massage. Okay, I realize this is wishful thinking, but perhaps you happen to be in the crew lounge on one of those lucky days when the free chair-massages are offered. Or, maybe a fellow crew member can give you a quick rub-down…just be tactful and politically correct when asking. A massage will re-store you in so many ways but primarily by stimulating circulation of blood and lymphatic fluid, and easing muscle tension at trigger points.

  1. Get a good night of sleep. The busier we get it seems the first thing to be compromised is sleep. However, nothing is more critical to restoring your mind and body than a good night of sleep. In fact, continued sleep deprivation leads to a compromised immune system and in the long term can worsen into Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, CFIDS, and/or Fibromyalgia, FMS. A good night of sleep is literally the equivalent of drinking from the Fountain-of-Youth. This is because many restoration hormones are primarily secreted during the deepest phase of the sleep cycle, including Growth Hormone. Sleep requirements vary but 7 to 9 hours is impossible goal for most of us I know. The irony of sleep is, sometimes when we are the most tired and badly in need of sleep we don’t sleep well or experience insomnia. You can combat this with proper sleep hygiene. You heard me correctly. You can’t just blow off sleep and take it for granted by staying up all night and trying to sleep during the day, or by consuming too much caffeine or alcohol, etc. If you experience insomnia, stay tuned for future health postings because I will present you with a sleep-hygiene checklist that you can use to fall asleep and sleep well. For now, just try to stick with consistent bed-times and wake-times that match the natural circadian rhythm for your time zone. I realize many of us deal with a redeye once or twice a week, but this can be dealt with too. Avoid caffeine, excessive alcohol, and intense exercise, 5 hours prior to your bed-time. Avoid mentally stimulating activities while in bed, (get your mind out of the gutter!). In other words, don’t do work in bed.

  1. Proactively cope with stress. Carrying stress around uses up valuable mental energy that you could be able to channel more productively. Mental/emotional stress can manifest itself physically in muscle-trigger points, hypertension and even disease in extreme situations. We can’t always control the challenges that come our way in life, but you do have the power to choose how you deal with them and the associated stress. I’m not trying to sound like Tony Robbins or some other ‘self-help’ chuckle-head, but take charge of your life and life’s stressors and come up with a plan of action to deal with them. Easier said than done, because some of us have some heavy burdens to carry. On a daily basis though, try some of the preceding suggestions, such as exercise, massage, or meditation, to ease your anxiety and stress. Stress and anxiety can be the biggest energy consumers of all.

Safe, (Not banned by the FDA), Mental Energy Enhancing Supplements:

  1. Caffeine. Stimulates central nervous system, causes secretion of gastric acid, releases free-fatty acids, increases basal metabolic rate, enhances endurance and improves reaction time, increases Dopamine levels and blocks Adenosine levels. Clearly when used strategically and not abused, caffeine is beneficial.
  2. Tyrosine. An amino acid that is a precursor to norepinephrine and enhances mental function and clarity.
  3. Ginseng. Look for the Chinese herbal form. All-around increase in energy and improved adrenal function.
  4. Gingko Biloba. Thought to help oxygenate the brain and improve memory.
  5. All B vitamins. Especially B6, B12, Pantothenic Acid, and Niacin. B vitamins are for adrenal support.

Be sure to take these in the appropriate doses. More is not better. Consider that a nap works better than all these put together, and is free.

Substances That May Reduce Mental Clarity or Cause Drowsiness:

  1. Melatonin. Sleep inducing hormone that is secreted based on natural circadian rhythm, and can be bought in supplement form. Take too much and you’ll feel groggy all night and all the next day, and experience vivid dreams.
  2. Tryptophan. This amino acid is a precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that makes us feel pleasant and happy, but sometimes drowsy. Can be bought in supplement form as ‘5-HTP’.
  3. Valerian Root. A soothing and calming herb.
  4. Alcohol.
  5. Many types of anti-histamine, such as Benedryll.

This list is by no means all inclusive. Do not take any medication or herbal supplement without knowing what to expect or consult a medical professional if in doubt. Consider that vitamin and herbal supplements are not regulated by the FDA.

Saturday, May 15, 2010
The trouble is finding anything but propaganda regarding saturated fats. Corporate food industry and government agencies are quick to demonize these fats, but in traditional cultures saturated fat was revered and even coveted as a source of vital energy. Mankind has survived for century upon century thanks to saturated fats, depending on these fats to nourish our bodies and support the health of future generations. Only in recent decades have we turned away from natural fats and toward manufactured vegetable oils. And only in recent decades have we seen an explosion of degenerative conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Here are four important reasons saturated fat should have its place at the table:
#1 - Lower Your Risk for Heart Disease and Improve Your Cholesterol Profile It's the opposite of what the medical industry tells you, but it's true: eating a diet rich in saturated fats protects your heart. Saturated fat reduces Lp(a), which is associated with increased risk for heart disease, and contributes to higher levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, which keeps your heart healthy.
#2 - Prevent Loss of Bone Density and Osteoporosis We all know we need calcium for strong, healthy bones. We also need saturated fat to transport that calcium to our bones. This is why dairy products naturally contain both calcium and saturated fat. All those calcium supplements won't do much good if saturated fat is lacking in our diet.
#3 - Strengthen Your Immunity and Prevent Illness Saturated fats contain specialized fatty acids which are naturally antifungal, antimicrobial and antiviral. These important fatty acids include lauric acid, myristic acid and caprylic acid. A diet rich in these beneficial fats provides the body with what it needs to fight pathogenic substances.
#4 - Feed Your Brain, Your Nervous System and Your Hormones Your brain is fat. And that's a good thing. Your brain consists mainly of fat and cholesterol, and it needs saturated fat more than any other kind. Even the brain-friendly omega-3 fatty acids can't be utilized without ample saturated fat. In addition, saturated fat facilitates nerve signals and hormone production. All of these systems rely on saturated fat to function, and to keep you healthy and ultimately alive. It's important to choose the right saturated fats, like real butter and virgin coconut oil. Avoid highly processed fats and especially hydrogenated oils, which have been proven to cause heart disease, cancer and a slew of other conditions. The logic is hard to miss. We are told saturated fats cause heart disease, so we trade butter for vegetable oils: heart disease skyrockets. We are told saturated fats cause bone to lessen, so we drink low-fat milk: osteoporosis is widespread. We are told saturated fat isn't good for our brains, so we stop eating traditional fats like coconut oil: depression, ADHD, dementia and autism are more prevalent than ever before. Are saturated fats really the villain here? In reality they are the victims of misinterpreted studies and commercialized industry, which have no interest in what our ancestors could have told them: saturated fat is the key to good health.
For More Information:

About the author

Elizabeth Walling is a freelance writer specializing in health and family nutrition. She is a strong believer in natural living as a way to improve health and prevent modern disease. To learn more about nourishing foods, stop by Elizabeth's blog, which explores topics like healing with traditional nutrient-dense foods, lacto-fermentation, raw milk, natural living and much, much more.
Friday, May 7, 2010
Sparkling drinks, sugary treats & starchy snacks and the after effects of excess alcohol can lead to fluid retention and make you look heavier than you really are. Here is an easy way to de-bloat and re-energize in hours!
1. Sip on green tea (unsweetened) throughout the day-the mild caffeine has a diuretic effect, the theanine is great for your mood and the antioxidants can help reduce inflammation and slow down the aging process.
2. Have 1-2 servings of melon (honeydew, cantaloupe, canary, tuscan.. etc.) per day. These fruits are natural diuretics as well.
3. Load up on green veggies that are specifically known for diuretic effects.. asparagus, celery, watercress and cucumber.
4. Sweat! Get in the sauna for 30mins- be sure you are rehydrating with plenty of pure spring water too.
5. Do interval training. For each 30 sec all out burst you do, add 1 min of active recovery and keep moving for 8-12 mins total. And YES you should be WIPED out by the end.. you can divide into 2 or 3 sessions as well.
6. Take 1000-2000 mg of Taurine and 50-100 mg of B6. Both of these nutrients have been shown to help with fluid balance.
7. And finally, pull the Hollywood cheat- invest in some SPANX!
Saturday, May 1, 2010
If I had to pick one celebrity fitness model that I am inspired by it would have to be Jennifer Nicole Lee. Sure you might be thinking that it's unrealistic to look up to celebrities because I would never look or be like one. But JNL was a regular mother who was overweight and silently suffering in her own body. She has helped THOUSANDS of woman to find their true potential and passion in life. It's important to find people that you are motivated by.
This is an interview I found and want to share with you.

Jennifer Nicole Lee is a fitness expert, author and a mother of two children. After giving birth to her second child, Jennifer found herself 70 lbs overweight, depressed and discouraged. Looking for a way to regain her energy and zest for life, Jennifer signed up to compete in a swimsuit competition the following year. This was just the kind of motivation that Jennifer needed, because less than a year later, the determined mother of two had shed her excess weight and was crowned Miss Bikini America 2004. The remarkable story quickly made headlines, earning Jennifer an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Jennifer has become an inspiration to women everywhere, proving that hard work and determination can help you in meeting any goal, no matter how impossible it may seem. Today, Jennifer has released a book entitled Crack the Code: Unlock Your Fat Burning and Weight Loss Potential, which reveals the secrets to her success and some helpful exercising tips for new mothers. As if that weren’t enough, Jennifer models and designs swimsuits for her newly launched swimwear line JNL Collection.

1. Could you name three things you had to give up in order to get where you are? I had to stop making up excuses, playing the victim, and wasting time. With all of my life’s demands to be the very best wife, mom, and entrepreneur, I do not have the luxury of making up excuses. I either do something or I don’t. If something goes wrong or someone is unfair to me, I don’t sit around and take it. Instead, I focus on the solution and on being victorious. I enjoy being in the driver seat of my life, and I urge others to make the time to achieve their goals, so that I can work for them instead of against them.

2. What is a positive attitude and how do you maintain your positive outlook on life? A positive attitude starts with the core belief that you will create, enjoy, and relish in the joys in life when you find your passion and embrace your strengths. I keep motivated by understanding that “Rome wasn’t built in a day” but that it was built and it does happen. I focus on what I can do, believe in what I do, and do it well. Motivation is a muscle that you must exercise in order for it to get stronger.

3. What are some of the dietary tips in your new book that you offer to overweight people? Some of the tips that I offer my clients are unconventional but they get you results fast! I start by building a solid foundation of self-love combined with self reliance and self discipline. I emphasize that you are in control of your weight loss program and you must hold yourself accountable. I help clients build their confidence, learn to cook delicious low-fat meals, and to think for themselves. But most importantly, I keep the process fun, creative and interesting.

4. When did you start to feel really comfortable with your body? I started feeling really comfortable with my body when I started to love myself. My weight yo-yoed drastically for most of my life, and the only way I knew how to lose weight was to starve myself. I finally just gave up and told myself that even though I was heavy, I loved me. Then my healthy new lifestyle just fell into place. I built upon this new lifestyle, making sure that I went to my workouts, and treated them like important business meetings that I could not be late for or call in sick to.

5. How do you balance your career and your kids? I have set myself up for success by understanding that I won’t be able to get everything done, but if I just focus on the priorities and at least get the core taken care of, my life will be meaningful and productive. My family comes first and foremost, and the rest just flows from there. I have found a way to make time work for me instead of against me. I include my sons in my business meetings and errands so that they are more equipped for the “real world” when they get out there. I am able to deal with a large amount of pressure because I have trained myself to keep my eye on the prize and not let the everyday energy zappers get to me.

6. What is the one thing you have learned about yourself over the years? The one thing that I’ve learned is that I’m a winner and that I never quit, and never will. I have had too many hardships and challenges to go through, and the simple fact that I am here today is proof that I have tenacity, courage, vision, and these are the real gifts that I hope to pass down to my sons.

7. What does well-being mean to you? Well-being means being balanced, whole, satisfied in you own accomplishments, and knowing that you are blessing your family and close friends with your victories. It also means having peace in your life and being at peace with yourself.

8. Who is the most interesting person you have ever met? I love to research the masters such as Steve Jobs, Steven Spielberg, Tony Robbins, Donald Trump, Jack Canfield, and even Albert Einstein. I also have to say my husband Edward, who has taught me unconditional love, and of course my sons. They are my teachers, showing me the important aspects of life: love and happiness.

9. What message would you like to share with our readers in regards to health and wellness? Ask yourselves this vital question: “how can I increase my quality of life, increase my endurance, stamina, and energy levels, and enjoy the process?” Your mind is the most powerful possession that you have. You must use it, and by asking yourself this question you will find your answers.

About Me

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Whangarei, Northland, New Zealand
Hi.. Im Katie. I am 20 years old. I am a student nurse. I love learning about healthy eating and living healthy lifestyles. There are so many lies and myths about the food we eat today and I am determined to spread the word. If you have any questions don't be shy to ask. Email me at P.S I am not a doctor, I do not diagnose conditions. I am just hear to educate myself and others. Any symptoms I address please see your doctor.
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