Friday, December 20, 2013

9 Ways to Avoid Genetically Modified Food

It is estimated that about 75 percent of processed foods sold in the U.S. contain at least some genetically modified food ingredients. Unlike many other countries, there is no law in the U.S. requiring the labeling of foods that contain GM ingredients, but if you know how to identify which foods are most commonly genetically modified, you can reduce how many GMOs you eat. Following are some tips on how you can avoid them:
1. Buy foods labeled "100% organic." Laws in both the U.S. and Canada do not allow food labels that say "100% organic" to contain any genetically engineered food, including animals that have been fed genetically modified feed. Be aware, however, that if the food is simply labeled "organic" it can still contain genetically modified ingredients up to 30%.
2. Look for the labels "non-GM" or "GMO-free." These can be hard to find, but if you re able to support manufacturers that produce foods that are not genetically engineered you encourage other manufacturers to follow their lead.
3. Buy whole, fresh foods rather than processed ones. Foods that you cook and prepare yourself are almost always healthier than anything you can buy ready-made. And cooking healthy food doesn't have to be difficult or time-consuming. There are many simple but delicious and healthy meals that you can prepare in less than 30 minutes that do not involve any genetically modified food.
4. Know which foods and the products that are made from them are most likely to have been the result of genetic engineering. For example:
  • Corn - The ingredient derived from corn that is hardest to avoid is high fructose corn syrup. A huge percentage of processed foods and baked goods contains it, not to mention soda. Any food with a label saying there is corn of any kind in it should be avoided unless it states it is 100% organic. Popcorn is an exception, as there is currently no popcorn on the market that is genetically modified.
  • Soybeans - Products made from soybeans include soy flour, soy isolates, soy lecithin, soy protein and isoflavones. Be sure that soy based products such as tofu, soy milk, edamame and such have a label stating it is organic to be sure it isn't genetically modified.
  • Canola or Rapeseed - Made from the rapeseed plant, canola oil almost certainly is derived from genetically engineered crops, unless you are located in the EU, where no genetically modified crops of rapeseed are yet grown. You find it used mostly as cooking oil and in margarine, and though it is high in monounsaturated fat, it is not a healthy oil to use regularly due to its high levels of omega-6 fatty acids and because it goes rancid easily when heated. Olive oil is a better choice.
  • Cottonseed oil - Cottonseed oil is a primary ingredient in shortening, vegetable oil and margarine, none of which are healthy fats, and many of which contain trans fats. It is also used to a great extent in processed foods like potato chips and other fried snack foods.
  • Dairy - Some farmers inject cows with the genetically engineered hormone rBGH or rBST in order to boost milk production. Cows also may be fed genetically modified food in the form of grain and alfalfa unless the milk specifically states that it is organic. Look for products that advertise themselves as rBGH- or rBST-free.
  • Sugar beets - There is unfortunately no way of knowing if something labeled as containing "sugar" comes from just sugar cane or if it also includes sugar made from beets, since there is no special labeling required. Beet sugar can be avoided by buying products labeled as being made with evaporated cane sugar, 100% cane sugar or organic sugar.
5. Avoid aspartame as a sweetener. The sweetener used in products such as NutraSweet and Equal, Aspartame is derived from genetically modified microorganisms. Any artificial sweetener is usually worse for your health than sugar, and should be avoided whenever possible.
6. Buy 100% fruit juices. Though most fruit juices are not derived from GM foods, the sweetener used in many of these juices (and sodas as well) is high fructose corn syrup, which is almost certainly from genetically modified corn.
7. Ensure your produce is not genetically modified by reading the number on the sticker.
  • A 4-digit number indicates the food was conventionally grown and may or may not be genetically modified.
  • A 5-digit number beginning with an 8 is a genetically modified food. However, not all GM foods can be identified because PLU labeling is optional.
  • A 5-digit number beginning with a 9 indicates it is organic, and thus a non-GM food.
8. Buy meat that is 100% grass-fed. Most cattle in the U.S. are grass-fed until the last three to four months of their lives. At this point they are usually shipped to feedlots where they may be given GM corn and other genetically modified foods in order to increase the amount of "marbling" in the meat. Meat from these feedlot animals has higher levels of saturated fat and less of the healthy omega 3 fatty acids than grass-fed and grass-finished animals.
To avoid meat that has been fed GMOs, make sure the animal was 100% grass-fed or pasture-fed (sometimes also referred to as grass-finished or pasture-finished). For animals such as pigs and poultry that cannot be 100% grass-fed, it's better to buy meat that is labeled as 100% organic.
Wild caught fish are better than farm raised, as farm raised fish are fed fish meal containing GM grains and sometimes meat and bone meal. Eggs should be labeled 100% organic, as those with only a "free-range," "natural," or "cage-free" label are not necessarily free of GMOs.
9. Buy your meat and produce at local farmers' markets. Most genetically modified food is grown on large industrial farms. The farmers' market allows you to talk directly with the farmer to find out how the food was grown. These markets also usually provide a range of other products, such as organic honey, grains, baked goods, etc. You could also join a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm where you receive a box of fresh, seasonal produce every week during the growing season. Another place to find healthy, non-GMO products is your neighborhood co-op.
Laurel Avery, DiHom, is a homeopath who became interested in natural health and the positive effects of healthy eating after moving to Europe from her native U.S. She now devotes her time to helping expose the dangers of genetically modified food and helping others learn how to achieve vibrant health through their diet.
For more about healthy eating and how you can easily cook delicious meals for yourself and your family, visit

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Genetically Modified Foods - Risks and Benefits to the Individual and the World

The topic of genetically modified organisms (GMO) has been a contentious one for almost two decades. In many parts of the world, fears abound over potential health problems and the prospect of environmental catastrophe, all stemming from the production and consumption of GM foods. While the paranoia is gradually decreasing, lots of misinformation is still thrown about regarding genetic engineering and GM foods. What exactly are GM foods and what are the risks and benefits they confer to both the individual consumer and to the ecosystems in which they are grown?
The first major intersection of genetic engineering and foodstuffs occurred in 1987 with the first tests of a modified version of the bacteria Pseudomonas syringae on strawberry fields in California. The bacteria, which commonly lives on the surface of crops, normally produces a protein that allows ice to more easily begin crystallizing, causing damage to the host plant. However, the strain of P. syringae used in the experiment had been engineered without the gene needed to produce the protein in hopes of reducing frost-induced crop loss. Though the data looked positive following the trial, they couldn't be fully trusted due to environmental activists destroying some of the test crops in protest of the experiment.
The first genetically engineered food product hit the shelves in the early 1990s in the form of the "Flavr Savr" tomato. Calgene, a Californian company later acquired by biotech giant Monsanto, had engineered the plant to have a slower softening process, though its other ripening attributes like sweetness would develop normally. Tomatoes are often harvested while still green and hard in order to better survive the rigors of transport. Soft, ripe fruit often get smashed or otherwise degraded as trucks bump along rough roads. The Flavr Savr was designed to be both tasty and durable. Unfortunately, due to competition from conventionally bred cultivars (plant varieties), problems with production rates, and troublesome harvesting technology, the Flavr Savr never made a big move on the tomato market. However, it did pave the way for future growth in the GM food market.
Today, there are many genetically modified food crops available, including soybeans, corn, cotton, alfalfa, sugar cane and beets, rice, squash, and others. Their engineering bestows benefits including herbicide, pest, and virus resistance, as well as higher nutritional content by way of increased endogenous production of vitamins and essential fatty acids. In fact, a large majority of soybeans, cotton, and corn grown in the US is now genetically modified organisms, most engineered for herbicide and/or pest resistance. Believe it or not, if you live in the US and many other parts of the world, you almost certainly consume GM foods on a regular basis.
Despite the widespread and longstanding consumption of GM foods by millions if not billions of people, controversy persists over the safety of GM foods in regards to both human health and environmental integrity. While most concerns over GM crops are generally unfounded, it is worth taking the time to understand how GM foods are assessed and approved.
To assess any potential dangers a GM food may present to human health, the product is first analyzed by the manufacturer to determine if it is "substantially equivalent" to its corresponding natural version, if one exists. Substantial equivalence is evaluated by comparing the biochemical profiles of the two foods, including their various carbohydrates, fatty acids, metabolite compounds, and proteins. If the values of the GM food's components fall within the range of variation of the natural products, then they are deemed to be substantially equivalent. While the standard of substantial equivalence has proven robust enough to prevent any major adverse reactions in the public to GM foods, critics argue that the standard of equivalence is not defined clearly enough nor has a specific procedure for testing been established. In addition, processed or purified products (e.g. oils, sugars, etc.) can be assessed for substantial equivalence independent of their source plants. GMO opponents have claimed that this "loophole" may allow harmful compounds into the human food supply due to the laxity (in their eyes) of the substantial equivalence standard.
If a novel GM product has no natural counterpart, it is evaluated using a seven-part standard safety test. The test begins with an analysis of any new DNA in the product and the proteins or metabolites it may eventually produce. It also includes analysis of the chemical composition of the product, including nutrients, allergens, and toxins. Then, the risk of gene transfer to microorganisms present in the human gut is evaluated. Any new compounds in the product are assessed for possible human allergenicity. Finally, an estimate is calculated to determine how much of the product might be consumed in a normal diet, whether the data indicate any possible nutritional or toxicological risks and, if so, further animal testing is performed to investigate any potentially harmful characteristics of the product.
While opposition groups to GM foods have long claimed that these novel products aren't tested sufficiently before public release, there has yet to be a documented adverse reaction to any GM food. In addition, these pre-market testing procedures have proven their effectiveness by actually finding allergens in GMO products before release and have allowed the safe removal of the offending foods from the development pathway.
The evidence amassed to date tells us that GM foods pose little to no risk to human health. While there can always be more stringent testing, a balance must be struck between corporate and public interests. If testing is too lengthy or expensive, companies will simply stop developing new products, much like what has happened to the pharmaceutical industry. The current safety testing procedures for GM foods do a fantastic job at both protecting the public and encouraging continued development of needed agricultural technologies.
One of the most commonly cited, real-world instances of "potentially harmful" compounds entering the food supply by way of GM crops was the contamination of corn used to produce Taco Bell hard taco shells with a small amount of a GM variety known as StarLink, which was approved only for use in animal feed. Twenty-eight individuals reported symptoms of allergic reaction resulting from the consumption of the taco shells. It was postulated that "Cry9C," a protein in the StarLink corn, was the culprit.
Then as now, however, those claims of allergenicity are beset with credibility issues.
First, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention performed analyses of the blood of those reporting allergic reactions and found no evidence that the corn had caused their symptoms. Second, allergens are proteins, like the suspected Cry9C protein. The production of a hard taco shell requires frying the corn tortilla in oil at around 365 degrees F. At that temperature, essentially all proteins in the tortilla are denatured, which means that their shape is altered fundamentally, even fragmented. That the tiny amount of Cry9C present in the StarLink material also was denatured at the time of consumption further reduced whatever risk of allergenicity the protein posed in the taco shell. Accordingly, although the recall of the contaminated corn arguably was warranted on regulatory grounds, the fear-mongering and paranoia that followed were unfounded and irrational.
There's also the argument against GM crops based on potential hazards they might pose to their surrounding ecosystems and the global environment. On the positive side, pest-resistant cultivars have significantly lowered the need for pesticides in many areas. In addition, GM crops also allow for a reduction in farming-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions due to more limited use of pesticide spraying equipment and a shift from conventional tillage to reduced/no till practices. Compared to 1996 levels of GHG emissions, GM crops provided global savings of approximately 32.5 billion pounds of carbon dioxide in 2006 alone. That's the equivalent of taking over 6.5 million cars off of the roads for a year. In addition, GM crops have provided substantial farm-level income increases by way of increased yields, better quality produce, and increased replanting efficiency.
On the negative side, opponents of GM crops have raised concerns about the novel cultivars' impact on biodiversity, weed resistance, and gene transfer to non-GM crops. On the issue of biodiversity, both sides of the issue agree that it is an important subject to watch. Theories have suggested that, were GM traits passed onto wild relatives, then other native species could be out-competed into extinction. In addition, the release of a particular crop variety with a major advantage over all others could lead to the use of only one cultivar, significantly decreasing crop biodiversity. Yet, while gene transfer between species has been recorded in GM crop locations, no significant negative effects have been noted. As well, seed companies work to prevent the use of a single cultivar by introducing the same trait into many different varieties of a crop. Therefore, the chance of one cultivar becoming overwhelmingly dominant is quite low.
Finally, the issue of weed resistance is worthy of attention and study. Gene transfer from GM crops to wild plants has been shown to occur. However, the occurrence of such an event is extremely rare and the resulting hybrids are often sterile, much like mules and the familiar yellow bananas we find in grocery stores. Despite the low risk of problems with weed resistance, issues have arisen in some areas of the southern US with crop field infestations of herbicide-resistant plants, particularly pigweed. In most cases, the problem was managed by crop and herbicide rotation. In some rare cases, the fields had to be abandoned. Fortunately, the benefits of GM crops grossly outweigh the rare problems they may cause with the development of resistant weeds.
The conclusion here is that GM foods pose little risk to human health. They are studied quite extensively before being put on the market, and the screening procedures have been so successful that no significant health issues related to GM foods have ever been reported. The fact is that GM crops are eaten every day by millions of people in the US alone with no ill effects. On the environmental side, GM crops pose a very small threat to their natural environments. While the concern over gene transfer to non-GM plant species is real, it has never been shown to cause a problem with ecosystem biodiversity. Unfortunately, there is a small risk of resistant traits to undesirable weed plants that can then infest crop fields. However, with diligent farming practices the detriments of such species can be all but avoided in most cases. GM foods offer the farmer and society at large a way to produce healthier, more bountiful produce in a way that is less harmful to the environment. We need higher yields and lower environmental impact to deal with our fast growing human population. Let's embrace the technologies that we have and get over the irrational fears surrounding GMOs.
Nutrition Perfected provides personalized performance nutrition counseling to athletes as well as regular Joes and Janes who want to improve their bodies and minds. We specialize in maximizing fat loss, muscle gain, and athletic performance. We incorporate the latest and most powerful strategies and techniques in order to provide each client with a nutrition plan that fits their lifestyle and accomplishes their goals. We rely only on scientifically guided principles and methods that have proven their value in action. We are based in Brooklyn, NY but serve our clients worldwide. Whether you are just starting out or are an elite athlete looking for that extra edge, let us help you perform to your highest potential!

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Cure For Over Weight or Obesity

As per World Health Organization report there are more than 1 billion overweight adults, at least 300 million of them obese. Obesity occurs when there is an excess amount of fat (BMI of 30 or higher). Body mass index (BMI), defined as the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters (kg/m²).  BMI above 25kg/m² is defined as overweight, and a BMI of over 30 kg/m2 as obese. Obesity can afflict any human being irrespective of whether men, women, adults, teenagers or children. The increasing obesity rate is a growing problem in the modern world. The problem of overweight and obesity has increasedin the last 2 decades particularly in metropolitan cities due to faulty lifestyle.
Main causes of over weight/obesity 
  • Unorganized, haphazardor sedentary life style.
  • Unbalanced diet (Intake of junk food, high fat diets like chocolates, sweets, wafers and high carbohydrate food like potatoes, rice and pasta) & Overeating.
  • Lack of exercises/Physical inactivity.
  • Improper functioning of digestive system (improper digestion, improper assimilation of food and elimination of waste from the body).
· Medical conditions like thyroid and neurological problem may also cause obesity.
  • Psychological reasons such as Depression, anxiety, trauma and stress  may cause eating disorder & may lead to over weight/obesity
  • Recovering from a surgery or prolonged immobility.

Bad effects of obesity & over weight
Obesity and overweight pose a major risk for chronic diseases such as anxiety, hypertension, sleeping disorder,joints problem particularly knee joints, type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and stroke, and certain forms of cancer.
Cure for over weight/ obesity
  1. Change in lifestyle & eating habits
  2. Exercises/ yoga

Change in lifestyle & eating habits 
Get up early in the morning and drink luke warm water with 1tsp lime juice mixed with 2tsp honey. Control anger and anxiety by avoiding the situation, keeping calm or taking deep breath. Do not watch TV while taking food. Take balanced diet i.e. food from all food groups such as Vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, legumes and low fat milk products & chew eatables properly. Avoid taking junk and spicy food, deep-fry food, processes food, ice cream, high fat diets chocolates, sweets, wafers and high carbohydrate food like potatoes, rice and pasta as these items lose nutrition balance and causes deposition of excess fat on body and sleep after two hours of dinner.
Exercises/ yoga
Exercises and yoga stimulate the body and create necessary hormones for the proper and smooth functioning of digestive system, heart, brain, kidney and all other organs of our body & play very important role in the treatment of Obesity.Brisk walking in the morning for twenty minutes or jogging, along with doing stretching exercises, asana and yoga's (PRANAYAM) is the best way to prevent & control obesity. Following Yoga techniques can be practiced effectively to reduce the weight.
  1. Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation is the best way to burn the calories and reduce weight. It is useful for the people of all ages from kids to old people.
  2. Urdhvahastottanasana: Stand erect, heels joined. Interlock your fingers and slowly raise your hands up while inhaling. Now exhale and bend to the left at the waist. Hold the position as long as you can, breathing normally. Then inhale and bring the body back to erect position. Repeat for the right side. Repeat the asana 6-8 times.
  3. Ek Pad Utanasana: Lye on the back, keep the heels together & put the hands on the floor by the side of the body. Inhale slowly, stretch one of the feet forward and lift the tight leg up. Hold the breath remains in this position for six to eight seconds and bring the leg down while exhaling. Practice this exercise with the other leg. In the beginning, this asana should be practiced four times with each leg. After practice, one can practice this asana for more times with each leg.
  4. Uttanopadasana: Lye down in shavasana, Inhale & start raising your legs up to 30 degrees. Continue normal breathing & bring down your left leg slowly till the heel touches the floor. Now inhale & start raising your left foot till it joins your right foot, keep it up & bring down your right leg slowly till the heel touches the floor & relax. Repeat the same with your right leg. Keep the knees straight & toes out stretched and slowly bring both feet down till both heels touch the floor and relax.
  5. Pada Sanchalasana(Bicyling):  Lye down on the floor or hard bed on your back, put the hands on the floor by the side of the body facing palm upward and raise your left leg and make a big zero by rotating it in a clockwise direction from the hip joint. Continue to make 8-10 circles without touching the ground at all. After rotating in clockwise direction, rotate the same leg in anticlockwise direction for 8-10 rounds. Relax for some time & repeat the same exercise with your right leg. Take normal breath. This asana can also be performed with both the legs at a time but those suffering from backache, slip disc, sciatica, high blood pressure and heart diseases should do this asana with only one leg at a time.
  6. Drututtanpadasana: Stretch your body and keep it taut. Inhale and raise both legs slowly while putting pressure on your hands. Align your legs at 90° to the floor and then slowly bring them down. However, just before touching the ground, raise both legs back up. Repeat this procedures 8-10 times or till you feel tired. Inhale while raising the legs, exhale while bringing them down. Repeat this asana 3-5 times
Take precaution that you gradually start your asana & exercises not at once. All the asanas and exercise should be learned from any guru and be practiced under his guidance. These yoga asanas should be avoided by persons suffering from the high blood pressure, serious heart conditions. Those suffering from and back problems such as Sciatica and Slipped disc should not do the bending postures of surya namaskar & do the other asanas with one leg at a time.
Regular exercises, yoga and meditation are also very useful in controlling psychological factors like depression, anxiety, stress and anger. Exercises and yoga are also very effective in controlling the diseases due to heredity and genetic reasons. For medical conditions consult the qualified doctor.
For more details and anti obesity visit: -
I believe in ancient theory of lifestlye which emphasise that regulated lifestyle, balanced diet & regular exercises/yoga can prevent and even cure many diseases and will keep you physically as well as mentally fit with out medicines.
"Prevention is better than cure" is mool mantra of lifestyle. The address of my website is--

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Natural Diabetes Cure - Onion For Diabetes Treatment

A natural diabetes cure that is beneficial is known as onion for diabetes treatment. Onion is well known for its effectiveness against a variety of conditions that include the common cold, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and other diseases.
Onion contains chemical compounds that are believed to have anti-cholesterol, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties like quercetin. The onion shows a single vertical shoot above the ground, while the bulb grows underground; it is a close relative of garlic.
A natural diabetes cure has found that onion has a significant blood sugar lowering action and the main active ingredient is known as allyl propyl disulphide (APDS) as well as diallyl disulphide oxide (allicin).
APDS has the ability to lower blood sugar levels and increase insulin. Other benefits of onion are its cardiovascular effects, have the ability to lower lipid levels, are antihypertensive, and can inhibit platelet aggregation. Onions are essential for diabetes treatment.
How onions lower blood sugar is not exactly known, however research has shown that the properties of onion can block the breakdown of insulin in the liver that prevents the destruction of insulin. Therefore, this means that the body will have higher levels of insulin, which is essential for people with diabetes.
Onion for diabetes treatment has been used since ancient times; it makes no difference whether the onion is eaten raw or cooked. Onions (Allium cepa) belong to the lily family, which is the same family as garlic, chives, leeks, and shallots.
Onion is a natural diabetes cure that contains a number of sulphides that are similar to those that are found in garlic, these are known to lower blood lipids and blood pressure.
Following is a recipe for a natural diabetes cure that contains onion:
Onion and Potato Pie
500g Onions, finely sliced
1kg of potatoes, peeled and finely sliced
1 tablespoon of oil
125g of grated cheddar cheese
15g of butter
2 tablespoons of chopped parsely
2 tablespoons of chopped chives
Salt and pepper to season
1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan (one that can be placed under the grill), place a layer of potato, onion and cheese and repeat ending with a layer of potato, season in between each layer
2. Reduce the heat, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Remove and place the butter over the potato and place under a preheated grill for a further 10 minutes or until browned
3. Remove pie from pan and slice into wedges, top a mix of parsley and chives, serve with a fresh green salad
It is essential for diabetics to implement onions into their diabetes treatment plan, as this natural diabetes cure can help you to achieve optimum health.
Sue Kennedy is the author of the physician-endorsed e-book "Defeat Diabetes Now," and operates a membership channel devoted to health & wellness. Readers of her book also receive instant access to expert interviews, articles, diet plans and other resources designed to maintain optimum health and prevent disease. Learn how you can defeat diabetes now

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Kick Start Weight Loss

It is not always easy to begin a weight loss routine. Your intentions to lose weight will be good, but you might struggle to start changing your lifestyle or you might find that you are not dropping any pounds in the beginning. There are some things that you can do to help kick start weight loss.
Kick Start Weight Loss Now With These Simple Steps
There are steps to take before you make any attempts to lose weight. First, you should consult with your physician so that they can provide you with any do's or don'ts for your new eating and exercise habits based on your current and past medical history. Your physician will also be able to answer questions you have about whether or not you can use weight loss pills to help you begin losing weight.
Make a commitment to living a healthy life for the rest of your life rather than opting to try a crash diet or a celebrity diet. You can drop those unwanted pounds and maintain a good weight throughout life if you concentrate on eating well each day and by living an active rather than a sedentary lifestyle.
There are some simple changes you can make in your dietary habits that can help you to begin dropping a couple extra pounds. If you are currently drinking soda or other sugary beverages, cut them out of your diet immediately. These drinks are not healthy for you and can pack on extra pounds. You can lose a couple pounds in a short amount of time by making this simple change.
Cut Calories
Cut high fat and high calorie take-out foods and processed foods from your diet if these items are currently a part of your daily or weekly eating habits. If you find that you cannot cut out these convenience foods completely with your busy life, you must reduce the number of times you eat these meals. Eating less of these foods will help you cut down on calories which should result in some weight loss over time.
Increase Activity
Increase your activity level each day to help kick start your weight loss. Your diet is extremely important but you also need to get moving to drop unwanted pounds. If you are quite inactive and gradually add some physical activity to your life, you will begin losing weight. The same is true if you are active here and there and make the switch to exercising regularly and to finding ways to increase activity levels each day.
Positive Attitude
Start your weight loss plan on the right foot; with a positive attitude. Believing in yourself and having the confidence that you can achieve a healthy weight, will go a long way in helping you to begin your weight loss. By starting out with a good attitude, you will have the motivation you need to make changes and stick with them.
By following a few simple steps, you can kick start weight loss. Before long, you will see the number on the scale begin to go down and you will be on the way to becoming healthier and slimmer.
Hi. I'm Dani Mills, author of [] and
These are just two of the topics I like to write about. If you would like to see more or let me know what you think, please visit my sites. You are very welcome to leave a comment, I'd love to hear from you.

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Progressive Muscle Relaxation Technique for Eating Disorders: Step by Step

Progressive muscle relaxation is a technique for reducing anxiety by alternately tensing and relaxing the muscles. It was developed by American physician Edmund Jacobson in the early 1920s. Jacobson believed that since muscle tension accompanies anxiety, one can reduce anxiety by learning how to relax the muscular tension.
Anxieties and muscular tension are common for all eating disorder sufferers. Therefore, Progressive muscle relaxation is a useful practice to reduce and even eliminate these symptoms.
Other benefits of Progressive muscle relaxation for eating disorder people are:
- relaxing the body and the mind
- diminishing the urges to binge, purge or startve yourself
- decreasing headaches,
- improving sleep
- making you focus on the present moment instead  of being in the past or future.
The exercises require you to tense and relax 16 muscle groups in your body step by step. For some, you will be required to stretch your legs forward and do other stretches for which your posture is important. Therefore you will benefit most if you avoid lying down throughout these exercises. Also, most people who lie down tend to fall asleep during the exercise, but this is not the purpose. You are encouraged to sit comfortably in a chair or armchair which can keep your back comfortable and straight.
Now take a few slow deep breaths, deep in your stomach and begin to relax.
As you let your body relax, clench your fists and bend them back at the wrist, tighter and tighter.  Keep breathing and feel the tension in your fists and forearms. Now relax. Feel the looseness in your hands and forearms. Notice the contrast with tension.
Now bend your elbows and tense your biceps. Tense them as hard as you can and observe the feeling of tightness. Let your arms drop down now and relax. Feel the difference between tension and relaxation.
Now turn your attention to your head, and wrinkle your forehead. Yes, as tight as you can. Tight, tight, yes feel the tension. Keep breathing and feel the tension in the forehead and scalp. Now relax and smooth it out. Imagine your entire forehead and scalp becoming smooth and at rest.
Now frown and notice the strain spreading throughout your forehead. Keep breathing, and let go. Relax. Allow your brow to become smooth again.
Now squeeze your eyes closed. Tighter. Keep breathing, and relax your eyes. Let them remained closed, gently and comfortably.
Now open your mouth wide and feel tension in your jaw. Now relax your jaw. When the jaw is relaxed your lips will be slightly parted. Notice the contrast between tension and relaxation.
Now press your tongue against the roof of your mouth. Experience the ache at the back of your mouth. Keep breathing through your nose. And relax.
Press your lips now, purse them into an "O" shape. And now relax your lips. Feel the relaxation in your forehead, scalp, eyes, jaw, tongue, and lips. Let go more and more.
Now roll your head slowly around your neck, feeling the point of tension shifting as your head moves. And then slowly roll your head the other way. Keep breathing. Good, now relax, allowing your head to return to a comfortable upright position.
Now shrug your shoulders. Bring your shoulders up towards your ears. Hold it...  And drop your shoulders back down and feel the relaxation spreading through your neck, throat, and shoulders. Pure relaxation, deeper and deeper. Shrug the shoulders again... and drop it. Feel the sensation of being relaxed in your shoulders.
Now breathe in and fill up your lungs completely and hold your breath. Experience tension. Now exhale and let your chest become loose. Try again. Filling your lungs completely and hold your breath. Experience the tension, you might even feel sensations in your cheeks and face. Now exhale. Continue relaxing, letting your breath come freely and gently. Notice the tension draining out of your muscles with each exhalation.
Next, tighten your stomach and hold. Feel the tension. And relax. Now place your hands on your stomach. Breathe deeply into your stomach pushing your hand up. Hold. And relax. Feel the contrast of relaxation as the air rushes out. Try again. Place your hand on your stomach. Breathe deeply into your stomach pushing your hand up, and hold. And relax.
Now arch your back, without straining. Keep the rest of your body as relaxed as possible. Focus on the tension in your lower back. Now relax. Let the tension dissolve away.
Now, tighten your buttocks and thighs. Feel the tension... Relax and feel the difference. Try again. Tighten your buttocks and thighs. Strongly, tighter, keep breathing, feel the tension. And relax.
Now straighten and tense your legs and curl your toes downwards. Keep breathing. Experience the tension. And relax. Again, straighten and tense your legs, but this time bend your toes towards your face. Bend your toes towards your face. Tighter, tighter, keep breathing, feel the tension. And relax.
Feel the comfortable warmth and heaviness of deep relaxation throughout your entire body as you continue to breathe slowly and deeply. You can relax even more as you move up through your body, letting go of the last bit of tension in your body. Start with the feet. Relax your feet. Move up and relax your ankles. Relax your calves. Relax your shins. Relax your knees, your thighs, and buttocks. Let the relaxation spread through your stomach, to your lower back, to your chest. Let go more and more. Feel the relaxation deepening in your shoulders, in your arms, and in your hands. Deeper and deeper. Notice the feeling of looseness and relaxation in your neck, your jaw, your face, and your scalp.
Continue to breathe, slowly and deeply, down in your stomach. Your entire body is comfortably loose and relaxed, calm, and rested...
Regular practice of this simple technique will significantly reduce the muscular tension in your whole body and reduce the anxiety which is a common culprit of why people start binging, purging or starving themselves.
Dr Irina Webster MD is the Director of Women Health Issues Program. She is a recognized authority in the eating disorders area. She is an author of many books and a public speaker.

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Discover the Health Benefits of Fermented Foods

If you're like most Americans, you don't eat a lot of fermented foods. Fermented foods are more popular in the Chinese, Korean and Japanese culture where fermented soy products like tempeh and kimchee are a dietary staple. In fact, the only exposure many Americans get to fermented foods is when they eat a container of yogurt with active cultures - but that's rapidly changing.
Fermented products are growing in popularity including fermented beverages like kombucha, a beverage prepared from fermented mushrooms, and kefir, a fermented milk drink. More natural food stores are carrying fermented foods and beverages because of the health benefits they offer.
What Are the Health Benefits of Fermented Foods?
One reason fermented foods and beverages are good for you is because of the natural probiotics they contain. Probiotics are "good bacteria" that keep disease-causing bacteria in check by competing for the same resources. There's only so much room available in your gut for bacteria and when the good guys move in, they push the bad ones out. Unfortunately, most people who eat Westernized diets don't get many natural probiotics in their diet. That's changing as yogurt and other fermented foods grow in popularity.
Probiotic bacteria not only keep bad bacteria in check, they also help to "tune up" your immune system. You may not know it but 70% of your immune system lies in your gut - so nurturing your gut immunity with probiotic bacteria keeps your intestinal tract healthy.
Some studies also show these friendly bacteria offer added resistance against infection. Plus they offer potential benefits for treating irritable bowel syndrome, some types of diarrhea and for preventing vaginal yeast infections. If you have gas and bloating after meals, probiotics may help with these symptoms because fermented foods are a natural source of intestine-friendly bacteria.
Fermenting Foods Reduces Anti-Nutrients
Another benefit to fermenting foods, especially soy, is it inactivates anti-nutrients that block the absorption of minerals from the foods you eat. Soy contains phytates, compounds that reduce the absorption of minerals like iron, zinc and calcium from your gut. Fermenting soy inactivates phytates, making it a healthier way to eat soy.
Examples of fermented soy foods you can buy at most natural food markets are miso and tempeh. You may have enjoyed a cup of miso soup at a Japanese restaurant and not realized you were doing good things for your intestines. Believe me - your intestines would thank you if they could.
Other examples of probiotic-rich foods are sauerkraut, kimchi (fermented cabbage), fermented cheeses and soy sauce. Just as there are fermented foods, you can nurture your intestines with probiotic beverages like kefir and kombucha.
Fermented Beverages: Another Source of Probiotics
Kefir is a probiotic -rich beverages that has the consistency of thin yogurt and is available in a number of flavors at natural food markets. It has a slightly tart taste like yogurt, but you can blend it with fresh fruit for a sweeter taste. You can even make your own kefir at home.
Kombucha is fizzy and has a rather tart taste. Some companies that produce it like Synergy add flavors like lemon, strawberry and cranberry to it to give it more mainstream appeal. Being an acquired taste, some people don't like it when they first try it but after drinking it a few times, its fizzy effervescence becomes addictive for some.
How to Enjoy the Health Benefits of Fermented Foods
You can enjoy the benefits of probiotic bacteria by simply eating a container of yogurt with active cultures every day. If you're a little more adventurous, give kefir or kombucha a try. There are ways to make eating kefir more fun. Try making a kefir parfait by adding nuts, seeds, fresh fruit and spices to kefir. It's a healthy way to start the morning. Sip on a bottle of flavored kombucha as a healthy replacement for soft drinks.
Why not make your own sauerkraut? You'll get the benefits of the probiotic bacteria and the anti-cancer compounds in cabbage at the same time. Sauerkraut you buy in cans at the grocery store don't contain live probiotics. Here's a video to show you how:
When buying cheese, skip the packaged cheese at the grocery store and buy aged cheese with natural probiotics. Fermented soy is rich in isoflavones, natural compounds that may reduce the risk of heart disease and some types of cancer. You can buy miso at most natural food markets and use it to make soup, sauces and salad dressings. You can also add it to soups and stews for greater health benefits.
You'll want to avoid using high heat since it can destroy the probiotic bacteria. Try tempeh, another fermented soy product, as a substitute for meat. It's a good choice for meatless Mondays. By scouring the web, you'll find a number of tasty recipes using tempeh.
Next time you're at your local natural food market, pick up some kimchi. It's a popular vegetable side dish in Korea made of fermented cabbage and other fermented veggies. It has a spicy taste that's as tongue tingling as it is healthy. In fact, you can ferment your own vegetables at home using a starter culture you buy at health food stores or online.
The Bottom Line?
Enjoy the health benefits that fermented foods and beverages have to offer. You might discover you enjoy the taste as much as you do the health benefits.
British Journal of Nutrition / Volume 107 / Issue 06 / March 2012, pp 876-884.
Eden Foundation. "Fermented Food: Safer to Eat"
Find out how to lead a healthier lifestyle - naturally at We'll keep you abreast of the latest health information and help you look, live and feel healthier.

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Monday, December 2, 2013

How to Avoid Winter Weight Gain!

Weight gain in winter is not an uncommon phenomenon. Most people will gain 0.5-2 kilograms during the winter season and some of us don't lose it afterwards. This can lead to gradual weight gain and obesity issues down the track, according to some recent research. Read this article on how to keep off the winter kilos and start spring with a strong, healthy body.
When autumn rolls around and the bathers and shorts get put away until next year, some of us breathe a sign of relief. Glad to not have to show off our bodies during the next 6 months and be able to enjoy our favourite winter comfort foods. But spring comes sooner than we expect, as does warm weather and singlet tops. And we panic and hit the gym!
But what if I told you that keeping the weight off should be easier in winter than in summer and it only takes a few simple strategies to achieve. It is true that in colder weather, our appetites are increased and in extremely cold weather, your body has to work harder to keep warm and therefore you do burn more calories (5-20%) however this is in extreme cold so not applicable to most of the world.
Here are some suggestions for your diet and exercise suggestions for winter:
  • Exercise to keep warm. Better than hot showers and layers, getting your heart rate up makes you warmer than anything else.

  • Ask any runner if the cold weather makes them run faster and I bet that they would say it does! When it is so cold and you have adrenaline pumping around, you are likely to be more productive when you exercise. Just make sure you warm up properly!

  • Instead of exercising in the morning or in the evening when the temperatures are lower, try going for a walk or run at lunchtime. Rain? Then take out a three month membership at the gym closest to your work and do a session three times a week.

  • On weekends if the weather is dry, try to be as active as possible. Walk, cycle, join a winter team sport etc. Often in summer some of these activities are off limits in the middle of the day due to the heat, but in winter it is more achievable.

  • If the weather is not so good, make a "date" with your gym at a set time, three to four times per week. You wouldn't break an appointment with your doctor or best friend so don't break a date with the gym either. The results will be worth it.

  • Recruit a gym buddy: you are more likely to go if there is someone expecting you.

  • Work your legs: not only do your legs contain one of the biggest muscle groups in the body but by focussing on squats, lunges and other leg exercises, your legs will look great in your new pair of jeans
You might find yourself eating less "cold" foods like fresh fruit, yoghurt, cold meats etc and instead craving hot, heavy meals. Try to still get in your three serves of dairy and two serves of fruit however but stick to seasonable fruit (i.e oranges, kiwi fruit, pears). Here are some healthy snacks that are warming for the body:
  • Low fat tinned soup (watch the sodium) or a cup of homemade soup

  • "lite" hot chocolate using real cocoa powder, ½ tsp of sugar and hot skim milk or a skim cappuccino.

  • Warmed low fat custard with stewed fruit

  • For your main meals, instead of heavy meat dishes or cream-based meals, try some of the following dishes:

  • Soup soup soup! And not just plain soups either. Homemade soup with vegetables plus any of the following additions: barley, chickpeas, lentils, chicken, ham, split peas. Season it with different spices i.e. try a Moroccan edge to your standard sweet potato soup by adding chickpeas and Moroccan spices

  • Use ricotta cheese instead of white sauce when make lasagna and always use lean mince

  • If you eat a lot of beef heavy dishes, like roasts, goulash, stroganoff etc make sure it is still a lean cut of meal or trim all visible fat off before cooking. With roast chicken, remove the skin then cover in spices and olive oil before wrapping it in metal foil and roasting it. You will still get juicy chicken without the fat from the skin having soaked through, adding extra calories

  • Instead of using mashed potato as a side dish, try boiled or roast jacket potato with some lite cream cheese to flavour. You generally eat more of something if it is blended up as not needing to chew something stops the signalling to the brain that you are full. Chew foods thoroughly to get the most flavour and fullness out of them.
Other suggestions:
- Take your holidays in the winter, finding warmer destinations overseas or in a tropical area so your body forgets it is winter.
If budgets permit, try a skiing holiday! 1 hour of skiing burns about 500 calories so you might return from your holiday lighter than when you left!
Most of these suggestions are not difficult to implement and maintain through a winter season and the result will be a beach ready body when the hot weather returns.

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