Practice the Positive

Practice the Positive

Are you a positive person or a negative person? The answer to that question could be the answer to better health!

Do you begrudgingly undertake your every day tasks? Are you bitter and resentful towards others you interact with, or you hold negative feelings of jealousy, spite, malice, anger etc. toward others? This makes you a bitter, unpleasant and resentful person with a poor and unpleasant attitude.

Physically, the stress hormones you release when you act and think in such ways create negative energy. This in turn creates negative results in just about everything you do with everyone you know. Your body as well as your mind turn into battle zones when they should be a peaceful place where life improvements are free to create positive results.

How do I practice the positive?
How do I practice the positive?

Unfortunately, we live in times where there is an over-abundance of discord among us. Political discord, class warfare, government encouraged “suspicious activity” watching, racially motivated flash mobs, riots, protests, threats, etc. Society as a whole is becoming angry and that anger is being taken out on loved ones and strangers alike.

You see, just as the negative affects you negatively, practice the positive and it will affect you positively!

It’s a far cry from what a pure human heart (consider a child) is to do, as in “love one another”. Consider children – they laugh, giggle, play, find wonder and discovery in everything they do and see. They see no color, they don’t look at every person they interact with with a suspicious eye. Quite the contrary. They have no choice but to look up to adults with trust.

Instead, in their innocence, they accept and trust, especially adults because they have to. Just what kind of example does an angry, bitter adult set for a child? Children learn more from the examples adults set than all the preaching in the world. What kind of example are you setting for the young people who cross your path? A positive one or a negative one? If you determine you are being negative much of the time, learn to practice the positive!

Angry people with crappy attitudes and negative thoughts toward their peers are also more apt to do drugs. Smoking marijuana is linked it to lung disease and cancer. The drug ecstasy has been linked to the destruction of brain cells, according to some research. Cocaine, amphetamines, narcotics, and hallucinogens also place extreme and toxic stress on the body. You see, all that negative thinking leads to negative actions in your thoughts, words and deeds. That can have a ripple effect that will ultimately destroy your health.

Thoughts and feelings do have significant effects on our health
Thoughts and feelings do have significant effects on our health.

Are you thinking this sounds like a bunch of psychological prattle? It’s not – there is physical evidence to back it up. More and more studies conducted by leading scientists, quantum physicists, and world-renowned researchers prove that our thoughts and feelings do have significant effects on our health. Both physiologically and psychologically.

But before you can reap positive physical benefits, you have to train your mind to practice the positive. This can be a powerful tool in every aspect of your life, including your fitness and dieting adventures.

If you can strive to change negative thoughts into positive, you can change your life in any way you wish to. Biologist Glen Rein at the Institute of Heart Math, in Boulder Creek, California, conducted a study of people who entered a state of what he referred to as “heart consciousness”. He found that these people could actually alter DNA (genetic material) by merely allowing their minds to be full of positive and loving thoughts followed by kind and loving emotions!

Not only was their emotional well being positively affected, practicing the positive was good for their heart health.

Electrocardiograms (ECGs) were performed and analyzed by sophisticated frequency-analysis software. It was discoverHeart Beated that while thinking positive, heart rhythms became coherent. Dr. Ornish has directed clinical research demonstrating, for the first time, that comprehensive lifestyle changes may begin to reverse even severe coronary heart disease. Without drugs or surgery. His current research showed that comprehensive lifestyle changes affect gene expression, “turning on” disease-preventing genes and “turning off” genes that promote cancer and heart disease. In short, practice the positive and be a healthier you.

Dr. Ornish found that his strict dietary and lifestyle approach to overcome heart disease helped some people, but there was still a “missing link” for others in whom he witnessed fewer improvements. When he began delving into the stifled he discovered that the power to “love one another” was most significant:

I am not aware of any other factor in medicine that has a greater impact on our survival than the healing power of love. Not diet, not smoking, not exercise, not stress, not genetics, not drugs, and not surgery.” – Dr. Dean Ornish

Perhaps it’s time to take a good, hard, objective and honest look at your own thoughts and attitude toward others. Could you help yourself by finding it within you to love a bit more and resent a whole lot less? Can you look at others and practice the positive as opposed to viewing them with a suspicious or resentful eye?

The choice is yours…but so are the results of your choices. Be smart, practice the positive.

Reducing Fat and Cholesterol

Are You Reducing Fat and Cholesterol in Your Recipes?

Reducing Fat and Cholesterol
Reducing Fat and Cholesterol

Tips for reducing fat and cholesterol in your favorite recipes.

  • Avoid high-fat, high-cholesterol foods completely. These include animal based foods such as red meat, eggs, whole milk, butter or whole milk cheese. Drink skim milk or skim milk products. Use tub margarine with liquid olive or peanut oil as the primary ingredient in place of butter or sour cream.
  • Stock your refrigerator with foods that are naturally low in fat and cholesterol-free such as fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • When you cook poultry, remove the skin. To retain moistness, you can cook it with the skin on, but do not eat the skin. Remove it before eating the chicken.
  • Bake, boil, broil, roast or steam foods rather than frying. Avoid fried foods and aim to eliminate them from your diet entirely. This is a great habit for reducing fat and cholesterol.
  • Use nonstick cooking sprays which are low in calories. You could also use a small dab of butter in a pan if necessary but avoid lard, bacon fat and shortening.
  • When preparing recipes, experiment by cutting the fat by one-fourth or one-third. For example, if a muffin recipe calls for 1-cup of oil, try 3/4-cup. If that works try using 2/3-cup next time and so on.
  • When a recipe calls for milk, use skim milk or 1-percent milk. If the result is too thin, try evaporated skim milk, which also can be used effectively in cream soups. It can be whipped when partially frozen.
  • Remove the fat from gravy and soup using a fat separator (a small pitcher with a specially designed spout). Or refrigerate the food overnight and skim off the fat when hardened.
  • In recipes, substitute low-fat or non fat plain yogurt for sour cream. To help separation in cooked foods, bland a small amount of flour or cornstarch (1-tablespoon) into the yogurt.
  • For half or all of the ground beef required in a recipe, substitute ground white turkey or ground white chicken meat. In addition, in many recipes you can usually cut the amount of meat in half. This works best with recipes calling for ground meat to further reduce fat and cholesterol.
  • Eat no more than two to four eggs per week. Each large egg has about 213 milligrams of cholesterol. In recipes, use an egg white for one whole egg, or use egg substitutes.

Fat Substitutes for Reducing Fat and Cholesterol

Another way to reduce fat is to use products that contain fat substitutes or fat replacers. Most fat replacers are made of all-natural, food-based substances.

They fall into three categories.

  1. Carbohydrate-based. An excellent thickener and stabilizer. Used in many formulated foods, such as margarine, mayonnaise and baked desserts.
  2. Protein based. Good for frozen and refrigerated products such as dairy products, cream-type products and prepared entrees such as pizza.
  3. Fat based. After being chemically altered, have fewer calories than fat or no calories at all. These are very stable when heated making them good for cooking.

Coffee and Alcohol

Coffee and Alcohol: Drink Up But Drink Smart

Oh no – not doom and gloom on two such commonly ingested beverages! No worries. Just a few notable notes so you can make informed decisions on both your coffee and alcohol consumption. In moderation, coffee and alcohol cannot harm you. That is unless you have a sensitivity or health concern specifically harmed by either.

Coffee Consumption: The Good News

Coffee and Alcohol: Drink Up But Drink Smart
Coffee and Alcohol: Drink Up But Drink Smart

Drink coffee made from coffee beans that are organically grown, properly harvested, stored, and roasted. Drinking coffee in moderation may have some beneficial properties. For type 2 diabetics, reviews of 9 studies of coffee and diabetes by two show that drinking coffee may be the best counter to your sweet tooth. Source: Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

In short, experts consider moderate consumption to be up to 300mg daily. That would be the amount contained in 2 to 3 cups of coffee or five to six cans of caffeine containing soft drinks.

Coffee Capers

Pesticides. They’re the main problem in coffee consumed in North America. Much of the coffee is actually grown in 3rd world countries where they use toxins such as DDT. Coffee arabica tends to be from Central or South America while coffee robusta from Indonesia or Africa. To be free of such toxins, look for organic coffee.

Those white paper filters used to make your coffee could be a culprit in the negative effects. Numerous studies confirm the existence of dioxin residues in bleached paper coffee filters. Dioxin can suppress the immune system, decrease vitamins A, D and K levels and cause bleeding in babies. Some research suggests dioxin can harm the thyroid hormone regulatory system in addition to having carcinogenic potential. Going with the tan-colored, natural paper filters is a good idea.

Decaffeinated Coffee

This is a conundrum. People who are sensitive to caffeine in regular coffee will turn to decaf to help themselves – but then are exposed to the various chemicals used in the process of decaffeinating. Those chemicals may include:

  • Trichloroethylene.
  • Trichloroethane.
  • Ethyl acetate.
  • Methylene chloride.

There is an alternative: Swiss water-processed decaffeinated coffee. More research is needed on the effects of the above chemicals used to decaffeinate coffee. Just to be on the safe side and to avoid consuming the potentially harmful substances, give the Swiss water processed decaffeinated coffee a try. Especially if you need to avoid caffeine. There are many brands available – just do a quick Bing or Yahoo! search to find options.

What Happens When We Drink Alcohol?

Cocktail
First, your liver has to process alcohol. While busy with this task your liver’s ability to perform up to 500 other functions can be reduced. Second, when you drink alcohol to excess, as in binge drinking, your liver starts to store the excess alcohol. Too much of this behavior can lead to cirrhosis of the liver and hepatitis.

Alcohol decreases your body’s ability to detoxify and inhibits white blood cells, which can negatively affect your immune system. Research also shows links to cancers of the mouth, esophagus, liver and breast from excessive alcohol consumption. According to Cancer.org (PDF):

The way alcohol causes cancer is not completely understood. It could be that alcohol itself causes cancer by increasing hormone levels or it may be carcinogenic because of the way it is metabolized, which can make cells more vulnerable to other carcinogens.

You don’t have to be an alcohol or health expert to understand it’s absolutely best to avoid alcohol in excess.

There you have it. Two of our favorite beverages – coffee and alcohol – can be safely drunk in moderation. In excess, we may have some health problems to contend with. Coffee and alcohol. Drink up, but drink smart.

Fit Tip

As in most things in life, just make those smart, informed choices and practice moderation.

Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)

Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)

Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) were (and still are) powerful carcinogens. A carcinogen is any substance or agent that tends to produce a cancer. Polychlorinated biphenyls are found in things such as asbestos and radon. However, we are also forced to consume it in our foods. Many unaware of its presence! We are exposed to many substances at any given time. This includes those we encounter at work, school, or home, in the food we eat and in the air we breathe.

But it’s almost impossible anyone could know precisely what they’ve been exposed to. PCBs are toxic. They can provoke serious health effects that go beyond cancer. They can also play a role in:

  • Hormone disruption.
  • Reduced ability to reproduce.
  • Skin toxicity.
  • Immune system disorders.

Short period of exposure are not considered to have adverse effects on health. The levels would have to be extremely high. This is a rare occurrence. (Source: Food Safety Authority of Ireland)

In spite of all the unavoidable exposure, both Canada and the United States did ban the use of PCBs in food back in 1970. But agreement on how much is too much is difficult to come by. The United States Environmental Protection Agency states that levels as low as fifty parts per billion are associated with an increased risk.  Health Canada and the United States Food and Drug Administration argue that foods with less than two thousand parts per billion (ppb) of PCBs are fine to eat.

The truth is, no one really knows.

Polychlorinated Biphenyls In Our Food

It is estimated that up to 90 percent of human exposure to dioxins and PCBs results from the consumption of food, mainly those of animal origin. Fruit and vegetables provide only a minor contribution.

Polychlorinated biphenyls are notorious for being found in salmon and other types of farmed fish. They are also found in chicken, beef, pork, eggs, and even milk. A carcinogen called Acetaldehyde is in every beverage you consume that contains alcohol. Salmon accounts for about 6 percent of PCBs ingested by humans.

 

Polychlorinated biphenyls - levels in foods
Polychlorinated biphenyls – levels in foods

 

This graph shows the absolute amount of polychlorinated biphenyls in various foods. It is taken from a FDA market basket study.

We should be concerned about the level of polychlorinated biphenyls in our daily diet. We should know where to look for ways to reduce our consumption that make sense, while not compromising other health benefits, such as that of omega-3 in salmon.

Free download: A List of Known Chemicals Containing PCBs

Chemicals containing Polychlorinated Biphenyls
Chemicals containing Polychlorinated Biphenyls

 

Eat Better. On YOUR Terms.

Eat Better. On YOUR Terms.

Eat Better.
Eat Better.

Eat better. No doubt that can make a difference in your overall health. Like you haven’t heard that before!? Well, that’s because it is true. But you needn’t go to overt extremes. There are “forces” out there convincing us everything is bad – bad, bad, bad food! It’s just not so. No food is bad food. It’s what has been done to our food that can be bad.

But you won’t hear government nannies or food industry professionals explain that to you.

For example, many don’t realize that the rise in lactose intolerance is from the pasteurization of milk. The very thing we’re told makes it “better for us”. From FiascoFarm:

Pasteurization destroys enzymes, diminishes vitamin content, denatures fragile milk proteins, alters vitamin B12, and vitamin B6, kills beneficial bacteria, promotes pathogens and is associated with allergies, increased tooth decay, colic in infants, growth problems in children, osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disease and cancer.

That’s some pretty heavy information – and that’s just the beginning. After you’re done here, visit their page if you’d like to learn more stunning facts on milk and what’s been done to it that harms us.

And how about sugar? Government regulations insist that white sugar must have all the vitamins and minerals removed so that it can be labeled sucrose. These nutrients and fiber waste products are the substances that help your body digest sugar without massive blood sugar fluctuations.

Instead of things like this being spread throughout the news outlets, all we hear is how we eat too many fatty foods.  We eat too much animal protein, too much sugar and too many packaged, prepared, or fast foods. Pure cane sugar is nature’s food. Eggs are natures food. Butter is natures food – margarine, man made and once touted as “better for us” turns out to be a main culprit of deadly trans fat.

Are you beginning to see where the real fat fight is? It didn’t start with us.

A study by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identified more than 55 pesticides that can leave cancer causing residues in food. According to the Natural Resource Defense Council, the use of pesticides has risen more than tenfold since the 1940s. Pesticides are not water-soluble. This means that cannot just be “washed off”.

In your body, pesticides like to attach to fat cells, starting a dangerous process. There are some experts that believe this is a large part of the reason cigarettes became a target for cancer of just about everything. In other words, a very corrupt cover up. Is it true? Honestly, no one knows for sure, but it’s worth consideration. Another punch in the fat fight.

The point here is, stop getting down about how and what you eat. Now granted, too much of any of those above mentioned foods aren’t good for anyone. Too much of ANYTHING isn’t good for anyone. However, sticking to foods in their most natural state is not harmful, it’s healthful.

Our bodies were not designed to handle all the artificial chemicals used by the food-processing industry such as artificial colors, flavors, flavor enhancers, bleach, texture agents, conditioners, ripening gases, waxes, firming agents, nutrient enrichment, preservatives, heavy metals, and other chemicals.

Try to avoid pre-packaged meals cranked out in factories and heavily processed foods. When you purchase frozen fruit and vegetables, check the ingredients to make sure your getting mainly the vegetable or fruit. Don’t use margarine in place of butter.

In summary, eat better yes, but on your terms. Mother nature keeps it simple. Follow her lead.

Think Good Feel Good.

Think Good Feel Good.

Did you know that thinking positive, affirming thoughts can truly affect your fitness and overall health? When you think good thoughts your body actually creates feel good hormones! These hormones give you more energy, balance your mood and can even contribute to your body’s healing abilities.

Think good feel good. 🙂

Beware: it works the same if you’re a negative thinker. If you have dark stressful thoughts, that sends negative messages throughout your body causing negative results. Lethargy, depression, etc. If you are frequently stressed out and miserable, your body will secrete hormones that wreak havoc over time.

Think good feel good.

Super Quick Fit Tip

Touching Toes
Touching Toes

Here’s a super quick way to release some of that tension caused by stress: Touch your toes. Doing this opens up your hip joints and stretches your hamstrings, areas where we tend to store a lot of tension.

Think positive!

If you find yourself stressed, it can be difficult to alter your thinking process from worries to happy thoughts. There are any number of things to worry us but we’ve mentioned it before and will keep doing so. In spite of the negative stress you must deal with, try to stop the bad thoughts. Replace them with something positive.

It truly is a “mind over matter” concept. Give it a try; you could start by simply telling yourself repeatedly: “I can survive this“.

Think good feel good.

Obviously it would be difficult to tell yourself you’re “So happy!” when your world feels like it’s falling apart. But you can generate positive thoughts of survival instead of wallowing in negative thoughts of despair.

Feel Good!
Feel Good!

If you find yourself really having a difficult time thinking anything positive, try this exercise for the spirit.

Text, call or email three to five friends or loved ones’ and tell each of them one thing you enjoy about him or her. Something that makes or has made YOU smile. That forces your thoughts to good things. And … You’ll make them feel good, too and that will make you feel better.

What goes around truly does come around!

It’s a about choices we can make granted to us by human free will.

Make positive choices. Think good feel good.

Sugar, Sweet Sugar

Sugar, Sweet Sugar

Health experts proclaim the average American eats about 156 pounds of sugar a year – at least double what health experts recommend.

Did you know…

Canister of Sugar
Canister of Sugar
  1. A 20-ounce bottle of regular Coke contains the equivalent of 17 teaspoons?
  2. Can you imagine going to your bowl or canister and eating 17 teaspoons at one sitting?
  3. Do you check the content on food and nutrition labels?

Gram Conversion

To convert the grams listed on the food label into teaspoons, simply divide the grams of sugar by 4.2 to get the number of teaspoons.

For example, an 8-ounce container of fat free fruit yogurt has 43.1 grams, or 10.3 teaspoons. (43.1 divided by 4.2 equals 10.3).

The USDA recommends that the average person eat no more than 10 teaspoons per day.

Sweet Usefulness

But sugar isn’t all bad! We simply cannot leave out its good points.

  • In small amounts, it helps yeast begin producing gas for raising yeast dough.
  • It tenderizes dough’s and batters for baked goods.
  • It helps brown baked goods.
  • It makes the crumb of baked goods moist.
  • It aids in the structure of cakes.
  • It is the white sugar in cookie dough that helps spreading to occur during baking.

The “sweet stuff” is such an integral part of our lives that to cut it out would be to remove much of the pleasure of eating. But, it does not have to be that way.

A Bit of History

In 1807, brothers William and Frederick Havemeyer immigrated to the United States from England to start a cane sugar refinery in lower Manhattan.

Five generations of Havemeyers supervised the company’s growth and expansion throughout the nineteenth century, adopting the most progressive methods in the industry.

In 1809, Henry Havemeyer organized the American Sugar Refining Company, which produced nearly all of the sugar in the United States at that time. The company, renamed Amstar Corporation, eventually became Tate and Lyle North American Sugars, Inc., which today owns the Domino brand.

Did you know?

During World War II, GIs called a letter from one’s sweetheart a “sugar report“.

Brown sugar won’t harden if you store it in the freezer.

Fitness: Beating Confusion and Chaos

Fitness: Beating Confusion and Chaos

Fitness Female
Fitness Female

So you know you’re over weight and seek out some advice on how best to cope with this unpleasant fact. You happily start reading about fitness with a positive attitude. Subsequently you start feeling agitated, confused, berated and belittled – then you give up and have a snack, feeling out of sorts.

Nothing gets accomplished. Nothing is solved or resolved. You just feel bad. About yourself, your weight, who you are, where you come from, your looks…and so on it goes.

All that conflicting fitness information may not all be meant to confuse and frustrate you. What happens is people (“experts”) are sharing a personal experience, or the results of small studies that tend to suggest some particular fact. Everyone has their own area of expertise and to be blunt, many become biased in their preferred area. This doesn’t mean they’re bad or purposely trying to mislead you. It just means they feel passionately about their beliefs – but that doesn’t make anyone rock solid right about ANY thing.

And of course, we have many who are motivated to say things because they’re paid to do so. It’s a crazy, cruel world these days. We need to dig into our personal reserves of strength and common sense and “not let the bastards grind us down“.

Non illigitamus carborundum – Latin for “don’t let the bastards grind you down”. General Joseph W. Stilwell, Motto US general (1883 – 1946).

The bottom line is, no two human beings on this planet are genetically the same.  That means not any given food, exercise or other fitness remedy or regime will work exactly the same on any two people.

You are unique and wonderful. You are you, no one else. Embrace yourself. Focus on your good points. Your genetics are yours and yours alone. No one can or will change that, nor will all the “expert advice” in the world.

So where to go from here? Mind over matter. Your own mind, your own life experiences, your wonderful and uniquely made body. Get to know it, love it, nurture it. The ability to do this in spite of all the hammering on us to “eat right, lose weight” gets increasingly difficult by the day. Governments want to tell us how much to weigh, what to eat, where to eat and how to eat. That’s wrong. They don’t know YOU. They have agendas and motives that are completely impersonal and insanely motivated by all the wrong factors.

FIND THE ANSWERS WITHIN YOURSELF
This can be tough, but with some serious thought-discipline it’s perfectly doable. Everything begins in your mind. Negative thoughts produce negative results – yes, even in your body. And if you follow any form of news these days, you’re mind is filled with the negative. Repeatedly. Is it any wonder we’re becoming a society of angry, frustrated, over weight and sometimes depressed individuals? A person can so easily feel defeated and helpless in short order. Fitness becomes nothing more than another burden to contend with.

This may sound extreme to some, but I call that “Cruel and unusual punishment” toward innocent people with very real concerns. It’s especially “cruel” to do this to children, who’s minds are so very impressionable and who can develop emotional scars that will last a lifetime. They are too young to understand the importance of being fed “the positive”.

Listen to your body. Use your own mind – not that of others – to “feed” positive thoughts for positive results. How?

The first and most important thing to understand is that the human mind has a conscious and a subconscious. The subconscious mind has no ability to actually “think”. Consider your computer – you have to “tell it” what is true and what it “knows” via programming. Whatever your subconscious mind is “programmed” with, it accepts. Good or bad, right or wrong. Then it follows through with the very things you’ve become “programmed” by.

So you see, the more you hear that “you’re too fat“, “fat is bad“, the more it seeps into your subconscious creating negative feelings about yourself while you aren’t even aware its taking place. This can lead to patterns of self-sabotage at untold proportions.

DO NOT LISTEN
Instead, start a “mind diet” of positive thinking and work to counter all the negative. Soon your body will follow suit. You’ll begin to feel more positive about your own abilities to achieve weight loss and better overall fitness. You’ll feel more at peace with yourself and others. This in turn helps you achieve things you’ve previously been programmed to think you can’t without some form of “intervention”. Don’t allow your thoughts to be “taken over”. That’s lazy! Take positive control.

The Human Brain

Tell yourself:

  • I can’t.
  • I won’t.
  • It’s no use.
  • It doesn’t pay, I’ll always be this way.
  • It’s genetic, I’m stuck with this problem.
  • My metabolism is just slow.
  • It will never work.
  • Nothing will help me.

And that’s how it shall be.

Your mind, in many ways you don’t realize, is constantly being programmed through conscious self-suggestion as well as external suggestions. Be especially aware of those negative external suggestions as those are the one’s that will worm their way into your subconscious and do the most damage to your abilities and self esteem. Shut them out, turn them off, close the web page telling you “fat is bad”. Fat is not “bad”. Yes, it can be unhealthy, but by no means does it make you “bad” or “unacceptable”.  It makes you human.

Be aware of your conscious thoughts. When a negative one slips in – and it will, you’re only human – stop it and change it to something positive. Banish “I can’t” completely. Make it a huge “I CAN“. It will take some time and practice, but in time you’ll find those negative thoughts dissipating while your mind turns in a new and wonderful, positive direction.

That subconscious mind of yours is working 24 hours a day – make it your first goal to allow it to work to your benefit from this point forward!

Since we become what we think of most of the time, whatever we are thinking of now, we are unconsciously moving toward the achievement of that thought. For an alcoholic, this could be the next drink – for a drug addict, the next fix – for a surfer, the next wave. Divorce, bankruptcy, and illness are all goals spawned out of negative attitudes and thought patterns. -Denis Waitley, productivity consultant on high performance human achievement.

Do Americans Consume Too Much Salt?

Do Americans Consume Too Much Salt?

Do we consume too much salt in America? Yes, in fact, we eat ten times the amount of salt and/or sodium than our ancestors and the dangers of doing so are multiplying. Salt and sodium are pretty much the same thing.

Many think the danger in high salt/sodium consumption is only in those with high blood pressure, but this is not necessarily so. Too much salt can harm healthy people’s hearts, lungs and can shorten the duration of their lives. Salt overload increases the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, kidney disease, diabetes, cataracts, brittle bones, asthma, dementia and early death.

Too much salt?
Too much salt?

Back in 2001, a news release came out regarding what is called “Salt Sensitivity“. This is considered a genetic condition that causes an abnormal reaction to sodium that is aggravated by salt overload.

Salt sensitivity with or without high blood pressure, can reduce your survival odds as much as high blood pressure does. This doubles your chances of early death from cardiovascular disease. Too much salt can enlarge the heart’s left ventricle, even if one doesn’t suffer from high blood pressure. Too much salt can also make tiny blood vessels in the brain more likely to leak, raising the risk of what is known as bleeding strokes.

There are some doctors in doubt of these new-found facts and not all researchers are in agreement. Many feel that those who eat a lot of vegetables and fruits and get enough calcium are not in any danger from too much salt consumption. If you are in any doubt or are a bit concerned about your salt intake, or are on a blood pressure medication, by all means, discuss this with your doctor.

How much sodium is safe?

Most researchers say no more than 1,500 milligrams a day, but while the American Heart Association used to say 2,500 milligrams a day is all right, they have now changed their stance to 1,500mg, as well. Even at this new amount, the average American is still consuming too much salt. Americans are consuming 3,500 to 4,000 milligrams daily with some eating four times that amount.

Where is all this salt/sodium coming from? A lot is hidden in food and we aren’t even aware we are ingesting so much. Therefore, it’s a good idea to educate yourself on food containing excessive amounts.

Here is a breakdown of where all this salt is coming from:

  • 10 percent from a natural part of healthful foods.
  • 15 percent from a salt shaker.
  • 75 percent that is hidden in processed and restaurant foods.

Here are some tips on how you can cut back:

  • Remove the salt shaker from the table.
  • Check labels; sodium varies greatly by brand and many sodium-packed foods don’t taste salty at all. Here’s an example; Cheerios have more sodium per serving than potato chips. The top salt offenders are frozen dinners, pizza, lunch meat, processed cheese, and canned soup and ramen soup.
  • Expect at least 1,000 milligrams of sodium in a simple restaurant meal.
  • Asian and Mexican foods contain, on average, 2,000 milligrams per meal.
  • Check out our Low Salt/Sodium Recipes.

Kick The Morning Blues

Kick The Morning Blues

Many of us are poor starters to the day. We feel languid, uninspired. It is as much as we can do to get out of bed and stand under the shower. However, there are a number of techniques we can adopt to boost our energy levels and reduce our feelings of stress at the start of the day. In other words, kick the morning blues!

Morning Blues
Morning Blues

 

The following are typical techniques and one that has been highly effective for a great many people. So, before getting out of bed in morning, prime your body for action through a series of gentle muscle stretches.

  1. Start with your right foot, extend the toes upwards while inhaling gradually and deeply.
    Hold your breath to a count of 5 and then curl your toes as you exhale. Repeat this exercise with your left foot.
  2. Stretch out your whole body as you lie in bed pushing down with each foot, stretching
    your leg muscles.
  3. Inhale and then as you exhale, stretch your arms above your head.
  4. Gently rise from your bed and stand with an upright posture, both feet firmly on the floor. Breathe deeply, curling your toes as you inhale and extending them on exhaling.