Thursday, August 27, 2015

Best Ways to Stay on Track with Your Diet

There's no denying that it's hard to stay on a diet and to lose weight. I don't know of anyone that hasn't become discouraged at some point in an attempt to drop some pounds. I recently have come across some tips for losing weight and staying on track with a weight loss plan that have helped me and I hope they help you too.

Setting Weight Loss Goals
First you need to set realistic goals and don't make them all related to the number of pounds you want to drop. Realize that it's not going to happen quickly. It took time to put that weight on and it is going to take time to get it off. When you find yourself discouraged that you aren't losing as much as you'd like, remember that losing even 5 or 10% of your body weight will pay off in lots of health benefits. When setting your weight loss goals, set a low number of maybe just 1 or 2 pounds a week or whatever you realistically feel you can do. By setting a goal that is too high, you will only serve to set yourself up for failure and feel discouraged which will probably make you quit the effort altogether. Certified personal trainer, Jenn Walters, suggests approaching your weight loss as you would a business proposal. That means making a full plan including the mission, and specifically how you will meet the objective. Plan out your strategy in detail starting with an ending date so that you can work backwards from there with a weekly or monthly plan that defines exactly what you will do to meet the goal. Be sure to keep the plan of action realistic as to what you will have time and the willingness to do. For example, don't just say you are going to start working out. Instead list exactly what exercises you will do and how many of each building up to more each week or set a time starting with maybe just 5 minutes a day that you will walk or jog and build your time from there. Each time you accomplish a small goal you increase your motivation and are more likely to continue. Be sure to include goals that aren't related to the number of pounds you lose. There will be times when you won't see any loss by getting on the scale. There could be a variety of reasons for this including that your extra exercise has built up muscle meaning you may weigh the same but in a healthier way and maybe you have dropped waist size and re-distributed that weight. editor and fitness expert, Nicole Nichols, advises setting goals such as staying within a range of calories that you put in your weight loss plan each week or increasing the amount of water that you drink a day, or that you take a healthy lunch from home rather than eat out.

Simon Rego, Ph.D., director of psychology training at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, adds that tuning in to your feelings and mood after you exercise or eat healthy will help in keeping you motivated. Acknowledging how good it feels to burn off those calories or have extra energy from eating a healthy snack will inspire you to keep it up. What most people do instead is criticize themselves for not doing enough, being overweight in the first place, beat themselves up over slipping and eating a candy bar and all sorts of self-talk that according to behavioral changes life coach Vanessa Scotto only sabotage yourself. When we criticize ourselves we trigger out fight or flight response which increases the release of cortisol and makes us crave more fat filled and sugary foods. So when you find yourself starting down the path of self-criticism, stop and find something positive to say or think about your efforts or yourself or do what Vanessa Scotto recommends which is to take some deep breaths holding your hand on your heart to adjust your physiological state and cut off the negative thinking.

Tips For Losing Weight
Once you have your weight loss goals set up in a way to maximize success, it's time to implement your action plan. Here are some tips we've gathered from experts to help.

•You don't have to feel totally deprived of your favorite foods in order to lose weight, just practice moderation. If it's not in your kitchen, then it makes it harder to breakdown and splurge so limit the amount of sweets and comfort foods that you have available within reach. If you really feel the need for a treat, make yourself walk to the store to get it or ride your bike so that you are burning off extra calories to prepare for it.

•We all get swamped, start running late, or are just plain tired at the end of the day which can lead to grabbing convenience foods or ordering take-out from a restaurant or fast food joint. Take some time when you aren't as busy to plan ahead and cut up veggies and fruits for snacks or salads, search the internet for healthy easy to fix recipes or crock pot recipes. Having a healthy meal all ready for you when you get home can help cut down on giving in to the ease of pre-packaged or fast food.

•A study in Obesity reports that joining in on a weight loss type group invokes our competitiveness and can help you lose as much as 20% more weight than just dieting on your own. Organize a group of friends or family members yourself or join an already organized type group if available in your area. Even just getting involved with exercise type classes or sports groups can help by encouraging you to not miss your workout times. If the team is depending on you or others will see you as slacking off on your goals, you are more likely to attend. You can also pay ahead for your classes and that will make you more likely to attend since you'll want to make sure you get your money's worth.

•Be sure to include protein foods in your mealtime menus. These type foods keep you feeling satisfied for longer periods of time, help build muscle and burn fat. Stick with the healthy proteins like lean meat, fish, eggs, cheese, beans, and low fat dairy. A protein source I like to use is this organic whey protein powder with sprouts, protein-digesting enzymes and some AFA bluegreen algae added in for an extra nutritional punch. Using this powder to make an easy shake gives me an extra 22 grams of protein.

•New York City licensed massage therapist, Mitch Klein, recommends using massage as a way to lose weight. That fits with the findings from a study at Ohio State University that women were found to eat healthier diets when they were more accepting of their bodies. Klein believes massage can help in establishing this acceptance.

•Malena Perdomo, RD, spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, recommends adding spices and chilies to food to make them more satisfying without added calories. If you are stuck on a diet of bland foods, you are more likely to quit after a while or just be miserable. Adding a variety of flavors to your meals will help you feel less deprived and allow you to still enjoy meals.

•Filling your plate with more veggies and less starch can help you cut down your calorie intake by up to 200 calories according to Cynthia Sass, RD, another spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. So skip bread with meals, make open faced sandwiches with only one piece of bread, and make pasta with veggies using much more veggies than pasta.

•Using fruits and veggies as snack foods lets you eat a lot more so you don't even have to feel like you are on a diet. These type snacks not only are low calorie and full of good nutrients, but also have lots of fiber and water to help you fill fuller. Along with healthy snacks, check out this nutritious snack bar fortified with sprouted grains, greens, and bluegreen algae to give your body just the right nutritional punch.

Instead of thinking that to lose weight you have to go on a diet, think of it as changing your lifestyle to develop a healthy diet. There's a big difference in starving yourself on small portions for a limited amount of time which usually doesn't work in keeping the weight off and in learning to eat healthy foods to support your appropriate weight for your body type. Make a plan and put it into action in this direction and you'll find success in losing those extra pounds, feel more energetic, and be healthier.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products  on our website.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Are You Taking the Right Probiotics?

I'm sure you have heard by now of probiotics as the media is full of information and the store shelves full of products claiming probiotic benefits. While the basic information may be true that foods with probiotics and supplements help support digestive health and re-populate the friendly or good bacteria or flora naturally found in the intestines, this doesn't tell you which products give you the best probiotic boost.

Sources of Probiotics
Probiotics can be found in fermented foods such as yogurt, buttermilk, some types of cheese, milk, kefir, drinks made from soy, miso, tempeh, kimchi, sauerkraut and some types of pickles. There are also probiotic supplements available in tablet, capsule, powder or liquid forms. Whether you choose foods or supplements, make sure you read the label and look for products that say they contain live active cultures. Don't just assume that a product, even yogurt, has these because not all do. And frozen yogurt doesn't have any at all. If choosing a probiotic supplement, also read the label or check on the company to see if they list any special certifications or manufacturing processes that insure safety. Since the FDA oversees these type products as foods not medications, the company itself is responsible for overseeing safety and labeling. For example, the company I choose for probiotic supplements manufactures its products on-site in its own NSF Good Manufacturing Practice registered and GMP for Sports registered facilities. GMP insures that these products contain exactly what the label says they do and that each ingredient is thoroughly tested for possible pollutants or contaminants and verified 100% pure.

What To Look For in a Probiotic Supplement
According to Brenda Watson, host of Road To Perfect Health television special, when choosing a probiotic supplement, you need to look at how many live good bacteria cultures are in a serving, look for products that contain a variety of bacterial strains that start with words like lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, capsules that are delayed release so they can make it through the stomach acid, and how potent the cultures are when they reach expiration, not just at manufacture. You also need to be sure you are getting a product that has a high enough culture count for your particular age or health conditions for it to make an impact. For example, if you are between the age of 15 and 49 years, you need at least 15 billion active cultures whereas people over the age of 50 need more like 30 billion. If you have digestive problems like diarrhea or constipation that are ongoing, then you'll need more like 50 billion and some conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome make take 80 billion. It is also a good idea to choose products from a long standing, reputable company since they are more likely to have testing and research over a long period showing the benefits of their products.

My Favorite Probiotic Supplements
The probiotic supplements I have chosen and used myself for over 25 years come from a company that not only uses NSF Good Manufacturing Practice registered and GMP for Sports registered manufacturing, but also produces probiotic products that hold certifications for being Kosher, Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, and GMO Free. These products also contain inulin, which is a prebiotic to enhance the activity of the probiotic, made from all-natural, non-GMO chicory root, is certified kosher and halal, contains no allergens or gluten, and provides soluble fiber. They are also freeze-dried and manufactured in powder rather than liquid form to preserve and retain the effectiveness of the bacterial organisms. Two of these probiotic products contain a single bacteria strain, acidophilus and bifidus, as these are two of the most desirable. The third product contains twelve key "good bacteria" and all three products are microblended with wild organic AFA bluegreen algae for extra nutrition.

Probiotics are essential to good digestive health and immune system health so make sure you have enough of these good bacteria working for you. You may not be able to eat enough foods with probiotics to get the culture count you need. If this is the case, know that there are high quality probiotic supplements that can help you build up your supply.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products  on our website.

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Super Skinny Yummy Snacks

Snacking can be very detrimental if you are trying to lose weight or it can be great. Many experts recommend eating lots of small meals or a healthy snack throughout the day instead of the traditional 3 larger meals to lose weight. It really all depends though on what type of snacks you are eating. If you go for candy bars, cookies, potato chips and other types of sugar filled, fatty snacks then you are not headed down the path to weight loss. But there are plenty of healthy snack ideas that can turn yummy snacks into weight loss boosters.

According to assistant director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, Susan Bowerman, RD, eating a healthy snack can boost your energy and give your body the nutrition it needs as well as contribute to losing weight. For example, protein helps build muscle which can increase metabolism allowing you to burn more calories and fiber helps curb cravings for fatty and sugary foods as well as assisting digestion. Bowerman advises sticking with a 200 calorie or less healthy snack that combines ten grams of protein and five grams of fiber foods for weight loss. This could include a fruit and a protein food like an apple or around 15 grapes and some milk or low cal yogurt or half an avocado with low fat cottage cheese. Get some omega-3's going for your brain in the protein/fiber mix by adding three ounces of tuna and five to six whole wheat crackers or about 15 – 20 almonds. For a great low calorie sweet treat try a pear topped with Ricotta cheese and cinnamon.

Some other healthy snack ideas that give you protein and fiber include:
  • Steamed edamame (soybeans)
  • Carrots and hummus
  • A boiled egg with about 15 spears of asparagus
  • A slice of cheese with some air popped popcorn
  • 2 teaspoons of peanut butter and 5 celery sticks
  • This snack bar with sprouted grains, greens, bluegreen algae and almonds

Convinced yet that you can snack your way to weight loss? Give some of these healthy snack ideas a try and see if eating several small snacks such as these help you get through the day without feeling deprived, starved, or left with cravings for unhealthy foods. After all what have you got to lose but maybe some weight?

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products  on our website.

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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Natural Ways to Have Whiter Healthier Teeth

Not only does taking good care of your teeth make your smile look great, but there are studies showing a connection between gum disease and heart disease and kidney disease so having good oral health may actually help you live longer. In general you know your gums are healthy if they are pink and firm. If your gums are red and/or swollen or prone to bleeding when you brush, then you may have or be on your way to gum disease. The basics of maintaining good oral health of course include brushing a minimum of two times a day, flossing regularly, and keeping regular dentist appointments for cleaning. In between dentist appointments and in addition to brushing and flossing there are other ways to help you keep whiter healthier teeth and gums.

Avoid Stains
Part of the aging process involves the erosion of tooth enamel so that dentin is exposed. This layer of the teeth is a more yellow color and thus our teeth don't remain as white as when we were younger. As we get older this makes it even more important to avoid staining teeth in the first place. One of the biggest culprits for stains is tobacco so if white teeth are important to you, avoid smoking and using tobacco products. In the foods category coffee, tea, fruit juices like cranberry and grape, red wine, blueberries, blackberries and beets are some of the most likely to stain teeth. Dentists give a rule of thumb that any food that would leave a stain on a white cotton t-shirt will also probably leave stains on teeth. Since many of these type foods have antioxidants and other nutrients for good health, you don't have to stop eating them, just be aware which ones can stain and brush your teeth after eating them or at least rinse your mouth afterwards. There are also medications that can stain teeth including some antihistamines, antipsychotics, antibiotics, and medicine for blood pressure. Mouthwashes that have chlorhexidine or cetylpyridinium chloride, iron and too much fluoride can also stain teeth.

Natural Solutions for Whiter Healthier Teeth
For excessive stains, a dentist can do a professional cleaning and/or whitening that will help remove them. There are also a lot of home whitening kits and products that you can use between dentist visits. But if you are looking for more natural ways to whiten teeth and improve your oral health, here are a few that you might be interested in.

  • Eat raw foods such as apples, pears, carrots, or celery to clean teeth. These types of foods increase saliva which help keeps teeth clean.
  • Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide are two natural products that can help make teeth whiter, remove plaque, help with gum disease and inflammation, and kill off bad bacteria in the mouth. You can use a tablespoon of baking soda and about 5 drops of hydrogen peroxide to make a paste for brushing.
  • Toothbrushes wear out and a worn out toothbrush doesn't do as good a job for you. Toothbrushes should be replaced about every 3 months or before and after you have an illness so that you don't spread germs.
  • Eating cheese that has casein and whey protein helps protect the enamel of teeth and has calcium to keep teeth strong and healthy. Be sure to also eat foods with vitamin D so your body can absorb the calcium. Vitamin D food sources include milk, egg yolks and fish.
  • Avoid dry mouth as it can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. Dry mouth is most commonly caused by certain medications that your doctor may be able to help find an alternative for or if not, then drink more fluids, chew gums without sugar or check with your dentist about products that relieve dry mouth.
  • Find a way to cope with stress as it releases cortisol that is not only bad for your physical health in general, but also is bad for your gums. When people are extra stressed, studies show they also tend to let their oral health routines slide with less brushing and flossing.
  • Oral probiotics can help keep plaque from forming, reduce inflammation and disease of the gums, reduce colonies of bad bacteria in the mouth, give you cleaner breath and whiter teeth. We usually think of probiotics such as acidophilus and bifidus as replenishing the friendly bacteria in the gut for good digestive health, but there are more than 600 types of bacteria that live in the mouth and the mouth also needs a good balance of friendly bacteria to combat the unfriendly strains. Oral probiotics can come in powders, capsules, lozenges, or fermented foods such as yogurt, cheese, miso, and tempeh. This probiotic supplement has a mixture of 8 key good bacteria that comes in a capsule which you can just pull apart, pour out the powder inside, mix with some water and use to rinse or gargle in the mouth before swallowing it.

Don't let yellow, stained teeth ruin your smile. Set a goal to beef up your oral hygiene program and incorporate some of these tips for healthy teeth and gums and teeth whitening, then stick to it and you'll see results that will not only affect your smile, but your overall health.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products  on our website.

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Thursday, August 6, 2015

How to Live a Happier Life

When you feel good, you well ... feel good and are more likely to be on the right road for how to live a happier life. In other words we tend to be happier when we are energetic, free from physical ailments, not over stressed, and able to be productive and enjoy life. As Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, Harvard Medical School associate professor of cardiovascular medicine, points out that if you eat healthy with a balanced diet of a variety of healthy foods, you are more likely to achieve this state. Food is also linked to your mood as demonstrated by the findings of studies like one in 2011 in US News & World Report that found changes in the chemical and physiological state of the brain from eating certain foods.

Foods For a Healthy Life
You probably know that a healthy balanced diet includes lean protein sources, vegetables, fruits, whole grains and healthy fats. But within these categories there are certain foods that really stand out. These foods have nutrients that experts find really support physical and mental health and give us a boost towards being happier.

Iron is a must for getting oxygen to your cells for energy production. Spinach is one of the top ways to get iron into your diet. You can also look for iron fortified cereals, soybeans, white beans, and lentils. And pairing foods with iron with those with vitamin C will help you absorb the iron more readily.

Essential Amino Acids
Amino acids are necessary for the body to perform all its metabolic functions. They allow nutrients such as water, fat, carbs, proteins, minerals and vitamins to be stored or delivered to the various cells in the body, allow cells to communicate and get the energy they need, support enzymatic chemical reactions, mood, concentration and sleep, and impact the amount of oxygen and circulation that occur in the body. There are over 500 identified amino acids, but only 22 of those are needed to build proteins that are necessary for muscle building and for life to exist. These are categorized as either an "essential" or "non-essential" amino acid. An essential amino acid is not one that is more necessary or important than a non-essential amino acid, but is one that the body cannot produce on its own and therefore has to come from foods we eat. Quinoa is an especially good complex carbohydrate for getting the 9 amino acids categorized as essential. Other good food sources for amino acids include grass fed beef, dairy, wild caught seafood, sea vegetables, spirulina, brewers yeast and some vegetables such as cabbage, beets, beans, and spinach. AFA bluegreen algae also has all the amino acids our bodies need, including phenylalanine, an amino acid that crosses the blood-brain barrier faster than any other amino acid.

The body also needs magnesium to produce energy. This mineral is also involved with hundreds of other body functions including muscle relaxation, overall body calm, and contributing to a soothing mood. Peas, beans, peanuts, green vegetables such as spinach, cereals and grains such as brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal and bran, lentils, pumpkin seeds, soybeans, cashews, almonds, halibut, and fruits such as bananas and figs are all food sources for magnesium. Once your body has absorbed the magnesium it needs, the rest is released often in the form of diarrhea so watch for this symptom to know you have had enough. More active people may need more than those who aren't as active as you can lose magnesium by sweating.

Serotonin Boosting Foods
Serotonin is the brain chemical that produces feelings of calmness and happiness, reduces cravings for unhealthy foods, aids sleep, and regulates mood. Some of the best foods for boosting serotonin are walnuts and complex carbohydrates like whole grains. Whole grains have tryptophan to help in producing serotonin and fiber to help stabilize blood sugar levels which also gives you more energy. AFA bluegreen algae not only has the amino acids your body needs, but gives you the extra bonus of increasing the production of mood-elevating substances in the brain, including tryptophan, endorphins, serotonin, and PEA.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids
According to Matthew F. Muldoon, MD, University of Pittsburgh professor of medicine and psychology, people with low levels of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids have been found to be more irritable, moody and more prone to worry. Findings from research at the University of Maryland Medical Center report a lack of omega-3 as contributing to mood swings and depression. Adding salmon, tuna, and other fatty fish to your diet can help you get the omega-3 fatty acids into your diet to help stabilize mood. You can also get more omega-3's by using canola oil, soybean oil, olive oil, flaxseeds and oil, and pumpkin seeds. An easy way to get the exact ratio of omega-3 fatty acids to omega-6 fatty acids is by eating AFA bluegreen algae. And since omega-3 fatty acids are necessary for keeping your brain healthy, this form of algae with the cell wall removed is perfect for being able to easily pass through the blood brain barrier.

Folate or B-9 aids the brain in producing serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine which are all brain chemicals affecting mood. Low levels of Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B-12 have been found contribute to depression. B vitamins also help keep nerve and brain cells healthy. You can get B vitamins from lean meats, beans, breads, lentils, egg yolks, fish, liver, dairy products, nuts, peanut butter, whole grains, and poultry. Folate in particular can be found in dark leafy green vegetables such as spinach and in Brussel sprouts, beans such as pinto and garbanzo, asparagus, peanuts, soybeans, liver, lentils and sunflower seeds. Foods high in Vitamin B6 include papaya, oranges, tuna, chicken, turkey, rice, wheat bran, garlic, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. We can also replenish the body's natural supply of B vitamins by replacing the probiotics or "friendly bacteria" in our intestines. These friendly bacteria produce the B vitamins in our bodies and taking probiotic supplements like acidophilus and bifidus can give the body a boost to keep producing these vitamins.

Another must for a healthy diet is to include foods with antioxidants. These foods help fight off damage to your body cells caused by free radical damage and support your immune system function to fight off diseases. Antioxidants can help you with a variety of health conditions especially as we get older such as wrinkles, cancer, heart disease, macular degeneration, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, creaky joints, aches and pains, fatigue, and cataracts. And after all, the better we look and feel, the happier we are. As antioxidants protect our body cells this includes our natural adult stem cells that help regenerate damaged cells and heal injuries. One of the best ways to get antioxidants into your diet is to include a variety of bright colored vegetables and fruits. Even easier is to use this algae/antioxidant wholefoods supplement that gives you antioxidant ingredients that can provide nutrition for stem cells to reproduce.

Looking for how to live a happier life? It all starts in your kitchen. Take a look at the types of foods you have in yours. If you are missing some of the key foods we've listed here, then it's time to find your nearest farmer's market or grocery store and re-stock. Adding the right foods to your healthy eating plan will help you feel better, look better and be happier.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader. Also, check out the free health resources or order blue-green algae products  on our website.

Image courtesy of  Ambro  /