Category Archives: nutrition

Raw Almonds – Raw Lies

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Mehdi Comeau

Photo: Madlyinlovewithlife

If you think you’ve been eating raw almonds — don’t be so sure.

On September 1, 2007, the USDA, FDA and ABC (Almond Board of California) passed a federal mandate dictating the pasteurization of all almonds grown in the U.S.A., Canada and Mexico.

In conjunction, the ABC and federal government support labeling pasteurized almonds as “raw,”leaving individual manufacturers and retailers to determine their labeling practices.  In other words, even conventional, chemically treated almonds can legally be deceptively labeled and sold as “raw.”

Earlier this year, I purchased a small, expensive jar of raw almond butter—free of chemicals, boosting with raw nutrition and sustainably grown. Rich in vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, riboflavin, phosphorus and copper, to name a few, raw almonds supply a bounty of healthful properties while reigning as the most alkalizing nut.

Reading that my purchased jar of almond butter used Californian almonds, I recalled the 2007 mandate on U.S. almond pasteurization. Feeling violated and lied to, I called the company for answers.

A senior representative reluctantly admitted their “raw” almonds were indeed steam pasteurized. The representative tried to rationalize the company’s moral misdoings by claiming the process only affects the outer skin.  However, the outer skin is where the majority of nutrients in fruits and vegetables reside, mind you.

Nevertheless, any process strong enough to kill Salmonella creates a product by definition that is the opposite of raw—not living, dead and, depending on the process, dangerous to ingest.

I won’t disclose the manufacturer of this particular little jar since they are not alone in their malarkey toting bold falsehoods. As a side note, they did offer me free samples of other, actually raw, nut butters in their line, which I accepted. However, I remain far from satisfied with their industrial scheme.

Photo: Halfrain

How are almonds “treated?”

Steam treatment, high heat (dry or oil) roasting, blanching and toxic fumigation with propylene oxide (PPO) are the main four methods for treating almonds. However, the most used methods are those of steam and PPO for organic and conventional almonds, respectively.

PPO fumigation, which is used for non-organic almonds, is repulsively dangerous. PPO is a highly toxic chemical that poses severe risks to human health. It’s a recognized carcinogen and a cause of disease according to the EPA. Further, PPO damages the liver, gastrointestinal, immune, developmental and respiratory systems with varied short and long-term exposure symptoms that range from inflamed lesions to neurological damage.

The American Motorcycle and Hot Rod Associations previously used PPO as fuel, but even they banned it once realizing its dangers. Further, Mexico, Canada and the entire European Union banned PPO due to its carcinogenic risks.

Conventionally grown almonds absorb a fair level of chemicals as is. Frosting the cake with PPO makes places them on high health risk alert: beware of industrial almonds!

Steam treatment is generally used for organic almonds and is the least invasive method of treatment, yet still is powerful enough to kill bacteria at temperatures that also void healthful properties. Nutritionists agree that raw, organic almonds are more nutritious than pasteurized almonds.

Photo: RahelSharon

Why would public health be jeopardized in contrary attempts to protect it? Why would those in power purport such fabrications?

It isn’t for our safety. While meat, eggs and dairy substantiate pasteurization and cooking to avoid food-borne illness, there is no scientific evidence proving almonds to be innately dangerous. Almonds require direct transfer from unsanitary environments and practices to become contaminated with Salmonella.

Peanuts, spinach and other produce have had significant Salmonella outbreaks as well, yet have not garnered a similar protocol. Why?

It’s business. The global economy is competitive. The ABC is comprised of industrial almond growers who have substantial money and influence and likely to want to rid competition.

Imposing pasteurization regulations as part of a scheme to control the industry helped the ABC direct prices, eliminate competition and monopolize their industrial turf.

The pasteurization program was developed through research conducted by, guess who, the Almond Board of California.

The USDA alerted a select elite subset within the industry when the rule was first proposed. According to the Cornucopia Institute, only 115 select growers and handlers (out of over 6,000) were asked for their input in an initial 45-day comment period.

Others in the almond business were not acquainted with the proposed rule until its enactment, while no efforts to inform the public were made.

In part for driving out competition, pasteurization equipment is unreasonably expensive for small-scale farmers. If they don’t have equipment, they’re forced to ship to and from a treatment facility, costing them potential profit. Both options are out of reach for small-scale farmers.

The ABC provides equipment for its allies—dominating the market. Small-scale farmers simply can’t compete.

Merit worthy almond farmers using environmentally sound, sustainable methods for producing high quality nutritional food sources are diminishing from domestic and international markets.

Sustainable practices encourage biodiversity and prevent bacteria from spreading. In contrast, conventional methods create conditions for easy harvest by using chemicals to destroy undergrowth and organisms—including those that keep opportunistic pathogens at bay. The former enhances soil and creates clean food, while the latter destroys soil and contaminates both land and food.

The Cornucopia Institute calls the pasteurization mandate a “technological Band-Aid,” when the USDA and ABC research should focus on organic and sustainable farming in preventing Salmonella and other bacterial outbreaks.

Photo: HealthAliciousNess

Where can we find actual raw, unpasteurized almonds?

Only almonds being sold commercially are restricted to the mandate. Therefore, if you or anyone you know grows almonds, indulge! Like raw milk, it is legal to buy direct from farmers.

There are also a handful of online sources for organic, non-pasteurized almonds:

Fine Sicilian almonds and almond butter is available online from Live Superfoods. You can also order Spanish and Italian raw almonds from Jaffe Bros. natural foods.

Living Nutz is a great company supporting organic, minimally processed and healthy raw foods. You can purchase their “truly raw” almonds online.

Organic Pastures in California offers ‘Truly Raw Almonds” from their “On Farm” store, but the USDA will not permit raw almonds to be shipped from phone call orders at this time–there is a pending lawsuit trying to reverse this policy.

Check out Organic Pasture’s position on pasteurization, farming, labeling and legal issues for more information.

What is the solution?

The Cornucopia Institute highlights a valid solution: allow raw, organic almonds back into the market, but require labels warning of possible risks. This solution offers sustainable farmers the ability to survive in the almond business and bolster sustainable growing practices.

In addition, the U.S. should join the E.U., Canada, Mexico and the American Motorcycle and Hot Rod Associations and ban the use of PPO!

What can we do?

In efforts to inspire people and corporations to be cognizant of their practices and to ensure a healthy and sustainable future, Seth Leaf from Living Nutz initiated an online GoPetition against Mandatory Almond Pasteurization. With over 30,000 signatures, they need more—sign the e-petition!

The Cornucopia Institute is leading an Authentic Almond Project. I encourage you to check out their site and download the Cornucopia Institute Fact Sheet (PDF) on the Mandatory Sterilization of Almonds for more information and a comprehensive review of issues discussed.

Were you aware of these issues already? Are there any policy updates? Please share your thoughts and opinions, and always be a conscious consumer, wary of what you read and eat.

 

A flat-capped nomad, Mehdi Comeau enjoys adventuring, discovering and muse on people and life. As a keenly curious enviro-gastronome, it’s in his nature to pursue perpetual learning and growth, be outdoors, active and create crafty kitchen concoctions, while tuning in and allowing clues in life to guide. When he’s not engaged elsewhere, you’ll often find him writing with a green blend at his side. He likes the motto: everything in moderation and full appreciation.  You can read a growing collection of his musings on his blog, SolsticeSon’s Celebrational Servings.

statins are not working – heart disease

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I trained for many years with other prominent physicians labelled “opinion makers.”  Bombarded with scientific literature, continually attending education seminars, we opinion makers insisted heart disease resulted from the simple fact of elevated blood cholesterol.

The only accepted therapy was prescribing medications to lower cholesterol and a diet that severely restricted fat intake. The latter of course we insisted would lower cholesterol and heart disease. Deviations from these recommendations were considered heresy and could quite possibly result in malpractice.

It Is Not Working!

These recommendations are no longer scientifically or morally defensible. The discovery a few years ago that inflammation in the artery wall is the real cause of heart disease is slowly leading to a paradigm shift in how heart disease and other chronic ailments will be treated.

The long-established dietary recommendations have created epidemics of obesity and diabetes, the consequences of which dwarf any historical plague in terms of mortality, human suffering and dire economic consequences.

Despite the fact that 25% of the population takes expensive statin medications and despite the fact we have reduced the fat content of our diets, more Americans will die this year of heart disease than ever before.

Statistics from the American Heart Association show that 75 million Americans currently suffer from heart disease, 20 million have diabetes and 57 million have pre-diabetes. These disorders are affecting younger and younger people in greater numbers every year.

Simply stated, without inflammation being present in the body, there is no way that cholesterol would accumulate in the wall of the blood vessel and cause heart disease and strokes. Without inflammation, cholesterol would move freely throughout the body as nature intended. It is inflammation that causes cholesterol to become trapped.

Inflammation is not complicated — it is quite simply your body’s natural defence to a foreign invader such as a bacteria, toxin or virus. The cycle of inflammation is perfect in how it protects your body from these bacterial and viral invaders. However, if we chronically expose the body to injury by toxins or foods the human body was never designed to process,a condition occurs called chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is just as harmful as acute inflammation is beneficial.

What thoughtful person would willfully expose himself repeatedly to foods or other substances that are known to cause injury to the body?  Well,smokers perhaps, but at least they made that choice willfully.

The rest of us have simply followed the recommended mainstream dietthat is low in fat and high in polyunsaturated fats and carbohydrates, not knowing we were causing repeated injury to our blood vessels. Thisrepeated injury creates chronic inflammation leading to heart diseasestroke, diabetes and obesity.

Let me repeat that: The injury and inflammation in our blood vessels is caused by the low fat diet recommended for years by mainstream medicine.

What are the biggest culprits of chronic inflammation? Quite simply, they are the overload of simple, highly processed carbohydrates (sugar, flourand all the products made from them) and the excess consumption of omega-6 vegetable oils like soybean, corn and sunflower that are found in many processed foods.

Take a moment to visualize rubbing a stiff brush repeatedly over soft skin until it becomes quite red and nearly bleeding. you kept this up several times a day, every day for five years. If you could tolerate this painful brushing, you would have a bleeding, swollen infected area that became worse with each repeated injury. This is a good way to visualize the inflammatory process that could be going on in your body right now.

Regardless of where the inflammatory process occurs, externally or internally, it is the same. I have peered inside thousands upon thousands of arteries. A diseased artery looks as if someone took a brush and scrubbed repeatedly against its wall. Several times a day, every day, the foods we eat create small injuries compounding into more injuries, causing the body to respond continuously and appropriately with inflammation.

While we savor the tantalizing taste of a sweet roll, our bodies respond alarmingly as if a foreign invader arrived declaring war. Foods loaded with sugars and simple carbohydrates, or processed withomega-6 oils for long shelf life have been the mainstay of the American diet for six decades. These foods have been slowly poisoning everyone.

How does eating a simple sweet roll create a cascade of inflammation to make you sick?

Imagine spilling syrup on your keyboard and you have a visual of what occurs inside the cell. When we consume simple carbohydrates such as sugar, blood sugar rises rapidly. In response, your pancreas secretes insulin whose primary purpose is to drive sugar into each cell where it is stored for energy. If the cell is full and does not need glucose, it is rejected to avoid extra sugar gumming up the works.

When your full cells reject the extra glucose, blood sugar rises producing more insulin and the glucose converts to stored fat.

What does all this have to do with inflammation? Blood sugar is controlled in a very narrow range. Extra sugar molecules attach to a variety of proteins that in turn injure the blood vessel wall. This repeated injury to the blood vessel wall sets off inflammation. When you spike your blood sugar level several times a day, every day, it is exactly like taking sandpaper to the inside of your delicate blood vessels.

While you may not be able to see it, rest assured it is there. I saw it in over 5,000 surgical patients spanning 25 years who all shared one common denominator — inflammation in their arteries.

Let’s get back to the sweet roll. That innocent looking goody not only contains sugars, it is baked in one of many omega-6 oils such as soybean. Chips and fries are soaked in soybean oil; processed foods are manufactured with omega-6 oils for longer shelf life. While omega-6’s are essential -they are part of every cell membrane controlling what goes in and out of the cell – they must be in the correct balance with omega-3’s.

If the balance shifts by consuming excessive omega-6, the cell membrane produces chemicals called cytokines that directly cause inflammation.

Today’s mainstream American diet has produced an extreme imbalance of these two fats. The ratio of imbalance ranges from 15:1 to as high as 30:1 in favor of omega-6. That’s a tremendous amount of cytokines causing inflammation. In today’s food environment, a 3:1 ratio would be optimal and healthy.

To make matters worse, the excess weight you are carrying from eating these foods creates overloaded fat cells that pour out large quantities of pro-inflammatory chemicals that add to the injury caused by having high blood sugar. The process that began with a sweet roll turns into a vicious cycle over time that creates heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetesand finally, Alzheimer’s disease, as the inflammatory process continues unabated.

There is no escaping the fact that the more we consume prepared and processed foods, the more we trip the inflammation switch little by little each day. The human body cannot process, nor was it designed to consume, foods packed with sugars and soaked in omega-6 oils.

There is but one answer to quieting inflammation, and that is returning to foods closer to their natural state. To build muscle, eat more protein. Choose carbohydrates that are very complex such as colorful fruits and vegetables. Cut down on or eliminate inflammation- causing omega-6 fats like corn and soybean oil and the processed foods that are made from them.

One tablespoon of corn oil contains 7,280 mg of omega-6; soybean contains 6,940 mg. Instead, use olive oil or butter from grass-fed beef.

Animal fats contain less than 20% omega-6 and are much less likely to cause inflammation than the supposedly healthy oils labelled polyunsaturated. Forget the “science” that has been drummed into your head for decades. The science that saturated fat alone causes heart disease is non-existent. The science that saturated fat raises blood cholesterol is also very weak. Since we now know that cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease, the concern about saturated fat is even more absurd today.

The cholesterol theory led to the no-fat, low-fat recommendations that in turn created the very foods now causing an epidemic of inflammation. Mainstream medicine made a terrible mistake when it advised people to avoid saturated fat in favor of foods high in omega-6 fats. We now have an epidemic of arterial inflammation leading to heart disease and other silent killers.

What you can do is choose whole foods your grandmother served and not those your mom turned to as grocery store aisles filled with manufactured foods. By eliminating inflammatory foods and adding essential nutrients from fresh unprocessed food, you will reverse years of damage in your arteries and throughout your body from consuming the typical American diet.

Dr. Dwight Lundell is the past Chief of Staff and Chief of Surgery at Banner Heart Hospital , Mesa , AZ. His private practice, Cardiac Care Center was in Mesa, AZ. Recently Dr. Lundell left surgery to focus on the nutritional treatment of heart disease. He is the founder of Healthy Humans Foundation that promotes human health with a focus on helping large corporations promote wellness. He is also the author of The Cure for Heart Disease and The Great Cholesterol Lie.

The official news release can be found here: Prevent Disease

improve your digestion naturally

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Alternatives to Digestive Enzymes

Now that you understand why we are lacking in these enzymes, you may ask, why not just decongest the bile and pancreatic ducts and improve the bile flow?

My sentiments exactly! Here’s how:

Step 1: Eat more raw beets and leafy greens. Greens should make up 2/3 of your plate. The cellulose in greens will attach to the toxic bile and escort it to the toilet like a non-stop flight!

Step 2: Drink fenugreek tea. It acts a decongestant for the bile ducts and helps support normal bile flow.

Step 3: Have cinnamon with every meal. Cinnamon supports healthy blood sugar while supporting health bile flow.

Step 4: Mix 1-2 tbsp of olive oil with 1-2 tsp of lemon juice. Shake and drink every morning or night on an empty stomach for one month. This will exercise the liver and gallbladder while supporting healthy bile flow in the bile and pancreatic ducts.

Step 5: Drink a big glass of water 15-20 minutes before each meal. This will super-hydrate your stomach, encouraging it to produce more hydrochloric acid and increasing the flow of bile and pancreatic enzymes.

Step 6: Consider regular detoxification of the liver and fat cells, which store toxins that are processed through the liver. Regularly cleansing these is an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to optimal digestion.

 

from elephant journal http://www.elephantjournal.com/author/dr-john-douillard/

Got Milk? You Don’t Need It

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Mark Bittman

Mark Bittman on food and all things related.

Drinking milk is as American as Mom and apple pie. Until not long ago, Americans were encouraged not only by the lobbying group called the American Dairy Association but by parents, doctors and teachers to drink four 8-ounce glasses of milk, “nature’s perfect food,” every day. That’s two pounds! We don’t consume two pounds a day of anything else; even our per capita soda consumption is “only” a pound a day.

Today the Department of Agriculture’s recommendation for dairy is a mere three cups daily — still 1½ pounds by weight — for every man, woman and child over age 9. This in a country where as many as 50 million people are lactose intolerant, including 90 percent of all Asian-Americans and 75 percent of all African-Americans, Mexican-Americans and Jews. The myplate.gov site helpfully suggests that those people drink lactose-free beverages. (To its credit, it now counts soy milk as “dairy.”)

There’s no mention of water, which is truly nature’s perfect beverage; the site simply encourages us to switch to low-fat milk. But, says Neal Barnard, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, “Sugar — in the form of lactose — contributes about 55 percent of skim milk’s calories, giving it ounce for ounce the same calorie load as soda.”

O.K., dairy products contain nutrients, and for those who like them, a serving or two daily is probably fine. (Worth noting: they’re far more easily digested as yogurt or cheese than as fluid milk.) But in addition to intolerance, there’s a milk allergy — the second most common food allergy after peanuts, affecting an estimated 1.3 million children — that can be life-threatening.

Emily Robertson

Other conditions are not easily classified, and I have one of those. When I was growing up, drinking milk at every meal, I had a chronic upset stomach. (Channeling my inner Woody Allen, I’ll note that I was therefore treated as a neurotic, which, in fairness, I was anyway.) In adolescence, this became chronic heartburn, trendily known as GERD or acid reflux, and that led to a lifelong Tums habit (favorite flavor: wintergreen) and an adult dependence on Prevacid, a proton-pump inhibitor. Which, my gastroenterologist assured me, is benign. (Wrong.)

Fortunately my long-term general practitioner, Sidney M. Baker, author of “Detoxification and Healing,” insisted that I make every attempt to break the Prevacid addiction.  Thus followed a seven-year period of trials of various “cures,” including licorice pills, lemon juice, antibiotics, famotidine (Pepcid) and almost anything else that might give my poor, sore esophagus some relief. At some point, Dr. Baker  suggested that despite my omnivorous diet I consider a “vacation” from various foods.

So, three months ago, I decided to give up dairy products as a test. Twenty-four hours later, my heartburn was gone. Never, it seems, to return. In fact, I can devour linguine puttanesca (withanchovies) and go to bed an hour later; fellow heartburn sufferers will be impressed. Perhaps equally impressive is that I mentioned this to a friend who had the same problem, tried the same approach, and had the same results. Presto! No dairy, no heartburn! (A third had no success. Hey, it’s not a controlled double-blind experiment, but there is no downside to trying it.)

Conditions like mine are barely on the radar. Although treating heartburn is a business worth more than $10 billion a year, the solution may be as simple as laying off dairy. (Which, need I point out, is free.) What’s clear is that the widespread existence of lactose intolerance, says Dr. Baker, is “a pretty good sign that we’ve evolved to drink human milk when we’re babies but have no need for the milk of any animals. And no matter what you call a chronic dairy problem — milk allergy, milk intolerance, lactose intolerance — the action is the same: avoid all foods derived from milk for at least five days and see what happens.”

Adds Dr. Barnard, “It’s worth noting that milk and other dairy products are our biggest source of saturated fat, and there are very credible links between dairy consumption and both Type 1 diabetes and the most dangerous form of prostate cancer.” Then, of course, there are our 9 million dairy cows, most of whom live tortured, miserable lives while making a significant contribution to greenhouse gases.

But what about the bucolic cow on the family farm? What about bone density and osteoporosis? What about Mom, and apple pie?

Mom: Don’t know about yours, but mine’s doing pretty well. Apple pie (best made with one crust, plenty of apples) will be fine.

But the bucolic cow and family farm barely exist: “Given the Kafkaesque federal milk marketing order system, it’s impossible for anyone to make a living producing and selling milk,” says Anne Mendelson, author of “Milk.” “The exceptions are the very largest dairy farms, factory operations with anything from 10,000 to 30,000 cows, which can exploit the system, and the few small farmers who can opt out of it and sell directly to an assured market, and who can afford the luxury of treating the animals decently.”

Osteoporosis? You don’t need milk, or large amounts of calcium, for bone integrity. In fact, the rate of fractures is highest in milk-drinking countries, and it turns out that the keys to bone strength are lifelong exercise and vitamin D, which you can get from sunshine. Most humans never tasted fresh milk from any source other than their mother for almost all of human history, and fresh  cow’s milk could not be routinely available to urbanites without industrial production. The federal government not only supports the milk industry by spending more money on dairy than any other item in the school lunch program, but by contributing free propaganda as well as subsidies amounting to well over $4 billion in the last 10 years.

There’s nothing un-American about re-evaluating those commitments with an eye toward sensibility. Meanwhile, pass the water.

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What your cravings are trying to tell you

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We all get food cravings from time to time, but if you’re fighting off cravings on a daily basis, you need to arm yourself with the right foods! Nutritionist Peggy Kotsopoulos is here to tell us what constant cravings mean!

IF YOU ARE CRAVING SUGAR…

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REASON: Sugar cravings can be caused by:

  • Blood sugar imbalances and Insulin resistance
  • Candida – yeast overgrowth in the intestinal system

EAT THIS INSTEAD: PROTEIN!

  • Lean protein, such as chicken, fish, and eggs, helps to balance blood sugar levels. Protein acts as a blood-sugar stabalizer by slowing down the rate at which sugar is absorbed in your blood stream.
  • Chicken is rich in chromium which is a mineral that helps to balance blood sugar levels and reduce carb cravings. Chromium is a mineral essential in regulating the body’s response to insulin. (You can also take a chromium supplement.)
  • Sweet spices: Cinnamon helps to balance blood sugar and insulin levels. Studies show that cinnamon improves the body’s ability to utilize the insulin it already produces by enhancing muscle and liver cells’ response to insulin.
  • Probiotics – Candida is a yeast overgrowth in the intestinal system that feeds off of sugar.  Probiotics help to replace the “bad” yeast colonies with good, benefitial bacteria and help to overcome yeast overgrowth.
  • Peu d’arco Tea helps to overcome yeast overgrowth by assisting in the treatment of fungal infections.

IF YOU ARE CRAVING CARBOHYDRATES…

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REASON: Carb cravings mean low levels of serotonin (in addition to blood sugar balances as noted above).  Serotonin is our “feel good” neurotransmitter. If we are feeling down and depressed our serotonin levels may be too low. Carbs actually increase serotonin levels making us feel good “temporarily,” without necessarily dealing with the issue at hand. And in the end, they leave us feeling more bloated, fat and depressed.

EAT THIS INSTEAD: 

Choose foods rich in tryptophan, such as sacha inchi seeds, turkey, or wholegrains like quinoa. Tryptophan is a precursor to the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin. Complex carbohydrates, such as quinoa, oats or sweet potatoes, increase the absorption of tryptophan stimulating serotonin production. However, complex carbs/wholegrains are also richer in protein and nutrients than refined carbs; they keep us fuller longer and curb cravings.

Sacha Inchi seeds:

  • Sacha inchi seeds are one of the highest sources of tryptophan. Tryptophan is an essential amino responsible for the production of serotonin.
  • Sacha inchi seeds contain the highest plant-based source of omega 3 fatty acids, which help to alleviate depression .

*Turkey is also high in tryptophan

Complex Carbs – Quinoa
Carbohydrates increase the rate at which tryptophan enters the brain. These complex carbohydrates are also high in tryptophan, promoting the calming effects of serotonin production. Eating carbohydrates with tryptophan-containing foods makes this calming amino acid more available to the brain. Quinoa is also rich in B-vitamins, essential for mental health.

ARE YOU CONSTANTLY CRAVING CHOCOLATE?

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Research suggests that up to 97% of women and 68% of men experience food cravings. Chocolate is the most common one of the craved foods. Almost 50% of women reportedly claim to prefer chocolate to sex!

REASON: What you body could really be craving is Magnesium, B6, or B12. Chocolate releases endorphins, which suppress pain triggers, and give us a euphoric feeling. Magnesium also helps to relax nerves and tension that alleviate pain triggers.

HAVE THIS INSTEAD: 

  • Raw cacao nibs – raw chocolate is the highest source of magnesium!
  • Blue-green algae (E3 Live) contains 50 times more PEA than chocolate, giving you that “happy love bug” feeling!
  • Go for a run, exercise, have sex!  These activities release the same endorphins, and not only are they calorie-free, but will actually help BURN calories! And they don’t cost a cent!

CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF THOSE SALTY FOODS?

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REASON: STRESS! 
Many times, if we are over-stressed or anxious over long periods of time, we can exhaust our adrenal glands. Our adrenal glands, located on top of our kidneys, are responsible for distributing several hormones through our body, including cortisol (which is our stress response hormone) and aldosterone, which regulates sodium levels. When our adrenals are compromised due to stress, it causes our body to search for essential nutrients and minerals to compensate. In addition, our adrenals may produce less aldosterone, which results in an excessive loss of sodium through the kidneys, and we begin to crave salt.

HAVE THIS INSTEAD:  

  • B-vitamins: B-vitamins are essential for mental health and serve many functions in the brain and nervous system. B-vitamin help your body respond and adapt to stress. In particular, B5 helps the body adapt to stress and supports the adrenal gland function. B6 is useful in correcting elevated cortisol levels. Because B-vitamins are water-soluble, they pass through your body quickly, so we want to make sure we replenish them regularly.
  • Natural sea salt: natural sea salts are unrefined (unlike table salt) and still retain the minerals your body needs to function optimally.
  • Passion Flower is a calming herb that helps to improve the activity of GABA, which is a neurotransmitter that helps you relax.
  • Relora: relora is an herbal supplement that is clinically proven to reduce stress and anxiety. It works to reduce cortisol levels (our stress hormone) and raise DHEA (coined the “anti-aging hormone”) which helps to control stress, maintain proper mineral balance, and can help increase lean mass and reduce body fat.

DO YOU  HAVE AN UNQUENCHABLE THIRST?

If you find yourself ALWAYS thirsty no matter how much you’re drinking, you may be washing away precious electrolytes and your body may be lacking the minerals needed to absorb fluids.

TRY THIS INSTEAD:  

  • Coconut water – naturally loaded in electrolytes to help quench your thirst and restore precious minerals. Also makes a great hangover remedy!  (It solves the dehydration issue that causes nausea and headache!)
  • Emergen-C Electro mix – this is a powder that contains all your electrolytes. Just mix with water and you have an instant sports drink!

diet myths debunked

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Everything you think you know about healthy eating is wrong!

By MARIA LALLY

PUBLISHED: 21:10 GMT, 24 June 2012 | UPDATED: 08:19 GMT, 25 June 2012

Low-fat salad dressing is better than mayonnaise, fat makes you fat and you can’t eat enough fruit, right? Wrong, according to the latest research.

‘When a new client comes to see me, they nearly always reel off the list of “good” things they’re doing diet-wise,’ says James Duigan, author of Clean & Lean, and personal trainer to the stars, including Elle Macpherson.

‘Each time, I shake my head and tell them these so-called “good” diet traits are sabotaging their efforts to slim.’

So if you’re trying to eat well, here’s everything you need to know (but probably didn’t)…

You should add fat to your diet: Your body absorbs nutrients better when you eat a little fat with themYou should add fat to your diet: Your body absorbs nutrients better when you eat a little fat with them

Myth: Low-fat salad dressing is good for you

Drizzling a fat-free dressing over your salad isn’t as healthy as it seems, or so says a study.

Scientists found that eating your salad alongside a little fat helps your body absorb the nutrients from the vegetables more efficiently.

‘Certain foods become healthier when eaten together,’ says nutritionist Vicki Edgson.

‘Many vegetables are fat-soluble, which means your body absorbs their nutrients better when you eat a little fat with them.’

In fact, trainer James argues you should never have a fat-free salad. ‘The more nutrients your body absorbs, the less hungry it feels, plus you’ll get fewer sugar cravings. Adding a little goat’s cheese, olive oil, avocado or nuts to your salad will make you healthier and slimmer.’

Myth: Skimmed milk is healthier

Studies show the health-boosting vitamins in full-fat milk — including vitamins A, D, E and K — are fat soluble, meaning your body absorbs them more efficiently when taken with fat. ‘It’s also worth remembering that full-fat milk isn’t even that high in fat,’ says James Duigan.

‘It only contains around four per cent of fat compared with, say, cream, which is almost 50 per cent.’

Cocoa a go-go!

Dark chocolate relaxes your blood vessels, improving bloodflow to your heart

So unless you’re drinking pints of milk every day, you’re better off sticking to full-fat milk. Vitamins A, D, E and K have been shown to keep teeth and bones healthy, and boost your immunity.

A study from Cardiff University found full-fat milk can help keep your metabolism fired up and your risk of heart disease down.

Myth: Margarine is better than butter

For years we’ve been buying margarine for its butter-like taste but with less fat and calories. Have we been wasting our time?

‘Margarine is highly processed and contains hydrogenated fats which the body can’t break down through the digestive tract and liver,’ says Vicki.

‘These types of fats are stored in the fat cells of our body, interfering with the way in which we hold on to or lose fat. Butter, on the other hand, is a natural product with barely any additives.’

‘Butter contains a natural fatty acid called CLA, which studies show helps reduce your risk of heart disease if you have a small amount each day,’ adds James.

‘CLA also enhances the flavour of your food and satisfies your appetite in a way that a bland processed spread never will.’

Myth: Only sweets contain sugar

Hold the sugar: We should be more conscious of our sugar intake than fatHold the sugar: We should be more conscious of our sugar intake than fat

‘Many women know the fat content of everything, especially if they’ve struggled with their weight,’ says James. ‘What they don’t know is the sugar content of foods.’

And, according to James, this is where the problem lies. ‘Traditionally, sugar is seen as a harmless treat, whereas fat is seen as the enemy,’ he says. ‘Our consumption of sugar has risen dramatically because as well as the obvious culprits, it’s also found in many everyday foods including yoghurts, pasta sauces and even bread.

‘Sugar is more fattening. For a start, fat really fills you up. If you eat a bowl of creamy pasta or a fry-up, you’ll become very full. Whereas you can keep eating sugar — in the form of sweets, fizzy drinks and biscuits — and never feel properly full, so it’s easy to overeat.’

Sugar is bad news for our health, too. A study from Harvard University in the U.S. found that drinking a sugary drink every day increases your risk of heart disease. Another study found a high sugar diet is linked to heart disease.

‘Sugar makes you fat because it’s the most refined form of carbohydrate,’ says Vicki. ‘It rapidly raises blood sugar levels, which affects insulin production and the rate at which the body lays down extra fat.’

Myth: Count calories to lose weight

‘Technically calories do count when it comes to keeping slim,’ says James. ‘The calories you put in (what you eat) versus calories out (how much you move around) determine weight loss or gain. However, in reality, it’s a bit more complicated than that. Take, for example, salmon and avocado.’

Both foods are high in fat (the good, heart-healthy kind) and calories. An avocado contains 275 calories and a salmon steak contains around 170 calories (compared with around 90 in a cod fillet).

‘But you’ll never get fat eating avocado and salmon,’ says James. ‘For a start, they contain omega 3 fatty acids, which as well as being heart-friendly, also help your body to burn fat more efficiently.

‘And a low-calorie diet doesn’t necessarily mean a healthy diet. Plenty of low-calorie diets are made up of nutritionally-deficient foods such as bland cereal and processed, tinned food.

‘This type of diet will leave you sluggish, unable to concentrate and craving sugar. In time, this can set up a binge/diet cycle that ruins your metabolism.’

James’s advice? ‘Just eat nutritious, wholesome foods that are as unprocessed as possible and forget about how many calories they contain.’

Myth: You can’t eat too much fruit

‘Lastly, most people assume the five-a-day message just applies to fruit, but try to eat more vegetables than fruit,’ says James.

‘Fruit is high in natural sugars, especially tropical varieties like bananas and mango and over-ripened fruit. Go for thin-skinned fruit — such as berries, pears and apples — because they contain more antioxidants.

Stock up on veg: You can have more than five-a-day Stock up on veg: You can have more than five-a-day

‘And always eat it with a little fat (such as nuts) because this will slow down the speed at which the sugar hits your bloodstream. This will keep blood sugar levels steady — sugary foods raise them rapidly causing them to crash, which leads to tiredness and cravings for more sweet food.’

Vicki adds: ‘Many people are sensitive to fruits and fruit sugars and experience bloating, wind and abdominal pain after eating too much of them. I recommend people eat more vegetables than fruit, yet most of us do it the other way around.’

Find James Duigan’s Clean & Lean cookbook at his website www.bodyism.com

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2164071/Everything-think-know-healthy-eating-wrong.html#ixzz1yneqtjoS

diet that might beat breast cancer

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A breast cancer patient refused to take powerful drugs she  was offered to stop the disease returning – and chose to depend on a spicy low-fat diet instead.

Following surgery, Vicky Sewart, 44, was worried about possible side-effects from taking the medication.

So instead, she launched herself into a health regime of exercise and specially chosen foods, including turmeric, which she claims ‘makes cancer cells commit suicide’.

Experts have warned there is little scientific evidence to back up her claims.

But Miss Sewart believes that the diet she followed after undergoing chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery was a vital part of her recovery from the disease.

Her experience will now form part of an academic study into how lifestyle can affect the body’s response to cancer.

After she was diagnosed, Miss Sewart did her own research into which foods might have a positive impact on her recovery.

And following an operation to remove a breast and lymph node four years ago, she told doctors she would not take Tamoxifen during remission but would be following her own ‘anti-cancer’ diet instead.

She said: ‘It’s very unusual for breast cancer patients not to take the drug.

‘When I told the doctors I didn’t want to take it, they just advised me to keep oestrogen out of my body, which is basically what the drug does.

 ‘The doctors absolutely will not say that the diet is going to do anything to help the cancer in any way, other than to say a healthy diet is going to help in the fight against any disease.
Recovering: A picture of Vicky in Antigua, 2008. Concerned about the side-effects of medical drug Tamoxifen Ms Sewart, 44, designed a vegan, diary free diet which included a range of superfoods from frozen berries to curry spicesRecovering: A picture of Vicky in Antigua, 2008. Concerned about the side-effects of medical drug Tamoxifen Miss Sewart, 44, designed a vegan, diary free diet which included a range of superfoods from frozen berries to curry spices

This was four years ago and I think attitudes are changing a bit now so that these ideas are running alongside the more usual treatments.

‘I believe absolutely enormously that my diet has assisted my recovery.’

Explaining her decision not to take Tamoxifen, she went on: ‘It was the worry  of the drugs and the side effects, I didn’t want to have to worry about it, I wanted  to be free.’

Turmeric, a spice used when making curry dishesTurmeric, a spice used when making curry dishes

The jewellery designer and gallery owner started her health regime with a mostly organic vegan diet, cutting out all dairy products, adding plenty of ‘super-foods’, and taking moderate exercise.

She said: ‘Fresh fruit, vegetables and juices are great, and frozen berries are fantastic as a super-food. Turmeric kind of makes cancer cells commit suicide and ginger and garlic are great to cook with.’ 

For the past four years, Miss Sewart has provided blood and urine samples and filled in regular questionnaires as part of national research into how lifestyle can help prevent the recurrence of breast cancer after surgery.

The largest study of its kind in the world, it involves 56 hospitals around the UK and 3,400 patients who have had the disease.

The full results will be published next year.

Meanwhile, Miss Sewart, from Plymouth, is hoping to mark her five-year remission next summer and is due to marry later this year.

Describing her experience of cancer, she added: ‘People can die, or come back from it and enjoy life.

‘You’ve just got to be thankful you’re still around.’

Strawberries is a superfood
Ms Sweart used ginger root in her diet

Vicky Sweart used both frozen berries like strawberries and ginger root in her diet which she claims has helped recovery from breast cancer

However, experts urged other cancer sufferers not to abandon conventional treatments.

Sara Hiom, of Cancer Research UK, said: ‘It’s not recommended that alternative therapies are  used in place of conventional medical therapy.

‘There is little scientific or medical evidence to indicate that alternative therapies are more effective than the proven treatments used by cancer specialists on the NHS.

‘We would urge anyone to talk to their specialist if they’re contemplating them.’

Dr Steve Kelly, who specialises  in breast cancer at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, said: ‘Breast cancer deaths have been going down steadily for over 20 years thanks to surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

‘But there are three things patients can do to help themselves. It doesn’t guarantee survival, but it does help.

‘The first is to exercise for 30 minutes, three days a week. The second is to not gain any weight, and the third is to reduce fat intake.

‘These things help to reduce the chance of cancer coming back. For this patient, four years on now, it is still early days.’

He added: ‘My job is not to make people have Tamoxifen, but advise people of the risks and benefits.

‘Treatment comes down to a patient, and height, weight and exercise levels are helpful in making a decision.’

Tamoxifen is Britain’s most widely-used breast cancer drug,  given to more than half of patients to stop tumours from returning after surgery.

The tablets, which cost as little as aspirin and are taken for up to five years, also prevent the development of new tumours in an unaffected breast.

The drug, originally developed as a contraceptive, is the gold standard treatment for breast cancer and has been given to millions around the world since the 1980s.

It works by blocking the female sex hormone oestrogen from fuelling the growth of tumours.

Used after surgery, it cuts the odds of the tumour returning by around 30 per cent. However, it does not work in all cases.

In contrast, the evidence for curry spices such as turmeric beating cancer mainly comes from the study of cells in a dish – while evidence from the treatment of actual patients is sparse.

In laboratory studies it seems to be able to kill cancer cells and prevent more from growing, particularly in breast, bowel, stomach and skin cancers.

It has also been shown to appear to stop the spread of breast cancer cells to other parts of the body in mice

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2164034/Vicky-Sewart-The-woman-says-beating-breast-cancer-thanks-low-fat-diet-including-curry-spices–claiming-make-cancer-cells-commit-suicide.html#ixzz1ynWlAJzn

mindfulness for healthy eating

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Change your mind to change your figure: Fed up with failed diets? A new book says the key to weight-loss is learning to think differently about food

By LOUISE ATKINSON

PUBLISHED: 22:00 GMT, 17 June 2012 | UPDATED: 22:01 GMT, 17 June 2012

Whether it’s cake, cheese, crisps or biscuits, women think about food more than 200 times a day.

From ‘I’ve been so good today I deserve a chocolate’ to ‘I’m miserable and only ice cream will make me feel better’, research shows it pops into our minds twice as often as sex does.

‘For many women, food is the first thing they think of in the morning and the effect that food has had on their bodies is the last thing they think of at night,’ says meditation expert Andy Puddicombe, author of a new book called The Headspace Diet, which claims to be able to change the way you think about food — and therefore help you lose weight — in just ten days.

According to research women think about food more than 200 times a dayAccording to research women think about food more than 200 times a day

Puddicombe believes this negative chatter, much of which is learned in childhood, developed through adolescence and reinforced in adulthood, lies at the heart of our warped relationship with food. It’s the reason we’re so often unhappy with our bodies, and why diets rarely work.

The key to changing the way we think about food lies in harnessing the power of meditation to make us more ‘mindful’. Puddicombe says we need to clear the brain of unhelpful, unhealthy messages, impulses and drives surrounding food and ‘re-set’ ourselves and our mentality.

Puddicombe’s methods are based on the concept of learning to ‘observe’ your thoughts and acknowledge them — but not act on them. Through simple exercises, he promises you can escape the tyranny of emotional cravings for food. In some cases, it’s as simple as taking a little time to think before you shop, cook and eat, or just counting to ten before putting something in your mouth.

Puddicombe says before you walk into a shop you should be clear about what you are going to buy to avoid making impulse purchasesPuddicombe says before you walk into a shop you should be clear about what you are going to buy to avoid making impulse purchases

To start with, we need to identify what type of food thinker we are. Only when we recognise and acknowledge our negative thought and related eating patterns can we begin to use mindfulness to overcome them. So what sort of food thinker are you?

THE NIBBLER

You snack, nibble and graze throughout the day — whether you’re hungry or not. You reject formal diet plans because you think your way of eating is better,  but never seem to lose weight.

THE PROBLEM: You’re constantly thinking about the next snack. You’re in danger of eating too much, too often.

THE SOLUTION: Stick to three meals a day plus two healthy snacks (such as fruit, carrot sticks or oat cakes with hummus), and eat nothing else in between.

THE GORGER

The Headspace Diet claims to be able to help you lose weight in just ten daysThe Headspace Diet claims to be able to help you lose weight in just ten days

though you are desperate to lose weight, you find yourself eating in a self-destructive way, consuming large volumes of junk food or ready meals. For you, diets never last  or work.

THE PROBLEM: This pattern is driven by emotional triggers — you gorge if you feel lonely, anxious or annoyed, but by giving in to it you’ll only perpetuate self-loathing.

THE SOLUTION: Exercise to boost your self-esteem and use mindfulness skills to train your brain to regard food as sustenance, not a reward.

THE DIET JUNKIE

Atkins, Dukan, cabbage soup — you try every new diet going. Not bothered by nutritional content, you view food (or the lack of it) as the only vehicle to weight loss so you’re constantly diet-hopping.

THE PROBLEM: The lack of nutrients in your diet puts your body in ‘protective mode’ holding on to every last ounce of fat, and leaving you feeling dissatisfied and guilty.

THE SOLUTION: Stop thinking extreme dieting will help you achieve physical perfection — it won’t. Switch to a balanced diet and smaller portions.

THE BINGER

You have steely willpower and follow strict diet rules, eating healthily 90 per cent of the time, but can swing from extreme control to a moment of madness with self-destructive high-sugar binges.

TAKE TIME TO TAKE A BREATHER

Take a breather

Calm your mind. Get into the habit of setting aside ten minutes every day for a short mind-clearing exercise: sit quietly and breathe deeply, concentrating on your breathing.

Let your mind scan your body for tension and your brain for mood — be aware of everything that comes up, but don’t make any judgments.

Focus on your breathing, allowing your mind to be free and clear. This is your treat, your chance to relax and unwind — and you’ll get better at it with practise.

With time, this has been shown to increase emotional stability (so you’re less likely to comfort eat), increase body awareness (so you’ll be quicker to notice when you’re full or not really hungry), reduce stress, cravings and boost the self-regulating and decision-making areas of the brain — making your new healthy-eating plan much more likely to work.

THE PROBLEM: Binges derail all your good intentions and can have an addictive effect. This style of eating comes with emotional baggage, often including strong feelings of guilt and shame.

THE SOLUTION: Relax your strict rules and allow yourself regular treats of ‘forbidden’ foods to stop the desire for massive binges.

THE ZOMBIE

You eat out of habit and routine, barely conscious of what goes in to your mouth. Your diet is likely to be monotonous.

THE PROBLEM: You’re likely to eat highly processed, refined foods that lack nutritional value, but give you a quick fix.

THE SOLUTION: Stop eating in front of the TV or at your desk and take the time to think about what you’re putting in your mouth. Eat good food and savour every mouthful.

THE COMFORT EATER

You eat for emotional reasons, using food to fill an emotional void and distract you from painful or difficult feelings. Food makes you feel better — but only for a while.

THE PROBLEM: You’re out of touch with your hunger signals. You deny yourself good, healthy balanced meals at the expense of processed —and calorific — foods.

THE SOLUTION: Mindfulness exercises (such as pausing for ten seconds before you eat anything to allow your mind to settle) will help you to ignore the brain chatter urging you to eat when you’re not really hungry.

NOW TRY THE CHOCOLATE MEDITATION

Switch off your phone, the radio or TV — this is your opportunity to get back in touch with the food you eat rather than feeling distracted, stressed or overwhelmed.

Concentrate on the textures, smells and even the sounds as you chop, boil and sizzle. Sit at a table, take a couple of deep breaths and appreciate the food you are eating.

Curb temptations: Get back in touch with the food you eat and you might find one piece of chocolate is enoughCurb temptations: Get back in touch with the food you eat and you might find one piece of chocolate is enough

Eat slowly, chew every mouthful fully and make sure you take note of how your mind responds to the food. When you finish, instead of jumping up, stay seated for a minute or two. It’s important to do this even when you’re having a snack, so you can apply mindfulness to everything you put in your mouth.

When eating your favourite food, enjoy it with focus.If there’s a type of food (let’s say chocolate) that you really love, but struggle to eat in moderation, try this: sit quietly without distractions and think about the chocolate in front of you.

Notice how you’re feeling, pause, then slowly unwrap it and take a minute to explore it with your eyes, nose and hands and notice whether your emotions change. Put a small piece in your mouth — don’t chew! Notice the temperature and texture and savour it. This way you’ll derive more satisfaction from smaller quantities — and you may find that one piece is enough.

MAKE A LIST TO RESIST CRAVINGS

Clear your cupboards of anything that may conflict with your goals. Then write a list of healthy foods you enjoy. Before you walk into a shop, be clear you are going to buy only from the list — so no impulse purchases.

Every time you pick up something, ask yourself: ‘Is this going to help me achieve my ideal size, shape, and weight?’ If you get distracted by a craving, chose a neutral place of focus (your feet, your palms resting on the shopping trolley) and breathe deeply.

Before leaving the store, pause briefly and pat yourself on the back for making good food choices — this affirmation will seal the new neural pathways you have created  by making these different decisions.

THE HEADSPACE DIET: 10 Days To Finding Your Ideal Weight by Andy Puddicombe (Hodder & Stoughton, £12.99).

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2160660/Change-mind-change-figure.html#ixzz1y8Ti1Ail

kapha dosha weight loss

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Weight Management: Kapha

The most common type of weight gain is caused by having a slow metabolism. This is common for a person who is a classic Kapha type. Kapha dosha is comprised of the earth and water elements, so this type of individual will reflect those qualities. A Kapha person will be structurally bigger, with bigger bones and a more easy-going, stable, gentle personality.

For a Kapha person, being skinny is usually not a healthy goal. If you are prone to gain weight, and are always five to ten pounds overweight no matter how little you eat, it would go against your nature to ever be really thin. Rather, it would be better to balance your metabolism, increase your ability to digest sugars and carbohydrates by adopting a Kapha balancing diet and lifestyle, and allow your body to naturally find its ideal weight. You may not be skinny, you may always weigh five to ten pounds more than average, but you will feel better and look healthier, and you will lose most of your excess weight.

Balancing Kapha Dosha through diet

The main principle for balancing Kapha is to introduce some of the fire element into your food and lifestyle. This will balance the earthen and watery elements of Kapha dosha.

Flavor your vegetables and dhal soups with spices that are mildly pungent, such as black pepper, fresh ginger, and turmeric

Other tastes to balance Kapha dosha are the bitter and astringent tastes. These include green leafy vegetables, split mung dhal soup and other bean soups, and astringent vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts. It’s important to cook your vegetables and eat them warm, rather than relying on raw vegetables. Raw vegetables are difficult to digest, whereas to balance Kapha dosha you want to eat warm, light, cooked foods.

Quinoa is an excellent grain for managing weight, as it has high protein and zinc content (4 mg of zinc per cup). But it should be cooked with a bit of ghee or olive oil, as otherwise it may be too drying.

Basmati rice is also a good grain for Kapha dosha, because it has a more drying quality than other types of rice, but quinoa is better because it has the intelligence of fire to support weight loss.

The fire element can even be added to the water you drink. If you boil your water for five minutes on the stove, you are adding the intelligence of fire to your drinking water. If you sip the water throughout the day, the intelligence of fire will permeate the molecules of water, and thus permeate your body. You won’t notice anything right away, but if you continue with this routine, in time you will feel less fatigue. This is because Kapha dosha tends to create a feeling of lethargy, and by introducing the fire element in the water, you’ll gradually feel more energetic.

If you are Kapha by nature, you’ll want to stay away from heavy, cold desserts such as ice cream and cheesecake, as these will only slow your metabolism and increase the cold, heavy qualities of Kapha in your body. Rich desserts, fried foods, foods made with refined sugar and refined flour, cold foods and drinks – all of these should be avoided if you want to balance Kapha and your weight.

Lifestyle tips for balancing Kapha

Regular exercise is the most important change you can make to improve your metabolism. The problem is that people with excessive Kapha dosha often feel somewhat complacent or even lethargic, and they might have to push themselves a little to exercise every day. Usually Kapha types need more vigorous exercise for a longer period to have the same effect as milder exercise would have on a Vata person.

Even making a habit of breathing more deeply can help charge the metabolism with more of the fire element. When Kapha dosha is out of balance, one of the first things that happens is that the person becomes a shallow breather. Deeper breathing is healthy for all body types, but especially for Kapha dosha, because deeper breathing helps wake up the body’s metabolism. When the metabolism is lower and breathing is shallow, the body’s channels get blocked and cause even more lethargy, which becomes a vicious cycle.

Don’t try to force your breathing, but just easily make a habit of breathing more deeply. Pranayama is the yogic breathing exercise that prepares the mind and body for meditation. These gentle exercises cultivate deeper breathing and help cleanse the pathways of prana, or life breath, in the body, removing obstructions and enhancing metabolism.

People with more Kapha dosha need to be sure to eat their main meal when the sun is strongest, right at noon. This is because the body’s internal digestive fire, called agni, is also strongest at noon. If you eat your main meal then, you’ll digest it more easily and create less of the waste product of digestion, the toxic ama, which blocks the channels and slows metabolism.

The digestive fire is weaker in the morning when you wake up and in the evening before bed, so breakfast and dinner should be lighter meals. An excellent breakfast for balancing metabolism for all three body-types is a cooked apple or pear with cooked prunes and figs. This breakfast choice is light and sustains most people until noon, when they can eat their heaviest meal. A healthy supper for a Kapha person might be soup made with vegetables, grains and dhal and flavored with spices such as cumin, fresh ginger, black pepper, and turmeric. Or kitcheri, a light meal made with rice and split mung dhal, is also a light Kapha-reducing meal Kapha Churna is an excellent spice mixture for balancing Kapha dosha.

how food can help decrease your stress levels

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the way your body deals with stress could provide the clues that can help you become calmer and slimmer, explains nutritional therapist and TV diet expert Charlotte Watts, who has written a ground-breaking book on the issue.

Beat the bulge: Understanding your stress type will help you lose weightBeat the bulge: Understanding your stress type will help you lose weight

Perhaps you are someone who collapses in a tearful heap. Or maybe you fret over endless lists, while others go down with every passing cough and cold.

Not only does feeling stressed and tired cause us to look for an instant energy fix (often found in high-calorie or high carbohydrate foods) but it also makes any excess weight we are carrying harder to lose.

 

 

Excess stress hormones in the body encourage fat storage, especially that hard-to-shift type around the middle.

Most diets are doomed to fail if you are stressed. But eating and lifestyle changes can tackle how you react to stress, according to the new book The De-stress Diet.

Take the quiz below to pinpoint your stress type. If you answer yes to three or more questions in any section, that could be your problem. Just follow the expert advice for a slimmer, calmer, healthier 2012.

BLOATED AND STRESSED

  • Do you often feel bloated after eating?
  • Do you have irritable bowel syndrome-type symptoms that get worse when you are stressed?
  • Do you have food sensitivities?
  • Have you been on long-term steroid medications, anti-inflammatories and/ or antibiotics?
  • Are you prone to headaches?
  • Is your diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates?

If this is your stress type, many of your problems are caused by insufficient beneficial bacteria in your gut, triggering sugar cravings and digestive problems such as IBS and weight gain.

WHAT TO DO: Increase your intake of natural prebiotics, which help promote good bacteria. They are found in veg (particularly Jerusalem artichokes, chicory, bananas, garlic, onions and leeks) or use supplements. Take digestive enzyme capsules at the start of each meal (around £9 for 100 from health stores) to help your body break down food.

Chew everything properly and wait an hour after eating protein before having fruit as it can cause gut fermentation and gas.

Cut down on sugars, alcohol and caffeine, which can reduce levels of beneficial bacteria and lead to gas, poor immunity and yeast overgrowth (candida).

Eat slowly and chew thoroughly to give your digestion the best chance to work effectively. Get tested for food intolerances (dairy, eggs, fish and grains) as low levels of beneficial bacteria in the gut can make it over-sensitive.

WIRED AND STRESSED

  • Do you feel on constant alert?
  • Do you react quickly to stressful events?
  • Do you struggle to relax?
  • Do you feel under pressure to take charge of things?
  • Do you feel increasingly unable to cope?
  • Are you prone to mood swings or have a tendency towards irritability?

This is one of the most common stress types, and is particularly harmful in the long term because it wears out our physical and mental systems. The adrenal glands (which control many stress hormones) are on  overload, triggering raised appetite and food cravings.

WHAT TO DO: Make sure you are getting all your nutrients by eating protein with every meal (eggs, meat or fish), healthy fats and plenty of vegetables.

Consider taking supplements containing zinc, iron, B vitamins, vitamin C, iodine and magnesium, commonly lost from the body during the stress response.

Nutrients needed: Eating more fruit and veg will help those who are wired and stressedNutrients needed: Eating more fruit and veg will help those who are wired and stressed

Don’t ignore tiredness: unwind in the evenings and try a few minutes of slow breathing each morning or before bed. Slow down your exercise regime. Avoid anything competitive so there is no stressful need to achieve.

COLD AND STRESSED

  • Do you often complain of feeling cold when others are warm?
  • Do you have poor circulation and are prone to fluid retention?
  • Is your hair thinning and are you losing the edges of your eyebrows?
  • Do you often find it difficult to concentrate?
  • Do you have less and less energy?
  • Do you have a hoarse voice?
  • Do you wake up unrefreshed?

These symptoms are often signs that stress is causing your thyroid gland (which controls metabolism) to under-perform. It’s your body’s way of slowing you down to conserve energy. This makes weight loss harder than ever.

WHAT TO DO: Balance your blood sugar levels to keep energy constant by eating less sugar and refined carbohydrates, and eating protein and good fats with each meal. Cut back on alcohol and coffee. Don’t skimp on exercise — it stimulates sluggish thyroid glands.

Try yoga. Head-down poses encourage blood flow and the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the thyroid gland.

Stretch: Head down yoga positions encourage blood flowStretch: Head down yoga positions encourage blood flow

Protein and leafy greens contain an amino acid called tyrosine, which helps the thyroid produce thyroxine which re-invigorates the metabolism.

Avoid raw cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and kale as they can interfere with thyroid function.

Eat warming foods such as chilli, ginger, green tea, turmeric, cider vinegar, horseradish and wasabi to warm you up.

Consider taking the thyroid- stimulating nutrients iron, zinc, copper, selenium and iodine (found in mackerel, cod, shellfish and seaweeds).

ILL AND STRESSED

  • Are you prone to hay fever, asthma, eczema, arthritis or psoriasis?
  • Do you get frequent ear, nose and throat infections?
  • Do you have a tendency to fluid retention and weight fluctuations?
  • Are you prone to headaches?
  • Have you been on long-term steroid medications, anti-inflammatories and/or antibiotics?
  • Is your diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates?
  • Do you have osteoporosis, heart disease or joint problems?

These symptoms could be  signs that your immune system is on overdrive. This saps energy,  and suppresses the appetite- satisfaction hormones ghrelin and leptin, making weight loss particularly difficult.

WHAT TO DO: Reduce your intake of sugar to cut down the harmful inflammatory reactions it may be causing in your body.

Boost your intake of foods rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, beta- carotene (found in fresh, brightly coloured fruit and vegetables), as well as the beneficial bioflavonoids and polyphenols found in spices, tea, green tea and garlic (as well as red wine and dark chocolate).

Increase your fruit and vegetable intake to ensure you don’t get dehydrated (because they contain potassium and sugars, they  help the water they contain enter cells more easily than just drink-ing water).

Low levels of omega 3 in the diet can lead to inflammation, making eczema, asthma, dermatitis, hay fever, migraines and arthritis worse — stress exacerbates the effect. An omega 3 supplement may help.

Weight training is a must to strengthen bones and maintain healthy joint lubrication. Avoid hard cardiovascular workouts  and choose gentle jogging or walking instead.

HORMONAL AND STRESSED

  • Do you get PMS or have a history of menstrual problems?
  • Do you have fibroids, endometriosis or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?
  • Do you get pre-menstrual or ovulation sugar cravings?
  • Do you get hormonal phases of irritability, crying and/or negative thoughts?
  • Do you have menopausal symptoms?
  • Do you have fertility issues?
  • Have you used hormonal contraception (the Pill, IUD or implant) for years?

Affecting women only, this body type thrives on stress hormones interacting with oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone, skewing the delicate balance your hormonal system needs to function well and leading to weight gain typically on the bottom, hips and thighs.

WHAT TO DO: Reduce your alcohol consumption as it can raise circulating oestrogen and may worsen PMS.

Organic meat, eggs and dairy products tend to be lower in growth hormones, which may disrupt your hormone balance.

Eat a little fermented soy in the form of soy sauce, tamari, miso  and tempeh — the Chinese and Japanese have found this can  help regulate the balance of  female hormones.

Eat plenty of fibre to ensure effective elimination of excess hormones via the bowel (constipation may cause hormones  and toxins to be re-absorbed into the body).

Exercise every day — it is a crucial physical process that increases hormone balance by boosting circulation and detoxification.

TIRED AND STRESSED

  • Do you wake up feeling weary?
  • Do you have energy dips?
  • Do you rely on sugar or caffeine to perk you up?
  • Do you feel fuzzy-headed?
  • Are you exhausted by evening?
  • Do you sleep badly?
  • Do you get fluid retention?

If you’ve been a ‘wired’ stress type for a while, you can easily become a tired type, which can result in crashes that leave you unable to function without unhealthy sugar or stimulants.

Energy boost: Tired and stressed people should eat more red meat, fish and eggs, spinach and watercressEnergy boost: Tired and stressed people should eat more red meat, fish and eggs, spinach and watercress

WHAT TO DO: Swap external energy fixes such as sugar, coffee, alcohol and cigarettes for a multivitamin and mineral supplement to boost iron, B and C vitamins and magnesium.

Eat more red meat, fish and eggs, spinach and watercress (all rich in
iron) and poultry, milk, tofu and mushrooms (for vitamin B12).

Get more fluid by increasing fruit and veg intake and exercise to
reduce stress hormones.

DEMOTIVATED AND STRESSED

  • Do you often feel as if you can’t be bothered to do anything?
  • Do you have a tendency to depression?
  • Do you use sugar and refined carbohydrates for comfort?
  • Do you have late-night binges or over-eating sessions?
  • Do you sleep badly?
  • Are you prone to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?

Don’t blame lack of willpower — stress has depleted the feelgood hormones serotonin and dopamine.

Low levels are linked to depression, and make you susceptible to junk food cravings as your body searches for a quick fix boost.

WHAT TO DO: Take an Omega-3 supplement to increase receptiveness
to serotonin and dopamine. Eat protein with every meal to ensure a consistent supply of energy to the brain to maintain a healthy mood.

Replenish probiotic gut bacteria with bio-yogurt and cut back on sugar. Take a magnesium supplement. Exercise outdoors. Laugh, listen to music, socialise, have sex: natural opioids are produced in response to these natural highs.

Extracted from The De-stress Diet by Charlotte Watts and Anna Magee, published by Hay House on January 7 at £12.99. © Charlotte Watts and Anna Magee 2012. To order a copy for £10 (P&P free), tel: 0843 382 0000.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2081112/Foods-fight-stress-Changing-diet-overcome-anxiety-step-successful-weight-loss.html#ixzz1iT0e2adh