Survival of the Fittest – List of Common Chemicals that are making you Fat & Depressed

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We’ve all heard that if we eat too many calories, we’ll get fat. But there’s more to it: it’s not just the calories, but the chemicals, in our food that contribute to obesity.

Some of these chemicals — called “obesogens” — trigger our bodies to store fat even though we might be restricting calories. The effects are complex: some of these chemicals increase the number of fat cells, others expand the size of fat cells and still others influence appetite, cravings, fullness and how well the body burns calories. In addition to obesogens, other synthetic food ingredients have been shown to help us pack on the pounds and leave us feeling depressed, even when when we think we’re eating healthy.

To stop feeling that way, here are the top five chemicals to avoid in food.

  1. Growth Hormones & Antibiotics

Several drugs, growth hormones, steroids and antibiotics are routinely given to conventionally raised animals to fatten them up on less food. Residues from some of these drugs have been found in meat samples, so you very well could be eating these growth-promoting drugs every time you eat a steak. These drugs are believed to contribute to the obesity epidemic and are poorly regulated in the U.S.

How to avoid: Choose only certified organic grass-fed meat and dairy products (preferably local). Treatment with growth hormones and growth-promoting antibiotics isn’t permitted in organically grown animals. As an added benefit, organic grass-fed beef has been shown to contain more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which may actually help you lose weight.

  1. Artificial & Natural Flavors

All of the chemicals that make processed food taste good — monosodium glutamate (MSG), artificial flavors and natural flavors — are just cheap replacements for the real thing and can cause you to eat more than you would otherwise.

With the innocuous-sounding term “natural flavors,” companies can put whatever they want in your food that’s generally recognized as safe, including naturally occurring glutamate bi-products like MSG, known excitotoxins. These excitotoxins cause your taste buds to experience irresistibility when it comes to food.

How to avoid: Steer clear of processed foods, particularly those that have artificial flavors, natural flavors, monosodium glutamate or other “processed free glutamic acid” additives like autolyzed yeast extract and hydrolyzed proteins.

  1. Artificial Sweeteners

Think you’re going to lose weight by switching from regular soda to diet? Think again. Researchers have discovered that artificial sweeteners like those in Diet Coke, can affect gut bacteria, leading to more weight gain. If that isn’t bad enough, the artificial sweetener Aspartame has been linked to mood swings and depression.

How to avoid: Don’t eat anything with artificial sweeteners (sucralose, aspartame, acesulfame potassium, saccharin) in the ingredient list. Limit your sugar intake overall, but choose unrefined sweeteners such as coconut palm sugar, maple syrup, raw honey and dried fruits such as dates.

  1. Pesticides

Out of all the common pesticides Americans are regularly exposed to, the majority of them are “endocrine disruptors“, making them obesogens. Even in tiny amounts, endocrine disruptors have the ability to disrupt major weight controlling hormones (catecholamines), interfere with the natural hormone systems that regulate metabolism and lead to weight gain.

How to avoid: Minimize your exposure to pesticides by choosing certified organic produce and products. (Synthetic pesticides are prohibited in organic farming.) If organic isn’t available, choose fresh produce that’s on the Environmental Working Group’s “Clean 15″ list of produce with the least pesticide residue.

  1. Plastics

Whether it’s a bottle of salad dressing or container of leftovers, most of us are exposed to plastics on a daily basis. Many of these plastics contain substances such as phthalates or bisphenol A (BPA), known endocrine disruptors that have beendirectly linked to increased fat storage. These chemicals have the ability to leach into food and have infiltrated our society so much that they’ve been found 93% of urine samples tested in America.

How to avoid: Choose your water bottles, storage containers, straws and eating utensils wisely, and stock up on those made from glass or stainless steel instead of plastic. Glass jars make an affordable option for storing food.

Credit: Mind Body Green

Don’t start nothing, it won’t be nothing – Self Defense Training for Women (Martial Arts Philosophy)

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Happy Green Juice Day!!! – How to cleanse with juicing and juice fasting?

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I’m often asked to name one thing that can be done right away to get healthier. With respect to food choices, the best suggestion I have is to begin drinking freshly pressed vegetable juices. Drinking just one freshly pressed juice each day is a reliable way of infusing your body with a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that can protect your cells against premature aging and disease.

Making time to drink vegetable juices isn’t a problem for most people. It’s the time that’s needed to wash fresh vegetables, feed them through a good juicer, and clean the juicer afterward that prevents most people from making fresh juices a regular part of their lives.

But if you understand how beneficial freshly pressed juices are to your health, it becomes easier to make the time to juice several times a week.

THE RIGHT INGREDIENTS

The key to creating healthy vegetable juices is to make green vegetables the bulk of every batch. Green vegetables won’t spike your blood sugar and insulin like fruits and sweet vegetables like carrots and red beets will.

This isn’t to say that you can’t juice fruits, carrots, and red beets. Fruits and sweet root vegetables can be healthy additions to your drinks, and they’ll definitely add sweetness and flavour. You just want to make sure that they never make up more than one-third of each glass that you drink.

And if your blood sugar level tends to be high, you’ll want to use a blood sugar monitor to determine how much is acceptable for you. I’ve worked with many diabetics over the years who haven’t been able to handle even an ounce of fruit, carrot, or red beet juice in their drinks without negative health consequences, so please consider this point before you select your ingredients for juicing.

Romaine lettuce is one of the best green vegetables that you can juice. You can also juice other types of leafy lettuce like red or green leaf lettuce.

For variety, try adding large handfuls of kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, Bok Choy, and other dark green vegetables that you might steam before eating.

For another layer of flavour, you can add a tiny slice of lemon (including the rind for its flavonoids) to your vegetable juices.

Some people enjoy adding a clove of raw garlic for even more bite.

Be creative and add any vegetables you crave. You really can’t go wrong as long as you make sure not to use too many carrots, red beets, or fruits.

Clearly, organic vegetables are better than non-organic vegetables. But my experiences have led me to believe that the health benefits of drinking juices made with well washed, non-organic vegetables far outweigh not juicing at all. If you’re only able to juice non-organic vegetables due to financial or other life circumstances, it’s still well worth doing.

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HOW TO EXPERIENCE AN EFFECTIVE JUICE FAST

Now that we’ve reviewed the fundamentals of how to make healthy vegetable-based juices, let’s take a look at how to carry out an effective juice fast.

Some people call juice fasting juice dieting, preferring to reserve the word “fasting” for water-only fasting. Juice fasting and juice dieting are the same thing.

Why consider doing a juice fast?

Drinking only freshly pressed vegetable-based juices for a day or two or even a week at a time can give your body much needed rest and time to heal itself of chronic health problems.

Because vegetable juices are extremely easy to digest, your body can spend much of its resources on healing damaged or exhausted tissues instead of spending its energy on digesting heavy meals.

You should only do a juice fast after consulting with your health care provider and confirming that your current health status should allow for a safe and effective juice fast.

What’s the difference between a juice fast and a water fast?

People detoxify and heal more quickly with a water fast than with a juice fast. This is because with a water fast, your digestive passageway and organs are able to rest completely, which allows almost all of your energy to be used for cleansing and repair of damaged tissues.

With a juice fast or a cleansing diet of fruits and vegetables, your body must use energy (a minimal amount compared to when you are eating heavier meals) to digest nutrients, leaving less available energy for detoxification and healing.

Another significant difference is that more fat tissue is burned during a water fast, as your body must rely exclusively on fat reserves to supply its energy needs after the first one to three days of water fasting. Your body stores the bulk of incoming toxins in your fat reserves. As these reserves are burned for energy during a fast, any stored toxins will be released into your circulation, to be eliminated from your body through channels like your urine and respiratory tract. This mechanism of detoxification also occurs with juice fasting, but at a slower pace.

All of this considered, both types of fasting can be helpful to your health. The choice you make should take into consideration your circumstances and goals.

Generally, juice fasting allows for more gentle detoxification than water fasting. Juice fasting also allows you to have enough energy to keep up with most of your activities of daily living while you detoxify your tissues, where as an effective water fast requires almost complete physical rest.

Another significant difference is that juice fasting is much easier for most people to stick with. Water fasting is best carried out in a supervised setting while juice fasting is relatively easy to do from your own home.

HOW LONG SHOULD YOU JUICE FAST FOR?

It really depends on your health status and goals. If you’re looking to give your body a short but beneficial break, it can be helpful to do a juice fast for 48-72 hours over a weekend.

If you’re looking to experience significant detoxification and improvement in your overall health, you might consider doing a longer juice fast, somewhere in the ball park of one to two weeks.

Although it’s optimal to prepare for a juice fast by eating raw fruits and vegetables for 24 hours prior to beginning with juices only, most people do just fine in starting with juices without a pre-fasting routine.

You can drink however many juices your appetite calls for throughout the day. I have found that most people do well with an average of five freshly pressed juices per day.

You can use any of the juice recipes that are listed above, or any similar recipes that you create following your tastes.

While I generally recommend that people use fruit-based juices early on in the day and turn to vegetable-based juices as the day goes on, there’s really no requirement to stick to a specific order of juices.

ENDING YOUR JUICE FAST

You should end your juice fast by eating whole fruits and vegetables.

Credit: Prevent Disease

How to say I Love You in Sign Language? (Lessons in Sign Language)

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WAYS TO SAY “I LOVE YOU”


SIMPLE LESSONS IN SIGN LANGUAGE

Survival of the Fittest – Breathing Techniques by Acharya Shree Yogeesh

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Breathing Techniques prevents cancer, reduces stress and anxiety, calms down the mind, and brings relaxation. Perfect for anyone.


Acharya Shree Yogeesh conducts his first online video tutorial which covers a breathing technique called kapalbhati. He describes kapalbhati’s history, purpose, and benefits of this ancient yogic breathing technique, and teaches you how to do it.


Survival of the Fittest – Brain Hacks to instantly improve your Memory

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Having a sharp memory is important for a lot of reasons. Not only should it improve your professional life, but going to dinner parties and remembering everyone’s name is downright impressive. If you think you have been cursed with a terrible memory, I have good news for you: that’s not true. Anyone can improve their memory by following this simple advice. Learning how to remember things is vital. Many intelligent people have a hard time remembering things simply because they’re not attempting to recover the information (or store it) properly. Just follow these tips, you’ll see an improvement.

1.)   Use the “snooze button:” To remember random information like an address or phone number, instead of repeating it to yourself, just rehearse it every 15 seconds or so for a few minutes. Don’t wait longer than that or else the memory will decay.

2.)  The peg system: This may seem like a bizarre method to recall information, but he human body peg system works. What you do is imagine parts of the human body itself and use them as “pegs” to store information. You visualize an image of what you are trying to remember and associate it with a corresponding body part.

3.)   Just sincerely FOCUS: Many people listen to music or have the television on while they study, but this actually significantly impairs the ability to memorize information. You can’t actually multi-task, you just jump in between tasks. So, to memorize information, just focus and limit other stimuli.

4.)   Linking: If you link items together in a list (even if they are unrelated), it’s easier to remember them. A common way to link items together on a list is with a short story, where you incorporate every item.

5.)   The keyword method: This is a useful trick when you need to memorize vocabulary when learning a foreign language. To use it, take a sound that you recognize from the new word, visualize that sound and then relate it to the new word you are learning.

6.)    The method of Loci: This is also known as the Journey Method and the Roman Room Method. This old memory technique uses a “memory palace” or house. You mentally walk through an area where you have stored information. By walking through different rooms or areas, you can remember the information you stored in those rooms.

7.)   Use the chunking method: According to research, you can hold about five to nine (seven on average) items in your working memory at one time. However, we can remember things like a phone number (10 digits-long) by chunking the information into groups. Therefore, that 10 digit phone number is only really three pieces of information.

8.)   Setting the information: There is a phenomenon called context-dependent memory, where you can give yourself clues for remembering things based on the sensory input you are experiencing at the time of the memory. Researchers found that when test participants learned something underwater, they could recall the information better when underwater again.

9.)   Using music to enhance memory: You shouldn’t distract yourself with music if you’re trying to remember something. Instead, putting long strings of text TO music (like lyrics) is an effective way to remember something. Think of all of the songs you learned in grade school to remember facts; that’s this mnemonic at work.

10.)   Smell enhances memory: Smell is one of the most powerful memory recall devices possible. This sense memory is exceptionally strong because the nose is able to go directly to your memory center. If you were studying for a test and wearing a certain perfume, if you wore the same perfume during the test you may perform better.

Credit: viralnova.com

 

Find out why you’re so Lazy? (Science is Awesome)

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The Great American Smokeout – Five Ways to Get Ready to Quit Smoking (Tell us how you quit the habit)

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Thursday is the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout and it’s another opportunity for smokers to give up the habit once and for all.

The Smokeout encourages people to quit or make a plan to quit.

Don’t quit quitting. It’s never to late to stop. Maybe you’ve said these phases to yourself and just need a little more support to finally quit smoking for good.

Five Ways to Get Ready to Quit Smoking

Quitting smoking can be hard, so a good plan can help you get past symptoms of withdrawal. Five steps can help.

  1. Set a quit date. Choose the Great American Smokeout or another quit day within the next 2 weeks.
  2. Tell your family and friends about your quit plan. Share your quit date with the important people in your life and ask for support. A daily phone call, e-mail, or text message can help you stay on course and provide moral support. Try SmokefreeTEXT for 24/7 help on your mobile phone.
  3. Be prepared for challenges. The urge to smoke is short—usually only 3 to 5 minutes. Surprised? Those moments can feel intense. Even one puff can feed a craving and make it stronger. Before your quit day, write down healthy ways to cope.
    • Drink water.
    • Take a walk or ride your bike.
    • Listen to a favorite song or play a game.
    • Call or text a friend.
  4. Remove cigarettes and other tobacco from your home, car, and workplace. Throw away your cigarettes, matches, lighters, and ashtrays. Clean and freshen your car, home, and workplace. Old cigarette odors can cause cravings.

Talk to your pharmacist, doctor, or quitline coach about quit options. Nicotine patches, gum, or other approved quit medication can help with cravings.

Eat more Oatmeal!!! – The many benefits of eating Oatmeal

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Helps control weight.

Let’s face it, we could all use some help at times, but did you ever think oatmeal could help control your weight? It’s true! According to a research study published in the October 2009 issue of “Molecular Nutrition & Food Research” a compound in oatmeal known as β-glucan reduces appetite by increasing the hunger-fighting hormone cholecystokinin.

Reduces blood pressure.

We all know that heart disease is a major problem in North America and throughout the world. One study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a diet which includes plenty of whole-grains (such as oats or wholemeal bread) is just as effective as taking anti-hypertensive medication to lower blood pressure!

Reduces cholesterol.

Have you ever heard of soluble fiber? Well, compared to other grains, oats actually have the highest portion of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps your intestinal tract trap substances associated with blood cholesterol.  Studies show that people with high blood cholesterol who eat just 3 g of soluble fiber per day can reduce their total cholesterol by 8% to 23% (remember that one cup of oats yields 4 g)!

Lowers risk of colon cancer.

Cancer of the colon is horrible and can be very painful. One study, pooled by researchers in Britain and the Netherlands, published evidence that there was a link between people who ate a high fiber diet (mainly from whole grains and cereals like oats) to a lower risk of colorectal cancer. This study also covered nearly 2 million people and specifically found that for every additional 10 grams of fiber in someone’s diet, there is a 10% reduction in their risk of developing colorectal cancer!

Stabilizes blood sugar.

What does this mean? We have all experienced a “sugar crash”/ “mid morning slump” after a big meal or sugary breakfast; well, with oatmeal, this doesn’t happen as much. As a result of oatmeal’s high soluble fiber content, its sugar is released more slowly into the blood stream (aka, it has a low glycemic index). It’s important to note that steel cut oats will have more of an effect on stabilizing your blood sugar than instant oats, because they are less processed and thus have more soluble fiber. Another added bonus, is because it takes longer to digest, you will feel full longer

Athletic performance.

At the beginning of this article, I mentioned how beneficial oatmeal was in giving me energy before my swimming practices while on the National Team for my town. Oatmeal, is a great carbohydrate and protein source, providing calories and energy for energy needs. Oats have been shown in scientific studies to favorably alter metabolism and enhance performance when ingested 45 minutes to 1 hour before exercise of moderate intensity.

Helps you sleep.

Our society has ingrained in us that oatmeal is a breakfast food, although it is also a wise choice before bedtime. In fact, the Scottish recommend a bowl of oatmeal in the evening to get you feeling nice and sleepy.

Why is oatmeal good before bed? Well, oats actually contain melatonin and complex carbohydrates that can help more tryptophan get into the brain and help you sleep, according to Dr.Oz. Furthermore, oatmeal contains many vitamins, including B6, which is a co-factor that also aids in the production of more serotonin in the brain.

Credit: Life Hack

Happy National Kick Butts Day!!! – What are you doing to kick the habit?

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Kick Butts Day is a national day of activism that empowers youth to stand out, speak up and seize control against Big Tobacco.

On Kick Butts Day, teachers, youth leaders and health advocates organize events to:

  1. Raise awareness of the problem of tobacco use in their state or community;
  2. Encourage youth to reject the tobacco industry’s deceptive marketing and stay tobacco-free; and
  3. Urge elected officials to take action to protect kids from tobacco.

Kick Butts Day is organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. The first Kick Butts Day was held in 1996.

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The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a leading force in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its deadly toll in the United States and around the world. Our vision: A future free of the death and disease caused by tobacco.

We work to save lives by advocating for public policies that prevent kids from smoking, help smokers quit and protect everyone from secondhand smoke. To achieve our mission, we:

  1. Promote public policies proven to reduce tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke. These include higher tobacco taxes, comprehensive smoke-free laws, well-funded tobacco prevention and stop-smoking programs, and tough regulation of tobacco products and marketing.
  2. Expose and counter tobacco industry efforts to market to children and mislead the public.
  3. Strengthen tobacco control efforts in the United States and worldwide by providing support and information to our many partners.
  4. Mobilize organizations and individuals to join the fight against tobacco.
  5. Empower a tobacco-free generation by fostering youth leadership and activism.
  6. Inform the public, policy makers and the media about tobacco’s devastating consequences and the effectiveness of the policies we support.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that accepts no government or tobacco industry funding. We rely on contributions from individuals, philanthropic foundations, corporations and other non-profit organizations.

Get more information from Kick Butts Day