Live Life, Travel Hard and Eat Well

February7

Good nutrition and good health is non-negotiable. Whether you’re off to an out of town business meeting, visiting your in-laws, or taking a week-long vacation, your health should never be a compromise. When you travel actively you lose more calories than you usually do, and unhealthy eating fails to supply you with the sufficient energy you need. Would you really want to meet your in-laws while you’re cranky and tired?

Planning, Planning and Planning

Since it’s a very basic instinct to plan when you are traveling, add a couple of minutes to know your destination places. Search if there are groceries nearby. Know the route you will take. If the trip is long and there are no places to stop over and enjoy good food, prepare snacks for the trip before you leave the house. Another fun way you can take advantage of your trip is to search the internet for good, healthy restaurants to eat going and getting to your destination. It’s all in the planning.

Food on the GO

Snacking is one of the delights in traveling. So instead of munching on unhealthy things that once you pop, you can’t stop eating. Why not try something equally enticing but good for you?

In-Flight Snacks

Have you ever heard of the best snack to help jet lag? They are dried cherries. According to nutritionist Dr. Russel Reiter, “Tart cherries contain melatonin, which is then absorbed into the blood stream influencing your biological clock”. Studies show strong evidence that taking melatonin on the day of travel and continued for several days reduce the number of days needed to form normal sleep patterns, lessens the time it takes to fall asleep, improves alertness, and reduces daytime fatigue. Much better than the ultra salty peanut snacks served on the flight!

Hit the Road, Jack!

Traveling by car calls for all the fun snacks that rev up your senses, but snacking on all the wrong food can make you feel uncomfortably sluggish and tired. This can just ruin your travel experience, or worse–can get you in danger if you’re the one holding the wheel.

Staying alert and satisfying those rumbling moments on road can be easily be solved with some great dried fruits like banana, mango or pineapple, or whole wheat crackers with peanut butter or a bag of assorted nuts. These high protein snacks help you maintain your blood sugar levels to keep you awake and also help your brain create neurochemicals that are responsible to keep you alert.

Eating Out

When ordering in a restaurant, ask questions–especially if the menu is not familiar to you. A good restaurant should be more than willing to give you a vivid explanation of each dish. Do order food that is prepared in a healthier method which is baked or steamed instead of fried. A must in ordering is soup and salad as your entrée. It’s a healthy start and the soup helps you feel full without taking in so much hard to digest food. Avoid ordering too much at once, even if you’re starving. If you want something along the way you can always make additional orders.

In a worst-case scenario, you may find yourself in the midst of fast food chains. Don’t despair; you can still try to eat healthy or at least healthier. Seek out deli-style fast food chains where you can order a sandwich on whole wheat bread, replace deep fried chicken with grilled chicken sandwiches, and skip extra calories by skipping the mayo. Drink juice instead of sodas. There are also a lot of fast food chains that have salad in their menu, so go ahead and rather indulge in that.

Travelling Abroad

When I travel to foreign countries where English is not the mother tongue, I find out how to say in the local language “No MSG”. For example, when I travel to China developing and inspecting my latest inventions, I always say “Bu Yao Weijing” when ordering my food. I don’t know a whole lot of Chinese but I make it an effort to know this. Like Aspartame, MSG is an excitotoxin and plays havoc and on your body has no place there.

Remember no matter where you are or the time you have, your health is not a compromise. Enjoy traveling and eat and live a healthy life!

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Strive to Achieve: Good Health Has No Short Cut

January16

Let’s be completely honest here. There is just no shortcut to achieving good health. Like developing character or fattening up your bank account, it takes time. The only guarantee that we can accomplish and maintain such desirable gains is for us to continually improve ourselves and maintain a sense of discipline in every aspect of life.

Hard work, diligence, patience and discipline will lead us to achieve any goal that our hearts desire. Gaining knowledge and perhaps a mentor whom you look up to are additional ways to hasten the realization of your dreams.

If achieving good health and maintaining a healthy body weight are two of your most pressing desires, then buckle down, accept the challenge and work to achieve your goal. Do not turn to dangerous diet pills, unhealthy fad diets, liposuction or bypass surgery. These are all shortcuts to achieving your end goal and are a sure guarantee that going down this path will not help you maintain your objective, which, in this case, is good health.

Juicing for 7 days is not a fad diet. It is a way for you to flush out stored bodily toxins, give your digestive system a much-needed rest while your body repairs itself first on the inside. More importantly, taking in only 100% vegetable and fruit juices will help you jump-start your way to healthier food choices that will eventually be the lifestyle change you need.

Remember, ANY change entails a little discomfort. It could be a change in address, a change of work place or a change in career. Even diet changes, ESPECIALLY diet changes. This is certainly true because as a society, we have made our food our comfort instead of simply as fuel for our bodies.

So, it might be a tad uncomfortable when the craving for chocolate, ice cream, cheese or alcohol hits you while you’re in the middle of your juice diet. Do not worry, you can handle it! Remember, you are a strong individual. Achieving your goal of a healthy body and a healthy weight is much more important than the junk food beckoning you from the fridge. You know what? Get rid of it! Throw it out and show it who’s boss! You are taking back control of your health!

A little discipline, a little patience, a little perseverance and a lot of belief in yourself will go a long way.

You can do this! Claim 2011 as your year to achieve amazingly good health, a sound mind and a taut, slim body. Believe in yourself and truly, nothing is impossible!

Detox 101

January7

After all that holiday food, it is time to detox!

December was a great month to be with friends and family and bask in the love and gifts. Unfortunately, we did our share of basking in all the holiday goodies too. Now is the best time to take charge again, lose the accumulated pounds and regain our health!

Prepare yourself for another week of juicing. Let your digestive system take a break and flush out those toxins from your body through a vegetable and fruit juice fast. Don’t delay. Now is the time to do it before you lose all initiative. Remember, losing 3 pounds is much easier than having to lose 30.

While preparing yourself mentally and physically for another juice fast, remember to:

- Purge your house of all junk food. Give away the last of the Christmas cookies, the holiday candies, the rich chocolate cakes and bread puddings. There is truth in the old adage, “Out of sight, out of mind.”

- Create a shopping list. Not for gifts this time, but for the fresh produce you will need to make your juices and smoothies. Remember it is much easier to stick to a healthy diet when healthy ingredients are within reach.

- Move. Away from the fridge, and towards a workout routine. It doesn’t have to be a 2-hr marathon of intense running, but slowly ease your body back to the regular exercise sessions you may have shoved aside in lieu of the past month’s revelries.

- Lose the fabric. During these cold January nights, it may be much easier to bundle ourselves in layers and layers of warm clothing and hiding our body from our own skeptical eyes. However, in this case, “out of sight, out of mind” does not really help. While coats and scarves and gloves are essential at this time of year, wear something tight-fitting inside all those layers to remind yourself that there still is a figure in there somewhere that needs to be taken care of. At home, ditch the stretchy sweats and don fitting sweaters and shorts. Sounds silly, but this helps you maintain your focus to get healthy again and forget that last piece of chocolate hiding in the back of the fridge.

Sounds good? A Happy, Healthy 2011 to us all!

Healthy for the Holidays

December2

‘Tis the beginning of the most wonderful time of the year. There’s eggnog and pumpkin pie and roast turkey and hams and Christmas cookies. There are office parties and family gatherings to go to, much food and drink to imbibe and enjoy.

This is one hellish scenario for any individual trying to eat healthy and remain healthy. How does one avoid such diet disasters and waist-management issues? To follow are some tips to still be able to fit into your favorite jeans come 2011.

1. Do not forego your daily workouts. - Yes, yes, this is quite difficult to do when there are parties beckoning you at every corner. Try to schedule your workouts in the morning, to avoid casually dismissing them when the late-afternoon rush is upon you. Another advantage of doing your daily routine is you tend to think first before indulging too much, and remember just how hard you worked out that morning only to waste it on a second eggnog.

2. Drink water before heading out the door. - Proven and tested. Drinking water fills you up and drowns out hunger pangs. Medical research also indicates that the body’s need for water could very well be mistaken for hunger sensations. So, drink up!

3. Scour the buffet before making your choices. - Don’t simply grab a plate and fill it with the entire smorgasbord of dishes. Walk around all the buffet stations then fill your plate with only the healthiest choices. If you’re going to eat much, might as well eat right.

4. Forego the ubiquitous bread basket. - Bread is the last thing to indulge in this holiday season. With all the food offerings on hand, the last thing you need is more simple carbohydrates. Opt for baked sweet potatoes or some roasted lean meat.

5. Say no to gravies and sauces. - As a general rule, gravies and sauces pack a hefty punch, calorie-wise. Remember that the food you are partaking in have already been seasoned on its own. Pouring buttery sauces over it will only add calories where you don’t need them. If you must have some type of sauce, choose a type of vinaigrette.

6. Wear a tight-fitting dress / pants. - When your belt or waistband bites into your midsection, or your over-indulging makes you look like a well-fed giant anaconda in the dining hall mirrors, then you are less likely to overeat.

7. Put your fork down in-between bites. - An oft-repeated rule. Putting your fork down in-between bites will allow you more time to chew and enjoy your food, rather than swallow more without giving it much thought. An added bonus is you get to chat up the office cutie you’ve been eying from afar, without a mouthful of food getting in your way.

8. Choose clear over creamy. - If you must have your Christmas beverage, choose a clear drink rather than a creamy one. A clear drink does not have the unnecessary added calories as compared to a milky beverage.

9. Practice control. - You are the guardian of your waist and the master of your health. If you can’t fit into them anymore, who will wear the pants in the family?

Have a happy and healthy holiday season, everyone!

Check Your pH Levels

November3

Check Your pH Levels

The foods we put in our bodies greatly affect our health, or lack thereof. Every bite, every morsel, every drop of liquid that passes through our lips has the power to affect the body in ways we cannot even begin to imagine. You may have a clue as to what I’m referring to if you are one of millions of people on this planet who have some sort of allergic reaction to certain types of food or food products.

One simple way to start our journey to eating right and eating well is knowing these 2 things: acidity and alkalinity, or what we call our pH levels. Our bodies thrive on a slightly alkaline environment in order for each living cell to function properly. Too much acidity contributes to the degeneration of these cells and paves the way for a myriad of aliments and diseases that afflict modern man. How does this happen? Well, our bodies go to extreme lengths in order for our blood’s pH levels to maintain a slightly alkaline level of about 7.4. When we don’t feed our bodies with alkaline-forming foods, our body leaches calcium, magnesium, potassium and other vital minerals and nutrients off our bones, our digestive system and other organs to ensure normal function of our blood and the fluids in our cells. If our body does not do this, we die.

Osteoporosis, cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes are just a few of the modern-day diseases caused by a severely acidic body. Other ailments of acidosis are premature ageing, lack of energy, constant fatigue, loss of physical tone and depressive tendencies. The digestive system responds to over-acidity with bouts of gastritis, gastric reflux and ulcers. Acids are also released through the skin resulting in eczema, headaches, cramps, acne, boils, irritation, swelling, inflammation, excess oils, rosacea and other skin/nail/hair problems. The skin also tends to be irritated in areas where we sweat the most. We feel it in our overall well-being through unexplained headaches, a low body temperature, leg cramps and spasms, and a loss of drive, joy and enthusiasm.

This is quite a list. And one we should not take lightly.

Our standard modern diet comprises almost completely of acidic foods such as white flour, meat, sugar, and a host of processed foods. Stimulants like coffee, tea and alcohol are also extremely acidifying. Alkaline-forming foods such as whole fruits and vegetables take up a very small portion on our plate. In some cases almost nil. The result is a diet that does not have enough alkalinity to neutralize surplus acids, causing the body to break down in a variety of ways.

The problem lies not so much on a particular food, but rather the cumulative effects of eating highly acidic meals for years causing the body to finally break down and succumb to the lack of proper nutrients.

One easy way to check your body’s pH levels is to simply purchase and use the same test strips you might have used in high school chemistry class or to test the pH in your aquarium. Some studies recommend testing both saliva and urine. This test offers an indicator of your cellular pH and can be used to monitor changes as you work to normalize your pH. On the pH scale, 7 is neutral; 0 to 7 is acidic, and 7 to 14 is alkaline. The normal pH inside a cell is 7.4, which is slightly alkaline. First morning urine should be in the range of 6.5 to 7.5. If readings fall below 6.5, you are too acidic. Occasional readings above 7.5 are normal, but consistent readings above 7.5 are an indication of tissue breakdown, and a pH over 8.0 is a serious matter.

How do we maintain a proper balance of alkalinity and acidity? Here are a few simple rules:

• Eat more whole, organic raw fruits and vegetables.
• Reduce the amount of acid-forming foods such as meats, white flour and sugar from your diet.
• Drink water.
• Drink fresh fruit and vegetable juices.
• Avoid highly toxic environments and reduce your stress.
• Get some physical activity but not too much. Over-activity also causes acids to build up in your body.

Alkalinity vs. Acidity

October22

In our article, “Check Your ph Levels”, we expressed the importance in maintaining an alkaline body to ward off disease and stay healthy.
As a simple guide, we have provided a list of alkaline-producing and acid-producing foods. To maintain a normal pH level of about 6.8 – 7.4, aim for 70% alkaline-forming foods and 30% acid-forming foods in your daily diet. To normalize an already high acidic pH level, your diet must consist of 80% alkaline-forming foods and 20% acid-forming foods.

ALKALINE
• whole, raw vegetables and fruits
• Oriental vegetables such as Maitake, Daikon, Dandelion Root,
Shitake, Kombu, Reishi, Nori, Umeboshi, Wakame, Sea Veggies
• green drinks or fresh vegetable juice
• fresh fruit juice
• Pure water (distilled or ionised)
• Lemon water (pure water + fresh lemon or lime)
• Herbal Teas
• Vegetable broth
• Almond Milk or nut milks
• Raw seeds, nuts and grains such as almonds, pumpkin,
sunflower, sesame, flax, spelt.
• Lentils
• Sprouted grains
• Oils such as flax, hemp, avocado, olive, evening primrose and
coconut
• Hummus
• Tahini
• Herbs such as cinnamon, curry, ginger, mustard, chili pepper,
sea salt, miso
• All herb seasonings

ACIDIC
• Meats such as pork, beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, crustaceans,
seafood
• Dairy products such as milk, eggs, cheese, yogurt, ice cream
• White flour like breads, pastas, white rice, biscuits, cookies and
baked products
• Condiments like ketchup, mayonnaise, soy sauce, honey
• Commercial salad dressings
• Saturated Fats, hydrogenated oils, vegetable oils, sunflower oil,
and margarine
• Convenience foods like sweets, chocolate, microwave meals,
canned foods, powdered soups, instant meals and fast food
• All alcoholic beverages

Drink Your Almond Milk

October12

Ever since we could hold up a glass by ourselves and drink its contents, we have been taught that “milk is good for us”. “Milk builds strong bones and teeth”. “Milk prevents osteoporosis”.

Unfortunately, recent scientific research dispels all this.

The milk we buy today and give to our children is milk that not even cows would give to their own offspring. This milk we find in supermarket shelves is severely processed and stripped of their life-giving nutrients. What’s even more disturbing is this milk came from cows injected with growth hormones and antibiotics to ward off diseases from having to live in such inhumane conditions and NOT in green, grassy meadows and bucolic, red-painted barns found in our children’s books.

So, where do these growth hormones and antibiotics go to? In our milk.

If you must have your milk, why not try almond milk? Almond provides you with the necessary proteins and essential minerals that you cannot find in a glass of store-bought milk. Almond milk is very easy to make, tastes heavenly, will save you money and provide you with a host of health benefits.

How to Make Almond Milk

You will need:
1 cup of whole (organic, if possible) almonds
4 cups of water
A blender
A cheesecloth or nut bag

1) Place the almonds in a covered glass jar along with the 4 cups of water.
2) Soak for 8 hours or overnight.
3) Place contents in a blender and blend until smooth.
4) Strain the contents to separate the milk from the almond pulp.

Sealed tightly, the almond milk will keep in the fridge for a couple of days. Sweeten with raw honey if desired. Or blend into a smoothie with frozen bananas. Keep the almond pulp and use it to thicken cereals or add to cookie dough.

Happy milking!

Choose Fresh Over Processed

October5

If you are still getting back on track to eating healthily and reclaiming your figure, one easy way to do this without having to take out the calorie counter is to simply choose fresh, whole food compared to processed food products.

We all know by now that processed food products contain artificial ingredients that do absolutely no good to the human body and cause not only seemingly inexplicable weight gain, but also lead to degenerative diseases such as diabetes and certain cancers. These artificial ingredients come in the form of chemical additives, coloring preservatives, sugar, and the like.

How to choose fresh over processed? Simple. Have the apple, not the microwaveable apple pie. Purchase fresh organic chicken instead of that bag of frozen nuggets. Squeeze your own oranges and leave the boxed, sugared orange-colored juice on the grocery shelves. Snack on blueberries and not on the blueberry-flavored pop tarts.

This may take away some of the convenience that processed food products provide the modern consumer. But let us not forget, we may have saved time and perhaps a bit of money (after all, oranges cost more money than colored, sugared water) but in the long run it is our health and our body that pays for this supposed convenience. Many of us try not to fill our carts with perishable products because with our busy lifestyles, we oftentimes forget that we have produce languishing in the fridge’s oft-forgotten bottom shelf. However, if we are to start eating healthily again, we must stock that bottom shelf with fresh produce.

Here are a few simple guidelines on how to choose FRESH over PROCESSED:

• Shop the periphery of your supermarket. - In the normal layout of your local supermarket, fresh vegetables & fruits, fish, eggs and meats are usually located along the outer sides of the store. Scour these areas and avoid the inner aisles where you find the deep freezers full to the brim with frozen dinners and the shelves lined with packaged cookies and cakes.

• If it goes bad, it’s good. – Just think about it, if a food product does not spoil until the 22nd century, what business does it have to be in your stomach??

• Rediscover your kitchen - One way to regain your figure is to befriend your kitchen once more. By preparing your own meals you know exactly what you are eating, minus the added oils, sugars and seasonings. Most popular restaurants will do anything and add everything to make you keep coming back for more. Good for their pockets, not good for your waistline.

• It’s all in the packaging. - If it will take you a little more time to give up those colorful boxes and shiny foil, at least choose processed food products with only a few ingredients in them. If the ingredients list is a mile-long and you can barely pronounce most of them, put the item back and choose a healthier alternative, one with preferably less than 5 ingredients listed.

Non-stick cookware may boost cholesterol

September8

Chemicals used to make non-stick coatings on cookware and to waterproof fabrics may elevate cholesterol levels in children, U.S. researchers said on Monday.

The study, which appeared in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, scientists focused on two compounds: perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS). It was found out that the kids with the highest levels of these compounds in their blood had measurably higher levels of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein, or LDL - the so-called “bad” cholesterol - compared with kids with lower blood levels of the substances.

Researchers said that these chemicals get into a person’s bloodstream through dust, food packaging, drinking contaminated water, microwave popcorn, occupational exposure and air.

This study looked at 12,000 children who were exposed to PFOA through their local water supply which was contaminated with PFOA. It does not however, prove a link between non-stick cookware and cholesterol, although it suggests a possible link that should probably be researched further. The team of scientists said that more research is needed to prove that exposure to chemicals could cause higher cholesterol levels.

**********
I would say avoid all non-stick cookware. A stainless steel cookware with copper plating on the bottom, which helps disperse heat and prevent burning would be a good idea. Better yet, eat more raw foods like fruits and vegetables, and super food juices and smoothies which require no cooking whatsoever. After all, the mere act of cooking food in a pan results in the creation of cancer-causing chemicals in the food itself whether you’re using a non-stick pan or not.

Food Expiration Dates Explained

August31

Most of us discard food we believe is unsafe to eat, which is a good thing, of course, but it is important that we understand what food expiration dates mean before we dump our food — and our money — down the drain or into the garbage.

Expiration dates on food products can protect consumer health, but those dates are really more about quality than safety, and if not properly understood, they can also encourage consumers to discard food that is perfectly safe to eat.

We are most wary of milk, cottage cheese, mayonnaise, yogurt, and eggs. The following guide from ShelfLifeAdvice.com offers helpful explanations:

* Milk: If properly refrigerated, milk will remain safe, nutritious, and tasty for about a week after the sell-by date and will probably be safe to drink longer than that, though there’s a decline in nutritional value and taste.

* Cottage cheese: Pasteurized cottage cheese lasts for 10-14 days after the date on the carton.

* Mayonnaise: Unopened, refrigerated Kraft mayonnaise can be kept for 30 days after its expiration date or 3-4 months after opening, the company told ShelfLifeAdvice.

* Yogurt: Yogurt will remain good 7-10 days after its sell-by date.

* Eggs: Properly refrigerated eggs should last at least 3-5 weeks after the sell-by date, according to Professor Joe Regenstein, a food scientist at Cornell University. Note: Use of either a sell-by or expiration (EXP) date is not federally required, but may be state required, as defined by the egg laws in the state where the eggs are marketed.

The “Use-By” Date

The “use-by” or “best if used-by” date indicates the last day that the item is at its best quality as far as taste, texture, appearance, odor, and nutritional value. The decline after that is gradual. The use-by date refers to product that has not yet been opened.

The “Sell By” Date

The “sell by” date is not really a matter of food safety, but a notice to stores that the product should be taken off the shelf because it will begin to decline in quality after that date.

The Law

From the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA): “Product dating is not generally required by federal regulations. However, if a calendar date is used, it must express both the month and day of the month (and the year, in the case of shelf-stable and frozen products). If a calendar date is shown, immediately adjacent to the date must be a phrase explaining the meaning of that date such as “sell-by” or “use before.”

There is no uniform or universally accepted system used for food dating in the United States. Although dating of some foods is required by more than 20 states, there are areas of the country where much of the food supply has some type of open date and other areas where almost no food is dated.”

Food-Borne Illness

Cross-contamination and unsanitary conditions are a primary cause of food-related illnesses, whether it occurs in the home or in a restaurant, and this is independent of any expiration date. The leading culprits are:

* Improper hand-washing prior to food preparation.
* Storing food at the wrong temperature.
* Cooking food to an inadequate temperature.
* Cross-contamination (raw meats that come into contact with salads, for instance).
* Improper washing of fresh produce.

The Yuck Factor: Common Sense Approach to Food Safety

Aside from any expiration date or lack thereof, if a food item is moldy or if it smells and looks spoiled, err on the side of caution. If it makes you say, “yuck”, throw it away.

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