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Why do Some Diets Fail

Most diets fail in the first few weeks for various reasons. All the different types of diets have different stumbling blocks for the people trying to lose weight. It is important to be aware of the obstacles prior to starting the diet so you know if you’ll be able to continue it.

One of the most popular methods of losing weight is cutting calories. This certainly does work on a short-term basis however; cutting too many calories can create a situation where dieters end up bingeing later on in the day due to hunger. The body also will sabotage your efforts by making weight loss more difficult as your calorie levels go down. Your body will go into starvation mode and hold onto every single bit of body fat and imputed calories in the attempt to stave off starvation damage. Never cut your calories below 1200 per day. If you find you are hungry all the time on your diet take a look at the types of food you’re eating. Choose a lot of high fiber, low-fat foods, and try to hide to include some healthy fats such as olive oil.

Many dieters embark on Atkins diets and other low-carb diets every single day. The problem is, carbohydrates are a main source of food for countless people and when you cut them out completely, headaches, dizziness, low energy, and even nausea can result. People get so discouraged by these physical withdrawal symptoms that they quit the diet. When you embark on this diet is very important to consume a small mail every 2 to 3 hours, do not follow hunger as a signal to eat. Most people will lose weight on these types of diets, if they can persist to the end. These diets do tend to plateau after a certain amount of lost weight. Many people eat too many high calorie protein foods on this diet, and think the calories don’t count. So even on a low-carb diet, you should avoid bacon, butter, nutrition bars.

Family meals can be a minefield for people who are dieting. Watching everybody else eat the foods that you are prohibited to enjoy makes it extremely difficult to stick with a diet. Diet plans that include one healthy meal such as Slim fast can help you feel better and not as deprived. You can decide which meal you wish to eat such a Sunday breakfast with your family, lunch with your friends, and a nice dinner out with your business colleagues.

One of the problems when people are on strict diets is what happens when they go back to eating their regular food. Meal replacement plans can be great because you don’t have to figure what you’re eating. But when you have to plan your own meals again you end up overeating and gain the weight back. Real food will always be there, so it is important to have a good relationship with eating and be aware of calories and portion sizes.

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The Mediterranean Diet

Peppers by gharness, on Flickr

Peppers by gharness, on Flickr

The Mediterranean diet is a wonderful eating plan that is very effective for lowering blood pressure, cholesterol levels and cutting the risk of heart disease. It can also reduce the incidence of several types of cancer such as colon, breast and even prostate cancer. This plan is high in monounsaturated fats, micronutrients such as folate, antioxidants, and low in saturated fats and revolves its menus around the consumption of whole grains, fish, healthy oils and vegetables.

The Mediterranean diet does not contain many high Glycemic index foods and has many foods like whole grain pastas, fruit, and various kinds of beans which might be carbohydrates but also promote stable blood sugar levels. This eating plan is quite high in fat compared to other diets which promote weight loss or health benefits so you must watch your fat intake and keep it between 30 and 35% if you already have any health issues such as diabetes.

When trying this diet eat plenty of vegetables and fruits, olive oil, legumes, fish, stewed tomatoes, nuts, herbs and spices for flavour, lamb, whole grains and even a glass of wine. Finding ingredients you like in this bounty of choices should be pretty easy. The following salad is a wonderful mix of textures, colours and tastes and can be served topped with a nice piece of grilled fish or chicken. Try to find fresh herbs for the dressing if you can to maximize the flavours.

Grilled Vegetable and Sweet Potato Salad with Herbs

  • 4 Peppers, (all colors) quartered and seeded
  • 1 Zucchini, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 Small red onion, skinned and cut in half
  • 2 Small plum tomatoes cut into quarters
  • 4 Medium sweet potatoes cut into disks
  • 1 Tbsp Olive oil
  • ½ Bunch chives, chopped
  • ½ Bunch parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tbsps Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Toss all vegetables except tomatoes in olive oil
  2. Grill vegetables until tender and lightly marked.
  3. Coarsely chop grilled vegetables and combine with rest of ingredients on a decorative platter.

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Tips for Cleaning your Home

Cold process bar soap with Extra Virgin Olive Oil by pabadoo, on Flickr

Cold process bar soap with Extra Virgin Olive Oil by pabadoo, on Flickr

Cleaning is a necessary evil in most people’s lives unless they have the resources to hire someone to come in a couple of times a week to handle the accumulated grime. Cleaning your home yourself seems to be a never-ending task which usually falls to one person in the house and can cause stress and arguing. This activity can be shortened with a few logical tips and give back time for the essentials with your family.

  • Start out with a cleaning bucket for all the appropriate items needed to maintain your home. It is a waste of time running around looking for various products and sometimes a specific type of cleaner is needed when wiping down wood or granite. Don’t simply grab whatever is handy because you can damage your furniture and fixtures.
  • Denture tablets, baking soda, lemon juice and vinegar make wonderful simple cleaning products. Sometimes simple is best. Denture tablets are great for stained toilets, coffee or tea stained cups and your ceramic sinks. People often use cleaning products that are very strong because they think everything will get cleaner. That is not true. The combination of toxins in your home can be extremely unhealthy and not even really clean.
  • Start high and work your way down in every room. There is no point in vacuuming the house if you still have to dust and do the windows or moldings. You will just have to go over the floors again to get the dirt dropped off the furniture; this is a waste of time. Also, have a section by the door for coats and shoes. Enforce a strict no shoe policy in your home to ensure that grime and mud aren’t brought in any further than the front door. A very small area is easier to scrub up then trying to follow a series of paths tracked everywhere.
  • Try to purchase slip covers for your furniture or buy soft furniture that has removable covers. This will make it easier to wash everything once a month and keep your pillows, couches and chairs looking new.
  • Pets can be a huge cause of dirt and hair in your home; they shed, track in dirt and sometimes chew items left around the room. If your pet represents a truly unmanageable mess it might be productive to limit their access to all the rooms. Have a child gate keeping the animal in the kitchen with a comfortable bed, clean water dishes and a basket of chewy toys to enjoy. If your animals are allowed to roam free and sleep on your furniture try using a dryer sheet to remove their hair. Take a sheet warmed with a hairdryer and wipe it across the hairy areas. The hair will fall off as the static is eliminated. This process will also make the fabric smell lovely and clean.

The most important way to save some time when cleaning is to make this activity a family affair. Try to delegate simple tasks to everyone in the home. Even young kids can take a responsibility for their own mess; although keep in mind kids usually only pick up their stuff but will not actually clean. Try getting them to dust or wipe down walls and moldings with mild soap. Keep the kids away from the more intense cleaners and the vacuum if it has a beater bar.

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How Aromatherapy Works

Herb Garden

Smell is an extremely powerful sense and the aromas that we experience every day have a direct impact on our health, both physical and emotional. Human beings have the ability to distinguish more than 10,000 different odors. These smells enter the body through the receptor pads in the nose, are transferred quickly into the bloodstream, and flow directly to the limbic system, which controls our emotions, memory, moods, and ability to learn. This section of the brain is closely connected to the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus, which in turn controls our hormones. In essence, scents initiate various chemical reactions within the body that affect the body systems and our sense of physical and emotional well-being. These reactions can occur immediately following the inhalation of certain aromas because the olfactory nerves are directly linked to the limbic system.

Essential oils are volatile substances that will evaporate immediately when in contact with the air; we inhale them no matter what method is being practiced in an aromatherapy treatment. These essential oils contain more than 100 chemical elements that strongly affect the body and mind. Each oil is made up of different combinations of these chemicals and science has discovered that each oil specifically targets certain systems or organs in the body. For example, some oils relieve pain and others induce a calming effect on the emotions.
Aromatherapy is an ancient science that uses essential oils to provide relief of physical conditions and promote positive effects on the mind and spirit. This science studies the effect of individual oils, along with the benefits associated with blending different essential oils. These treatments are non-invasive and leave no harmful components behind in the body.

Aromatherapy treatments can influence the body three different ways: physiologically (impacts various body systems, including the skin), psychologically (affects the mind) and pharmaceutical (stimulates the hormones and enzymes). There are two methods by which essential oils can be absorbed into the body: topical application and inhalation (either direct or through aerial diffusion). Each method has benefits for the recipient and should be determined by the immediate needs of the person using the essential oil.

  • Topical application: The skin is the largest organ of the body and is semi-permeable, which means tiny molecules can penetrate and pass into the bloodstream by means of diffusion. Essential oils by nature are fat soluble, which means they dissolve easily in sebum, which is produced in the body to make the skin and hair waterproof. After dissolving into this substance, essential oils have the direct route right into the capillaries and then to the rest of the body. Topical applications can also affect the skin itself and treat an assortment of conditions associated with this organ such as acne, rosacea, and psoriasis. Many commercial beauty products designed for skincare contain essential oils.
  • Inhalation: When we breathe in air during an aromatherapy treatment, we also take in essential oils that have evaporated during the process. Inhaling essential oils occurs during a topical application as well, but there are many tools and treatments designed to make inhalation easier such as diffusers, sprays, and vaporizers. Inhalation is the quickest method of treatment when utilizing essential oils because absorption through the skin can take a greater amount of time.

Regardless of the treatment method, aromatherapy is a pleasurable process that can benefit your body, mind, spirit, workplace, home, and other aspects of your life while utilizing only natural and wholesome ingredients. Even if the goal is only a pleasantly scented home, your family will still reap health benefits as the fragrance of the chosen essential oil wafts through the rooms.

It has become increasingly obvious that our synthetic, stressful, environmentally polluted world is making us sick, both physically and in spirit. Creating balance and harmony, both inside and outside our bodies, is crucial to our health and well-being. The science of aromatherapy has enjoyed a resurgence of interest, especially in the West, as people look for the key to understanding and improving the functioning of their body. Learning how to benefit from essential oils does not have to be expensive process because many effective essential oil treatments can be created in your own home with a little knowledge and quality ingredients.

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How to Make Herbal Oils and Vinegars

?????Herbs have many wonderful properties that can enhance your food while stimulating the appetite and encouraging effective digestion. Adding herbs to your culinary creations can introduce new flavors and provide untold benefits to your family. Herbal oils and vinegar are perfect in this capacity and can be wonderful gifts for family or friends.

Herbal oils are quite easy to make and have a wide application in salad dressings, marinades and simply for dipping a crusty piece of bread. Lovely, unusual bottles are quite easy to find in home stores to display your gorgeous oils. When you master the art of beautiful herb oil, try your hand at different combinations for sweet oils and fragrant spice oils.

Herbal vinegar can be delicious in sauces, salads and gravies. They also are very attractive when displayed, as a useful housewarming or as a hostess gift.

Try these easy recipes and create an interesting myriad of lovely oils and vinegar for your family. Always sterilize the final display bottles after thoroughly washing them in hot soapy water. You can place the bottle, seals and lids in boiling water to sterilize or place them in a baking pan, bake in a 200 F oven for 40 minutes and then let the bottles cool in oven until you can handle them.

Lemon Grass Oil

  • 2 stalks of Lemon grass
  • 6 fresh lime or lemon leaves
  • 3 half-inch pieces of fresh peeled ginger
  • 4 cups of good quality olive oil
  1. Thoroughly wash and dry a jar that holds 1 litre of liquid
  2. Lightly crush lemon grass, ginger and leaves with flat of a knife
  3. Put crushed herbs into clean jar and pour in oil
  4. Leave the oil for 3-4 days to infuse the flavours
  5. Pour into decorative bottles and seal.

Basil Oil

  • 8 Tbsps. fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 4 cups good quality olive oil
  1. Thoroughly wash and dry a jar that holds 1 litre of liquid
  2. Put basil leaves in bowl and cover for 1 minute with boiling water
  3. Drain off water and pat leaves dry.
  4. Process basil and oil in processor until well combined
  5. Pour into jar and let stand for 3-4 days to infuse flavour.
  6. Strain oil into decorative bottles

Floral Vinegar

  • 20 Tbsps. chopped herb flowers such as lavender, rose petals, thyme, sweet violets, nasturtiums and primrose
  • 4 cups white wine vinegar
  1. Pick through flowers, remove stems and damaged parts
  2. Lightly crush selected flowers
  3. Heat half of the vinegar until warm and pour over crushed flowers
  4. Pound again to release flavour and let cool
  5. Mix in remaining vinegar and pour into sealable clean jar.
  6. Seal with acid proof lid and place in sunny area for at least 2 weeks
  7. Shake jar every day and test flavour after the time has passed
  8. If you need a stronger flavour, strain out flowers and repeat the process with new flowers
  9. Strain infused vinegar through fine cheesecloth and pour vinegar into decorative bottles
  10. Place a sprig of the herb flower into the finished product and seal

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A Nutritional Bypass

Delicious Tossed saladBypass surgery has become part of our normal discourse when discussing heart issues and someone we know has had this surgery. However, it is not the only option or even the smartest course of action when considering treatments for atherosclerosis.

Numerous recent studies have shown that patients having bypass surgery are not living any longer than those who have similar conditions but opt out of this invasive procedure. Bypass surgery is definitely invasive and is exactly as it sounds even to a lay person. The surgeon bypasses or reroutes the blood around the blocked problem area using a vein that is harvested from somewhere else in the body. It sounds a little comparable to duct taping a new section of hose in place when one piece has a leak. Also the question needs to be asked about whether or not the area where the vein was harvested from suffers in any way with its loss. The body is an amazing mechanism and basically every single cell, enzyme and hormone has an important use for some process. It would be logical to assume the body needs all 60 000 miles of blood vessels right where they are to effectively feed and maintain all the cells along the route.

All surgery has risks. We know this because of the large sheaf of paperwork we must sign before the scalpel is applied or even testing is done. Bypass surgery has serious and relatively minor risks associated with it. There is a basic 20% mortality rate within the first 2 years due to various complications. Less serious than death risks can include blood clots, strokes, blurred vision, personality changes and sleep disorders. The relief provided by the surgery is temporary at best. It does not address the underlying original problem of the blockage or stop new blockages from forming after. There are several less invasive surgical solutions to atherosclerosis such as angioplasty (use of an inflated catheter balloon to compress plaque against the arterial walls), using a high-speed drill to drill through the blockage and even removing part of the arterial wall. All these commonly used surgical treatments are designed to remove or bypass the existing plaque but do not actually look at the reason for it. The incidence of re occurrence for blockage or hardening of the arteries is pretty much 100% because all the factors that cause the condition are still very much present.

The only workable solution with less inherent risks is a basic nutritional bypass. Studies have shown that in as little as three months while following a specific diet plan patients have presented with significantly less arterial blockage, lower blood pressure and cholesterol level improvements. This plan can also positively affect impotence, arthritis, Alzheimer’s prostate problems and irregular heartbeat. This plan reverses circulation deterioration with increase blood flow which in turn allows cell waste to be shunted away quicker and nutrients to travel better to the cells.

Circulation deterioration has many warning signs long before someone has a fully fledged heart attack. Some of these symptoms include high blood pressure, coughing, tingling in fingers, numbness in the arms or legs, cold extremities, memory problems, swelling feet, and frequent urination in the night. All these symptoms can also be precursors to other ailments but when present together usually signal circulation issues.

All the risk factors for heart disease are very well-known these days and for the most part completely avoidable. Our exposure to these risks is often completely voluntary. The risks include smoking, lack of exercise, stress, excess sugar, alcohol, caffeine, nitrate consumption, radiation exposure, and fat consumption. Repeated abuse of the above risk will cause Atherosclerosis which in turn will be the root cause of the diseases that kill over 50% of Westerners. So it makes sense to follow the nutritional bypass plan at least a little to avoid the avoidable health problems.

The plan is not difficult to understand or a secret to anyone who reads the newspaper or popular magazines. It can seem restricting to some people although the alternative is much more distasteful.

Basically this diet seeks to reduce exposure to risk factors which strengthening the immune system and clearing away accumulated plaque in the arteries.

The plan is as follows:

  • Hydrate; drink at least 8 non chlorinated glasses of water a day.
  • Limit alcohol
  • Limit processed meats or nitrates
  • DO NOT smoke
  • Exercise regularly, even just briskly walking every day for 20 minutes
  • Eat a diet high in dietary fiber
  • Consume caffeinated products in moderation
  • Eat oily fish twice a week
  • Avoid refined sugars and concentrated sugars
  • Use butter, olive oil or peanut oil instead of other fats
  • Reduce radiation exposure(x-rays, exhaust fumes etc.)
  • Supplement with key vitamins and nutrients *there are many products on the market*

If you are suffering from the effects of circulatory deterioration or have been diagnosed with atherosclerosis then consult a doctor before undertaking this plan or considering a more invasive surgical solution. If you are currently on medication for any condition your doctor might want to monitor your results. Depending on your physical condition you might experience symptoms of detox when starting the nutritional bypass plan. These could include diarrhea, gas, headaches and fatigue.

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Arthritis and Diet

iStock_000009644942XSmallArthritis is one of those diseases we often think is unavoidable as we age. Anyone with sports injuries or any type of injury is often told that at some point later on in life they will develop arthritis. This may be true but the severity and extent of disability can be reduced with a closer look at diet.

The biggest factor to look at when considering diet related relief of arthritis is actual body weight. Any type of excess weight will put a strain on your joints. Women who have been pregnant can attest to the fact that extra weight equals sore feet, joints and back. Weight loss can also be a preventative measure when looking the potential development of arthritis or the severity of this affliction. So the first step for anyone with arthritis is to lose any excessive weight.

After losing the excessive weight people have to focus on the components of their diet. Certain foods can have very definite effects on the pain and inflammation in the joints. For example animal products can increase the production of leukotrienes and prostaglandins in the body which can increase inflammation. Food allergies are often considered when looking at the development of rheumatoid arthritis. Allergies trigger an immune response in the body which releases inflammatory mediators. It has been found in many studies that people with rheumatoid arthritis also have issues eating wheat and dairy products. A dramatic increase in discomfort and swelling can occur when you eat more of these products.

So an elimination diet is the next step in the path to pain relief. Elimination diets are not that hard to undertake, just time-consuming to start and limiting in options! Basically there are foods which are known to cause arthritis inflammation but not all these foods will affect people in the same way. So the method of finding your individual triggers is as follows:

  1. Eliminate all foods on the list. This will be hard because many of your favourites could be amongst the known offenders.
  2. After your pain and discomfort symptoms have receded add one food group back into your diet for a whole week. Assess your physical reaction. Does your discomfort increase? Is there inflammation?
  3. Eliminate your test product again immediately if you have a reaction. If there is no problem keep that food item in your diet.
  4. Try another food on the list and access your pain again.
  5. Continue this process until all the food items have been tested. Some will cause reactions and some will not.

Now you should have a very good idea of what foods you can consume and what are triggers for pain.

This elimination process might seem tedious but in the end you might discover that you can eat favourite dishes because your body has no problem with item.

The list of trigger foods is as follows:

  • Sugar (you knew it would be here!) This includes sugary products like chocolate, honey, syrup, etc.
  • Red Meat
  • Dairy Products (milk, yogurt, cheese etc.)
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine (coffee, tea, cocoa)
  • Butter and Margarine
  • Cereal Fillers (binders, fillers, wheat starch, corn starch)
  • Processed or Dry Roasted Nuts (Raw are great)
  • Nightshade Vegetables (tomatoes, red peppers, eggplant, white potatoes). These are alkaloid and inhibit collagen repair in the joints.
  • Waxed or Processed Fruits and Vegetables (used to preserve shelf life) Eat organic whenever possible
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Vinegar

If you find after the elimination diet that all animal products cause discomfort then you must use supplements to put certain nutrients back in your system, such as zinc, iron and vitamin B12.

Supplements can be great even if you can eat animal products. People suffering from arthritis can also look into trying natural supplementation instead of pharmaceutical based medication. Obviously this should only be done if your symptoms are not severe and under a doctor’s advice. Some natural remedies which have been very successful in controlled testing include glucosamine sulphate, essential fatty acids, MSM, ginger, devil’s claws, willow and vitamin C. If you are taking a more traditional approach using prescriptions you may use natural supplements to alleviate the side effects of your drugs. Some wonderful herbal remedies for side effects are marshmallow, vitamin B6-B12, calcium, zinc, vitamin A and C, milk thistle, lemon and kava kava.

Diet can play a very important role in making arthritis manageable and not disabling. Eating habits and the judicious addition of the correct supplements can be instrumental in pain management for anyone with arthritis. Try changing even a few dishes in your diet and see the results for yourself.