Tuesday, December 27, 2005

How to Choose a Good Vitamin Supplement

Choosing a good vitamin supplement can be a frustrating ordeal. There are 1000's of supplements to choose from - some are good, but many are total rip-offs.

Many vitamin companies depend on the average consumer not being very well informed and they'll take billions of dollars from them this year.

In this article, you'll learn vital facts 90% of vitamin buyers do not know. Plus - 5 sure-fire ways you can use to judge every new vitamin supplement that comes along. Once you're armed with the information revealed here, you'll be "bullet-proof" against vitamin supplement hype.


Not too long ago a TV news program showed a couple vitamin supplements found in hospital bed-pans. They were completely whole. You could even see the brand name on one of them. It was one of the most popular drug store vitamin supplements sold in America today. The hospital staff finds these often and call them "bed-pan bullets".

There are basically 3 types of supplement delivery systems. Liquid, tablets, and capsules.

Liquid, of course, is ready to go but there's not currently many choices. Liquid supplements are a bit inconvenient and taste like cough syrup. But, they're perfect for those having trouble swallowing pills - and for youngsters.

Tablets are the most common vitamin supplement. They are formed by mixing in an organic or inorganic cement and compressing into shape. To dissolve properly, an organic cement should be used - but it's more costly for the company. Also, there are coated tablets, as mentioned above, that look like little candy-coated M&M's. These are quite common with the one or two per day cheap drug store vitamins.

Capsules are loosely packed gelatin containers that dissolve quickly. My first choice. Because they're not compressed like tablets, you will usually have to take two of these to equal one tablet.


Fact is - studies have shown individual vitamin isolates in supplements are about 10% absorbed. Compare this to vitamins directly from a fresh plant source which are 77% to 93% absorbed. Minerals in a supplement are even worse - 1% to 5%. But, from a plant source like raw broccoli, the minerals are 63% to 78% absorbable.

The reason for this difference is, in nature, each vitamin and mineral molecule is attached to a protein molecule.

Dr. Gunter Blobel, in 1999, received a Nobel Prize for proving this attached protein molecule acted as a "chaperone". It's the chaperone that tells the body the vitamin or mineral is food, not just another chemical. He discovered this was the KEY to getting the vitamin or mineral into the blood-stream - and, most importantly, into the cells.

Vitamins in supplements are the very basic isolated form of each vitamin - completely stripped of any proteins. Like a Christmas tree with all the limbs cut off.

That's why vitamin supplements MUST be taken with meals - unless stated otherwise on the label.

In the digestion process, only about 10% of the vitamin and mineral molecules, with the aid of enzymes, will attach to protein molecules in your food. This allows them to be absorbed and used by the cells. Without these protein chaperones, the body sees the vitamin isolates as foreign chemicals. The body actually will absorb some of these too, but they're quickly filtered out through the kidneys.

Have you noticed a bright yellow urine soon after taking a vitamin supplement? Excess riboflavin causes the yellow color and it shows the body is getting rid of what it feels are foreign chemicals.


1. Does the supplement provide sufficient quantities of each vitamin? For example - 50mg. to 100mg. of the B vitamins, 500mg. of vitamin C, 1000mg. of calcium. Remember, 100mg. of a B vitamin is needed to provide your body with about 10mg. of actual, useable nutrition. This is usually plenty. Use the 10% rule to know exactly what you're getting. The one or two per day supplements only start with about 3mg. or less of the B vitamins. 10% of this amount is like taking nothing at all.

2. Look for the USP (United States Pharmacopoeia) or BP (British Pharmacopoeia) designation on the label. This means that the vitamin isolates are the highest quality you can buy, and are the most easily dissolved in the digestion process. Each vitamin that is USP or BP will have those initials next to that vitamin.

3. Look for "chelate" or "chelated" in relation to the minerals. This means the minerals are attached to protein before they are added to the supplement. This increases absorption both in the bloodstream and cells by an amazing 400% to 800%.

4. Look for enzymes in the formulation. These are, among other things, essential for attaching protein molecules to the vitamins in digestion. Cooking food destroys these enzymes.

5. Look for a supplement that has a "food base". A food base is concentrated plant material to which the vitamins and minerals are added. These will contain the enzymes and nutrients to greatly boost the absorption and utilization of the vitamins and minerals. This makes a GREAT supplement package. But it does make them more bulky. Expect larger tablets, and more quantity needed per day.

All in all, keep in mind that nutritional supplements are not food and do not take the place of real food. They only provide an additional boost to our current food choices.

Most importantly, listen to your body! What's right for others may not be right for you. You definitely should FEEL a measurable difference in your health and energy within a few days with the right supplement. If you don't, try a different vitamin supplement.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

10 Easy Tips to Eat Your Way to Lower Cholesterol

So you have high cholesterol and need to lower it? That is no surprise considering how many people have high cholesterol these days. To help lower your cholesterol, here are 10 tips you can get started with today.

As with anything health related, diet and exercise are the two crucial components. What you eat is critical to lowering your cholesterol levels, so that is what is included here.

One thing you should know is the difference between LDL and HDL cholesterol. Simply think of HDL as "healthy" and LDL as "lousy." HDL can actually help carry cholesterol out of your blood vessels while LDL allows it to deposit inside your artery walls.

The good news is that you can change your cholesterol for the better. Here is how to do just that:

1. Have a nice sandwich on whole wheat bread or a pita with some lean turkey and lots of fresh veggies. Skip the hot dogs, bologna, and salami, and hold the Mayo. All of those are highly processed and filled with fat and cholesterol.

2. Fish, like salmon, is good. Look for wild red salmon varieties, which are very high in Omega-3 fatty acids (good fat.) Also, flax seed is a good source of Omega-3s.

3. Avoid Trans fats! Not only do they raise the lousy LDL cholesterol, they can also lower your HDL levels! Stay away from foods like margarine, shortening, and processed foods containing partially hydrogenated soybean oil.

4. Go ahead, go nuts! Look for walnuts mainly but also try almonds, macadamia nuts, cashews, and pecans. Nuts are high in fat, but it's the good kind. (Also, use natural peanut butter instead of the normal kind which contains unhealthy Trans fats.)

5. Limit desserts and try to eat only the healthier ones like angel food cake, graham crackers, Jell-O, and fat-free frozen yogurt.

6. Eat foods that are high in fiber. Examples include whole wheat bread, oatmeal, fruits, vegetables, beans, and some cereals. (Look for the boxes that say "may help lower cholesterol.")

7. Use the grill. If you're going to have steak or burgers, grill them at home and use lean meat. This practice avoids the grease, is fun, and the meat tastes great.

8. Find a new salad dressing. Most of them are full of Trans fats and cholesterol. Olive oil is good, and maybe add vinegar or lemon juice. Also, skip the bacon bits, croutons, and egg yolks.

9. Go overboard on fruits and vegetables. They contain no cholesterol and they have lots of nutrients like antioxidants.

Here are some examples: green peas, broccoli, cauliflower, apples, oranges, mangos, papaya, pineapple, tomato, garlic, onions, spinach, water chestnuts, bananas, apricots, blueberries, and kiwi.

10. Avoid fast food like french fries and anything else from the deep fryer. Those foods will raise your cholesterol like crazy, so stay away from the burger joints if you can.

11. Bonus tip: Use spices like pepper and oregano to add flavor to your dishes. They are a healthy alternative to other toppings like Mayo.

That was easy, wasn't it? Just make some of these changes and get plenty of exercise like walking, jogging, swimming, or playing basketball. You will have lower cholesterol in no time!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Understanding the Link Between Thoughts and Actions

The way you feel about yourself, your self-esteem, drives your thoughts. These thoughts transform into actions. The actions that you take are the key factors in getting what you want out of life. If you are not achieving your goals, take some time and evaluate how you feel about yourself.

Achieving your goals takes repeated action and you can't give up too early. High self-esteem can give you the drive, determination, and personal power necessary to take these actions and be persistent until you achieve success.

However, if you are constantly critical of yourself, then these feelings will lower your self-esteem. If you have low self-esteem, then it will be more difficult to take the right actions to enable you to achieve your goals. This link between thoughts and actions is what keeps you from getting started or what causes you to give up.

So what can you do to conquer self-doubt and energize your actions? It all starts with positive thinking. Start off by spending some time congratulating yourself for what you have already accomplished in life.

Everyone has had their share of wins. Make a list of these accomplishments and what actions you took to make them happen. Think about the obstacles that you overcame or what special actions you took to reach each goal. This is a great way to acknowledge your successes and give your self-confidence a boost. Your list of wins will be the foundation that you build on for your future successes.

Remember that there is a link between thoughts and actions. It's time to take control of your thoughts. Whenever you start having doubts, pull out your list.

Negative thoughts are the greatest dream killer known to man! Telling yourself "I can't" will lower your self-esteem, reduce the effectiveness of any actions that you take, and prevent you from achieving your goals. Your list of wins is something that can reassure you whenever negative thinking tries to take over your mind.

Instead, tell yourself "I can". Positive thoughts bring confidence, optimism, and focused action which give you a much better chance of achieving your goals. "I can" is a great way to plant seeds in your mind for positive thoughts. The resulting high self-esteem will provide the extra edge that you need to drive away your fears and eliminate any doubt that keeps you from accomplishing your goals.

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Best Treatment For A Twitching Eye

I received this article today, and found it interesting:

"Have you ever wondered what makes the muscles around your eyes twitch and flutter from time to time? The answer to this question is relatively simple. And so is the remedy."

Read the rest here:

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Wellness: Not the Same as Fitness

Have you ever stopped to think about how to determine your current fitness and wellness levels? Does your doctor ask you each time you visit if you believe yourself to be fit and well? Probably not. Nor does he likely give you any method for determining where you're at for yourself.

There are fitness centers everywhere, most staffed with counselors who can test your fitness level. But what about your wellness level. Are they one and the same?

The fact is, being fit and being well are totally different conditions. However, both are essential to maintaining your health.

Your wellness rating depends on your immune system, including the vitamins, supplements and nutrition you intake. It's a fact that people who are fit can sometimes be unwell, and well people can sometimes be unfit. However, when you combine the two and use sound principles based on clean living, exercise and healthy eating, you attain a state of balance that helps you to maintain both fitness and wellness.

Many people don't take the time to completely understand the advantages of being both fit and well. We read and absorb the information we're given through the media and health organizations without ever questioning whether we're receiving the information we really need, or simply what is profitable for these companies to make available.

Fitness gyms need your monthly fees in order to stay in business, so they probably have no real concern about the condition of your immune system. Physical fitness is a condition of the body alone.

Hospitals and doctors need you as a patient in order to remain operational. They will tell you that you need to be fit and well, but often leave out important information that affect your wellness and, therefore, your ability to stay fit.

What about diet? What about vitamins? What role does our daily intake play in our health, wellness and fitness? The fact is, diet has more influence than you have been led to believe or understand.

Our body's ability to stay well is directly related to the nutrition you receive every day. The mind's ability to remain well is also a direct result of our nutritional intake.

For example, the human brain doesn't develop well without the necessary input of protein in our daily diet. No protein, no intelligence. If there is no intelligence, then none of the other states can be attained.

Spiritual input is another determining factor when establishing our wellness level. Spiritual reflection is a way to cleanse ourselves of the toxins of our daily life. Wellness encompasses our complete state of being, mind and health. It's a condition of the whole ... mind, body and soul.

So, for those who believe they are fit, it's also important to pay attention to your wellness as well. Finding the ideal balance is the best way to achieve a long and healthy life.

10 Tips To Avoid The Holiday Bulge -And Inner Thoughts About Them

Do you find it almost impossible to stay conscious and contentious about weight and nutrition during the holidays? Of course you do. More than half of all Americans are overweight. All American's are in this together.

You can take heart from a new government study which shows most Americans gain about a pound over the holiday. You're not alone. The study shows that during the holiday period, for the people in the study, two main things influenced the holiday weight gain: level of hunger and level of activity. Those who reported being less active or more hungry had the greatest weight gain.

If you can stay focused on dealing with just those two things, you'll probably win.

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of weight gain," according to Dr. Samuel Klein. He is Director of the Center for Human Nutrition as Washington University in St. Louis, MO. "Preventing the increase in weight is a lot easier and better than actually gaining weight and then trying to get it off again."

The answer is simple. Eat less and exercise more.

The good news is that most of the people overestimate how much they had gained. Fewer than 10% gain 5 pounds or over.

The bad news is that although the one pound gained seems like a small amount, that weight WAS NOT LOST during the rest of the year and those single pounds accumulate over the years and add up to obesity.

Here are some helpful hints and tips put together by skinny people to help you avoid the tiny little weight watching issues you face during this joyous season [along with the thoughts going through weight watcher Wanda's head as she listened to the skinny people happily chirping out their advice. NOTE: Wanda isn't her real name.]

1)."You SHOULD stay active, darling. The best thing for you to do is to stick to your regular schedule and routine." [Routine? Wanda's family doesn't have no stinking routine in November and December. Wanda doesn't have no stinking time for her regular yoga classes, workouts at the gym, long dog walks, you ninny, because in addition to shopping, home decorating and cooking, Wanda has to take every one of the kids to EXTRA practices and activity for pageants, concerts and freaking fund raisers! Wanda's too ACTIVE to stay active, darling.]

2). "Don't let yourself get hungry. Don't arrive at the party starving. Be sure you eat your normal, healthy meals, especially breakfast. A protein rich breakfast "resets" the body and starts it off not hungry. Don't starve yourself, thinking you can "save up" calories. Fill up before the big holiday feasts with healthy vegetable snacks." [Normal? There ain't no stinking "normal" in November and December, and Wanda's not sure she ever has normal, healthy meals. She's got a life to run. Wanda doesn't't't know where YOU'RE having Thanksgiving, but Wanda's family's appetizer table has God's own Cheese Puffs and Ruffles with sour cream/onion dip, Brie on sourdough and 80 plates of cookies and bowls of peanut M&Ms on every available surface! There is nary a vegetable snack in sight.]

3) "How can you keep the pounds off at calorie rich parties? Stay away from the food! Literally ... stay on the other side of the room from the buffet table or appetizers tray. [Wanda liked this one. She'll just go plant herself in the bathroom and lock the door. Maybe she can find a place under the pile of coats in the back bedroom. A nap sounds nice.]

4). "Wear clothes which are slightly tight and your favorites. You'll think twice about the third helping if you can't let your belt out a notch. Always remember there's about 8 pounds between dress sizes." [What skinny sadist came up with this bright idea? Wanda bets she's a size 2, and hides an eating disorder!]

5). "Portion size is the real secret. Keep salad portions large and all other portions extra small. When it comes to sweets, think quality, not availability. Just because the candy corn is there doesn't mean you have to eat it. Don't be afraid to cut off "just a bite" of a high calorie treat. Put the rest back on the serving tray. If you're the hostess, pre-cut high calorie items into tiny portions to help your friends. Just a bite may be plenty to satisfy you. [Just a bite! Just a bite? Wanda's stressed to the max and darn it, Wanda DESERVES a candy treat ... and a WHOLE one. Heck, Wanda's double stressed, so she deserves ...]

6). "You don't need to be stressed. Take Time for You. Get a massage or a nice facial. Sit down and slip your shoes off." [Don't you know Wanda's facing a month and a half on shopping overdrive and the only place to sit down is at the mall's fast-food court? McDonald's doesn't have a massage spa. If Wanda slips her shoes off, she'll NEVER get them back on again, you fool.]

7). "Keep up your food diary ... every day of the holiday ... it will help you pinpoint your special weaknesses. Just one 150 calorie chocolate chip cookie each day will add up to an extra pound in only 3 weeks." [Wanda can't even find her food diary in chaos house. And, she really needed the information on the cookies. Thank you very much. Wanda just ate three, and she doesn't need any food diary to pinpoint this little weakness.]

8). "Only eat things you really want and care about. So what if your neighbor brought okra au gratin everyone's raving about? Use that space on your plate for a homemade roll, hot from the oven. Put real butter on it. Life is choices. Treat yourself to what you want and LEAVE THE REST IN THE SERVING DISH."[Good advice. How thankful do you think Wanda'd be after a feast of Brussels sprouts and tofu salad while she's passing the yams, potatoes and gravy to Aunt Lucille? Wanda bets Lucille's glad she got granddad's wiry build instead of those wonderful wide childbearing hips from grandma's "peasant" stock!]

9). Drink water instead of alcohol which has empty calories and lowers will power. Avoid sugary sodas which throw your metabolism into pendulum swings. [You didn't mention eggnog. Eggnog is OK, then, right?]

10). "Don't eat while you cook. Those little "tastes" can turn into 1000 calories before you've blinked." [Wanda just spent 304 hours in the kitchen, cooking. She HAS to taste everything before she serves it, or they'll hate it and won't love her any more. And besides, cookie dough doesn't have any calories, does it?]

Well, that's all 10 pieces of holiday advice. Here's just one parting thought from Wanda.

[Santa's fat and everybody loves him! The baby Jesus is fat, too. The turkey is so fat it can hardly stand up! Nobody buys a skinny Christmas tree, do they? Get a grip. Get a life. Have a HAPPY holiday.}

Beating Depression By Action

Depression can come on us at any time of the year. Sometimes, holidays are the worst times for those that feel this down-in-the-dumps fear and worry and things just seem to happen to make us feel gloomy and sad. Note that this feeling happens to all of us at one time or another. How to recognize the feeling and know what to do about it is the purpose of this article.

No one can or should ignore this feeling. It is universal and the blues are very much ingrained in our world. Music and movies are legendary in handling this subject. If the feeling is too overwhelming, then sometimes professional help is the desired action. We will just talk here about the funk of depression, the knotted thinking that nothing is right and it will only get worse. The following things are suggested to help:

1. Laughing is the best medicine is an old adage, but so true. It is amazing how when you are depressed, just laughing about something and releasing the stress, can make you feel better. If you are having trouble finding something to laugh about, maybe you can find some people to keep close that cheer you up, that you can call when you feel bad, those who you know will let you apply the "strength in numbers" theory. Invite a few good friends over just to talk and have an appetizer and you will see how much better you feel afterwards.

2. Listening to music is another key to overcoming depression. If you can just relax and let the type of music you love drift over you and enter your senses, you will find that you calm down and feel better. Even as babies in the womb, we respond to music. Maybe you will find you want to get up and dance and there is nothing wrong with that - even without a partner! Just move to the beat and let all your stress flow out of your fingertips and toes.

3. Do some work and you will find you feel less depressed. There is something about a clean bathroom, living room, or kitchen that gives most women a sense of pride and order and joy. Men sometimes enjoy doing some of the same work and experiencing the same attitudes. The point is you just need to get out and do something that moves your body. Maybe you can shoot hoops in the driveway, ride a bicycle through the neighborhood and say "HI" to a few of your neighbors. There is something to be said for just watching a sunset and realizing how mighty the world is and how we are just one part of it. That sometimes seems to put our troubles more in perspective.

4. While we are on that thought, why not try prayer when you feel depressed? Try helping out someone less fortunate. Think of hospital patients and know that they most likely have things worse than you. Yet, you see happier children and adults in some of the worst settings in the hospital. Count your blessings. Hug someone or maybe go through some old pictures of happy times with your family.

Doing productive activities will always perk you up. Think positively about your life and the things you have been given and do not dwell on the problems. Take your dog for a walk and relish in the animal's unending enjoyment at seeing you and being with you. Sometimes simple undemanding love is all we need to overcome the blue feeling.

The last suggestion may sound unusual, but here it is. EAT ICE CREAM! Yes, just swirling that cold stuff around on your tongue and all the different flavors can make you feel good! The idea is to eat something that you totally enjoy and see how hard it is to be depressed when you have your favorite food and are enjoying it. The world just seems a little better!

Of course, all the suggestions given above may not apply to everyone. But give them a try and who knows...maybe they can help just a little. Keep this list handy and the next time you are feeling a little down, find something that triggers the best response to get you to feel happy again. Be aware that when depression creeps in, you need to take action and beat the depression back to the corner where it belongs.

We all have more important things to do in life than feel blue and depressed. Keep this thought in-mind and may your life be filled with joy.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Little Known Facts About Changes In Our Diet

To say that Americans are obsessed with dieting is an understatement! Pick up any magazine, tune-in or turn-on any source of advertising and you're bombarded with the latest diet schemes and food fads. More often than not, they are endorsed by some familiar Hollywood celebrity, or promoted using some other cleaver technique.

It's no mystery that the weight-loss industry has built a thriving empire. In America, for example, we spend about 35 billion dollars every year on an assortment of weight loss products and plans. In addition, we spend another 79 billion dollars for medication, hospitalization, and doctors to treat obesity-related problems. Even with this, the obesity epidemic continues to spread. Sadly, we have become the heaviest generation in our Nation's history.

The National Center for Health Statistics reports that we have some very good reasons to be concerned about our weight-gain. Americans, for example are packing-on the pounds faster than ever before and weight-related medical problems are taking center stage. Diseases like heart disease, diabetes and yes...even certain forms of cancer have all been linked to obesity.

Here are a few of the surprising statistics about our weight:

- A whopping 64 percent of U.S. adults are either overweight or obese. That's up approximately 8 percent from overweight estimates obtained in a 1988 report.

- The percent of children who are overweight is also continuing to increase. Among children and teens ages 6-19, 15 percent or almost 9 million are overweight. That's triple what the rate was in 1980!

- Nearly one-third of all adults are now classified as obese. At present, 31 percent of adults 20 years of age and over or nearly 59 million people have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater, compared with 23 percent in 1994.

(The BMI is a number that shows body weight adjusted for height. For adults, a BMI of 18.5 - 24.9 is considered normal. A BMI of 25.0 - 29.9 is overweight and 30.0 or above, is considered obese.)

Modern life both at home and at work has come to revolve around moving from one "seated" position to another: whether it's television, computers, remote controls, or automobiles, we seem to be broadening the scope of our inactive endeavors.

At times, life seems to have gotten almost too easy! For entertainment, we can now just sit-down, dial-up our favorite TV program or DVD movie and enjoy hours of uninterrupted entertainment...

And all those simple calorie burning activities that were once a normal part of our daily routine not so long ago? Long gone! You know the ones I'm talking about...activities like climbing stairs instead of using escalators and elevators. Or, pushing a lawn mower instead of riding around on a garden tractor. And what about that daily walk to school? Now, our kids complain when the school bus happens to be a few minutes late getting to the bus stop!

Along with the convenience of our affluent lifestyle and reduction in energy expenditure, have come changes in our diet. We are now consuming more calorie rich and nutrient deficient foods than ever before.

Here are a few examples of what we were eating in the 1970's compared to our diet today (information is taken from a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture survey):

- We are currently eating more grain products, but almost all of them are refined grains (white bread, etc.). Grain consumption has jumped 45 percent since the 1970s, from 138 pounds of grains per person per year to 200 pounds! Only 2 percent of the wheat flour is consumed as whole wheat.

- Our consumption of fruits and vegetables has increased, but only because the U.S.D.A. includes French fries and potato chips as a vegetable. Potato products account for almost a third of our "produce" choices.

- We're drinking less milk, but we've more than doubled our cheese intake. Cheese now outranks meat as the number one source of saturated fat in our diets.

- We've cut back on red meat, but have more than made up for the loss by increasing our intake of chicken (battered and fried), so that overall, we're eating 13 pounds more meat today than we did back in the 1970s.

- We're drinking three times more carbonated soft drinks than milk, compared to the 1970's, when milk consumption was twice that of pop.

- We use 25 percent less butter, but pour twice as much vegetable oil on our food and salads, so our total added fat intake has increased 32 percent.

- Sugar consumption has been another cause of our expanding waistlines. Sugar intake is simply off the charts. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, people are consuming roughly twice the amount of sugar they need each day, about 20 teaspoons on a 2000 calorie/day diet. The added sugar is found mostly in junk foods, such as pop, cake, and cookies.

- In 1978, the government found that sugars constituted only 11 percent of the average person's calories. Now, this number has ballooned to 16 percent for the average American adult and as much as 20 percent for American teenagers.

The days of the wholesome family dinners so near and dear to our hearts, where we all sat around the kitchen table to discuss events of the day, are now a part of our sentimental past. They have been replaced by our cravings for take-out and fast-food. We have gradually come to accept that it's "OK" to sacrifice healthy foods for the sake of convenience and that larger serving portions mean better value.

And, since I have been throwing-out statistics, here's one more: Americans are consuming about 300 more calories each day than we did twenty years ago. We should actually be eating less because of our decreased activity level, but instead are doing the opposite!

Decide TODAY that healthy eating and exercise habits will become a permanent part of your life!

Begin to explore your values and thoughts and other areas of your life where change may be required, and then take action. Begin slowly, but deliberately to make improvements in the areas you identify. And remember, it has taken a very long time to develop your habits, and it will take some time to undo them…so be patient!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

7 Easy Remedies to Soothe Nighttime Heartburn and Indigestion

Who hasn’t bolted upright in the night, awakened by a sudden and terrible burning sensation in the pit of their stomach? Whether you indulged in some overly spicy chili, or overdid it on those late-night leftovers, these quick heartburn remedies will soothe your fiery stomach and help you get back to sleep!

1. The first thing you’ll want to do when you’re awakened by heartburn pain, is to stand up. This helps keep the acid at bay while you go and get a full glass of cool water.

2. Drink the whole glass of water, and follow it with a mixture of 1 tablespoon of baking soda, and half a glass of water. Be careful though, if you have high blood pressure or are pregnant, this can cause water retention or increase your blood pressure.

3. DON’T drink milk or suck on mints to relieve heartburn. Milk might feel nice and cool going down, but it actually contains fats and proteins that cause your stomach to secrete MORE acid and make your heartburn worse! Mints, while they may feel soothing, actually relax the small valve between your esophagus and stomach, whose purpose it is to actually KEEP acid at bay! When this valve is relaxed, more acid can seep up and aggravate heartburn symptoms!

4. This is going to sound strange, but downing a teaspoon of vinegar can help soothe heartburn immediately! Why give your stomach MORE acid when it already seems to have enough, you ask? Sometimes, heartburn is caused as a result of too little acid, and vinegar helps quell indigestion by giving your stomach a little extra “juice” (no pun intended!) to do its job!

5. Certain foods can cause nighttime heartburn, including: soda pop or beverages with caffeine (which you shouldn’t be drinking before bed anyway!), alcohol, garlic, chocolate (sorry!), citrus fruits, tomatoes and tomato-based products. Avoiding these types of food can help ease your indigestion if you frequently find yourself awakened with that intolerable burning!

6. Eating a banana each day works like an antacid to soothe heartburn. If you’re already stricken with indigestion, eating pineapple or papaya (or drinking the juice) can help settle your stomach naturally. Some people also claim that eating a teaspoon of mustard (yuck!) can work immediately.

7. Avoid eating at least two hours before you go to sleep. Those late night snacks can keep your stomach busy all night and prevent you from easing into a deep, restful sleep. You may also find that sleeping on your left side or sleeping at a somewhat upright angle can keep acid down where it belongs.

If you are awakened by heartburn on a regular basis, or the pain is severe, or if you have heartburn with vomiting, you’ll want to consult your doctor immediately as it may be a sign of a more serious condition such as an ulcer. Above all, avoid spicy, fatty and caffeine-containing foods before bed, and you should be able to drift off to sleep easily.

Sweet dreams!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

7 Great Tips To Fat Burning

Whether you are trying to lose a few extra pounds, or building a sculpted body; you will need every available technique in your arsenal when you begin to fight f-a-t. If you are only using one or two tactics you may get there eventually, but you will have a long uphill battle.

Are you ready to fire up your fat burning capabilities? The basics of metabolism has everything to do with fat burning. It is the biochemical processes that take place in the body; the breakdown of nutrients in the blood after digestion, resulting in growth of new tissue, more energy, and the release of wastes.

You have billions of cells- nerve cells, muscle cells, fat cells, blood cells, and all kinds of cells. These cells burn up a lot of energy as they get their job done in a well metabolized body, but a person whose metabolism runs slow, a lot of excess fat will be stored because not enough energy is burned up. The good news is that the metabolism furnace can be turned up substantially. There are several things which affect the metabolism such as exercise, the digestion of foods, body temperature, and hormone activity. Here are seven of the easiest ways to burn fat faster.

1. The food you eat. There are several foods that actually burn fat faster than others. Spices is one food that can help you burn more calories by triggering a thermodynamic burn that can last several hours after eating.

2. The time you eat. The best time to eat the largest portion of the foods you eat for the day is before two o'clock. Make sure you never skip a meal, especially breakfast. The process of eating actually starts your burner blasting. Do not skip breakfast, and wait until mid-day to eat because if you do your metabolism will run slower all day. That means you are burning less fat, which is not what you are aiming for. You want to burn fat faster, not slower.

3. The amount of food. If you deprive yourself of food, your body goes into a survival mode and slows itself down to prepare for a possible famine. That means that fad diets are definitely out if you want to burn fat faster. But on the other hand, if you eat more calories than your body uses throughout the day, these additional calories will be stored as fat. Therefore, the secret is moderation. Try eating three small meals and two small snacks daily. It's like throwing another log on the fire whenever you eat, but remember- small amounts of food at a time. If you have too much food in the stomach at any one time, it will slow the fat burn down, totally defeating the purpose.

4. To prevent build up of fat you need to increase your daily activities. The muscles are where all the calories are burned during exercise, and the more efficient the muscles are at burning fat - the quicker weight loss can be achieved. To be an efficient fat burner you need to increase your muscle mass. The timing and various types of exercise also contribute to a turbo metabolism. When you perform any kind of activity your body burns fat and glucose. The good thing is that you do not need to exercise hard to burn fat. It's a good habit to begin exercising every morning. Do as much as you can until you reach an entire hour each day, five or six days a week.

5. Do your strength training before doing any cardiovascular work. It takes the body about 15 minutes to warm up and start burning fat. For example, if you are jogging for 45 minutes, you will only be burning fat for the last 30 minutes of your workout. Instead, try lifting weights for the first 15 minutes, which gives your body the time it needs to warm up. By the time you hit the road, you will be burning fat during the entire jogging session. PLUS - you will have built muscle too!

6. Do not do the exact same workout every day. Your body will start to get used to that exercise, and eventually it will stop burning fat calories. So if you jog one day, try a different activity the next day. Keep rotating the exercises, that way your body will stay at an optimal fat burning state. The best way to burn fat is to work out as hard as you can for as long as you can. But if you are just beginning a program, try varying the intensity from fast, to normal, to fast, to normal. This will help to build endurance, and eventually, you will be able to extend the high intensity periods until your entire workout is done at an ultimate fat burning speed. The fat burning equation is simple. The more muscle tone you have, the more calories you will burn even when you are not active.

7. Inhaling and exhaling through your nose, rather than your mouth also helps to stabilize your heart rate, and increase your endurance. Of course you know this means turbo charged fat burning.

With these seven tips, you should be well on your way to burning fat at an optimal level. If you stick with these techniques, and make them a part of your day - your body will amaze you in a few weeks.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Acne - The Many Types, Causes and Treatments

The very first thing you must realize when trying to cure your acne is the type of acne that you actually have. This is important because it gives insight into what may have actually caused the acne outbreak to begin with. And of course, once you know exactly what it is that triggers the acne, you have a leg up on either preventing it from happening again, or effectively treating it as it occurs.

There are many forms of acne, which would explain why it is so difficult to treat. I have listed several causes of acne and many of those may surprise you, but I also hope that they will help you discover what causes your acne. For instance, a great many people would likely be surprised to learn that acne is not caused by stress, as they may think, but more likely can be attributed to their fancy new perfume or cologne.

Adult acne can be caused by a hormonal imbalances, pollution, medications, or stress to name a few. Studies have shown a direct correlation between hormonal imbalances and outbreaks of acne in women ranging in age from 30 to 40 years.

Acne Cosmetic is just what it sounds like. It is the outbreak of acne due to the aggravation of the skin and pores caused by the active ingredients contained in the cosmetics that you wear.

Acne Conglobata can cause serious scarring on the face and back and it is usually attributed to hereditary factors. Unfortunately, there's not a lot that can be done here.

Acne Detergens is the result of the use of soaps and cleaners that cause an irritating effect on the skin.

Acne Excoriee is actually brought about by the constant picking of the pimples on the face and body. This, perhaps more than all the other symptoms, can and should be avoided.

Acne Fulminans is a very serious form of acne that can accompany a fever and body aches. This acne is predominantly found amongst males and it includes the abrupt onset of acne, severe scarring, fever, loss of appetite and a high white blood cell count.

Acne Keloidalis is common among people of African descent. It usually flares up in and around the neck area.

Acne Mallorca is brought on by exposure to sunlight.

Acne mechanica is caused by materials and fabrics such as clothing and purse straps that chafe against bare skin.

Acne Medicametosa is a side effect of certain medications which include oral contraceptives and over the counter drugs that contain potassium iodide, chlorine and bromide.

Acne Neonatorum is acne that affects infants. It is transferred by way of hormones from the mother to the child.

Acne Pomade is commonly caused by the use of oils found in hair care products. The oil migrates from the hair to the forehead, where it can clog pores and cause acne.

The bottom line is, that many forms of acne key and you've waited by taking simple precautions and knowing what causes irritation and your specific case. One great tip is to avoid touching your face with your fingers. People have no idea how dirty their fingers actually are and in many cases the occurrence of outbreaks can be avoided.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Two Biggest Hoaxes About Abdominal Training

If you have ever read a fitness magazine, if you have ever watched TV ads about the latest machines that will "magically" reveal your abs...
If you have ever gone to a gym and seen tens of people lying on the floor doing crunches....

Then beware - because chances are you are a victim of the two biggest abdominal training hoaxes!

Hoax # 1:
Just doing some midsection exercises can reduce your "love handles".


You cannot reduce fat from a certain targeted area of your body just by using exercise alone. The abdominal area is no exception.
So, if you want to get a flat stomach and reveal your abs, losing the fat covering them is the way to go.
The only way to do this is to lose fat proportionately from your entire body by burning more calories than you consume.

How? By doing these two things:

1) Have a healthy and balanced permanent diet: dark green vegetables, fresh fruits, whole wheat and whole grain products, non-fat dairy products, fish, poultry breast, lean red meat, egg white.

You should cut out all sugar, soda, non-whole grain products and saturated fats: These aliments should only be a reward for achieving a goal, not a habit!

2) Start exercising

Aerobic and weight training will raise your metabolic rate. In result, your body will burn more calories.

* aerobic exercising

3 times per week, conduct an exercise that keeps your heart rate elevated for at least 30-45 minutes (ex: walking, running, cycling, swimming, aerobics, etc)

* weight training

Alternate days of aerobics with weight training. You will build muscles that will burn more calories, even when at rest!

Hoax # 2:
You have to do tons of crunches.


Overuse of crunches will only shorten your abs, pull your head forward, and give you bad posture. Do you really want to look like Quasimodo, the Hunchback of Notre-Dame?

Any standing exercise that will contract your abs will do, but you should specifically target your lower back to strengthen the muscles that support your spine.

The easiest exercise is sucking the gut in, also known as the "stomach vacuum"...

1. Exhale. Suck in your gut.

2. Maintain the contraction for 10 to 20 seconds.

3. Repeat 10 to 15 times, as often as you like throughout the day (...while in the shower, sitting at your desk, while driving, etc.).

Time now for YOU to take action!

PS: Do not forget to consult your doctor before starting any diet and exercise plan.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

4 Risks To Avoid When Buying Medications From Online Pharmacies

With the increasing price of prescription medications, many consumers are finding it more difficult to afford the price of prescriptions. Due to this, many such consumers are looking for alternate ways to find affordable medications. One of these avenues are purchasing medicines online. While doubtless it is possible to save a good bit of money by purchasing medicines online, consumers should be aware of all the facts; including risks, before buying online.

Risk # 1 - Inferior Quality Medications

One risk related to purchasing medicines online, is the possibility that you may receive medication that is not good quality. Even worse, the medication you receive could possibly be contaminated.

Sometimes, the products that have been marketed on the internet have been eventually discovered to either contain no medicine at all or a different medicine than the name under which it was marketed. In other cases, medication was sold stating that it contained a dosage that it did not. For example, it might have been marketed as a 500 mg dose when in reality, it only contained 100 mg. All these possibilities pose a particular danger if you are reliant on a medication.

Risk # 2 - Interactions With Other Medications

Another danger related to purchasing medications online involves the possibility of obtaining a medication without a prescription. Many medications are regulated by prescription for several very good reasons. First, most medications have properties which may react adversely with other medicines.

If you obtain medication online without a valid prescription and are unaware of the interactions it may have with other medications you are taking or conditions you may have; this may create a serious and life threatening situation.

Risk # 3 - Medications Not Approved by The FDA

Some websites offer to sell medications that have not yet been approved by the FDA. While it can be a lengthy and time consuming process to wait for the FDA to approve a drug, the process is in place with good reason. Taking medications that have not yet been approved by the FDA may expose you to all sorts of health risks.

Risk # 4 - Illegal Foreign Drugs

Sometimes you have no way of knowing if the medications you are buying online are actually coming from foreign countries. It is actually illegal to import medications into the United States from foreign countries. One reason this is illegal is because medications that have been produced outside the United States have been manufactured without quality assurance guidelines. This means they may be unsafe and dangerous. By purchasing medications online from a foreign country you may be putting yourself at risk for health issues as well as legal problems.

These warnings are not to say that you should never purchase medicines online. There are some companies which are perfectly legitimate and provide safe products at a reasonable price. To make sure that you are purchasing from a legitimate company and not a company that is merely trying to run a scam by offering unsafe products, there are a few things you can do.

First, make sure that the online company you are purchasing from is a licensed pharmacy. Do not just take their word for it. Check with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy at their website to find out if the company you are interested in is a member.

Avoid buying from companies that do not appear to be based in the United States and offer to sell you medications without a prescription or to write you a prescription. This is a recipe for disaster.

By taking heed of the pitfalls detailed above, you can purchase medications online with confidence and save on your medication expenses.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

The FDA Is Killing People By Not Letting You Tell Them The Truth!

The Food and Drug Administration prohibits food and dietary supplement companies from telling consumers how nutrients in their products can prevent or treat diseases.


No person or entity that sells nutrients can lawfully tell you the therapeutic effects of those products unless FDA approves each statement. To tell you one sentence of truth about how a nutrient affects a disease, a company must spend tens of thousands of dollars and wait for a year (Most often 3 years) or more until FDA approves it (and FDA approves precious few). Not many companies can afford those rates or those odds. The effect is a mass suppression of health information in MLM and in the media. For example, it is illegal for those who sell prune juice to tell consumers that their products relieve chronic constipation yet who on earth would question the truth of that statement? A company that did tell you that truthful use... could have its product enjoined from sale and seized... then it's corporate officers prosecuted (and yes in some cases the FDA has attacked MLM Distributors) with potential prison terms in Federal Court!

Read the whole article here:

Friday, October 28, 2005

Hands-On Health: The Healing Benefits of Massage

The healing power of human touch is a positive experience that many people enjoy through therapeutic massage or bodywork. The effects of a good massage go much deeper than the skin's surface. Massage can:

1) Help improve circulation of the blood and lower blood pressure.
2) Act as a detoxification system by propelling toxic waste products through the lymphatic system.
3) Help to improve muscle tone and prevent muscular atrophy resulting from inactivity or illness.
4) Reduce emotional stress and promote a sense of well-being.

How can something as simple as this hands-on therapy have so many positive benefits? A tense or painful muscle is one which is often chronically contracted. In an acute situation such as recent injury, the muscle can be in actual spasm. This contraction or spasm decreases the flow of blood to the muscle, which leads to a decrease in the nutrient and oxygen supply to the cells of the muscle and related nerves. A chronically contracted muscle will build up lactic acid, a sign of fatigue. This oxygen shortage and lactic acid buildup irritates the nerve cells, which perpetuates the contracted muscles. Massage can help remove the lactic acid and other metabolic waste products from the cells and reverse this process, interrupting the vicious cycle of pain-spasm-pain.

There are a multitude of massage styles which are beneficial, depending upon the individual's needs and preferences. They include:

Swedish Massage: this is the basic "relaxation" style of bodywork, which uses long strokes, squeezing and kneading. The Swedish practitioner helps to improve circulation by working to loosen or relax the superficial layers of muscle. This type of massage is particularly useful for muscles which are already sore from stress or a tough workout, as it is often more gentle than other styles.

Sports Massage: this form of massage works on a deeper level of musculature or connective tissue. This style fits more with the "no pain, no gain" philosophy. The therapist uses slow, hard strokes and deep, sustained finger pressure to work deeply into the contracted muscles, fascia and tendons. This technique increases flexibility, encourages muscles to work at their fullest capacity, and speeds up the healing process by reducing swelling following an injury. It is especially indicated for athletes and "week-end warriors" who suffer from tight or sore muscles.

Shiatsu and Acupressure: rather than being simply relaxing, this form of bodywork tends to be invigorating. Fingers, thumbs, fists and elbows are used to apply pressure to points along acupuncture meridians, which are believed to be the energy pathways of the body. The focus of this type of therapy is on relieving blocks in the pathways and rebalancing the flow of energy.

Reflexology and Zone Therapy: reflexology works on the assumption that parts of the feet (as well as parts of the ears and hands) correspond to other parts of the body's anatomy. In other words, stress or illness in a certain part of the body may show up as a painful or sensitive area on a specific area of the foot. Reflexologists apply pressure to the side, top or bottom of the feet to help reduce dysfunction in other parts of the body.

Not all techniques work for everyone, so make sure to inquire about the philosophy and style of the massage therapist you call. If your massage isn't as satisfying as you had hoped, don't give up. Try another therapist! Massage therapy schools are a cost-effective way to test out different styles of massage; senior students generally work for lower fees while they complete their internship.

There are a few conditions in which massage would not be a good option, such as marked inflammation, fever, significant swelling or very severe pain. But for the garden variety aches and pains that most of us experience, as well as for the general stresses of life, massage is an outstanding way to treat ourselves to a positive, revitalizing experience.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Cellulite Products That Work

The internet is chock full of information about body-beautiful products and cellulite products are definitely a hot item among them. 'Cellulite' is a popular term for deposits of fat that have a cottage cheese-like or puckered texture. It's important to note that medically, cellulite is not considered abnormal. Even so, many people don't like the appearance of cellulite and would be happy to find a way to get rid of it.

As with any purchase, smart consumers do their research before deciding on a particular brand or product. Independent organizations such as 'E-Consumer' and 'Consumer Health Digest' provide reviews of products and services so that customers can make more informed buying decisions. Factors taken into consideration during the review are price, customer service, guarantee and return policy.

According to these analysts, a cellulite product called 'Avotone Bodysculpt' is the one consumers should consider. The reviewers find that it consists of high-quality ingredients and is very effective. Significantly, the product is guaranteed to produce results in less than four weeks and comes with a 60 day money back guarantee. Avotone BodySculpt scored overall highest for quality, safety, success rate and customer satisfaction. The cost of this cellulite product is $69.95.

Another cellulite product highly regarded by the analysts is called 'Revitol Cellulite Solution'. It is less expensive at $39.95 and, compared to the first product, scores almost as high for quality, safety, success rate and just as high in the customer satisfaction category. 'Revitol Cellulite Solution' has a longer period of guarantee - 90 days - and a higher customer service rating than the first product.

Consumer Health Digest, another consumer review service, identifies the 3 top cellulite products as 'Extra Strength Lipo Sculpt Gel' created by Sterling Grant Laboratories, 'Ab Solution' by VyoTech and 'Transculpt' by MedaBiotics. These products, made of ingredients such as caffeine, vitamins and green tea extract, are recommended as low-risk, effective cellulite removal or reduction treatments. Price-related information was not rated.

For more in-depth information about cellulite reduction, there is a new book out written by a doctor called 'The Cellulite Solution'. In it, Elisabeth Dancey looks at cellulite from a medical point of view, and offers recommendations to remove it. Among other health-related topics, she explains why women are more prone to cellulite than men, the different kinds of cellulite and why even thin women have cellulite. Doctor Dancey provides advice including the proper combination of cellulite-fighting foods, exercises that target cellulite as well as aromatherapy, creams, and lotions.

It's no secret that doctors recommend eating a healthy diet and keeping muscles toned by regular exercise. However, research has led to the availability of products and treatments that can reduce the appearance of cellulite and improve skin tone. While these need not be discounted, it must be noted that not all products are created equally! A little time spent reviewing the consumer research will help you make a decision with which you are more likely to be happy.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Get used to your computer, don’t get used by it - Part 5

Finally, let’s discuss the different types of breaks you can take to minimize the effects of sitting in front of the computer for years. Let’s see how often one should take a break away from the computer for a quick exercise.

Taking breaks while working on the computer comes under good work habits. Most people become so engrossed in their work while using the computer that they forget about taking breaks. The result is eye fatigue and other orthopedic disorders.
Even if the work environment is absolutely suiting all your requirements and comfort levels, it may still lead to unwanted stresses and strains if good habits are not cultivated. Prolonged, static postures will inhibit blood circulation and take a toll on your body. Try the following:
· Take short 1-2 minute stretch breaks every 20-30 minutes. After each hour of work, take a break or change tasks for at least 5-10 minutes. Always try to get away from your computer during lunch breaks.
· Avoid eye fatigue by resting and refocusing your eyes periodically. Look away from the monitor and focus on something in the distance.
· Rest your eyes by covering them with your palms for 10-15 seconds.
· Use correct posture when working. Keep moving as much as possible.
Learn more about micro breaks and pauses while working from our e-book.

The workstation environment is an essential factor of healthy computing. The comfort of the user and hence his productivity is related to the aeration and moisture levels in the workstation environment. You can have a better view of the monitor and see the images clearly if you take good care in selecting the right level of illumination and place it appropriately. Normally, brighter lighting or sources that cause glare on your monitor lead to eyestrain or headaches which may force you to work in awkward postures to have a better view of the screen. Our e-book, Healthy Computing, gives you details regarding all factors of workstation environment and lots of tips that ensures your healthy computing.

Last, but not the least, did you know that telephones are an inevitable part of the workstation? They add to the convenience of your work. Yet, the combination of telephone and computer is very dangerous, as you tend to use both the devices simultaneously. It has been found that this even leads to musculoskeletal disorders. The cords of the telephone can get tangled up hence causing the user to assume awkward postures.
Don’t cradle the telephone between the face and shoulder while working, as this can lead to neck strain. Place your telephone within easy reach. Telephone stands or arms can help. Use headsets and speakerphone to eliminate cradling the handset. Use a telephone that has a "hands-free" feature. Ensure that your "hands-free" headsets have volume control options.
Well, for more tips regarding this, rush for your copy of ‘Healthy Computing’…today!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Get used to your computer, don’t get used by it - Part 4

Today I'm going to present some tools that makes you healthier while working on your computer.

Wake up… We don’t want you to lose that brightness in your eyes just because of the simple reason that your profession is closely linked with computers. Eyes are the most important part of the body that needs good care for people who have to use the computers for extended hours. Products like Occu-Bright are available in the market, which are good for the eyes.

Have you heard of Occu-Bright? This is a multivitamin, mineral, and amino acid complex with 30 milligrams of Glutathione that supports your eye tissues. It contains enhanced levels of B2 and B6, water-soluble vitamins that are easily lost from foods and the body. Prolonged physical stress speeds up your body’s metabolic rate and can rob your body of these necessary B vitamins. It is formulated with Bilberry, Selenium, Ginko Biloba, Zinc Citrate and Beta Carotene for enhanced optical benefits.

This is the same with your hands if your job demands working on the computers for prolonged hours. Good care has to be taken to reduce the strain on your hands. Professionally designed speech recognition products like Dragon Naturally Speaking are available in the market for this purpose. You can replace slow and painful typing with the simplicity of using your voice to turn speech into text at up to 160 words per minute. You can create e-mail, instant messages, documents, and spreadsheets more than three times faster than typing – simply by speaking. Plus, you can use your voice to control your PC. You can start programs, use menus and surf the Web all by voice.

Do you know that monitors increase eyestrain? If you don’t select a proper monitor, your eyes react within a couple of weeks of using it. Different types of monitors are available in the market that helps you reduce the strain on your eyes. This e-book gives you more details on how to select and purchase the right monitor for you. We have given detailed information on cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors and liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors.
If you work in front of a computer screen, often watch TV, or have children who watch TV and play videogames, then beware! Several problems have been observed in people who spend more than four hours a day in close proximity to an unprotected CRT-based screen. Some of them are stress, headaches, irritability, insomnia, eye strain, eyesight decline, abnormal general fatigue, decrease in productivity and in the natural resistance of the immune system, decline in libido, disorders in the menstrual cycle, and hormonal disturbances. Even more disturbing is the fact that exposure to radiation from CRT monitors appears to be one of the causes of decrease in spermatogenesis. Know more about these from our e-book. So don’t miss your chance. Hurry!
Know more about the products that helps you reduce the strain on your eyes as well as your hands. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your copy of ‘Healthy Computing’…today!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Get used to your computer, don’t get used by it - Part 3

Today, let’s have a look at the ergonomic key boards, monitors, chairs, pointers, and all other devices comprising your computer workstation for you to stay healthy even though you have to use your computer for prolonged hours. Some examples of this are vertical sitting posture, traction posture, declined sitting posture, and reclined sitting posture.

As you know, there are certain limitations for an article. We cannot explain every thing due to the limitation of space and time. But there is nothing to panic…..We have compiled everything you need to know about computers in a ‘100’ page e-book with lot of illustrations.
This book gives you various tips for selection and arrangement of various components of your computer workstation. These include monitors, keyboards, pointer/mouse, wrist/palm supports, document holders, desks, chairs, and even your telephones. We have taken account of different inputs for users who would like to know more about their workstation components to help them carry out their work more professionally, contentedly, and safely.

Under the topic of monitors, we have added inputs on the viewing distance, viewing angle, viewing time, and viewing clarity. And under the section on keyboards, we have included inputs on keyboard placement distance, height, and its design. We have also added details regarding keyboard trays and their applications.

This e-book also includes details regarding how people become out of shape from years of sitting in front of a computer monitor. We have added some of the exercises, with illustrations, that we would recommend for someone who sits in front of a computer in a chair all day.

There are different pointing devices like mouse, touch pads, trackballs, fingertip joysticks, and pucks. We have taken efforts in bringing you information regarding pointer placement, pointer size, shape, and settings that would be of much help to users suffering from shoulder and neck discomforts. We have also discussed how the wrist/palm rests should be used to get full comfort while working for long hours.

For those users working more with printed materials, document holders give them more ease and comfort. Risk factors like awkward postures of the head and neck, fatigue, headaches and eyestrain can be reduced by proper placement of these holders.

This book brings to your notice the kind of desks that you should use for the best comfort and the leg space beneath them. The clearance space under the work surface should have adequate legroom for the user while seated in comfortable postures.

While talking about a safe and productive computer workstation, the picture of a well-designed and appropriated-adjusted chair comes to our mind naturally. Being an inevitable part of a good workstation, chair offers essential support to the back, legs, buttocks, and arms, along with reducing exposures to awkward postures, contact stress, and forceful exertions. Keeping these in mind, we have included a long detailed list of chair ergonomics and its accessories like backrest, seat, armrest and base.

In this e-book, we have discussed each and every symptom of all kinds of eye complaints in detail for your reference. We have also discussed how monitors can cause headaches, the right monitor that suits your eyes and some of the most dangerous chemicals released by computers. This book will equip you with diverse medical information related to computer usage, pertaining to every part of the body. Hence, you don’t have to go to different sources in search of information related to the medical side of ‘Healthy Computing’.

Aren’t these vital information that you need to stay young and healthy at work?
Get your copy of ‘Healthy Computing’ today and get computer savvy!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Get used to your computer, don’t get used by it - Part 2

Now, you may ask, “What’s the big threat about working on a fast and convenient machine, reclining on my armchair all day?” Well, the threat would be that while you’re using your machine to the optimum use for which it is made, you’re in turn switching off your body muscles that need as much work! They in turn run low on performance and finally starts wasting away. Next time you try to lift any weight, or even bend down to pick your newspaper; you can end up spraining your back or neck, no jokes.

Let’s discuss various types of injuries that you might encounter while working on a computer such as carpal tunnel syndrome as well as various eye discomforts. This also includes various symptoms of these ailments and their methods of treatment.

Some of the common ailments that computer users suffer from are Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD), Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Tendinosis, Bursitis, and Tendinitis. All these ailments need proper care of an orthopedic MD for the right treatment at the right time. Every computer user should know the different signs and symptoms of these disorders so that they can seek prompt medical attention while they encounter with any kind of difficulty.

Your eyes also need proper care as the other parts of the body. It is the worst affected organ in case you have to sit in front of the computer for long hours. Eyestrain and Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) are the most common disorders that the eyes encounter with.
Everybody has a tendency to put on weight in the absence of balanced diet and exercise. Along with these factors, if you are a regular computer user, you are sure to gain those extra inches around your belly and many other parts of your body.. If you need to shed the extra inches that you already have, what you need to do is to increase the number and frequency of certain exercises that you find useful.


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Get used to your computer, don’t get used by it - Part 1

More than what the name connotes, computers have much to do with our lives today. You get in touch with your friends, make a purchase from a department store, you access your bank account, you make an opinion poll, you listen to your favorite music, you play chess online, you reserve your flight tickets, all with this odd assembly of electronic gadgets.

You often tend to think how clever you have been in manipulating the electrons into doing what you want them to do for you. Don’t be too sure. The flip side of technology is that you get so addicted to the convenience of technology that you fail to see what hazards they bring.

Have you felt eyes burning while having to sit for a long time in front of the monitor? Have you felt that unmistakable stiffness in your neck? Does your fingers and wrist ache and sprain when trying to flex them backwards? If you are, then know that you are being used by your computer!

“A healthy mind is in a healthy body”

This saying is true even for computer users. While working on the computer, your body is at rest and gets typically no physical workouts. But for fingers, your body is in a state of inaction and lethargy. You even forget to blink your eyelids sometimes! This results in the degeneration of muscles that are toned only if they get enough exercise. Muscles sag, joints get stiff, fat deposits are added and you are susceptible to a number of small and big ailments. This is how computer users tend to go out of shape and gain weight easily.

To serve the cause

“How to stay healthy while working on your computer?” I've just found a new e-course on healthy computing, and I'm going to share it with you. It deals extensively with various things that can go wrong while someone spends their time on computers. The potential hazards that are hidden in the application of computers and their recommended preventive measures are discussed. In the event of you already suffering with any of the ailment mentioned, there are corrective actions recommended, which will reduce or eradicate them for you.

On the first day of the e-course, let’s discuss how to stay healthy, while working on your computer. This contains suggestions on different ways by which you can stay fit even though you have to work on the computer all day long, with pictorial representations. There are some exercises that can be done even at your work place during your micro breaks and short breaks. These are mostly stretching exercises. All these exercises should be performed slowly and carefully. Each position is assumed gracefully to the point where a stretch is felt intensely but with no pain.

If you use computer regularly, you must know; which is the right posture for your kind of job, how to sit on your chair, how to keep your hands, how to move your elbows and shoulders, how to take care of your back and a lot more…

Tip For The Day

Monitors that are placed too high or too low are not recommended for people who have to use computers for long hours per day. It affects the head, neck, shoulders, and the back, as they have to adjust their positions for better view of the monitor. In the long run, the muscles that support the head are fatigued due to these awkward postures.

Never thought these things could make such a big difference to your lives, did you? We’ll tell you how much more you have to know!

Monday, September 12, 2005

The Psychology of Quitting Smoking

Many experts believe smoking is only about 10% physical addiction and a whopping 90% psychological addiction. Your body will recover fairly quickly from nicotine withdrawals (the worst symptoms usually abate in three days or less), but your psychological dependency on cigarettes can be much more difficult to defeat.

One way to combat this is to do a bit of self-analysis before giving up cigarettes.

Make a list with two columns. Label column one "Why I Started Smoking" and label column two "Why I Want To Quit Smoking."

In column one, list all the reasons you can remember as to why you started smoking in the first place. Was it peer pressure? Rebellion? Did you think it made you look cool? Did it make you feel like a grown-up? Really try to remember the exact reasons why you started smoking and write them all down.

Now look over that list. Do any of those reasons still apply in your life today? Probably not.

If you're like most people, you will see that your reasons for becoming a smoker are no longer valid, are often just silly, and are easily outweighed by the risks to your health and your family's well-being.

So let's move on to column two... Why do you want to quit smoking?

This one may seem obvious, but it can be a bit tricky. You really need to take some time and think hard about this. Don't just list the obvious health reasons. You've been reading the Surgeon General's warnings for years with little effect, so you need to come up with reasons that truly have meaning for you.

The things most people write down will NOT help you quit smoking...

- I don't want to get lung cancer.
- I don't want to have a heart attack or a stroke.
- I'd like to live long enough to see my grandchildren grow up.

Those are all good reasons to quit smoking, certainly... but they deal in "possibilities" rather than in specifics.

Sure you MIGHT get lung cancer, you MIGHT have a heart attack or a stroke, you MIGHT die young and miss out on seeing your grandchildren grow up...

...or you MIGHT NOT! You're not likely to break a strong psychological addiction based on what MIGHT happen. Your mind will work hard to convince you that it won't happen to you! Instead, list health problems that you are already experiencing.

Your list should point out things in your life that you are actively unhappy about and are STRONGLY MOTIVATED to change. In order to break your psychological addiction, you need an arsenal of new thoughts and desires that are stronger than your desire to smoke!

Here are the types of things you want to put in column two...

Why Do I Want To Quit Smoking?

1. Health Reasons

- I get so out of breath when I exert myself even a little bit. Just vacuuming the house makes me pant and gasp.

- My feet are always cold. This could be due to high blood pressure and poor circulation associated with smoking.

- I have a nasty wet cough and I have to blow my nose way too often. Mucus build-up is the body's reaction to all the toxins and chemicals in cigarette smoke and could be a precursor to serious respiratory disease. Even if I don't get cancer, I don't want to be one of those people who has to tote oxygen bottles around everywhere.

- I'm always tired. Could it be that my body is using up all its energy trying to eliminate the toxins and chemicals from cigarettes?

2. Vanity Reasons

- Smoking causes premature aging and drying of the skin. I don't want to look like a wrinkled up old prune!

- My fingers, fingernails and teeth are all tobacco stained. Disgusting! How embarrassing.

- When I get on the elevator after a smoke break at work, everyone wrinkles their nose and tries to edge away from me because I reek of cigarette smoke. I feel like a pariah. It's embarrassing to always be the big "stinker" on the elevator. I feel like I have no self-control.

- My breath is awful. Kissing me must be like kissing an ashtray. I spend a fortune on breath mints.

3. Financial Reasons

- If I save all the money I used to spend on cigarettes, I'll have enough to take a vacation in Cancun (or some other warm tropical place) every winter!

- I could use the money to pay off my credit cards!

- I could donate money to my favorite charity or sponsor a child. My cigarette money could make the world a better place!

4. Family Reasons

- My family can stop worrying about me.

- My spouse will have to find something new to nag me about. Just kidding, honey!

- My children will be proud of me and (hopefully) they'll never start smoking themselves, having seen firsthand what a nasty destructive habit it is.

5. Cleanliness Reasons

- The walls used to be white. Now they're a nasty dirty-looking brown. I need to repaint... again!

- I stink, my car stinks, my house stinks, everything I own reeks of cigarette smoke. I can't even lend a book to a non-smoking friend because they can't stand the smell of smoke permeating the pages!

Do you see yourself in any of the items listed? You may have many more reasons of your own. Find as many compelling and emotion reasons to quit smoking as you can think of and write them all down.

If you can re-train your mind to think of smoking as a silly and self-destructive thing to do, then you're almost sure to succeed. And if you need something to do with your hands... try knitting!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Modern Medicine's Deceit

Modern Medicine's Deceit, and Why I Abandoned It

By Shane Ellison, M.Sc.

By education and by trade, I was a drug chemist. My passion for science motivated a successful career in drug design and synthesis - in both academia and industry. As a scientist, I witnessed firsthand the priorities of international pharmaceutical companies, which ranked wealth first and health a distant second.

My suspicion of modern medicine began while I was employed by Eli Lilly to design a new generation of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) drugs. Such drugs include tamoxifen and raloxifene. Initially, these drugs were thought to block estrogen receptors (excess estrogen can initiate cancer growth) and thereby halt cancer. As time progressed, though, it was learned that they were also capable of activating estrogen receptors. The end result was a biochemical environment favorable to cancer growth among users.

The risk of cancer associated with HRT drugs had been obscured from doctors by drug companies. And it's easy to understand why the doctors themselves hadn't noticed the ability of these drugs to cause cancer - because their patients already had the disease.

At any rate, my task was made clear: Design HRT "knock-offs" that are effective without causing cancer.

My attempt to design safer alternatives was unsuccessful. And after one year, the project was ended. However, access to HRT drugs like tamoxifen was not. They remained on the market. (In fact, tamoxifen is still the gold standard used by doctors to treat breast cancer.)

The fuel driving the continued use of HRT drugs was disinformation via Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) advertising. Since 1962, monitoring DTC advertising has been the sole responsibility of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). But in a ghastly conflict of interests, the FDA granted the duty of DTC advertising to the pharmaceutical companies in 1997. Officially, this was done as a means of "promoting health awareness to ensure health and safety." Unofficially, it was done to sell more drugs. DTC advertising dictated that all women over 50 should use HRT to remain healthy. Women scurried to their doctors and asked them to prescribe it. My suspicion grew into conflict.

The disinformation campaign behind HRT drugs is not an isolated case. I learned that drug advertising and science are frequently in direct opposition to each other. For example:

DTC advertising dictates that lowering cholesterol prevents heart disease. Science proves otherwise.

DTC advertising dictates that an aspirin a day will keep heart attack away. Science proves otherwise.

DTC advertising dictates that depression is a disease that must be treated with prescription drugs. Science proves otherwise.

DTC advertising dictates that ADHD is a disease and that our children must be treated with amphetamines. Science proves otherwise.

DTC advertising dictates that infants must be vaccinated to prevent childhood illness. Science proves otherwise.

DTC advertising dictates that blood pressure must be controlled via a lifetime of servitude to prescription drugs. Science proves otherwise.

DTC advertising dictates that chemotherapy is your first line of defense against deadly cancer. Science proves otherwise.

DTC advertising dictates that Type II diabetes must be treated with daily insulin use. Science proves otherwise.

By spreading the aforementioned health myths, DTC advertising forges a belief among the general public which asserts that drugs - not lifestyle habits and nutrition - confer health and longevity. And although, in reality, medicine is only necessary for sick people in times of emergency, DTC advertising has been wildly successful in convincing people that being healthy requires a lifetime of prescription drug use.

While it's true that the advertising usually mentions the potential side effects of drugs, doctors tend to discount them. They simply regurgitate the pharmaceutical-company line that "the benefits of a drug outweigh the risks." Don't believe it.

Western Medicine's plague of deception is deadlier than any virus, illicit drug, and terrorism combined. As has been well documented in scientific journals and reported by media outlets nationwide, FDA-approved drugs are killing an estimated 106,000 people every year. That equates to one individual dying every five minutes; 300 people dying every day. Which is twice as many deaths in a single year from "approved drugs" as the total number of U.S. deaths from the Vietnam War. Not to mention an estimated 2 million people who are victims of drug-induced illnesses that include obesity, cancer, kidney disease, autism, depression, and heart failure.

Hypnotized by DTC advertising, people are oblivious to the ill effects of prescription drug use. They drug their children, hop borders to smuggle inexpensive drugs back into the U.S., beg their congressmen for discounts, and pay a lifetime of insurance fees in order to snatch up these silent killers. The avalanche of DTC advertising has smothered common sense.

So step away from the drug ads, close the ghost-written medical journals, discard research studies dominated by statistical contortionists, and give yourself a reality check: Very few prescription drugs have any value outside of emergency medicine, and those that do can usually be replaced with safer and less expensive natural medicine. This was a troublesome lesson for me, as an aspiring drug chemist, to learn. I had to face the cold, hard facts: Western Medicine has become a billion-dollar empire - not out of keen science, but rather deceit. And this subjugation (see Word to the Wise, below) of science has set a standard in America that, by definition, is sick care disguised as health care.

Individuals outside the drug industry often question my conflict with Big Pharma. How can a single person denounce a philosophy adhered to by millions of medical doctors? That is simple: I ignore the majority thinking that is steeped in disinformation. I stand firm in science. Truth in science requires only one scientist to verify reproducible results in the face of pharmaceutical tyranny.

Science proves that healthy lifestyle habits, not drugs, prevent and eradicate disease. As more people obtain better health intelligence and learn the truth, drug use will recede. And I am confident that a new model of health care based on common sense, not profiteering, will emerge.

(Shane Ellison is dedicated to stopping prescription drug hype in its tracks. To this end, he has made it his mission to introduce healthy lifestyle habits as well as safe and effective nutritional supplements to the public. With his ability to sift through scientific literature and weed out fact from fiction, Shane has empowered thousands to assert their health freedom by saying "no" to prescription drugs.)

Thursday, July 28, 2005

5 Symptoms That Indicate You Have An Addiction

Addictions are most commonly associated with drug and alcohol addiction, however the truth is millions of people suffer from all kinds of addictions.

Some of these addictions are related to some form of chemical dependency such as alcohol, controlled substances and even prescription medicines. Other addictions are related to compulsive types of behavior such as gambling, shopping, food disorders an even the Internet.

One of the most important things to recognize about any type of addiction, regardless of whether it is a chemical addiction or a behavioral addiction; is that it is not a matter of choice. Individuals who are addicts do not have the ability to simply decide to stop abusing their 'drug' of choice. Addictions affect not only the user, but also their family and friends as well.

So what is an addiction?

How does it begin and when does a pattern of behavior become an addiction? Some individuals seem to have the ability to use a substance or engage in a behavior periodically over a period of years without becoming 'hooked.' Others; however are not capable of stopping and become addicted.

Addictions affect all social and educational groups. There is no typical addict.

The causes of addiction have been studied for several years. In many ways, addiction is caused by the emotion the substance or behavior brings about in the user. The body and mind become dependent on that feeling and seeks to maintain it.

There are addiction risk factors that make some people more likely than others to become addicts. Studies show that sometimes addictions can be hereditary. The child of an alcoholic may not grow up to be an alcoholic, however, they may become addicted to gambling or some other type of compulsive behavior as an adult.

Besides hereditary, individuals who grow up in families with abuse, neglect and who are impoverished are more likely to become addicts.

For most addicts, it can be extremely difficult to recognize that what they have associated as simply a habit is actually an addiction. While every individual is different there are some symptoms that are prevalent among most addicts and addictions:

Symptom # 1

Unable to meet responsibilities at home, school or office.

Symptom # 2

Continues to use substances or engage in behavior even when it is dangerous.

Symptom # 3

The need increases to engage in behavior or use more of a substance to achieve the same effect or feeling.

Symptom # 4

Has tried but failed to stop using the substance or end the behavior.

Symptom # 5

Continues to engage in the behavior or use the substances even when they are aware of the dangers.

Answering yes to three or more of the above symptoms during a 12 month period may show that you or a loved one has an addiction. The first step to treating an addiction is recognizing that it exists.

There is no cure for an addiction. Treatment and counseling can help an addict to learn how to control their behavior, withstand impulses and recognize the presence of a problem, but an addict is never cured. Treating an addiction can take years and requires ongoing support from friends, families and support groups.

A 12 step program can be particularly beneficial in treating an addiction. One of the most well known 12 step programs is AA, also known as Alcoholics Anonymous; however there are similar programs for all types of addictions.

Living with an addiction requires a daily commitment and there is always the possibility of relapsing. An addict that has been "clean" for even 20 years can succumb to temptation just as they did decades before.

There are several treatment programs and centers that can help with the numerous types of addictions that are prevalent today. Many of them are anonymous. Support groups are also available to help family and friends who experience the effects of an addiction in a loved one.

The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to medically diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Always consult a health care practitioner before beginning any health care program.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Do You Know What Is Lurking in Your Bathroom?

No matter how clean you think you are, the quantity and variety of germs that you would find on your hands at any given time would shock you.

Germs are spread every time we touch an object or a person. Not all of them are dangerous, and some bacteria are even helpful. However, your risk of getting sick is increased every time you use a public restroom, as evidenced by a 1996 study conducted by the American Society for Microbiology. They discovered that while 95% of the people surveyed said they washed their hands every time they used a public facility, only about 67% actually did.

A recent nationwide poll showed that 39% of respondents are worried about the germs lurking in public restrooms.

Is there a reason for concern?

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, infectious disease is the number three killer of Americans. They report that 40 million Americans get sick from hand-carried bacteria every year, and 80,000 people die from those germs.

Germs thrive in moist areas, and live off organic waste, which can be found in nearly every public restroom.

What can you “catch” in a public restroom?

Many illnesses that are transmitted in public restrooms include the common cold and flu bugs, intestinal illnesses, and skin infections. There is also a potential danger of picking up the bacteria that can be fatal, from streptococcus, staphylococcus, salmonella, E. coli and even hepatitis A.

People also worry about picking up STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) from toilet seats. Out of all the concerns about germs in public restrooms, STD's are actually the least likely to be a problem. This fear may be due more to urban legend than to anything else. Most of the bacteria and viruses that cause sexually transmitted diseases cannot live long enough outside the body for transfer to occur.

There is a far greater risk of coming into contact with the salmonella and shigella bacteria, which can be transferred by contact with feces. The infected person can transfer the bacteria onto any surface he touches – such as toilet handles, sink faucets and door handles.

What should you look out for?

Over-crowded restrooms, wet floors or puddles, lack of available supplies (toilet paper, soap and paper towels) and foul-smelling odors are all signs of improper maintenance and should be a cause for concern.

Often the odor in public restrooms comes from dried urine in tile grout. Once dry, regular cleaners cannot remove the uric acid salts, and bacteria feed off them. (The odor comes from the bacteria’s digestive process.)

Germs – particularly fecal bacteria, can be shot into the air every time a toilet flushes. This bacterium settles on surfaces throughout the bathroom and is often enough to spread disease.

How can you protect yourself?

First of all, your mother was right. Wash your hands frequently throughout the day, using proven methods of hand washing (see below).

Do not touch your eyes, nose, face or mouth until you’ve washed your hands.

Carry waterless antibiotic hand washing gel with you.

If you’re going to be out and using public facilities, carry your own toilet paper with you.

Try not to use toilet paper that is sitting on the top of the holder, on the back of a toilet or on a shelf.

Never use toilet paper that is wet or damp, or looks as if it might have been wet at one time.

Because the inside surfaces of sinks harbor a large concentration of germs, don’t touch them.

Do not use your hands when you flush the toilet, turn on or off a tap or open the restroom door when leaving.

What about your bathroom at home?

If your home is like millions of others all across America, germs and bacteria are thriving everywhere in your bathroom, blissfully soaking up the nutrients they need on moist surfaces – everything from countertops to cups to toothbrushes to towels.

Bacteria can grow and divide every 20 minutes. A single bacteria cell can become more than 8 million cells in less than 24 hours!

These virus-causing microorganisms can be behind as many as ten colds per year for the average school-aged child. In fact, some cold and flu viruses can linger on surfaces like non-disposable rinsing cups and the inside of sink basins for up to 72 hours – giving them plenty of time to be shared among family members.

Examples of microorganisms that live in our bathrooms are:

- Bacteria: Salmonella causes food poisoning.

- Viruses: Rhinoviruses can cause colds. Herpes Simplex causes cold sores. Influenza brings the flu.

- Fungi: Trichophyton can cause Athlete’s Foot.

- Parasites: Giardia can cause diarrhea.

So how do you fight back?

Here are some simple tips:

Use disinfectants to wipe off all hard surfaces (except for mirrors).

You can use EITHER bleach or vinegar as a safe and effective disinfectant, but do not mix them together.

Use disposable cups.

Store toothbrushes in an upright position.

Pour vinegar down your drains once a week. (Drains are usually the prime breeding ground for germs in a bathroom)

Close the toilet lid before flushing.

Use a squeegee to wipe off shower and tub walls after use to prevent mildew.

Proven hand washing techniques:

1. Wet your hands and work up a good lather, using warm water. Spend at least 20 seconds, making sure that you clean your palms, between your fingers, the back of your hands, your wrists and under your nails. (Sing a chorus of “Row, row, row your boat” to make sure you’ve spent enough time.)

2. Rinse your hands thoroughly, again using warm water.

3. When drying your hands, use a paper towel when possible; because most people do not use a hand dryer long enough to completely dry their hands. Use the air dryer only if there is no alternative, and try not to touch the surface.

4. After drying your hands, use a paper towel to turn off the faucet and open the door, so that you don’t re-contaminate yourself.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Putting a Stop to Food Cravings!

Most of us are "regular" people. We don't eat the perfect diet all the time and have our struggles with food, same as everyone else. But having an awareness of this fact and knowing a little bit about our health and food nutrition can help when it comes to making wise decisions.

Many people struggle with food "cravings." Studies tell us that it's fairly common for food cravings to happen at certain times, quite often at around bedtime. Your guard may be down, you may have had an unusually hard day, and off you go on your not-so-merry way to find that tasty treat. Fatigue and stress often combine to take their toll on the best of intentions.

When food cravings are unconstrained, what starts out as a bedtime snack quickly turns into a full blown feeding frenzy...not something most of us fully understand or appreciate. We head to kitchen and every other place where food can hide, clearing a path as we go.

Most food cravings are not about satisfying a nutritional need or imbalance. They seem to be more emotionally related, or God forbid, are caused by plain old gluttony. Exactly why we over-indulge is not completely understood, however our knowledge about this subject continues to grow.

Listed below are some thoughts and ideas about food cravings:

- If the food isn't available, you can't eat it! Empty the cookie jar and keep it that way! Keep healthy food choices on-hand.

- Recognize the feelings and emotions that lead-up to a food craving. Do you have food cravings when you’re bored, lonely, or stressed? If you can identify a trigger, you can deal with the emotion that’s making you desire a certain food. Try to deal with the triggers in the best way you can.

- Sometimes, even recognizing that a craving is about to happen doesn't seem to help. Don't beat yourself-up. There is always tomorrow. Call a friend, make good use of your support network and share your feelings with someone.

- Get enough sleep. When you’re tired, you’re more likely to crave things.

- Never give-up. When you "slip", press-in, bear-down, get a grip, do whatever is necessary to re-gain control. Try to practice restraint most of the time, but don't get legalistic and un-balanced in your weight loss approach. Think moderation and not abstinence at all times!

- Understand that self-control and discipline by themselves, won't cut it! If you depend totally on yourself for control, you will fail. Forming caring and supportive relationships is required. If you do not currently have a support network, start building one TODAY.

- Exercise. It increases feel-good endorphins that cut down on your cravings. Try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day.

- Use moderation. Instead of stuffing yourself with every kind of food hoping that your craving will go away, eat 100 to 200 calories of your "craved" food.

- Substitute with low-fat foods and complex carbs. If you’re hungry for chocolate, eat non-fat chocolate yogurt. Try fig bars or raisins for a sweet craving.

- Never skip a meal. Eat every three to five hours. Try six smaller meals or regular meals with nutritious snacks.

- Understand that hunger craving are oftentimes stress related. Practice other ways to treat chronic stress – a walk in the park, spiritual connections, a cozy fireplace, baths...all these stimulate neurochemicals that activate regions of the brain that stimulate pleasure. Relaxation techniques may work by reducing the psychological drives on stress output, which can be the root causes of stress. Bottom line, substitute pleasurable experiences for comfort foods.

- Beware of certain medications. They can stimulate appetite. Drugs used for the treatment of depression and bipolar disorder can be appetite stimulants. Other drugs, both prescription and over the counter, may influence appetite as well. If you are on a medication, and troubled by food cravings, discuss this with your doctor or pharmacist. You may be able to find an alternative that doesn't send your cravings out of control.

- Distract Yourself. What's that old expression...idle hands are the devils workshop? Get busy. Do anything other than cave-in to your desire for food, and keep doing it until the cravings subside.

- One final thought, take a look inside your refrigerator and kitchen cabinets and do some general "house cleaning." Throw-out all that unhealthy stuff that is waiting to sabotage your diet, and start shopping more wisely. A little forethought and careful planning will go a long way for improving your chances of success.

Eat wisely, be happy, and live long!