Tuesday, May 31, 2005

White Bread vs. Whole Wheat

Bread, like any other part of our diet, is an acquired taste. Starting out early helps since children are much more adaptable to accepting foods than adults. This does not mean that children like as many foods as adults - children are renowned picky eaters. But if you only expose them to healthy, whole grain foods they won't have the opportunity to develop a taste for white bread or other non-nutritious foods.

Adults, however, must learn to change their diet preferences because of knowledge. Understanding why whole wheat is superior to white bread can help you feel good about the compromise and encourage you to make it the standard for your children. Who knows - you may even like it!


The two biggest differences between white bread and whole wheat are the processing and the nutritional value.

Flour is made from wheat berries. The wheat berry is made up of the bran, the germ and the endosperm. All parts are filled with nutrients and are used in whole wheat flour.

White bread, on the other hand, uses only the endosperm - the starchy inner layer. There is a total of 30 nutrients missing in white bread. The nutritional difference is immense and has measurable impact on our health.


The fiber content of whole wheat bread has several health benefits.

Fiber helps the digestive system. It also creates a 'full' sensation and thus can help with weight control. Research has been conducted by Harvard and other organizations that shows men and women who eat high-fiber foods have less heart attacks and strokes than those who don't.

There is also an increased risk of diabetes in children who eat refined white flour - a risk that has been proven by the increase in cases of childhood diabetes.


Watch out for words like 'wheat flour' or 'enriched wheat flour' as they can be mostly made from white flour with just a small amount of whole wheat added in.

Look for 'whole wheat' or other whole grains, like oat. And don't be mislead by the name of the product. Names like wheat, whole bran, stoned wheat, 12 grain and others are still mostly white flour. The only way to know for sure is to read the label.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Fun Fitness Tips

Getting and staying in shape doesn’t have to be dull and boring! Try some of these fun fitness activities to make your workout time more enjoyable.

MUSICAL EXERCIES – Put on your favorite music and do some yoga! No need for slow, elevator music. Move to your favorite beat. Or pop on the headphones or earphones and grab your MP3 or cassette player or handheld PC and bike to a nearby park. Too cold or rainy? Then head to a mall or other enclosed area where you can walk. Caution: make sure you are alert while listening to music with headphones or earphones.

FUN IN THE SUN – Check out the latest tanning solutions and try fun, scented versions with funky, multi-colored sunglasses. Grab your cassette player or MP3 player and favorite tunes. And pack some flavored water, new flavored health bar that you’ve been dying to try and some frozen berries in your carryall for breaks and have a “sense”-ational time.

FITNESS CLASSES – Try out a new fitness class for fun. Enjoy a full water aerobics workout with less stress on your joints. Grab some colorful water gear and swim to the beat. Or try a dance or Jazzercise routine. No need to commit long-term, just ask about popping in for a class or two to check it out and enjoy. Meet new friends and get fit all at once.

VCR / DVD – Head to the library or local rental store and grab a fun fitness video or DVD. Crank up the sound when your favorite tunes come on and join the taped workout participants in the privacy of your own home.

GYM / FITNESS CENTER – Dig out those coupons you’ve been receiving in envelop mailers and those money saving coupon magazines. Again, no need to commit long-term. Just head on over and use the free or low-cost trial / invitational period and enjoy!

JOURNALING – Spice up your logging routine with an inexpensive new journal from a discount or dollar store nearby. Crate snazzy charts with colored markers. Add bright colored stickers for each workout. Paste or tape clipped pictures of your goals throughout the covers and inside sections. For example, paste pictures of that vacation spot you want to travel to with your new, healthy YOU wearing a new swimsuit.

So add some fun in with your fitness activities. Wake up your senses with new taste, smells, sights, touches and sounds. Forget that “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” stuff. Workouts plus play make Jack a fun, fit boy!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Weighing-In On Low Carb Diets

With all of the conflicting studies and fuzzy interpretation of information, it's no wonder that confusion reigns when it comes to the value and safety of low-carb diets. It seems like heated debates are raging everywhere!

Whether it's Atkins, the South Beach or some other low-carb plan, as many as 30 million Americans are following a low-carb diet.

Advocates contend that the high amount of carbohydrates in our diet has led to increasing problems with obesity, diabetes, and other health problems. Critics, on the other hand, attribute obesity and related health problems to over-consumption of calories from any source, and lack of physical activity. Critics also express concern that the lack of grains, fruits, and vegetables in low-carbohydrate diets may lead to deficiencies of some key nutrients, including fiber, vitamin C, folic acid, and several minerals.

Any diet, weather low or high in carbohydrate, can produce significant weight loss during the initial stages of the diet. But remember, the key to successful dieting is in being able to lose the weight permanently. Put another way, what does the scale show a year after going off the diet?

Let's see if we can debunk some of the mystery about low-carb diets. Below, is a listing of some relevant points taken from recent studies and scientific literature. Please note there may be insufficient information available to answer all questions.

- Differences Between Low-Carb Diets

There are many popular diets designed to lower carbohydrate consumption. Reducing total carbohydrate in the diet means that protein and fat will represent a proportionately greater amount of the total caloric intake.

Atkins and Protein Power diets restrict carbohydrate to a point where the body becomes ketogenic. Other low-carb diets like the Zone and Life Without Bread are less restrictive. Some, like Sugar Busters claim to eliminate only sugars and foods that elevate blood sugar levels excessively.

- What We Know about Low-Carb Diets

Almost all of the studies to date have been small with a wide variety of research objectives. Carbohydrate, caloric intake, diet duration and participant characteristics varied greatly.
Most of the studies to date have two things in common: None of the studies had participants with a mean age over 53 and none of the controlled studies lasted longer than 90 days.

Information on older adults and long-term results are scarce.
Many diet studies fail to monitor the amount of exercise, and therefore caloric expenditure, while participants are dieting. This helps to explain discrepancies between studies.

The weight loss on low-carb diets is a function of caloric restriction and diet duration, and not with reduced carbohydrate intake. This finding suggests that if you want to lose weight, you should eat fewer calories and do so over a long time period.

Little evidence exists on the long-range safety of low-carb diets. Despite the medical community concerns, no short-term adverse effects have been found on cholesterol, glucose, insulin and blood-pressure levels among participants on the diets. But, adverse effects may not show up because of the short period of the studies. Researchers note that losing weight typically leads to an improvement in these levels anyway, and this may offset an increase caused by a high fat diet. The long range weight change for low-carb and other types of diets is similar.

Most low-carb diets cause ketosis. Some of the potential consequences are nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and confusion. During the initial phase of low-carb dieting some fatigue and constipation may be encountered. Generally, these symptoms dissipate quickly. Ketosis may also give the breath a fruity odor, somewhat like nail-polish remover (acetone).

Low-carb diets do not enable the consumption of more calories than other kinds of diets, as has been often reported. A calorie is a calorie and it doesn't matter weather they come from carbohydrates or fat. Study discrepancies are likely the result of uncontrolled circumstances; i.e. diet participants that cheat on calorie consumption, calories burned during exercise, or any number of other factors. The drop-out rate for strict (i.e. less than 40 grams of CHO/day) low-carb diets is relatively high.

What Should You Do? - There are 3 important points I would like to re-emphasize:

- The long-range success rate for low-carb and other types of diets is similar.

- Despite their popularity, little information exists on the long-term efficacy and safety of low-carbohydrate diets.

- Strict low-carb diets are usually not sustainable as a normal way of eating. Boredom usually overcomes willpower.

It is obvious after reviewing the topic, that more, well-designed and controlled studies are needed. There just isn't a lot of good information available, especially concerning long-range effects. Strict low-carb diets produce ketosis which is an abnormal and potentially stressful metabolic state. Under some circumstances this might cause health related complications.

The diet you choose should be a blueprint for a lifetime of better eating, not just a quick weight loss plan to reach your weight goal. If you can't see yourself eating the prescribed foods longer than a few days or a week, then chances are it's not the right diet. To this end, following a moderately low fat diet with a healthy balance of fat, protein, carbohydrate and other nutrients is beneficial.

If you do decide to follow a low-carb plan, remember that certain dietary fats are associated with reduction of disease. Foods high in unsaturated fats that are free of trans-fatty acids such as olive oil, fish, flaxseeds, and nuts are preferred to fats from animal origins.

Even promoters of the Atkins diet now say people on their plan should limit the amount of red meat and saturated fat they eat. Atkins representatives are telling health professionals that only 20 percent of a dieter's calories should come from saturated fat (i.e. meat, cheese, butter). This change comes as Atkins faces competition from other popular low-carb diets that call for less saturated fat, such as the South Beach diet plan. Low-carb dieting should not be considered as a license to gorge on red meat!

Another alternative to "strict" low-carb dieting would be to give up some of the bad carbohydrate foods but not "throw out the baby with the bath water". In other words, foods high in processed sugar, snacks, and white bread would be avoided, but foods high in complex carbohydrates such as fruit, potatoes and whole grains, retained.

Recommendation: Find Your Perfect Diet

Monday, May 23, 2005

Live a Healthy Life!

People are obsessed with dieting and weight loss! Don't believe me? Just tune-in to any source of advertising...you're instantly bombarded with the latest diet schemes and "Hollywood" food fads.

Here in America, we have built a thriving industry trying to control our weight and treat the consequences of over-indulgence. The cost of weight loss and obesity related health care treatments is staggering...Americans alone spend around $114 billion every year! And even with all this interest in losing weight, we continue to pack on the pounds like never before...

- A whopping 64 percent of U.S. adults are either overweight or obese...up about eight percent from earlier estimates.

- Among children and teens ages 6-19, 15 percent or almost nine million are overweight...triple the rate in 1980!

- Nearly one-third of all adults are now classified as obese.

For Americans, modern life may be getting TOO easy. Our cushy lifestyle means we expend less energy and consequently need fewer calories to sustain our normal body weight.

Think about it for a moment...

Entertainment no longer requires energy expenditure. In fact, it's usually quite the opposite. We now entertain ourselves in the comfort of our own home while watching TV and munching on our favorite snack. Whether it's television, computers, remote controls, or automobiles, we are moving less and burning fewer calories. Common activities that were once a part of our normal routine have disappeared...activities like climbing stairs, pushing a lawn mower or walking to get somewhere.

And please do not misunderstand me...I appreciate comfortable living just as much as the next person. But, here is the problem...

With all of our modern day conveniences and "cushy" style of living we have not adjusted our caloric intake to compensate for our decreased caloric expenditure. We consume more calorie rich and nutrient deficient foods than ever before. Consider a few of the following examples comparing what we eat "today" vs the 1970's (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 1970's, 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 French fries and potato chips are included as vegetables. 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 1970's.

- 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. 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!

Unfortunately, it would seem that the days of wholesome and nutritious family dinners are being replaced by fast food and eating on-the-run. We have gradually come to accept that it's "OK" to sacrifice healthy foods for the sake of convenience and that larger serving portions equate to better value.

It's time recognize that we are consuming too many calories and time to start doing something about it! Each of us can decide TODAY that healthy eating and exercise habits WILL become a normal part of our life!

We can begin by exploring our values, thoughts and habits... slowly and deliberately weed-out the unhealthy habits and activities and start living a more productive and rewarding life. And remember, it has taken a long time to develop bad habits, so be patient as you work toward your goal!

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Are you ready to take the risk of making a change?

One of the most important aspects of living a healthy and prosperous life is understanding "risk." By this I mean knowing how to understand and analyze situations in life that affect health. Being able to accurately weigh benefits and risks when making health decisions is very important! Too often decisions are based on incomplete or inaccurate information and this is a huge mistake with significant consequences!

Failure to accurately assess risk keeps people locked in all kinds of unhealthy situations including poor eating and exercise habits (lifestyle), relationships and jobs. Sometimes people are just afraid to step out and make a change. They see "risk" in making a change when the REAL risk comes from NOT making a change. From my perspective, living with the stress, unhappiness and frustration of indecision and poor health is the greatest risk of all, and one that is definitely not worth taking!

Accessing "risk" is nothing more than collecting information, weighing the alternatives and then making appropriate decisions based on the information.

Some risks to our health are more "real" than others. For example, it is common knowledge that obesity is associated with a wide variety of health problems. On the other hand, there are some health risks that are so remote we rarely think about them. On a practical level, eating highly processed foods and avoiding a daily dose of fresh fruits and vegetables is rarely considered serious. But, as too many have already discovered, the long range consequences of this practice are real and devastating.

Failure to accurately assess risk limits us in many ways. We imagine the "risk" of talking with our children about drugs, dating or sex and we put off having the "talk," even though the risks of NOT talking are infinitely greater. Fear of flying and public speaking are two more "risks" affecting millions of people. But practically speaking, these fears are unfounded. People ride in cars every day, even though cars are far more dangerous than commercial aircraft! It's a failure to accurately assess risk, and it limits our health, prosperity and pleasure in life.

The goods news is that failure to accurately access risk is reversible! The effects of those decisions to eat inappropriately or NOT to exercise are, as the common expression goes, "do-overs." We can effect positive change in our lives by following a few simple steps to accurately access risk:

1. Accurately define your present situation and access your health "risks". Are you eating a healthy diet? Are you getting enough exercise and good quality sleep? What are the consequences if you DON'T change? Weigh the benefits of healthier living vs the potential risks such as increased cost, inconvenience or discomfort.

2. What do you stand to gain if you change your present circumstances? Assess the "up-side" potential. Too often we look only at the "downside" risk and forget the benefits. What good things might happen if you take the risk and win?

3. Limit the "down-side" if you happen to make a wrong decision. Don't continue down a path if it does not produce results. This is especially important when following weight loss programs. If the pounds are not coming off or if the weight loss is only temporary, find a new program! You not only want to lose weight, but want to sustain the weight loss for as long as possible. Take steps to ensure this will happen. Clear, concise, realistic objectives will definitely help.

4. Reduce your risk by being smart! Understand the situation and seek the advice of experts in the field of health and nutrition. This includes finding and forming partnerships to receive support and get good advice.

5. Have a fall-back position. If the decision you make fails to produce the desired results, be prepared to take a long, hard look at the circumstances and be prepared to change what you are doing.

Everything in life involves some element of risk. Driving your car, meeting someone new, crossing the street...but we do them every day. Winners in life are willing to accept the risk and continue on their way! Get involved, be smart about how you play the game, come prepared for a few failures along the way, but don't quit. You will reap the benefits for your effort and live a happier and healthier life. I like to remember the words of the great Winston Churchill when he said, "Never, never, never give up!"

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Tylenol - Take it at your own risk

Evidence that drugs are associated with a mass of negative health effects continues to mount: Researchers found that regular use of the over-the-counter painkiller acetaminophen was linked to higher rates of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), as well as reduced lung function.
Read more here: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=23740

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Herbal remedies

In recent years the issue of Alternative Healing has skyrocketed to the forefront of the medical field. A 2004 government survey concluded that more than one third of adults use alternative medicine and healing.
One facet of this burgeoning interest is Herbal Medicine. While it may seem “trendy” to some, Herbal Medicine has been around for thousands of years. In fact, many of the familiar pharmaceutical medications we use today were originally created from “natural” ingredients. Drugs like opium (from poppies), aspirin (from willow bark), digitalis (from foxglove) and quinine (from the cinchona tree.)
Interestingly, the synthetic version of “aspirin” is credited with the beginning of the pharmaceutical industry. A chemist working for the Friedrich Bayer Company in Germany created the synthetic. The company registered the term “aspirin” as a trademark but Bayer lost the patent rights when the Allies seized and resold its foreign assets after World War I.

The ebook "47 simple herbal remedies" provides you with an overview of herbal remedies and subsequently give you an in-depth look at 47 simple herbal remedies to common, everyday ailments.
Of course, it is no substitute for advice from a medical practitioner, the contents provided should not replace a health and fitness program and is provided for educational purposes only.

Let's have a peek into the contents:


Nothing in the makeup of a plant tells us in what way it would be used the best. There are over a half million known herbs that could be used as possible remedies. In China, The Chinese Herbalist practitioners have over 2,000 that are readily available in their pharmacies.
Herbal remedies around the globe very in strength from very mild, gentle remedies that we even use as food to potential poisons if taken at the wrong dose.
Folk use of herbal remedies is familiar to all of us in some form or another. Rightly so, because this is how these remedies are learned. They are passed down from generation to generation. Unfortunately, that is what fuels the fire of the scientific community and their disdain. It really is their loss, because generations of experience and knowledge should not be so readily dismissed. In fact, many of our current pharmacological concoctions have their roots in herbal medicine.