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.