Category Archives: Health & Fitness

Balancing a happy diet

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Photo Credits: MShades 

We all know that food can be tied up with a whole host of other issues – self-image, confidence, health, happiness and all points in between. You name it, food has a place in there somewhere.  When you start to recognise that what, when, where, how and how much we eat is bound up in each of our psychological and emotional make-ups, food can become a hugely complicated subject.

And that’s before you get down to the nitty-gritty of what makes one thing healthy and another a no-no. Food has an extremely diverse second life. It is what anthropologists call an indexical – something pointing to something other than itself: like a bingeing habit pointing to some form of guilt.

Thankfully there are a lot of resources out there to help us make the right choices when it comes to food. It’s worth educating yourself on food labels and nutrition but you also need to address the underlying reasons why you might make bad food choices. Some people have found that alternative therapies such as psychic readings and hypnosis have helped them correct their bad eating habits. Many people have found that seeing a psychic can provide insight into their life and help them to move forward in a constructive way. Weight loss and healthy eating programs may also give you the support and information you need to balance your diet.

This is hard enough when it’s just one person whose diet is being analysed. When you start to look at a whole family, and the whole dynamic that can feed into that picture, things can get even more complicated.

But as so many women are responsible for the meals of others – especially children – it would be wrong to pretend that this indexical consideration of what food means and what it can signal is not important. It is vital!

What our children learn about food today will stay with them for the rest of their lives, and what’s more it will have a direct bearing on the quality of their lives. This is not a subject to be swept under the kitchen rug.

Recognising that kids of all ages (up to and including grow up ones) like more salt, fat and sugar than is strictly good for them is an important start. It means you can start to make the rest of the family take responsibility for their own diets. And that granting of control, that letting go, is in and of itself one of the most important things you can do.

Parents who are overly prescriptive when it comes to mealtimes are simply storing up trouble. What you need to put our faith in is the power of education and the persuasive long-term effects of a good example.

But going too far the other way has its dangers too: just as taking mealtimes too seriously can turn healthy teenagers into a fast food rebels, being too relaxed can be a recipe for complacency.

The real danger lies in the fact that food and diet is one area in which people of all ages are able to exercise some level of control. If the rest of their life is in some restricted, a person may seek to compensate by expressing their desire for control in terms of their diet. It is an indexical in the sense that it can point to a distant point of unhappiness or distress, but we should never lose sight of the fact that a healthy diet is wholly instrumental when it comes to maintaining long term health and happiness. That is why it is so important to get it right, and to keep getting it right. As in all things in life, the trick is to strike the right balance.

The fact that food is so central to our lives and that good eating habits are so important means that the significance of what we consume is becoming an ever more fraught topic for discussion. There are vested interests in the commercial food industry who have their own agendas in this sort of discussion. We should be aware of them, just as we should be aware of how our children respond to their messages. Commercial messages are highly skilled in manipulating the power of indexicality. A happy meal may not be everything it claims to be.

 

 

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Acupuncture: Ancient Chinese Healing Method for Stress and Disease

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Acupuncture, as an alternative medical practice, is now making headway in the Western world. It is now accepted as a drug-free treatment and method of stress relief. Practiced in China for more than 2,000 years, acupuncture is a therapeutic system that makes use of sterilized needles for the purpose of restoring the body’s equilibrium. The needles are inserted on specific vital points that correspond to a specific internal organ. The light insertion of the needle into a vital point is supposed to free the flow of internal energy or “chi.” According to Chinese medical theory, any blockage in the flow of chi in the body’s “energy streams” or meridians can an imbalance in the body resulting to an illness. The natural flow of chi ensures a person’s general state of health. The focus of acupuncture is on restoring harmony in the flow of the chi throughout the body and, in the process, balancing the metaphysical concepts of yin and yang.

Acupuncture is used to treat a wide range of ailments such as nausea, sinusitis, migraine headaches, lower back pain, knee pain, and chronic pain. Ancient Chinese texts also claim that the acupuncture can be used to treat minor mental and emotional problem such as anxiety disorder. For this reason, some even compare the Traditional Chinese Medicine method of acupuncture to the Western medical discipline of psychology. Both are seen as similar disciplines or therapy methods that have a positive effect on the mental health of patients.

The true benefits of acupuncture are found in its efficacy as a non-invasive, drug-free means of alleviating a number of physical ailments. It is also used in conjunction with traditional Chinese herbal cures that are perceived to be as effective as modern pills and medication. Acupuncture is concerned not only with providing cure to specific ailments. It is also used to determine the causes of physical discomforts and illnesses. Acupuncture practitioners make use of body charts that show the meridians or channels where internal energy flows to different parts of the body. These meridians correspond to the Western medicine layout of the central nervous system and circulatory system.

Studies are still being made by Western doctors and other scientists to determine the efficacy of this Eastern alternative form of healing. Even if acupuncture already accepted in different parts of the world as an alternative healing method, some quarters are still skeptical about its long-term effects.

While there are still no research findings that make the curative claims about acupuncture absolutely undisputable, it is interesting to note the depth of understanding that the Chinese had about the inner workings of the human body thousands of years before the formal organization and practice of Western medicine. Perhaps, one day, scientists will finally prove that the differences between Eastern and Western medicine is found mostly in culture and terminology; and that both systems are actually alike in terms of philosophy and theory in the use of the needle as a tool for healing.

A Guide To Dental Health

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People begin to learn about dental health from a very young age, when teeth first begin to show up. But in spite of such early awareness, many people fail to maintain good dental health through their adult life. Good dental health comprises brushing and flossing your teeth every day, and regular visits to a dentist or dental hygienist as well. Besides, people supplement their dental care with the use of products like mouthwash or advanced mouth care systems. You should keep it in mind that the lack of adequate dental care practices will result in cavities and gum disease.

It is generally advised that you use a toothbrush with softer bristles so as to protect your gums. Some people, however, prefer power brush systems that help break up plaque and bacteria in your mouth. But it takes more than brushing to keep your teeth in good health. Some other steps need to be taken to ensure that people do not lose their teeth as they become old.

To begin with, you should understand your own oral health needs, as your oral health depends on your diet, the type and amount of saliva in your mouth, your overall health and your oral hygiene routine. Try to follow a daily routine in consultation with your dentist.

As fluoride strengthens developing teeth in kids and prevents decay in adults, toothpastes and mouthwashes containing fluoride should be used. You should brush at least twice a day, if possible three times or after every meal. You should also floss at least twice a day. Brushing and flossing will remove plaque, a complex mass of bacteria that constantly forms on your teeth.

Limit the consumption of snacks and follow a balanced diet plan. Tobacco in any form will enhance the risk of oral cancer and cause stains on your teeth. Visit your dentist regularly and get your mouth examined.

A Guide on Choosing Organic Skin Care Products

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Take a stroll along any beauty or skin care aisle and you will be bombarded by products claiming that they are “all-natural” or “organic.” The high demand for organic skin care products had drive major skin care product and cosmetic producers to mass-produce. Unfortunately, while this seems like a good news, mass producing skin care products and cosmetics is not practical unless manufacturers use preservatives and other chemicals to increase the shelf like of their supposedly “organic” products. As such, care must be taken in choosing organic skin care products to ensure authenticity and quality. Here is a guide to help you in choosing authentic organic skin care products:

1. Look for the USDA organic seal of approval.

The USDA has imposed several requirements for organic skin care products. Every product claiming to be organic must bear the USDA organic seal of approval. This means that the product has been tested and had met the quality standards set by the USDA for safety. The USDA sign means that the product and its components has passed tests conducted by the USDA for antibiotic and hormone use in livestock and crops.

2. Check beyond face-value.

Do not take the manufacturer’s word for what it is. Instead, read the label to get a thorough idea of the ingredients used for the manufacture of the product. When manufacturers put “organic” or “all-natural” labels on their products, they might be stretching the truth a bit. Some unscrupulous manufacturers may have used an organic ingredient but this does not make their products “organic.” Instead, check and read labels thoroughly to ensure that the product you are going to buy is indeed organic. Whenever possible, take note of some ingredients you don’t understand in the label and look it up online prior to your purchase to ensure that they are not preservatives or chemicals.

3. Be familiar with USDA organic ranking.

The USDA grants its organic seal of approval to products that passed its organic standards. In addition, the USDA also implements a system that designates a product as purely organic or not. Being familiar with this system ensures that you won’t be fooled when it comes to choosing an organic product. First, only products that used purely organic substances in their manufacture can be labeled “100% organic.” Second, products with 95% or more organic ingredients can be labeled “organic” in their primary label. Third, products with 70%-95% organic ingredients can only be described as “made with organic ingredients” with three of these organic ingredients listed on the label. Lastly, products with only 70% organic ingredients or less can only use the word “organic” in their ingredient section.

By understanding what the manufacturers mean when they label their products as organic, you can minimize the risk of purchasing scam products masquerading as organic skin care lines. Better yet, research on the Internet for reviews and recommendations on the best organic skin care products around to make your choice easier.

4 Easy Health and Fitness Tips

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The US has seen an enormous increase in the mumber of people considered obese by the medical community. In fact many call it an obesity epidemic. To combat this we find all sorts of pharamceutical companies selling the “quick fix” pills, powders, and lotions that do nothing to actually help people take the fat off and keep it off.

Of course the same could be said of the diet industry as well. There are so many different diets going around now you could pick one a month and in a years time still have more to choose from.

What is truely needed are some sensible proven weight loss tips that people can implement no matter what their present physical condition is. That said let’s dive right in.

1. Drink more water. All too often Americans are borderline dehydrated and so their bodies are working on the water starvation reflex and not flushing the toxins and junk out.

2. Eat more often. I bet you thought I was going to say eat less. While it is true that to lose weight you need to eat less calories than you expend…you need to eat more often to get the metabolic furnace stoked up and burning right. Get it out of starvation mode. So start the day off with breakfast. Even an instant breakfast drink and a piece of fruit as we head out the door in the morning.

3. Move more. Depending on your physical condition you need to be moving more. Use the stairs rather than the elevator, park farther out from the office or the store, go for a walk around the block, go dancing, play with your kids. Make it fun. Running is not the only way to burn more calories.

4. Finally, determine your “Why”. Decide why you want to discard fat. Make your reason big enough to motivate you through the slumps that invariably happen.

Personally my reason was to be able to live to see my great grandkids graduate college. My youngest kids are 4 and 6 now. Besides I wanted to get out and play with them without being out of breath all the time.

 

3 Ways To Drink More Water

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After a little research it is apparent that nobody really knows where the saying that you need to drink 8 cups of water per day comes from. Some people trace it back to a study in the 1980’s, and other people claim that doctors starting telling people that amount because it was a good goal, but didn’t have any scientific research to back it up with.

Either way, the point is clear, water does wonders for your body, and your brain. Water is well known to cleanse your body of harmful chemicals through your intestines and also throughout your urine tract. Without proper water intake, our bodies break down very quickly, in a matter of days. Without food, however, some people can live for a week or two. That just shows how important water is to our bodies.

Here are 3 quick tips for taking in more water.

1. Always have water available.

I like to buy the 12 ounce bottles of water and keep them in the fridge. Whenever I go to the gym I grab a bottle. On my way out the door to work, I grab a bottle. Before a trip that will be 30 minutes or longer, I grab a bottle. When I watch a movie, I grab a bottle.

Whenever I am sitting watching TV or a movie, I will keep the bottle in my hand with the lid off. I take a lot of little sips until the bottle is gone. A great way of making sure you drink more water is to make sure it is easily accessible.

2. Keep it cold.

I don’t know many people who like to drink room temperature water, I sure don’t. If you keep your water cold, you will drink more. I make sure there is always ice in my freezer, this make it very easy to have a cold glass of water anytime.

3. Chose water in restaurants.

Whenever I go out to eat, I always drink water with some lemon. The lemon adds a little spunk to the taste and the water is always nice, cold and refreshing. After a short time you will stop craving your old drink of choice and will begin to appreciate the taste, or lack of taste, that water provides.

Give water a shot and your body will be thankful!

3 Little Known Tips To Buying Fitness Equipment

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Did you know that buying fitness equipment for your home isn’t really that difficult?
It’s true that the world of fitness equipment can seem like a maze at times and that there are literally hundreds of different types of fitness equipment pieces that might work well for your home arrangement. However, with a little guidance, the process really isn’t that hard and you will be amazed at the bargains that you can find if you just dig a little deeper than the average consumer is usually prepared to. Let’s take a look at some tips to help you out in your quest for new fitness equipment.

1. Look at used equipment. This is where some good deals can be found. Fitness equipment can obtain a weird status in a person’s home. They might have been really excited to buy it initially and dreams of a fit body and monthly gym savings might have filled their head. However, after 3 months, the equipment often sits vacant in that person’s home. Used equipment can be a really good deal due to the fact that it’s often times almost as good as new but now it’s for sale. To you. For cheap. Check out newspapers, Ebay, and other places; compare prices and get a deal.

2. Consider commercial fitness equipment. Often times, you can buy the same equipment that your local gym has. Imagine, you can have that same (gasp!) Stairmaster that has dogged you for years at the local Ballys, right in your basement. This might be appealing to some who have the capital to invest in a large piece of equipment. If you no longer have to pay a £50 monthly fee to go to a gym every month, this might be a really smart investment. Look into commercial equipment, you might be pleasantly surprised.

3. The first two points are almost worthless without considering the financing of your new fitness equipment. When looking to finance your new set of fitness equipment there are tons of important factors to keep in mind. You really don’t want to be paying too much for equipment that might be found at a cheaper price (after everything is considered) elsewhere.

2 Steps To Six Pack Abs

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First off, I want to mention that, for most people, getting six pack abs is not an easy task. It requires dedication, but it is possible! Below is a general 2-step guide that, if followed religiously for 3 months, will produce results.

Step 1: Nutrition

This is the single most important part of the puzzle, hands down. You can have the most impressive set of abs, but if they’re covered with a layer of fat, you won’t see them! Break up your day with 5 or 6 mini-meals because this jump starts your metabolism. And stop eating the food that is preventing results: white bread, loads of pasta, soda, candy, fast food, hydrogenated oils, sugars and fructose corn syrup.

Instead, replace them with foods that will help you reach your goal: oatmeal, olive oil, whole grain breads, fruits, vegetables, nuts, eggs, natural peanut butter, chicken, fish, protein and water. Be realistic- you’ll slip here and there, but make a conscious effort to radically improve your eating habits because getting a six pack will be impossible if you don’t.

Step 2: Exercise

You need to concern yourself with 3 different exercises: cardio, weightlifting and ab exercises. And aim to workout 3- 4 times a week.

The cardio you do can be anything: walking, running, biking, swimming….whichever cardio you don’t mind doing so that you’ll stick with it. Aim for 30-45 minutes, a minimum of 2 times a week.

Weightlifting is important because 3 pounds of added muscle burns as many calories as a 1 mile jog…and this is while you’re just sitting around! Aim for 30-45 minutes, a minimum of 2 times a week. If you’re confused as to what exercises to do for each body part, check out out the following website. It features professional bodybuilders, but the information is great and can be used by anyone.

The last exercise you need to incorporate into your workout is ab exercises. Aim to work your abs a minimum of 3 times a week. There are a ton of different ab exercises you can do so try to find 3 or so that you enjoy doing so you can mix it up. A good database of different ab exercises is:

Tip: mix up your workout routine every 2 weeks to keep your body guessing and changing. Add or take away different weight or ab exercises, or at the very least, vary the weight, reps or form of cardio you do.

Well, there you have it. Follow the above for 3 months religiously, and while results will vary from person to person, you will experience improvement.

It will take dedication on your part, but imagine the feeling you’ll get when you look in the mirror and like what you see.

“A Better You” Your 7 days program to self-improvement

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I seem to lost count on how many times I’ve read and heard of celebrity marriages failing almost left and right. Not that I care (and personally I don’t), it seems strange that we often see movie and TV stars as flawless people, living the fairytale life of riches and glamour. I suppose we all have to stop sticking our heads in the clouds and face reality.

There are many ways to lose your sense of self-esteem despite of how trivial it could get. But whatever happens, we should all try not to lose our own sense of self.

So what does it take to be a cut above the rest? Here are some of the things you can think and improve on that should be enough for a week.

1. Know your purpose
Are you wandering through life with little direction – hoping that you’ll find happiness, health and prosperity? Identify your life purpose or mission statement and you will have your own unique compass that will lead you to your truth north every time.

This may seem tricky at first when you see yourself to be in a tight or even dead end. But there’s always that little loophole to turn things around and you can make a big difference to yourself.

2. Know your values
What do you value most? Make a list of your top 5 values. Some examples are security, freedom, family, spiritual development, learning. As you set your goals for 2015 – check your goals against your values. If the goal doesn’t align with any of your top five values – you may want to reconsider it or revise it.

The number shouldn’t discourage you, instead it should motivate you to do more than you can ever dreamed of.

3. Know your needs
Unmet needs can keep you from living authentically. Take care of yourself. Do you have a need to be acknowledged, to be right, to be in control, to be loved? There are so many people who lived their lives without realizing their dreams and most of them end up being stressed or even depressed for that matter. List your top four needs and get them met before it’s too late!

4. Know your passions
You know who you are and what you truly enjoy in life. Obstacles like doubt and lack of enthusiasm will only hinder you, but will not derail your chance to become the person you ought to be. Express yourself and honor the people who has inspired you to become the very person you wanted to be.

5. Live from the inside out
Increase your awareness of your inner wisdom by regularly reflecting in silence. Commune with nature. Breathe deeply to quiet your distracted mind. For most of us city slickers it’s hard to even find the peace and quiet we want even in our own home. In my case I often just sit in a dimly lit room and play some classical music. There’s sound, yes, but music does soothe the savage beast.

6. Honor your strengths
What are your positive traits? What special talents do you have? List three – if you get stuck, ask those closest to you to help identify these. Are you imaginative, witty, good with your hands? Find ways to express your authentic self through your strengths. You can increase your self-confidence when you can share what you know to others.

7. Serve others
When you live authentically, you may find that you develop an interconnected sense of being. When you are true to who you are, living your purpose and giving of your talents to the world around you, you give back in service what you came to share with others -your spirit – your essence. The rewards for sharing your gift with those close to you is indeed rewarding, much more if it were to be the eyes of a stranger who can appreciate what you have done to them.

Self-improvement is indeed one type of work that is worth it. It shouldn’t always be within the confines of an office building, or maybe in the four corners of your own room. The difference lies within ourselves and how much we want to change for the better.

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