Weight Loss Tips - Eat Natural Foods

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Over the years our eating habits have been changing, and this in part is down to the way we now live. People are working longer hours than ever before and the number of families which contain two parents who work has increased. These changes in society trends and our lifestyles have paved the way for the emergence (and an over reliance) on junk food, fast food and convenience (packaged and processed) foods.

These changes to our buying and eating habits, have not been good news for our diet. These junk and convenience foods normally have a high calorie, fat and salt content and very little nutritional value. This is why you tend to get hungry again quite soon after eating, leaving you prone to snacking and binge eating. With obesity rates and deaths relating to heart disease on the rise, there has never been a better time to consider a return to more wholesome and natural foods.

How often do you really think about the food you are eating on a regular basis? Where does it come from (how is it sourced) and how is it produced and packaged? Most convenience foods are packed with additives and preservatives to give them a long date. Before you next put an item in your shopping trolley, read the box carefully. Take notice of the calorie content, fat and saturated fat content, how much salt or sugar it contains and how much natural ingredients it contains. If there is no real nutritional content to the product or very little natural ingredients, but plenty of artificial flavourings and additives then put it back on the shelf.

It is worth taking a little time to shop more often, allowing you to buy more fresh foods. Aim for a diet filled with whole foods rather than foods that come out of a box or bag. When food is processed, a lot of the nutrients are taken out of it and replaced with additives and preservatives. Whole foods (foods that are eaten whole and in their natural state) are full of nutritional value and tend to contain less calories.

Fruit and vegetables are excellent examples of whole foods and you can grow them in your garden. try adding them to each meal and eating them as nutritional snacks. There are also beans, peas, soybeans, lentils, and fish (but watch how you cook it). Try swapping your fries for a baked potato and your soda for a glass of natural fruit juice. Whole wheat bread and oatmeal are also great breakfast ideas to give you a great start to the day.

Your success starts at the grocery, start reading labels and think about what you eat. Seek out those natural whole foods and start preparing meals with fresh ingredients. If you are serious about losing weight and want to improve your diet, then you need to start changing your eating habits. Embrace nature and eat more whole foods on a regular basis.

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6 Ways You Come Up With Your Own Easy Healthy Breakfast Ideas

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Would you like to know how you can come up with your own easy healthy breakfast ideas? This article will show you how. Eating healthily shouldn't and doesn't have to be difficult. Too often people start to suffer from information overload or think that the easy solution is "too easy". In reality however, keeping things simple often yields the best results. Here are 6 steps in which you can follow:

1. It needs to be nutritionally balanced

When coming up with your own easy healthy breakfast ideas, you should aim to get the right balance of protein, fats and carbs. We need all three of these macronutrients because without them we cannot function at our optimal level.

2. What's your goal?

Depending on your goal, your easy healthy breakfast ideas may differ from someone else's. For example if your goal is to build muscle you will need to be in a caloric surplus and will probably need a lot more protein and carbs than say someone whose goal is weight loss.

3. Choose foods you like:

There is no point in thinking up easy ideas for breakfast if these ideas are of foods you don't even like or worse you are intolerant too.

4. KISS - Keep it simple stupid:

The easiest healthy breakfast ideas are the ones you can prepare in a few minutes, for example a breakfast Smoothie consisting of a scoop of whey protein, a cup of frozen berries, a cup of spinach, some flaxseed and a cup of natural or Greek yoghurt.

5. Think ahead

When you're brainstorming for ideas always try and think ahead and plan out the next few days in advance. This way you'll know exactly where and what you'll be doing so you can come up with ideas to suit the activities you are doing. For example if you are going to be travelling it may be an idea to come up with an easy healthy breakfast idea that iscan be transported like healthy breakfast bars or a protein pancake.

6. Be flexible

Flexibility is key when you want easy healthy breakfast ideas. You won't always be able to source every ingredient necessary so if you can come up with breakfast ideas where you can easily substitute out ingredients, you'll be better able to adapt if the situation arises. Always aim to substitute protein for protein, fats for fats and carbs for carbs.

Stop Eating Junk Food - Easy Junk Food Replacements

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The junk food market becomes larger and larger every day. "Stop eating junk food!" they say; easier said than done when the food industry spends over $33 billion per year in the US alone to advertise food products that could be classified as junk food. Another alarming fact is that the average person today consumes more added sugar in two weeks than a person a century ago would have eaten in a whole year. All of this added sugar comes from junk food, including soft drinks, sweetened cereals, candy, processed snacks and fast foods. This list will give you the top 5 junk foods and ideas for their replacements. You can stop eating junk food... or at least cut back!

1) Pizza

Frozen or fresh from Domino's, pizza contains hundreds of empty calories, mostly coming from the abundance of cheese. It has a high fat and cholesterol content, which is never good for anyone especially those with heart conditions. Eating just one small piece won't do any harm; however, serving sizes of pizza have gone up in the past few years. We are consuming much more than we need to. Pizza is also extremely high in sodium. Just two slices of frozen DiGiorno pepperoni pizza contains 2,020 mg of sodium. This is almost more than people need in an entire day!

What to replace it with:

When eating out, use portion control. Aim to eat only one or two pieces. Instead of ordering supreme pizza, get a veggie pizza. You can also buy items at the grocery store to make your own nutritious pizza at home.

2) Soft Drinks

Soda and other sugary drinks add sugar and calories to your diet without providing much, if any, nutrition. Excessively consuming soft drinks can lead to obesity, which can lead to type 2 diabetes, asthma, sleep apnea, and high blood pressure. These problems are becoming significantly apparent in children. It is also known that regular soda drinkers don't drink enough water, which can take a toll on good health.

What to replace it with:

Water! It may be difficult if you're an avid soda drinker, but replacing soda with water is one of the best things you can do for your diet. You can also try flavored carbonated water and natural fruit juices.

3) Candies

These are along the most easily available but most sinful junk food items. For starters, candies are nothing but a concentrated form of sugar. The high sucrose or fructose content ensures that you immediately get a sugar spike. Candy can cause stomach problems if consumed in large amounts-which isn't hard to do!

What to replace it with:

If you're craving something sweet, reach for fruit or nuts. Stock your fridge with apples, grapes, berries, bananas, walnuts, almonds and pecans. If this doesn't fully satisfy your sweet tooth, eat just a few candies. You can also try drinking a glass of water or going for a walk to get your mind off of sugar.

4) Sugary Cereals

Most people are surprised to see 'cereal' on what-not-to-eat lists. This is because many of them are advertised as healthy breakfast cereals. However, cereals including Fruit Loops and Reese's Puffs have high added sugar content. This can contribute to sugar cravings during the daytime, causing you to eat more.

What to replace it with:

Buy a healthier cereal, of course! Make sure to compare food labels to determine which has the least amount of added sugar. You can add your own fruit to an unsweetened, whole grain cereal which will make it taste just as good. Whole grain oatmeal is another healthy alternative.

5) Potato Chips

Chips are a major culprit to weight gain in America. Their tastiness and appealing texture make it hard to follow the serving size, hence the reason some people eat the entire bag. Potato chips contain high amounts of fat, empty calories and sodium.

What to replace it with:

If you're craving chips, reach for a healthier snack like pretzels instead. Stock your cupboards with convenient, nutritious snacks like nuts, whole grain granola bars, fruit, etc...Keep chips out of the house or out of sight/reach. If you absolutely must have chips, control your portion size. Don't eat directly out of the bag; size your portion before you start eating.

The key to healthy eating is moderation. No food is initially a 'bad' food, however; you can make it bad if you consume too much of it. You don't have to stop eating junk food altogether, just check portion sizes and learn to substitute empty calorie foods with nutrient dense foods, like vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, lean protein and dairy products. Also, get the facts on fast food as this type of food can be a major culprit!

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Type 2 Diabetes - Teens and Weight Loss

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The teenage years can be very difficult, especially if your teenager is overweight. Now that Type 2 diabetes is also becoming a big problem for young people, it's more important than ever to make sure your child is at a healthy weight and learns how to maintain that over their lifespan. If your teen needs to lose weight, you can help them with that without making them feel bad about themselves.

The first step to take is to make sure your teenager's doctor has determined your teen is actually overweight or obese. Some children are simply built differently than others. Their doctor will be able to look at their weight and their stature to figure out whether or not they are truly overweight or obese.

Part of the problem will be your responsibility as a parent. Taking responsibility for what your teen is eating each day is part of your job. If you are not feeding your teen a healthy diet at home, then they're likely eating fast food out with their friends. Moderation is key here. You don't want your teen to feel like they're on a diet all the time. However, by providing a healthy breakfast and dinner, your teen will be able to have a little more leeway when it comes to having lunch with their friends at school.

Speaking of school, do you know what your teen is eating there? Check with the school to find out what food choices are available. If your teen is able to drive, they may be leaving the school grounds each day to buy lunch. Believe it or not, some schools even offer fast food options. Obviously, this is a terrible idea as teens don't know the difference between a healthy meal and junk. They just go with what tastes good, so you must do some educating of your teen when it comes to nutrition.

You should also find out whether your teen really wants to lose weight. You can't do it for them. They have to have a reason for themselves to know why they want to, or need to, lose weight. This comes down to self-confidence and self motivation. Have a serious talk with them about the fact they should not want to lose weight for other people. They should want to lose weight for themselves and their health. You don't want to set them up for an eating disorder in the future simply because they're trying to please other people.

If you child does develop Type 2 diabetes, it is not a condition your child must just live with. By making easy changes to your teen's daily routine, its possible to protect their heart, kidneys, eyes and limbs from the damage often caused by diabetes, and eliminate their risk for developing many of the complications.

How to Pick a Gift For Surgery Recovery

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Recovering from surgery can be tedious, painful, and lonely as friends or family return to their own daily routines. If you know someone who is having an operation, you will want to get them a gift to show them you care. Here are a few tips on how to pick a gift for surgery recovery for your special someone.

Consider the type of surgery they are having

You can tailor your gift to whatever kind of surgery they are having. For example, if your loved one is having heart surgery, you can get them a heart healthy cookbook filled with easy to make dishes.

You could also get them a fruit of the month subscription so that fresh apples, pears, grapefruit, or oranges are always available for a healthy breakfast or snack.

For someone undergoing cosmetic surgery, you could give a high quality, high SPF sunscreen to prevent future damage from UVA and UVB rays. You can also find special foundation that covers any scars while they heal.

Consider the patient's personality

If your special someone has a humorous side, you can find many t-shirts, caps, and cups featuring funny sayings about surgery or about being in the hospital. If they will be on crutches or wearing a cast, you can find decorative crutch and cast covers in a variety of fun patterns and colors.

If your loved one is the more serious type, consider giving them several non-fiction books to read while they are cooped up in recovery.

Consider how long their recovery will take

For someone facing a long recovery, you might hire a cleaning crew to come to their house twice a week to do the heavier cleaning like vacuuming, mopping, bathtub cleaning, and laundry. If you can't afford to hire a professional cleaning service, offer to clean for them until they are able to do it themselves.

Another good gift for a long recovery would be a collection of DVDs in their favorite movie genre, along with a stack of good books.

If their surgery leaves them a bit helpless, buy tools to aid in dressing, such as button hooks, shoehorns, or a dressing stick.

For someone whose healing time will be shorter, give a variety of current magazines for quick reading. Snacks that can be left on a bedside table, like nuts, pretzels, granola, or fruit make for easy munching and can also help with nausea upon taking medication.

Sudoku, crossword puzzles, or word search magazines can also occupy them while in bed.

Consider your budget

Many things you can include in a gift basket are very inexpensive, like scented candles, lotions, and reading material.

However, if your budget allows, or if you know several people who would contribute, how about paying for a mini vacation for the patient that they can go on as soon as they are healed? Not only would it be a welcomed break from the stress of surgery, but it would also motivate them to get well faster and give them something to anticipate.