10 foods that your heart needs: It’s all about the Heart – (part 2)!!!

As discussed in the first post, here we will go in detail about the remaining foods that are certainly good for the heart and can work wonders.

It is also important that you start by picking the foods that you like the most – if you do not favor oats say for example, you can skip on the oats and pick food items that you prefer more. It is all about building tolerance and taste. A lot of these food choices are delicious and great tasting but in that case the amount of serving should remain low.

It may be said that too much of a good thing is not always great!!
For the second part – we start with a food that is hardly considered as tasty or healthy (if you did not know it before, you can know it now)
  1. Chocolate:

A lot of foods may sway your opinion to the other side but chocolate actually is good for the heart. It is easy to forget that it actually grows on plants and is normally not the sweet thing that you often come into associate with it. Since it is the preferred choice for desserts – it is often sweetened enough. The harmful part of eating chocolate thus than comes from the added sugar and not just the chocolate alone.
The benefits of moderate dark chocolate consumption (without additives, including milk, sugar and others) include but are not limited to providing you with high numbers of antioxidants. The presence of antioxidants ensures that your blood formation remains fluid, it prevents the platelets from sticking together ensuring that there is smooth blood flow in the arteries.

It also helps build the good cholesterol – the key is thus exploring the “dark side” of chocolate as well rather than just sticking to sweet chocolate.
heart 2

  1. Margarine and Butter alternatives:

Although butter is great – it is not the healthiest food that can grace your dinner table. A healthy alternative margarine with plant sterols is the best way to move ahead.

Plant sterols are capable of reducing cholesterol absorption hence making them great for your body. Studies have shown that women who have higher intakes of sterols in their diet have reduced blood cholesterol by 3% over a few months period.

  1. Garlic

It may not be actually good enough to banish vampires but it surely packs a punch when it comes to keeping blood pressure in control.

It is probably and I admit one of the hardest thing to acquire taste of (and you may not like the smell of it as well) but it is a really great vegetable that must be part of your diet.

It is good in preventing and lowering cholesterol, reducing and controlling blood pressure and providing better blood health in general. A recent research also showed its effectiveness in preventing cholesterol from sticking to the walls of arteries and veins.

  1. Olive Oil:

I am a big believer of Mediterranean diet and the role that olive oil plays in that. Olive oil is full of monosaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), which lower LDL cholesterol level.
Olive oil offers a great replacement for other vegetable based oils or fat in food. You can even use it in Salads to get more flavor and taste from the salads.
Equally good for frying all the vegetables and meat that you want!!

10. Avocado

A lot has been written about how good avocado is – but it still is not enough to do justice with what Avocado brings to the table.
They are rick in monosaturated fats – a particular fat that helps raise HDL cholesterol (the good one) and decrease the LDL cholesterol (the bad one). They also contain beat-sitosterol – the fat absorbing cholesterol removing substance.
They are though high in terms of calories and require careful intake monitoring. There are loads of recipes which offer exquisite and unique flavors of the fruit – the trick is to choosing those which you can use regularly without fear of having too much.

How to manage the intake of these helpful foods?
Chocolate is hard to resist – I give you that. It is one of those foods whose cravings are the most dreaded. Since it is involved in many baking products along with chocolate bars that are everywhere, it offers continuous stimuli that can impair even the best of judgments. The key is realizing that dark chocolate is totally different from its other more available varieties and in moderation is a much healthier alternative.
If you can introduce it steadily in the diet – it offers great value.
An Avocado Olive oil salad with beans seems like a perfect combination for lunch. The best part is you will be able to control your calorie intake along with the fact that you will not be going for ready-made options for lunch which will save immensely on the calorie count.

These are not just the only foods that are good for the heart – there are other many which are similar and offer great benefits for the heart. Hopefully we will be able to list more as well.

Give your heart a great chance to thrive and survive – enjoy healthy living; it is not as difficult as it is made out to be!!!

Photo credit: Chocolate Reviews / Foter / CC BY-ND Photo credit: RenaudPhoto / Foter / CC BY-SA

10 foods that your heart needs: It’s all about the Heart – (part 1)!!!


The blood is the center of the human body – in a way
It is not just a romantic notion only – the role of the heart can hardly be downplayed. It is working 24/7, 365 days a year, (even works in a leap year) pumping blood in the arteries and managing the veins as best it can. It is only logical that it should be cared for.

Heart health is important and symptoms should be monitored at all times to continue seeing that the heart is functioning properly. Coronary Artery disease, heart failures, valve problems, high blood cholesterol leading to blockages are just some of the many diseases that can cause negative affect on the body. Although it is a serious problem – heart issues can be managed through a sustained diet and life style.

The good news is – a lot of foods good for the heart also taste great on the palate.

Prevention of a heart disease is one of the best presents that you can give to your body. In this two part series blog – I will go in detail and list foods that are good for the heart. Needless to say – exercise plays a pivotal role in heart health. Researchers have found that for cardiac health – YOU DO NOT require to have a serious workout regime. Simple exercise like walking regularly may be all that you need.

If you ever needed a reason to start walking!!!

Ten food items that should be included in your Menu:

  1. Oat (Oat meals – Oat Porridge)

When it comes to the fight against Cholesterol – the oats should be the first name on the list. They contain a specific a beta-glucan, a natural LDL (bad Cholesterol) absorber from the body which is later excreted.

The best bit is, all you require is to add the Oats as part of your breakfast. Studies have indicated fast results with even 5% of decrease in Cholesterol within 2 months.

  1. White Meat (Fish)

Omega-3 fat is an essential nutrient that is extremely good in prevention of the coronary problems. This fatty acid helps in prevention of bad cholesterol and helps increase the good cholesterol by a factor of 4% within weeks.
A regular intake of Salmon, sardines and herrings can help your heart to function better – also the amazing taste
  1. The amazing Nuts:

Another “cracking” way to lower your cholesterol is by adding nuts to your food. Almonds and Walnuts are great additions to Salads. Although nuts are good for the heart, they are rich in calories and must be taken in moderation to keep the balance going.

  1. Black Tea

Black tea substantially reduces blood lipids and the risk of having coronary disease. Taken in moderation it has the chance to decrease the blood cholesterol. A study carried out by USDA showed that black tea can reduce blood lipids by up to 10% in less than a month.

The best part is – black tea is also rich in anti-oxidants that can help fight cancer.

  1. Beans (Red and White both)

There is something about beans that should make them part of your regular diet. A recent study found that by just adding 100 grams of beans to the soap, the total amount of cholesterol including LDL is decreased by 8%.

The gracious amount of fiber present in the beans makes them an ideal food. Whether it is kidney beans, red beans or any other sort – they can help in up to 30% of your fiber intake.

How to incorporate these foods in your daily routine?

It is one bit knowing about the foods that are good for you; it is entirely another bit to add these foods in the daily routine.

A lot of the time we have the information but are unable to utilize the information properly. The reason why it is difficult to add some of the foods to the meals is that we have certain habits that are hard to get rid of. For starters, rather than eating oatmeal or eat porridge for breakfast, we have the habit of going for cereals.

While some of them contain oat based grains to some extent – they are hardly picked as the first preference. A lot of people conscious about the food also skip breakfast which is detrimental when it comes to losing weight.

Ensure having a breakfast and you will do a great service to your body.

Then comes the habit of snacks – although we know that nuts are good for health, they are rarely used for snacks. Instead of having a nut based snack – we diverge to other traditional snacks which offer almost very little when it comes to health benefit.
Have a small serving of nuts as snacks – they are delicious and better alternative to processed foods.
The same goes for black tea – often ignored to coffee. Although health benefits of coffee are immense the adding a few weekly cups of tea in your routine can be extremely beneficial. Black tea without sugar may sound not the best composition – but give it SOME TIME and you will find out that it works perfectly well as well.
Beans in soups and salads are great. They can replace bread for your meals and if not replace completely, they can sustain with bread at the same time.
It all comes down to the matters of preference and while some of these options are not difficult to adapt in your life style; you alone are responsible for judging the intakes of specific foods.

Photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/johannphoto/6991598317/”>johannphoto</a> / <a href=”http://foter.com”>Foter</a> / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>CC BY-ND</a>

Looks vs. Health: What should your weight loss target be?

A bikini body or a healthy body that you are comfortable in – this is the question that you must ponder when you are setting yourself a weight loss target.

I am not sure how are you feeling about yourself currently, or how you normally feel about your body but it is always great to have a constant and clear objective ahead of you.

When you start the weight loss program, you should define a very clear objective for yourself and while it is great to wish for a perfect bikini body or have a body like “Taylor Swift” or “Nicole Kidman” – setting such a difficult target is often detrimental instead of beneficial.

I will try to remain objective and mention some pros and cons for both objectives. You can decide on your own which route you should take
Emphasis on Looks vs Health debate:

Why targeting a certain look can be helpful:
  • A clear target that you can achieve if you strive really hard\

  • Great for self-esteem – the modern day beauty standards are difficult to achieve but if you manage to get them; they really help you feel good about yourself

  • A great source of motivation: if you follow some famous celebrity, you can always find instant motivation in trying to look like them

  • An audacious goal lets you test your determination like nothing else. You will be able to work hard as you will constantly get motivation


Why targeting a healthy image is helpful:

  • When you are focused on long term benefits, you often work at your own pace and are able to control more variables

  • The weight loss process is different for every single individual. Some people may lost weight but have broad shoulders or body parts in a specific shape. No matter how much work or effort you put in your exercise or routine, you will be unable to get them in the shape that you desire. Such a scenario can lead to instant demoralization and the feeling of throwing in the towel. In such instances, it is better to have focus on weight loss and enjoying the process rather than having a certain objective about looks.

  • Weight loss in itself should be a process that leads to your happiness. If your happiness is compromised because you are unable to keep up with your target, you will end up having self-esteem issues and feel depressed. The depression will ultimately lead to over eating and problems which are deeper and will cause plenty of damage

At the end of the day, whether you want to have a bikini perfect body or look like Victoria’s Secret next top model, the choice is completely yours and you are the one who is in control of your body. Since every person works in a different manner, it is different for each individual. Some people work better when they have a target image of someone who they want to look like, some people find it more encouraging when they have a long term ambition which is not in any way controlled by any external pressure.

For weight loss, it is imperative that you should follow the route that provides you with higher motivation. Not only motivation, your chosen route should allow you a longer period of high motivation. Once you manage to have consistent desire – it is immaterial that which means provide you constant desire.

You should always remember, you and you alone control your body and work for the betterment of your body at all times. Photo credit: Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer / Foter / CC BY-SA Photo credit: cjnew / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Fit Life: How to convert weight loss from a chore to a lifestyle


Weight loss is a three step journey

  • In the first step, you realize you have a problem and try thinking about losing weight
  • In the second step, you work out, eat less and lose weight
  • In the third step, you have to maintain a healthy lifestyle so that you do not gain again

For most people, the most difficult phase is the third step.

Weight loss regime is a hard regime; it takes tons of motivation and effort to lose weight. Distractions are everywhere – you go on social media and all you see are people posting food of their gorgeous lunches and dinners. You try going out with friends and family and their major question is “where should we go out tonight?” This does not end here, even if you are trying out for a date, dinner will somehow appear on the “menu”.

Running away from such distractions is difficult and often the hardest part of the weight loss program.

For all people striving for weight loss – the final output often results on accepting a lifestyle that provides them support for weight loss.

The best strategy to create a healthy life style:

  1. Enjoy the Process:

Like everything else – start basic and try to continue building on the gains.
In order for your long term happiness, you have to enjoy the whole process and not just the final output. It is difficult to like vegetable smoothies from the start but give it time and hopefully you will be able to enjoy them as well.
Fat cravings or sugar cravings are difficult to fight at first and you end up losing more battles than winning but you can always channel these cravings to safer healthier alternatives. If you really like sugar, get used to “Stevia Extract”. It may take some time but eventually you will get used to it and start liking it.
Consider your current situation every day and strive to improve it – the final goal should not always be just weight loss; it should be your happiness and health.

  1. Take your time:

It is really important that you set yourself up for success by taking time. It is good and nice to lose twenty pounds over a two month period but the grueling process that you will be undergoing will make you hate a lot of the time that you will be following the process.
The knee-jerk reaction is going to only create long term problems for you and you will be hoping for the period to end.
I cannot put more emphasis on going slowly and steadily. I advocate walking and although it may be taken as just a marketing ploy, there is nothing better than regular and steady work out.
The human body has endured centuries of evolution yet many of the basics remain the same – the muscles become stronger and endurance is built over time. Look at marathon runners, they take time to build their endurance and ultimately reach a goal that many of us can only dream about.

SO MANY PEOPLE forget that if they are unable to carry on something regularly, they will be UNABLE to create a habit. YOU CAN DO IT, I really believe that and for that you have to start steadily and keep building on good habits.

Create a lifestyle of weight loss only by ENJOYING the process. Photo credit: befiitter / Foter / CC BY

Dish of the Day – Stuffed Peppers (Vegetarian Option Available too)

This is not a cooking blog but in the spirit of New Year, we are trying to create a new niche where we are putting one delightful recipe that you can enjoy over the next weekend or whenever you get some free time. By now, we certainly believe that you must have taken into consideration the blog posts on the website and have taken some interest in cooking. As was previously discussed, cooking is a great pastime to keep the mind and body occupied. Not only that, it helps you fight off the certain urges to go for fast food which at most times is not a very healthy option.

Once you have started cooking, not only you will be better able to enjoy your time, you will be able to appreciate the effort that goes into creating something truly delectable. If you are using a pedometer, you will also be able to gauge the number of steps that you will take during the process of cooking. Although it will not be much, but it is still better than ordering a pizza at your doorstep as you will be required to walk much more.

Once you start cooking regularly, you will be able to enjoy not just the end product but the whole process of cooking. Most people are actually born with the ability to cook well, although the famous chefs are people who can ascend beyond their personal taste and choices. For the rest of us, we can truly enjoy cooking as we can stick to the options and ingredients that we like.

The first recipe that we are discussing is about stuffed peppers. Peppers are healthy and have many benefits related to the digestive system. They carry a sweet aroma that makes them noticeable in Salads and other dishes providing a definitive smell that is soothing and warm. They are very much used for Salads, pizza toppings, fillings and other sources where there presence adds spice and flavor in the food.

If you have not tried stuffed peppers before, it is a great dish to start with. Their health benefits make them a very good main course meal on a Saturday evening – a just reward on a good relaxing day in.

Stuffed Peppers:
Servings: 2
Time: 60 minutes
  • 2 large bell peppers
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 200 grams minced chicken / for vegetable options (Zucchini diced should be used)
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3 Table Spoon Olive oil
  • 1 Table Spoon Garlic Paste
  • 1 small ginger (25 grams diced)
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ cup parsley, chopped
  • Fresh Coriander
  • Cumin Seeds
  • 1 table spoon lemon juice
  • Salt and ground pepper to taste
  • Herbs/Spice as per taste and choice (Basil – Thyme – or others as per taste)
  • Yogurt 100 grams (optional for sauce)

Preheat skillet or pan and add olive oil to it. Once the oil is heated, add the onions in the pan. Cook until the onions become dark brown and add garlic and tomato paste to the onions. Cook for 3 minutes at low heat and add minced chicken (or Zucchini in case of vegetarian cooking). Cook for further ten minutes until chicken starts to look cooked and starts changing color. Add cumin, fresh coriander and diced ginger and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add lime juice along with finely chopped parsley and other herbs or spice that you like. Add salt and black pepper as per taste and let mixture cook on low heat until the meat feels cooked.

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Carefully slice off the tops of the peppers with the stems still attached. Remove seeds. Place peppers in a baking tray and stuff them with the chicken mixture from the pan into both peppers equally. Bake the peppers for 30 minutes.

Once the skillet or pan is empty from the contents, add yogurt and let it cook for 3 minutes. No need to clean the contents of the pan as the sauce uses the remains of the chicken filling to get its flavor.

Remove the contents from the oven and serve with yogurt sauce and lime honey tea for a complete and wonderful dinner. Garnish with more herbs and have a salad ready for your wonderful home meal.
In order to have even a healthier version of the same dish, do not use the olive oil or yogurt for sauce. Nuts can also be used in the filling, almonds, walnuts and cashews are great replacements of meat in case you are going for a vegetarian option.

Advantages of cooking: Although this is just a reference recipe, if you start cooking regularly you will realize that a lot of fast food and junk food cravings will be minimized. Cooking also is a relaxing activity and will help you fight stress and keep your mind busy and focused.

Bon Apetite!!!

Photo credit: Vegan Feast Catering / Foter / CC BY

The Curios Case of Sugar Tooth: Sugar alternatives and how you can overcome your Sugar Craving – (Part I)!!!


Let us face it, I like sweet things probably more than most of the people reading this post. Sugar, is the reason we love cakes, chocolates, cookies, pies, rolls, ice creams and the long list of delicacies that I am leaving out for the sake of simplicity (pretty sure that a list of sweets will be taking not just this post but many future posts as well). Not only that, sugar makes our drinks special, be it hot beverages or cold – they all seem to be extra special with a little dash of sugar. Imagine hot chocolate, coffee, shake, or just plain tea without sugar – not the same off course.

The problems with sugar though are many, and we are just about to start the understanding of how sugar intake actually works for our internal organs. At a glance, not only sugar is bad if you have diabetes, it may also have a link with heart diseases and blood pressure problem. If you are healthy and well, it still has an impact on your calorie intake, only if you monitor things in very much detail will you be able to manage a balanced intake of calories if you have a sugar tooth.

There are though alternatives to manage sugar cravings and although the solution first seems impossible, it certainly is possible if you manage the start well. Dr. Lona Sandon R.D. an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas believes that if taken in moderation, sugar has actually no impact. At just a meager number of 15 calories per tea spoon, sugar is perfectly fine in our diet as long as we can balance out some of the less important items in our daily diet
. The Foods to Avoid:
The fizzy drinks, the colas, they may look great and taste great and we may have developed habits of having one with lunches, or with fast food are actually containing way too much sugar in them. Despite the fact that fast food restaurants are offering free re-fills (not always), and you see tremendous campaigns around these drinks, the simple fact of the matter is that they are not very great for your health. They are harmful for the teeth, help in gaining extra calories without even realizing and have a certain addiction to them which is really hard to ignore. Beer contains nutrition value – no doubt – but it also contains excess calories that are really hard for modern era people to burn. Although not pertinent in women but beer belly is a common incidence among men due to excessive drinking.

The trick is to not totally cut of the habit at the first incident, although super beneficial to straightaway kick of a bad habit, chances are the cravings will actually get the best of you and you will end up getting back to the old habits. Take-away meals, fast food joints, night out at the bar and other gatherings will all skew you back towards the old habit and you will end up drinking even more than before. A better approach to such a major habit change is taking a small step, building on the success offered from the first step and moving on to bigger better step.

The best possible way to do this is to accurately estimate the intake and halve it for the first few weeks. If you are drinking 2 liters of cold drinks and beer, reducing the intake by half will be the first step. Switching over to “diet alternatives” can also work, with the similar intake but lacking in taste, they can offer a good starting point for you on cutting of the silent sugar.

The second major chunk of sugar intake comes in the form of desserts – chocolates, cakes, pies, ice creams and so on. For a person like me, dessert is always worth considering and main course is sometimes not that important. A good dessert and even a plain bland meal becomes epic – although there have been instances where even a good dessert has been unable to rescue a bad meal (but we can safely say most often than not, a good dessert is a good deal maker for me)

Cutting on this chunk is extra difficult and in most cases this portion of the deal takes time. What can actually help here are the sugar alternatives that are available in the market. Stevia roots have been known to people and companies for their sweet taste, the only problem in the past had been there bitter after taste (a bit like licorice) and that has mostly been the case with most products made of stevia extracts. A few companies have now been able to overcome these problems and have been able to form extracts from the sweetest part of the plants eliminating the after taste.

Although it is not exactly like the good old sugar, it currently is the second best thing to it and me for one is actually very happy about that.

As long as you are able to control the unnecessary sugar intake, it is possible that you will be able to balance your diet even on your own. The first step is the hardest, but once you have been able to cross the first hurdle, things will appear better and easier.

Photo credit: Aih. / Foter / CC BY

Smoothies: Recipes for a healthy and slim body!!!

Used Smoothies
To explain in few words, smoothies are amazing. They are fast and easy to digest, great morning boost of energy and contain enough nutrients to supplement the diet (if made right). In comparison to already prepared juices, that almost always contain extra sugar and artificial flavors, smoothies are natural, more delicious (once your taste buds get accustomed to them) and offer more energy without sugar.

The recent debate about sugar being as dangerous as salt when it comes to health has only confirmed the beliefs of some who have tried to campaign against the mass overkill of sugar in soft drinks and juices. The study carried by Dr. James DiNicolantonio and presented in the American Journal of Cardiac Science has claimed that sugar is more of a culprit when it comes to heart diseases. The research group has explained that sugar provides stimulants to certain areas of brain which make the blood pressure rise. Although in its infancy and yet to be widely accredited, it is still an ample affirmation for people who try to stay away from extra sweet things.

The best alternative in such a case is, without discussing the merits and de-merits of the research to stay away from sugar where possible. After all it may or may not have a massive impact on the health of the heart but overdose of sugar definitely is not good if you are trying to adapt a healthy lifestyle. Hence the void that you may feel of losing away from the carbonated drinks, juices and energy drinks can easily be filled in by the smoothies. They are simple, easy to make, delicious, healthy and once you get the taste of having less sugar, almost addictive. Our taste buds are capable to adapt, a process that most of us forget when we try to make life style changes.

According to Laura Michele Oliver a registered dietitian in Brooklyn New York, fruit smoothies are one of the best if not the best source of vital minerals. Not only they contain vitamins, they contain excessive content of fiber which may not be fully available in an ordinary fruit serving. Since you can easily make your own smoothies, you hold the power to adapt them according to your taste. You can make them based on milk, yogurt, water, soy milk, vegan options, lactose options or just plain fruits. The flexibility of making your own smoothie also helps evaluating your diet regime, providing sufficient control mechanisms that are very critical for all people concerned about their intake. The last benefit of smoothies is actually the most important, not only they can serve as supplements; they can be the entire meals. Vegetable smoothies are great as lunch replacements, they contain enough fiber in easy to digest form and calories that can keep you functioning efficiently while keeping the stomach busy as well.

All you need for a smoothie is a blender, some fruit (organic is always preferred) and some recipes. The other two we cannot share, but some delicious recipes we can share with you. Hopefully you will try them sometimes!

Antioxidant Smoothie:

Ideal for breakfast after your exercise

The preparation time depends on just gathering the ingredients; almost anyone with any level of cooking can easily prepare the smoothie. In case some berries are not available, increase the amount of available berries will help although the benefits will not be replicated. The berries contain specific antioxidants that help decreasing inflammation – in case of muscle sourness from exercise – and phytonutrients that help fight disease and build immunity in the body.

Multiply ingredients proportionally in case you want to make more servings
  Servings: 1 Time: 5 minutes approximately
  • ¼ cup blackberries
  • ¼ cup raspberries
  • ¼ cup strawberries
  • ¼ cup blueberries
  • ½ cup plain unsweetened goat’s milk yogurt (soya yogurt for lactose intolerant or vegan people. Could be replaced or completely removed if necessary. In case goat milk yogurt is not available, any unsweetened yogurt can be used as preferred by the individual)
  • ½ cup filtered water
  • 2 ice cubes
  • 1-2 drops liquid stevia (optional)

Add all ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth.
Stevia is completely optional and in most cases, absolutely unnecessary. For people having high sugar cravings, it is optional to add some stevia for extra sensation of sweet, over time, the stevia can be slowly removed.

Tropical Green Smoothie
The tropical green smoothie is designed to provide you with Vitamin C, Potassium, folate and manganese and the main benefits include strong bones, controlled blood sugar, healthier thyroid glands and better health for the nerves. Add to it the benefits of lime and ginger and you have an extremely wonderful smoothie that is both delicious and useful. The high fiber in smoothies (due to more fruit content than normal consumption) also makes the digestion process for the stomach easier.

Servings: 1 Time: 5 minutes
  • 2 kiwi fruits, peeled
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach (must try ingredient, it may look out of place but its benefits are immense and the taste will be hardly felt within the fruits. More for the substance rather than style!!!)
  • ½ cup frozen pineapple
  • ½ cup coconut water
  • 2 ice cubes (more in case you like your drinks truly chilled. Can also totally be removed from the smoothies, they add crunchiness to the drink and are widely used in shakes and smoothies because of the additional texture that they provide)
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger (fresh ginger can also be used along with the extract of ginger. Better to use organic ginger for smoothies if possible)
  • ½ lime, juiced

Add all ingredients to the blender and process until smooth.

We hope that you will be trying these smoothies and hopefully you will like them.

Photo credit: TinyTall / Foter / CC BY-ND

Stress Relief: Fight that Stress for Good – How healthy life style helps decreasing stress!!

Charlotte Adam is 33, yet just one year after her marriage she started feeling as if she was 63. “It felt so unreal, as if life was just passing by me. I was stuck in the cycle of over-thinking, over-analyzing and worrying. What Jim was up to, what was he thinking, every little argument that we would have I would sit for hours and think about it. My work, the morning alarm would make me stress as I would be there in bed thinking all the conversations in my head and worrying about how the day at office will proceed. It was getting really difficult to manage all of that, so difficult that I was almost reaching a breaking point”.

The combined stress of a new marriage, an exhausting job and juggling the financial responsibilities is overwhelming task – and more often than not a trap that leads many people to stress. Stress is sneaky, one moment you are there on your own, happy and contented and the next moment you are worrying about future possibilities without even realizing that they are hampering your ability to enjoy the present. Research has shown that stress is a medical condition faced by almost 75% of people living in the UK and US. The worrying statistics do not just end here, out of these 75%, 47% people turn to overeating for stress relief – a whopping number of 37 people from a sample of hundred; no wonder obesity is an increasing problem!!!

American Psychological Association goes on to tell us that 47% of the people have sleep problems related to stress, 42% of people get depressed and the problem continues to rise. Not only stress is slowly eating away at the fabric of the society, it is spreading its wings and increasing the damage caused to it. Talk about increased waist lines, increased medical assistance requirement, higher failed relationships and less happy people just to talk about the major drawbacks of stress.

Stress hence is an immense problem in face of such statistics and the sad part is, it continues to grow!!

Is there any simple solution that can effectively beat the stress which I can use?
  To simply put, the answer of this complicated and complex question is, a simple and realistic YES. It is even emphatic, for all of its heinous nature and attributes, stress is pretty easy to beat through an active and healthy lifestyle.

For avoiding stress completely, you have to understand the underlying nature of the stress – the cause analysis. Say for example, you are having severe stress because of financial constraints, you will have to create a long term plan to do well in life but you also need to stop the stress from pushing you in to depression – the problem with depression is that once you are depressed, it only gets worse. There is no effective short term medication solution present, a fact that even the best of psychologists and doctors realize and putting people on medication is only the last resort. Medicine overdose and over reliance as studies have shown are equally dangerous as stress – and hence doctors have been really careful.

The best way to eliminate and lessen stress is to start realizing the true potential of our own body. Human body at its current form is the result of years of evolution, thousands if not millions, but despite the changes it still maintains its basic desire to stay healthy and strong. Face it, our ancestors were used to walking, running, hunting and doing manual labor, all activities that require tremendous amount of physical labor. The human muscles also get better and stronger the more they are used, unlike many metals that rust and deteriorate overtime, muscles become stronger and better when they are regularly used and have problems if they are used less. A stark contrast!!!

Exercise for us is not just a modern posh activity which is fashionable; it is an essential activity that our body requires!!!

For Charlotte Adam, it was the realization that she needed to have some exercise time in the morning to relieve her mind from the stress that worked like a charm. All that was required from her was to putting that alarm clock an hour earlier, getting up, finding her track suit and having an early morning run followed by a hot shower. The result was astonishing even for herself, “For me, it was almost like a second life”, she smiles. “It was the perfect moment for me when I made this decision, that extra hour gave me time to think and the exercise helped me have energy all through the day. Even Jim who was apprehensive of the idea at first had to buy in when he would see me fresh at the breakfast. He was like wow, you look so happy, there must be something nice about it”. A couple of months in her routine, Charlotte is much happier, able to fight stress and does not feel that her waistline is still growing.

“For me, this has changed everything, from the increasing fear or losing my attraction and worrying about things that actually do not matter to a more confident and healthy person. Heck it even has improved our sex life”, she chuckles a bit shyly.

Stress can result in to a massive debacle if it is not managed at the right time, and if it is, it never becomes a problem of any sort. All you need to do is to start a little exercise and hopefully you will begin to see the improvement!!!

So, are you ready??


The Guide to a Perfect Bikini Body: New Year Special Part (II)

The first part centered around making minor adjustments to your eating routine – minor adjustments that have a major impact on the body. Once you have been able to adjust your fat intake it becomes easier to have an exercise regime that will help you to burn the excess fat already present in the body,

The best time to make such a resolution is now, as not only you have a complete year to stick to your goal, you can also have a perfectly fresh start. Our brains are fine tuned to work with different milestones in a major objective picture – we are tuned from childhood to have two days in the week where we can relax and enjoy; these days “the weekend” offer us a chance to replenish our energies and start the week with more vigor. The same goes when a new year starts, not only it gives us a clean slate for the last year, it also provides us with renewed ambition and energy. It is imperative that you are able to translate this positive energy into a tangible and realistic goal.

Regular Exercise is the best exercise:

Exercise requires routine in order to be useful. If you go to the gym expecting to lose weight within a fortnight, odds are you will be extremely disappointed at the end of the tenure. You need to create a regular sustainable routine that works for you over a longer period of time. Having a bikini body is not easy, if it was easy, we all would be having perfect bodies. The reality is that there is plenty of effort and pain involved in the background. The output however majestic is the result of a long process that takes dedication spanned over few years – there is no magic lamp that you can rub and get your wishes fulfilled.

Vital Minerals and Probiotics:

Your body requires a constant and consistent dose of vitamins to function properly – it is imperative that the supply line is maintained perfectly. Magnesium, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin B12, Iron and other such minerals are necessary requirements for the body. The Journal of Nutrition was able to find sufficient evidence of the link between weight loss and magnesium intake. Vitamin D on the other hand is able to help muscle growth and despite common belief many people have Vitamin D deficiencies resulting in low muscle growth despite tireless work in the gym.

Vitamin C is able to help oxidization and is a useful agent that helps the immune system to create muscle mass and work as an anti-oxidant. Not only you can use pills to gain vitamins, you can tune your diet and add enough fruits to avoid any possible deficiencies that may occur. Once you are exercising and it can be anything from running on a treadmill to lifting weights, it is necessary that you manage your vitamins.

A common and easy solution is to have vitamin supplements along with food supplements to manage effective control over the intake of these extremely useful elements. Alternatively you can increase the intake of fresh fruits and vegetables and although most of your requirements will be fulfilled by such, some deficiencies may still remain.

Probiotics are useful and required bacteria that live inside our guts – not only are they helpful in digestion and food processing, they are an integral part of our digestive and immune system. These bacteria provide the human body with useful materials that the body is unable to extract on its own. Modern studies have shown direct link between the probiotics and obesity – a scenario that makes usage of probiotics a necessity for everyday life. The good news is that probiotics are easy to obtain, a simple serving of yogurt every day has enough probiotics to help your body function normally.

There are problems though, despite the fact that yogurt is rich in probiotics, it also contains fat content and hence the diet of yogurt should be regulated. It is always better to use low fat yogurt rather than rich yogurt. Such an approach helps you with a controlled intake along with probiotics doubling up the health benefits.
Consulting a nutrition expert and having a diet chart:

This is the best time to consult a nutritionist – the start of the year, 52 weeks ahead, time to plan and ample motivation to last you the remaining year. Once you consult an expert, you will be able to have a clear vision for you to follow. If you need to buy exercise equipment, or other related stuff, it seems the perfect opportunity. Consider it as giving a gift to yourself; you have done enough all year to deserve a gift.

The best part about having a diet chart and exercise regime is that it will provide you with a consistent clear goal. The lack of clarity often results in muddle thoughts and confusions which are negative energy generating forces.
Break down your targets, start by walking or light exercise, eat healthy and consume less, learn to cook and spend some quality time creating meals for you, regulate your vitamins, consult a doctor, buy some exercise equipment and work consistently towards the bigger goal. Bikini body is not a dream, it is not even a marketing ploy that companies you to lure you in buying substandard products, it is just a realistic target that you can achieve. It is also a standard that can help to inspire you to be the best that you can be – without a need on impressing others or conforming to social norms.

The end result matters but so to the journey and if you start it today, you will be able to live a healthy happy life.
That is then, the real goal and one that you should aspire to achieve
Happy New Year – may this year bring for you everything that you desire!!! Photo credit: Butz.2013 / iW / CC BY

The Guide to a Perfect Bikini Body: New Year Special Part (I)

The most important present that we can give ourselves is actually a healthy body. It is not an easy present to give and most of the times it will take appreciable effort, but at the end of the day it is going to be worth much more. The confidence that a healthy body can bring to a personality is limitless, not only you will be able to enjoy life; you will be able to win at life.

New Year’s Day is the perfect day to make one important promise to your own self. Consider this, no matter what shape you are in, what sort of habits you have developed, once you have set your mind towards a health goal, you can achieve your goal.

No more dreaming, no more wondering, this is the chance to get started in the right direction. Once you have started the journey, you will eventually reach your goal. After all, the people having the perfect bikini bodies put valuable time and effort to stay that way, and you can be one of them as well.

How to lose body fat effectively – Step 1) Reduced Intake:
The first step and the most important one is lose body fat that has hampered your confidence for a long time. Men and women have different sort of bodies, making it impossible to have one generic formula that will work for all genders. The first step to reduce weight is to reduce fat intake.

The most common source of fat in our body is oil. We fry many things that can be eaten as boiled, baked, steamed or roasted just to name a few alternative ways. If we are able to effectively eliminate frying, a major chunk of food fat is removed from our diet. It takes time to get used to eating say a poached egg from a fry egg but considering the benefits, it is a great option.

Once you have eliminated the obvious fat intake, keep an eye on the sneaky ones which you do not even always consider. Butter, mayonnaise, sour cream, and other sauces that contain appreciable fat contents must not be consumed frequently. Find alternatives that are good at replacing the taste and texture and use them consistently. The first few weeks will be different but once you are past the first few days, everything else should just be a continuation of the habit.

The third step is using more steaming and roasting for your meat products. Desserts and other sweets almost always contain extra butter as well and unless you are not very careful in calorie counting, a small single serving will be enough to create havoc to your daily calorie input. The best way to get through this phase is to start taking an interest in cooking yourself. Get some non-stick pans and other kitchen ware that allows you freedom to use less oil. Start with a few non-stick pans and a steamer and possibly a good cook book containing low fat recipes.
Our taste buds are able to adopt very efficiently and in quick time. The first few meals may feel a bit different but the more you cook, the more you will be able to appreciate the taste of your oil free cooking. There are tons of basic dessert recipes; the vegan alternatives as well provide great options to people wanting to avoid animal fat. Once you have mastered the art of basic cooking, you will be able to cook a full course meal with almost very low fat content. The fiber content in vegetables and grains is important, and they also help providing the fulfilling feeling that will make you happy after a wholesome lunch or dinner.
Allow yourself a taste of simple herbal teas, not everything needs to be always exotic to help your system, simple lemon honey tea (honey added in hot water after which a few drops of lemon juice can be added – best if fresh lemons are used for the tea) is a great alternative for sugar cravings. Honey is better than sugar and provides sweetness and aroma even when the quantity is sufficiently low. Having a cup of lemon honey tea, or some other tea after a wholesome meal helps in digestion along with providing the feeling of warmth and comfort.
Place a salad bowl in the middle of the dining table and be gracious in making salads. Add fruits and vegetables like cucumber, salad etc. to your regular meals. Instead of adding sour cream, mayonnaise or salad dressing use simple herbs in lemon juice. Herbs like thyme in lemon juice are perfect for pouring on salads. Black pepper in small amounts with herbal salts, dried coriander and mint leaves also add aroma and taste to salads. There is no reason to think that health foods are tasteless, they are less oily, light and can be created into perfect blends.
The last but not the least will be to staying away from junk and fast foods. It is hard to fight against cravings but if you manage to have a schedule your intake properly, you will have fewer cravings for fast food. Have one or two days a month fixed for fast food, on other days try avoiding them and you will be perfectly able to manage it slowly. Sweet drinks, excessive alcohol drinking and snacks constitute of our major calorie intake, reducing them marginally will have a massive impact on the fitness of our body.
Once your intake is reduced, the body will start using fat already stored within your system.
The earlier you do it, the better for the body :) Photo credit: 勞動的小網管 / iW / CC BY-NC-SA

Hello Life – the power of positive thinking (Part II)


When was the last time you did something for the first time?
When was the first time you did something for the last time?
That walk in the forest just close by that you have always wanted to go. The same place that you have always planned but for one reason or the other failed to do so!!!
The gym that you just walk past by every single working day and think to join but never really have the courage!!!
The lake in your home town that you used to swim in as a child and want to swim still but never have the time to go there. And you still wish but are unable to do so…

This year you have a chance again to do all those little things that you always wanted to. I mean, we all have to work; in most cases we often love our jobs as well. The problem starts when the work life balance starts to shift towards work; it may not always be uber obvious, we may be taking weekends off to relax and have fun but it is not always as simple as it seems. The mental stress, the strain involved from doing mental activities and the habit of thinking about work even while we are relaxing are little signs that we have given up to our work.

Let me be honest, professional work is a difficult activity, not only it requires our utmost attention and concentration, it requires us to be extremely dedicated to it. I am talking about all the doctors, the engineers, the busy people running the business world and all others trying to make a better life. Our life becomes so busy that we often lose the ability to see the forest from the trees, it all becomes muddled. In our heads, we confine our world to our work and limit our life.

Healthy life is not a state; it is a fact that remains hidden to many of us. Healthy life is a process, just as life in itself is a continuous activity; achieving health is a continuous process. It requires meticulous planning, consideration, effort and most importantly it requires us to enjoy the whole process of remaining healthy. Our mind works in strange ways, ways that often are hard to fathom. Every individual is wired differently, talking to nutrition experts; they say that a lot of people claim that life is unfair to them. A common complaint of people visiting them is that despite eating less and working out, some people struggle with maintaining a healthy wait. They all have people in their circle who are always skinny and healthy despite eating whatever they want and having a lifestyle of their choice, yet they seem to be the people still gaining weight and losing their health.

For starters, and I will talk more about it in the next blog, the human body is still being researched and more and more scientific reasoning is being discovered. For starters, the first thing required to start a healthy life is having a positive attitude towards healthy living. The tasks that we really enjoy doing are the tasks that we become good at. Consider the example of video games, when you start playing them, it is difficult to do well in them. Yet you keep practicing, playing the same levels again and again until you become a master in them. There is a tremendous amount of effort and energy spent in mastering a video game but since you mostly enjoy the experience, you are bound to get better. There are off course points during the struggle when you feel flustered and frustrated and in some cases if the struggle is so hard you eventually give up; that is when you realize that the particular game was never meant for you. Exercise and healthy life are a similar struggle, there will be pretty much many moments almost every day when you will feel that; “no, this is not worth it”. The feeling though needs to be managed and managed effectively. For that you have to realize the few things from which the first one is this

Understand your breaking point:
You must in all cases have an idea about the extremes to which your body can go. There are seven billion inhabitants on the planet and a few of us have abilities that are different to other people. If you want to start running a marathon and you have never had any serious practice or training, chances are your first attempt will almost always fail.
The moment you decide to start breaking the hold of previous habits, start in small incremental steps. The first steps, despite being looking easy are the hardest to climb. You have been wondering about them so long and denying them in your head that you need a massive reserve of positive energy to ultimately surmount the first hurdle.
Now once that you have done this, you need to find a break point and stop just before it!!!
I am myself a big advocate of walking; it is a great start and a genuinely small step towards the bigger goal of health and wellness. Let it be the first time of something special; that first walk in a beautiful winter evening, as the snow sets deep around you and the last rays of evening sun illuminate the day; take that walk that you have been holding yourself back from. Your life needs a healthy and happy you!!
Let your positive thinking help you to create a new legacy!!!
Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year
Also valid for all other people celebrating different special occasions

My hope, a thought to share: The Power of Positivity (Part I)


For Sarah Collins, New Year and Christmas were some of the most depressing times of the year. She in her own admission was a person who found difficult to control her own weight. A couple of years ago, her husband had left her for a woman he met in a gym. For Sarah, who was by no means a slouch at that time, it was a case of a completely bruised ego and the downward spiral of negative thinking and depression. She no longer felt that her body was attractive and took to grief eating as a hobby ultimately gaining 20 extra kilograms in a space of two years.

While others looked to find love and happiness during the holiday season, Sarah’s recluse was to spend time in the oven baking and cooking, for her cats and herself. “It was a lonely life”, she recalls, “and there were times that I believed that this is how it is going to stay. Trapped, that is the exact word, I felt so trapped, within my body and my head. There was no solace, just an endless existence where I felt too self-conscious and never thought that I can regain my life again”.

It would be unrealistic to think that Sarah is alone in such a situation, for there are others, many more people suffering a similar fate to Sarah. Dr. Mathews Chopra has spent his life dealing with patients suffering from post-heartbreak stress and finds a similar common ailment, “the people stop believing in themselves. Once a person gets rejected, they take a negative view of their self, a belief that slowly guilt traps them into taking the blame of other people’s mistakes ultimately rendering them so unimportant that they cease to exist”. A terrifying piece of information that sends a chill down my spine even by just imagining the trauma and stresses that the person involved is going through.

For Sarah, it was a feeling of unattractiveness that triggered an emotional avalanche of negative emotions. She was almost an invisible person, working at a menial job, with almost no inspiration and hope for every finding a happy ending to the story of her life. She got lucky; ultimately her step mother stepped in and made her realize that she is loved and wanted and that by giving herself no attention, she is doing great injustice to herself. She encouraged her to go out and have fun, took her for long walks, encouraged healthy eating and did away with the excessive junk food that she was consuming. It took time coming but eventually; she managed to instill belief in Sarah again. A belief that she was an amazing person who just got cheated upon – not by any fault of hers!!!

This year, Sarah is almost fully on the road to recovery. Her Facebook profile is full of pictures of Machu Pichu trek that she just completed, she has lost in just one year the extra weight that she gained, is back on the dating scene and has found friends which are happy to share their world’s with her. It has worked out well for her but even she agrees that if it was not because of her step mother, she would still be sobbing over the Christmas dinner and taking vodka shots early morning to drown her sorrows.

It was off course the encouragement of her step mother, but the inspiration always comes from inside. The ability to think positively is generated inside of you and no matter how many motivational quotes and posts you read, unless you are really willing to put everything negative aside, positive thinking will not work for you. For her it was a simple step, cutting down on the feeling of guilt and picking one small exercise that could be replicated with ease every single day. And yes that really means doing it EVERY.SINGLE.DAY

She picked up walking, it was easy, did not require as much effort as jogging, did not require her to go to a gym, a place that she was both mentally and physically afraid to go. And it was something that she was doing everyday already without even noticing that she was doing it. It also gave her time to reflect and think about her life, in the start and for the first week or so; it was her step mother playing the role of positivity to her devil’s advocate of a mind. She would sob and break off thinking that her husband leaving her was her fault, to which she would say that it was just an event. It took time, but eventually by just “walking and talking” they managed to reach a common ground.

It was a breakthrough; indeed it was the leverage that was required for a paradigm shift. And once the point was reached, progress followed. “It takes time”, Sarah smiles now “and when I remember what I did for the last few years before this, I feel a bit embarrassed”, you can almost see the sparkle and cheek in her eyes.

It is a feel good story in many ways, how positive thinking and simple exercise can shape a life of person so positively is just great to see. It could have gone down the road of depression, excessive drinking, anti-depressant pills overdose, sleep issues and could have all ended in tears but it did not.

Let us today, start following her example and start re-living our life properly. Start thinking positively and take positive steps towards healthier life – it may take time but we will eventually get there. Photo credit: Melody Campbell / iWoman / CC BY

How to fat proof your body?


Dr. Ellyn Satter has been working as a dietitian and nutrition counselor for almost about 30 years and when she talks about a healthy life – she truly understands what she is talking about. If her experience has taught her anything, it is that many of us are unhappy with the weight that we carry. The key she says to maintain a comfortable weight lies in the simple things in life – things that we often and easily ignore. Even given the powerful influence of genes, the great news is that once you are able to follow the simple guideline, you will be able to fat proof your body. The best part is, the early you start with your habits, the better results you will have.
Selecting regular mean times and specifying maximum quantities: The healthy and positive way of managing diet relies on internal cues of hunger, appetite and satiety. Diets do not work as they are imagined; in fact they create conflicts leading to less health. Establish regular eating patterns, no odd time snacks and slip in some “sinful” foods from time to time as well. The key though remains in knowing not to overeat and make a habit of it. Once your body realizes that eating times are fixed, it will be able to adjust its metabolic activities according to those specific times. You will observe weight loss within the first few weeks and not only that, it will be a regular weight loss till a natural point – meaning a loss in excess fat without losing out on muscle.

Remove food cues: If there is a visual reminder of food chances are you will succumb to the urge of eating. It looks good to have a cookie jar at your work desk, even having sweets at home visible to eyes makes for a pleasant looking and snacks are often visible when you are relaxing and watching television or doing an activity of interest. The more stimuli there are available, the more your body will have cravings for food. Remove elements from daily life that lead to having food urges at the wrong times of the day (by wrong times it is meant that times when it is not appropriate to eat according to your schedule). Once you have gotten rid of your urges, you will be hungrier at the time specified for eating and your body will be anticipating food.
Enjoy slow relaxed eating: You will have time to enjoy food and find the natural stopping point by yourself if you eat slowly. The stomach is a storage muscle, it takes time filling up. The faster you eat the more chance of overeating you have. Slow eating helps the muscle settle while more food is still being consumed by you. The slow eating technique and the delay before second helpings are not tricks to just eat less only; they are also methods to help your body be sensitive about hunger and appetite. The more you use this technique, the more you will have an ability to regulate the amount that fulfills you naturally. Remember, the satisfaction point comes before your stomach is entirely cramped with food. For digestion, the stomach needs space to contract as well. Once you eat slowly, the stomach will be re-assessing the cues to stop while eating. This will make for comfortable eating and easier digestion. A double benefit, indeed!!!

Be comfortable with your weight: Do not feel embarrassed if you are carrying a few extra pounds or kilos and try to treat yourself with more respect. There is no reason that you should think differently if you are overweight, chances are that if dealt with properly, you will be able to lose weight and be back in shape. Negative attitude will only make matters worse for you, it only creates negative energy leading to low self-esteem and further eating disorders. While comfort eating is not considered as healthy, sometimes it is required and helps us to get motivated. Motivation plays a great role in generating positive energy for us, which in turn helps us to overcome difficult odds. Do not treat yourself differently in any manner; losing weight is difficult but not impossible. Once you are in the right frame of mind, you will be able to overcome such problems. Criticizing yourself may lead to depression – and this is one dark alley that you should try to stay away as much as possible.

Encourage exercise: The best way to do exercise is to do what comes naturally. There is no rocket science behind this simple fact. If you feel uncomfortable in the gym, do not rush yourself to a gym. Calories are burned by doing many simple things and any one of those activities is a good exercise for you. If you prefer walking rather than jogging, go for long walks. If you prefer a treadmill to jogging parks, go to a gym (unless you have one of your own). Encourage any form of recreation that you can do regularly and take full interest in it. Create an opportunity to do what you like and do it regularly.

If you consistently use the methods mentioned above, odds are that you will be able to effectively fat proof your body. At the very least, you will have a great shot at living a long, healthy and stress free life. Once you are practicing these simple tips, you will begin to see results in a matter of weeks. The best thing to do though is to start with these as early as possible, the sooner you get these habits, the better you will be managing your own body. Gluttony is not an easy thing to get rid of, you will never be completely immune to it, but adapting these simple steps, you will be better prepared for it and most importantly, your body will have developed enough immunity to remain fat free – totally worth trying!!!

Photo credit: quinet / Foter / CC BY
Photo credit: m.ikezu / Foter / CC BY

Photo credit: istolethetv / Foter / CC BY

7 Simple steps to break off those bad habits

Getting rid of a bad habit is only half the battle, staying off it completely requires a complete game plan. We have all done it, one week we are determined to never go close to another cigarette, or we are truly determined to stop all drinking except the occasional sip here and there or we will never go close to fast food again until we have lost the extra pounds and we are even strong enough to manage a few weeks without such indulgence. However deep inside, our cravings are getting the better of us, the harder we try to run away from them, the surrounded we find ourselves – weak and almost depressed. It is not rare that soon after suffering from the withdrawal symptoms, and most often when we feel that we are there, we slip back into the bad habits again. Losing all the gains that we made and suffering even more than before.
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“Relapses,” says Saul Shiffman a psychologist of great pedigree, “are the bugaboo of every quitter”. A habit is a form of learned automatic behavior that provides pleasure and comfort. A bad habit has long term negative consequences but it still gives us immediate comfort and under stress the logical tendency is to revert to the habit. To permanently get rid of a bad habit, we have to simultaneously unlearn certain behaviors and replace them with new ones that also provide gratification – sounds simple but not very easy to conjure under pressure.
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Eating disorder and eating unhealthily are habits – most of the times they give us instant gratification but with long term negative consequences, they barely are helpful when we look at the bigger picture. It is extremely difficult to stop wanting a doughnut with the morning coffee, it is equally difficult to not walk in a burger joint and enjoy the simple pleasures of life, but all in all, there are more problems associated with such habits than benefits. Getting rid of such bad habits is difficult, if not impossible and it takes time to totally eradicate such behavior however the more effort you put on trying to get rid of such habit, the more chances of success are there.

Living healthy is about small things done right, all together at the same time. One must always have the goal of living healthy rather than losing weight – for starters. And once the decision is made, it should be a planned event considering all variables in place. The benefits of planning ahead to cover for a relapse is immense – after all if you think that there will be no relapse, you are wrong. It is really important to understand the emotional aspect of things, it really is equally if not more important than choosing the right vitamins and making the right food choices.

Adopt new habits:

Once you have decided to lose weight, the first activity must be to ensure that you have another habit to replace your existing habit. If you are not going to spend time cooking, there must be an alternative ready and lined to go. There are different activities possible that can be initiated but the new activity must be enjoyable and time consuming. There is no point in having spare time at your hands because the ghosts of your eating habit will come back to haunt you. In order to keep them suppressed, try to find good alternate activities that you can enjoy. Try walking; try getting a gadget that measures the steps you take every day. It will help soothe you and will also help you evaluate your performance.

Involve your family:

The best people to spend time with are the closest in the family. They deserve the best of you with the worst that occasionally surfaces. Once you are trying to get rid of eating habit or any other habit for that matter, the whole family should be (if possible) involved in the process. Let the people know that you are trying to make a better person of you, they would feel privileged to help you and also create a support group around you that will come in handy.

Avoid high risk situations:

There is nothing much to say on this, if you are trying to remain good to your word, try avoiding situation which will put you in a risk of getting your old habits back. There is no point in frequenting joints and places that you loved because it will be hard for you to find yourself saying no. If you are trying to lose weight, a bar that you frequent and love because of its good food will not be the place to go. Simplify your task by avoiding high risk situations; do not test your endurance of patience.

Reward yourself often:

Rewards yourself as often as you can, set yourself benchmarks and once you reach them, let off some steam and bask in the glory of your success. Pedometers are ideal for such things, get one, set a target and work for it, once you have done it, let your hair down and celebrate.

Be Honest with yourself:

There is no point in denying your realities. We are all bound in our limitations and the sooner we understand them, the better it gets for our body. If you are tired or if you are unable to hold back, let someone know who can help you. Do not lie to yourself that you can manage in all conditions, your will breaks if you are unable to control the realities around you.

Set realistic goals:

The picture of the models who you are aspiring to be look good but you cannot be there in a few days. It takes time and effort and a lot of hard work to reach such levels. Start small, reach the goal, set another goal and reach there. A goal too big or too hard is often a cause of relapse and depressions – also do not ever underestimate the power of photoshop these days

Do not let your mistake become a behavior pattern:

You will err on the path – that is a given. If you are so strong mentally, you probably will not be in such a place in the first time. You will make mistakes and will sneak in some extra food and break some of your rules. Accept them but do not encourage your mistakes. It is right to err sometimes but if you start accepting them, you will fall in the trap and all the good work you have done will be lost.

It takes time and effort to get rid out of a bad habit but it is very much possible. What seems impossible today may not seem too difficult in a few days, start now and maybe and hopefully soon enough, you will be able to look in the mirror and say “wow”
Trust me, once you know that feeling, all of this will be well worth.  
Photo credit: epSos.de / Foter / CC BY Photo credit: j_bary / Foter / CC BY

7 Reasons why you should start walking immediately!!!


Walking is an essential activity, unlike running it is mild and makes us less breathless. While we are running we do not get enough time to contemplate, while walking we have all the time in the world to contemplate and think our life through. It is a beautiful activity, a slow mild sensation of being with oneself and being in perfect harmony. Unlike running, it is also simple. You need certain amount of stamina to run, walk, we all can do it. Some off course can walk more than others but that is not the point, the point is walking is easy.

Years ago, an aunt of mine was having lots of problems in life. She was getting to that part of age where people are encumbered by responsibilities and they lose a lot of their drive and happiness. Life was becoming mundane for her and we were seeing in front of our own eyes, a colorful happy person turning in a bore old drab. She was frequently having health related problems, her job was good, their marriage was good and kids were starting to find their feet in life yet there was still something that was totally missing from her life. After frequently visiting doctors for various appointments, she finally got a doctor who advised her to walk for 30 minutes a day. For her, this was a shock to her system, she was someone who did exercise and go to gym and just walking was difficult for her but the doctor asked her to “just do it anyways”.

In a few months we saw her transform back to her colorful self, we would see her smile a lot more, laugh heartily and a lot of stress and her problems were over. Ever the curios I asked her, what has changed? She told me now she has a vent to take her frustrations out, when she walks, she feels free. She loved the outdoors and now she had time to spend in them, at peace with herself, thinking about things that mattered. For us it was a great learning experience and we were impressed. Both at the wisdom of the doctor and the benefits of walking Here I am listing seven of the simplest benefits that can be easily gained if we start walking. These include but are not limited to
• Reduced coronary problems. Better heart health
• Improvement in blood pressure and blood sugar levels
• Improved blood lipid profile
• Maintain constant body weight, walk prevents and fights against obesity
• Decreased depression, increased satisfaction and better mental health
• Breathing pattern regulation, better lung health
• Increased energy for daily activity. Walking initiates chemical balance providing us extra energy to function
These are just some of the main benefits of walking, there are much more. For a healthy life; “keep smiling, keep walking”

Weight loss foods that you must know about

Weightloss blog

These foods are not miracle foods, nothing is a miracle food but they are lesser known and less consumed making them a near miracle food for weight loss. They are mostly delicious, healthy and in most cases they are fulfilling and contain enough nourishment. Some of them are replacements of every day food and if you are looking for a healthy life style, you may switch to them immediately. Do know, this is not a medical advice and we are not aware about your allergies. The short benefits listed are based on highlighting just one or two important areas so that you can be aware of what these actually do and how they can help you. Remember: weight loss is a time taking activity, if you lose weight too quickly, you need to consider the approach again. Human body takes time to process things, keep the processes natural so that you can stay healthy for a longer duration of time.

Pine nuts, Walnuts, Pistachios, Hazelnuts, Almonds (with skins intact)

Build muscle, reduce cravings, help aging, mineral and vitamin rich Ideal use: Snacks and Salads

Skimmed Milk, Yogurt, Low fat cheese & Dairy products (in lower quantity if not low fat)
Build strong bones, fire up weight loss, some calcium supplements may still be required in certain cases Ideal use: Breakfast, yogurt after dinner for digestion


Build muscle, burn fat Ideal use: Egg white for breakfast helps maintaining cholesterol level

Chicken, Turkey and other animal white meats
Build muscle, strengthen immune system Ideal use: Main course protein supply, low fat and rich protein, after exercise food

Improve satiety, prevent cravings, ample source of vitamins specifically C. Note: Blue berries are not miracle food, they are good but not as good and miraculous as they are made out to be Ideal use: Salad toppings, normal snacks

Olive oil, Enova oil (soy and canola oil)

Promotes fullness, not easily stored as fat, The “Good” kind of fat Ideal use: Frying, vegetable sauté, salad dressing and serving

Fatty fish (such as salmon, tuna, mackerel)

Trigger fullness, fire up fat burning, good fat and lots of proteins Ideal use: main course, side dishes, snacks

Lowers insulin, regulates blood sugar and metabolism; be sure to eat the fleshy white membranes Ideal use: Breakfast food, good as a drink as well.

Green tea
Fires up fat burning, anti-oxidizing agent Ideal use: After dinner before sleep drink. Ideal temperature for consumption warm to hot

Chili peppers
Spikes metabolism, helps digestion Ideal use: Can be added in food as flavor, can be consumed raw if the tongue is capable

Spinach, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Kale and other green vegetables
Iron supply, ingredient rich, zero fat, high fiber content, fight free radicals and improve recovery for better muscle building, decrease fat Ideal use: Main course, salads, should be consumed more than other food groups. Can work as supplements and increase muscle mass and muscle healing from exercise

Whole grains (quinoa, brown rice, whole grain cereal)
High fiber content, increase digestion speed, Small doses prevent body from storing fat Ideal use: fiber supplements along with salads for a complete meal

Lentils, Beans and legumes
Non-meat proteins source, Build muscle, help burn fat, regulate digestion Ideal use: Broth, soup and as side dish. Very fulfilling and very nutritious

Natural skimmed milk, low fat content, Builds muscle, burns fat Ideal use: A replacement for water to be added in soups and main course dinners.

Photo credit: Carmen Rodriguez NSP / Foter / CC BY

Is it possible to lose weight while eating plenty?

15. weight-loss-pills

Well, in one word, yes. It is possible to lose weight while staying away from things like dieting and starving yourself. You do not need to take supplements or weight loss products yet you can still lose weight and stay healthy. Before I go in detail of how this works, it is imperative that you have the basic understanding of how the human body works.

Majority chunk of the food that we consume is carbohydrate which ultimately becomes sugar. This sugar gets supplied in the blood to all parts of the body and we achieve nourishment and have energy. A major chunk of it goes to the brain as well but that is another discussion. The fatty cells in our body are energy reserves, a mechanism that makes the body want to store more energy. The problem is, this store is greedy and it would want to keep storing more and more. Once we gain some fat, it is easier to increase in mass and hence we see that for skinny people it is difficult to add more weight to them but bulkier people find it easy to gain more mass. Not only that, once you lose weight through strenuous dieting, you blink your eyes, eat a bit extra some days and bam that weight is back

So we understand the very basics of how body stores fats and works in a very simple and non-scientific way. The thing is there are foods available that are very helpful towards weight loss. The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of the effects of carbohydrates on blood sugar levels. Foods with a low GI rating create a full feeling for longer, aiding weight loss and increasing energy. High or medium high GI-rated foods force the body to release large amounts of insulin into the blood, resulting in fatigue, sugar cravings, and mood swings. A good and reliable way to lose weight is to cut down carbohydrates and food with high GI measure. Simple isn’t it?

Studies have revealed that it is better to maintain a steady weight rather than weight fluctuations. If you cut down on foods that are bad for you and replace them with foods which are good for you, losing weight and maintaining a steady weight is not an issue. Consult your doctor about food allergies, if you have gluten allergy, chances are you need to consume gluten free food. The more you know about yourself the better it is for you. There are also extremely good substitutes available for foods that we consume and which are harmful but we do not use them because they do not taste really good. Cutting down on processed food, energy drinks and fizzy drinks offer long lasting benefits.

A great way to eat more and stay healthy is by eating Mediterranean food. We will delve deeper into some food recipes and details about the diet in other blogs but it is an essential and amazing food preparation method. There is scientific evidence available that this kind of food helps in losing weight, increasing muscle mass and having a steady Body Mass Index (BMI). The principle behind this form of diet is that portions are small and availability of various food groups in each serving. Another key component of this sort of food is the use of “good fats”, like olive oil and natural nuts. These not only help in losing weight but are rich in vital minerals resulting in plenty of replenishment for the body. You will be surprised to find out that Mediterranean food helps in fighting age related weight gain.

According to Doctor Demosthenes Panagiotakos and Christina-Maria Kastorini, MSc, PhD, the Mediterranean diet is not only the best way to lose weight but also the best way to prevent disease. The diet is associated with lower risk for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and some types of cancer. A ten-year study found that following the Mediterranean diet combined with a healthy lifestyle was associated with lowering early death rates by over 50 percent. This speaks volumes of how beneficial the diet is and provides ample reasons for people to switch to it in their daily life.
Another important component of our food is the snacks that we consume. They are mostly processed and we find it difficult to stay away from them. Be it in the cinema while we are watching a movie or being at a sporting event, we often snack without noticing. This habit of snacking is actually not a bad habit but the amount of process foods consumed during the process makes it difficult for the body It will take time but you can replace your snacks by healthy foods, dried apple rings instead of crisps, dark chocolate instead of candy, nuts in place of fatty sweets and water in place of beer, alcohol, energy drinks or fizzy drinks. It takes time but once you get used to them, it is very easy to have a stable weight rather than a fluctuating weight.

Weight watching is a constant activity, there are no miracle foods, and there are no miracle exercise regimes. All it takes is a constant work out and healthy life. The more you walk, eat healthy, smile and enjoy life, chances are you will be healthy. Eat a lot but eat wisely and you will have an ideal weight.

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12 Steps to improve fitness for women

Let us start from hard cold facts: Maintaining fitness is not easy. Getting out of bed and going to do running will never be easy, if it was everyone would be doing it. Some people love running or doing gym work, they are exceptions to the general rule. Not all of us are God gifted to love fitness work. So you need energy to defeat the forces of laziness every single day and tell yourself that you are going to keep working no matter what it takes.

12 tips for fitness

We have collected some simple things and steps here to help you improve your fitness. Follow them and hopefully you will be better at working out and get maximum benefits out of working.
  • The body is the king: Human body is not a democratic society, there is dictatorship and the body rules it. You can convince it to do exercise but it has it limits and you cannot expand them, all at once. You can do it, there is no denying but it takes time and effort. Devise a mechanism that you can rest between exercise routines, if you are a jogger and you want to reach 2 km in a week, start with 500 meter. Keep it slow, realize your limits. There is never any point or benefit in stretching your limits too much and too fast. Let it flow and keep practicing.

  • Rest is vital: Before you start exercising you need to understand how muscles work. Muscles are elastic, they can expand and retract based on the stress that we put on them. They are like rubber bands but unlike rubber bands they have layers inside them. When you use them during exercise or daily routine, there is internal wear and tear inside them. For proper healing time and growth, you need to give them time to mend themselves. If you do not let them heal properly, the stretching ability that they have will diminish and exercise will be less productive. Give your body ample rest and see the better results.
  • Calculate your proteins: We talked about muscles; muscles need proteins to grow and maintain strength. Your diet needs to contain a good amount of protein to keep functioning properly. Get a good knowledge about how much you require proteins and have a steady intake. The more you are going to be steady at protein in-take, the better your body muscles will heal.
  • Talk with a dietician: We talked about proteins, but food is not just about proteins. Dieticians are helpful, we rush to doctors when we have something wrong but we pay less attention when the body is working great. It is better to safeguard yourself through a steady diet chart. These people can provide you with great charts and information about what your body needs and in what quantity. It is also great to have things written in front of you, you will have a diet chart and it will be something that you will be able to follow.

  • Focus on technique: You will be amazed to know that most of the common exercises that people do are not technically right. Say for the case of swimming, a sports that most people are aware of and do, yet the technique of most people puts more stress on the body than it should. There is a great benefit to knowing the proper technique, not only it is the best way to do a thing, it also provides the most benefits out of that particular thing. If you are lifting weights or doing cardio or just plain walk, learn them with proper techniques. In some cases it is worse to exercise with a bad technique than exercise at all.

  • Pre exercise routine: Pre exercise warm ups are a necessity and not some fancy mumbo jumbo. They are really important for warming the muscles and letting them know that sterner tests are coming for them. Human body works in interesting ways, it needs to be prepared to do heavy exercise. Once muscles are prepared, chances for injury lessen. In exercise you must always care about avoiding injuries, a little carelessness in some cases can result into serious life lasting injuries so you should always prepare your body for such tasks.

  • Work life balance: Okay, you may say, what has this to do with my fitness. Well in many cases almost everything. If you are one of those workaholic people who want to travel the corporate ladder at all costs, you will have little time to yourself and more time for your job. These things tend to creep on you slowly. All of a sudden you are so involved in your job that you forget that your body is more important than anything else in the world. Work in the office, not at home. Keep the work out of your mind when you are not doing it. Spend some time with your body; it deserves more attention than the corporate reports on your table or in your hard disk.
  • Mental Stress: It is a dangerous thing, this stress. It slowly creeps on you and makes it difficult for you to exercise. Stress is like a habit, once you get used to it, you can be stressed about almost anything. It is a bottomless pit, if you start getting stressed your whole body will suffer. You will have less time to enjoy the things you are doing resulting in your mental and physical condition to deteriorate really quickly. Avoid stress, adapt a healthy lifestyle. Enjoy with your friends, family and other people. Give yourself some time to spend with yourself, get a spa or a hot tub and relax. Remember, mind controls the body, if the mind is ailing, the body will start feeling unfit as well.

  • Social groups of likeminded people: The company that you keep needs to have some similar interests to you. If you want to exercise, it is great to exercise in a group or with some people who you are really comfortable with. From my personal experiences, going to gym when you are out of shape is a scary thing to do. You feel judged and it is difficult to stand among men and women who are fit and healthy while you are carrying excess weight and much less power. It becomes intimidating and a moment reaches, when you just want to give it up. Do not let that happen in any case. Get some people who share the same love as exercise as you do or find a group of people in gym who are not all alphas and try to work with them.

  • Competition is not always healthy: Competition is not always healthy, especially when it comes to exercise. It is good to think that you can be working out as much as your friend, but if you start to obsess about it, it will cause havoc for your body and mostly will result badly. There are always exceptions, some people just love competition, but not all do. Take it easy, in small steps, being fit is not a hundred meter race, it is a marathon. It will take time and it needs constant practice.

  • Keep hydrating yourself: Drink ample water, minerals and salts not energy drinks. You do not need a dose of caffeine to stay hydrated, you need water and salts. Human body is mostly water, it does not look like that but it is. The more you sweat the more your body needs to replenish itself. Give it enough water, before the exercise, during the exercise and after the exercise.

  • Enjoy: When you enjoy any activity, it becomes fun. For me, I would not like to run a lot but when I play basketball with my friends, I do not even realize that I am running. When you exercise, try to find ways to entertain yourself. Find music, do exercise in front of a tv screen or just have fun while looking at the scenery while you pass it. Once you start enjoying exercise, you will become better at it and will wait to run and be fit.
We have just listed a few things that you can do to stay fit. Once you have decided that you want to be fit, chances are you will eventually reach your goal. We wish you best of luck, if you need any help, motivation, let us know. We always welcome when people contact us.

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How far is 10,000 steps?

A walkers delight - A morning walk to start the perfect day A walkers delight – A morning walk to start the perfect day
From 1960’s in Japan, the 10,000 steps a day challenge has been re-shaping peoples life; increasing quality of life and reducing obesity related health risks. The question may pop in your mind. How far is 10,000 steps in reality? Well the answer is simple’ it will depend on your STRIDE. Different people have different leg length, tall people have longer strides, shorter people are unable to match them, also not all strides are equal. In order to know how far 10,000 steps for you is; you have to manually calculate your stride length.
Manual calculation is always difficult; there are always chances for precision or procedure errors. See, to calculate your stride length, you have to take a tape measure and walk five steps. After that you have to see the distance covered and divide it by 5 to see your average stride length. After you have done that, you have to multiply your average stride length with 10,000 to see how much distance you can cover in 10,000 strides. Complicated and prone to error and also what if you are going up or down the stairs. What would happen in such a scenario for you if you are measuring your steps?
Well good news, there is great gadget which can do all this and more and it is called “pedometer”. This little gadget is going to help you retain fitness and provide you with extremely useful information every day. Research conducted on health and fitness has shown that people who increase their steps to 10,000 a day get increased health benefits. Researchers found that women walking 10,000 steps a day will have reduced blood pressure over 24 week period, another study found that blood glucose levels will improve drastically. Scientists also relate relationship between obesity and depression. Imagine that just by walking 10,000 steps a day you will get great health benefits.
Walking 10,000 steps a day is a struggle where we need constant and daily encouragement. Pedometers are designed by keeping this human psychological point in mind that human beings need constant encouragement and targets to fine tune their work. 3D pedometers with walking sensors offer precise calculation of your steps; you can put them on walk mode and take 5 or 10 strides to calibrate your stride. This 3D technology provides step sensors which are surface independent, you can walk up the stairs or in a straight line and they will be able to measure distance and steps accurately. They are comfortable; you can put them in your pocket or wear them on your body.
This pedometer at http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00MWELR7W is a very useful and hi-tech gadget loaded with great features and is totally a bargain purchase. Nakosite pedometer has been designed to look very sleek and attractive thus looking like a fashion accessory which can be worn on the clothes or placed in the purse. It is soundless, emitting no beeping sound and is extremely comfortable. Based on 3D tri-axis technology and sensors it calibrates and personalizes your steps before it starts calculating your distance covered. You can personalize it with your weight and height and at the end of every day it will be able to tell you how many calories have you burnt every day. Each person has a different stride length, based on that little margin between each individual stride, 10,000 steps can vary in distance for each person.
The biggest benefit of the pedometer is that it is able to store record for thirty days; this is a very important feature of the device and helps you track your performance. If you are keen on improving, there is nothing better than comparing your own performance from past and present. This helps you in setting new goals and provides you with a sense of achievement. We take a lot of steps every day, converting them into exercise provides us with a tremendous opportunity to raise our self-esteem, fight depression, blood pressure problems, and cardiovascular issues becoming really healthy and fit. The pedometer comes with good accessories and guarantee from manufacturers making it a value purchase.
To conclude, the distance travelled in 10,000 steps would be different for different people but you can easily calculate it with the help of a pedometer.

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How long does it take to walk a mile?


The best thing about walking is that you are doing it every day. Almost any time when you are not sitting or lying down, you are actually walking, however it is really difficult to calculate how much you are walking daily. Consistent walk every day is considered a great health activity by doctors, owing to the fact that it is less stressful for the knees and ankle ligaments.  From an individual perspective though, walking about 4 to 5 miles a day can provide weight loss, muscle gain, lower blood pressure and better cardiovascular health along with other benefits. The question though is, how long does it take to walk a mile? It depends on your STRIDE, the longer the stride the shorter the time to walk a mile.

Every person has a different stride length and it is very difficult to calculate your stride. In order to calculate, you have to get a tape measure, take 5 steps and calculate the distance, after that divide the distance by 5 to see how much distance you calculate in one stride. Than manually calculating steps that you take in a day and multiplying with stride length to see how many miles you walked in a particular day, a task which is in most cases is almost impractical to do. The best way to find out how long it takes to walk a mile is to get a pedometer. Pedometers can be very useful by providing you with accurate statistics of how many steps you have taken in a day, how much distance you have covered and how many calories did you burn?

With a pedometer, you can easily calculate your stride length and calibrate it within the device. All you need to do is to walk five steps in “Step Mode” and the pedometer will calculate your stride length. Once it has the information every step will be recorded and you can view your statistics anytime you want. Being healthy is a very difficult activity. Not only it requires a lot of dedication, it also takes time and is an actual test of patience of a person. A great way to healthy life is to set targets and try to achieve them and pedometer helps in great way to do so.

This particular pedometer http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00MWELR7W provides 3D tri axis technology along with complete user customization and 30 days active memory. You calibrate your steps, enter your body weight and it will provide you with information about steps taken, miles covered and calories burnt in a day. 3D tri axis technology is advanced, superior sensing technology which makes measurement possible over all surfaces, be it an incline like stairs or a plain surface like a road, it measures equally effectively.

Nakosite pedometer maintains record for 30 days, lets you set targets and see how you perform against them. With Nakosite pedometer every stride becomes a source of motivation and helps you get back in shape. The device comes with manufactured money back guarantee, after sales services and useful accessories including straps and batteries. After using it, you will know how long it takes to walk a mile. To conclude, for different people a mile is a different entity but if you have a pedometer you can safely calculate and measure everything leading to a healthier happier life.

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