Category Archives: Exercise

TREATING DIABETES

Your Diabetes didn’t just show up one fine day as Diabetes.

Your illness is your body trying to communicate to you that something is really wrong!

Your Diabetes is like a big, blinking NEON SIGN warning you – LOOK HERE. THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG HERE. This is a WARNING that there is an imbalance or a deficiency in your body that needs to be identified and serviced – just like that red, blinking light on your car’s dashboard when it too needs to be serviced.

In fact, your DIABETES once started as an imbalance or a deficiency which was left unidentified or untreated, and eventually progressed to DIABETES.

Now, here’s the big aha! moment:

Your DIABETES is being treated as a “symptom”. Meaning, the prescription medication, regular insulin injections, constant daily monitoring, etc. are all superficial treatments that treat the symptom itself, and mask the underlying cause which created the symptom, to begin with.

diabetes-777002__180

And, if left untreated, without identifying the underlying imbalance or deficiency, your DIABETES will eventually progress into a disease more acute and damaging than the DIABETES itself. Such as heart disease. Or kidney disease.

The reason I’m clearing this up with you is so you can start to pay attention to these big, blinking NEON SIGNS.

  1. YOUR NUTRITION: Most of us are just throwing junk food into our bodies because we don’t have the time for anything else, or we’re driven by taste and convenience. But our bodies are paying the price.
  2. SLEEP: One day of inadequate sleep is more damaging than six months of inadequate diet.
  3. EXERCISE: Prolonged sitting – which we are all subject to at work – and couch potato-ism at home affects the body’s metabolism and leaves it unable to utilise glucose properly.
  4. STRESS: the stress hormones raise sugar levels. Chronic stress leads to chronically raised sugar levels.
  5. TOXINS: environmental pollution, food additives and even mental pollution damage your systems.

A systematic approach to all these factors, including mind body balance, is the only way the body can achieve balance and regain its lost health.

Natural Ways to Control Your Blood Sugar

It’s Ramzan, time for fasting and also for feasting! Sadly, often time to gain weight!

What if you’re diabetic? Here’s how to eat and still control blood sugar levels.

1.Increase Your Fiber Intake

Try to include both soluble and insoluble fiber in your daily diet. Berries, nuts, vegetables and beans like rajma and chowli are a great way to slip in the fiber daily. Aim to include 40 to 50 grams of fiber in your daily regimen for every 1,000 calories you eat. You may want to start measuring the foods you eat each day until you are able to estimate how much fiber and carbohydrates you are eating.

2.Reduce Your Net Carbs

A low-net-carbohydrate diet reduces the stress on your body, reduces inflammation and reduces the amount insulin required to use the energy from the food you eat. You’ll want to reduce the number of net carbs you eat, for most people this ranges between 50 and 80 grams per day.This is calculated by taking the grams of carbs you’ve eaten and subtracting the number of grams of fiber. In this way a high-fiber diet also helps you to lower the amount of insulin you need to utilize your food for fuel.

3.High-Quality Fats

When you reduce your carbohydrates, what are you going to replace them with? Your best alternative is high quality, healthy fats necessary for heart health, feeding your brain and to modulate genetic regulation and prevent cancer. The idea that fats are bad for you, is OUTDATED.

Healthy fats include:

Avocados Coconut oil Organic butter from organic grass-fed milk
Organic raw nuts Olives and Olive oil Grass-fed meat
Organic pastured eggs Palm oil

4.Exercise

Exercise helps your cells become  sensitive to leptin. This reduces your potential resistance to insulin and therefore your risk of diabetes.

5.Hydration

When you become dehydrated, your liver will secrete a hormone that increases your blood sugar. As you hydrate blood sugar levels lower naturally.

Stay well hydrated by monitoring the color of your urine during the day. The color should be light yellow. Sometimes your first indication your body requires more water is the sensation of being hungry. Drink a large glass of water first and wait 20 minutes to determine if you’re really hungry or you were thirsty.

6.Reduce Your Stress

When you become stressed your body secretes cortisol and glucagon, both of which affect your blood sugar levels. Control your stress levels using exercise, meditation, yoga, prayer or relaxation techniques. These techniques may reduce your stress and correct insulin secretion problems. Combined with strategies that reduce your insulin resistance, you may help to prevent diabetes.

7.Sleep

Enough quality sleep is necessary to feel good and experience good health. Poor sleeping habits may reduce insulin sensitivity and promote weight gain.

Diabetes is not a sentence! It’s easily reversed.

21 Nutrition Myths, Debunked by Science

Woman Using a Banana as a TelephoneMainstream nutrition is full of nonsense.

Despite clear advancements in nutrition science, the old myths don’t seem to be going anywhere.

Here are 20 mainstream nutrition myths that have been debunked by scientific research.

Myth 1: The Healthiest Diet is a Low-Fat, High-Carb Diet With Lots of Grains

Several decades ago, the entire population was advised to eat a low-fat, high-carb diet. At the time, not a single study had demonstrated that this diet could actually prevent disease. Since then, many high quality studies have been done, including the Women’s Health Initiative, which is the largest nutrition study in history.

The results were clear… this diet does not cause weight loss, prevent cancer OR reduce the risk of heart disease.

Myth 2: Salt Should be Restricted in Order to Lower Blood Pressure and Reduce Heart Attacks and Strokes

Salt Shaker and Pile

The salt myth is still alive and kicking, even though there has never been any good scientific support for it. Although lowering salt can reduce blood pressure by 1-5 mm/Hg on average, it doesn’t have any effect on heart attacks, strokes or death.

Myth 3: It is Best to Eat Many, Small Meals Throughout The Day to “Stoke The Metabolic Flame”

Studies clearly disagree with this. Eating 2-3 meals per day has the exact same effect on total calories burned as eating 5-6 (or more) smaller meals.

There are even studies showing that eating too often can be harmful… a new study came out recently showing that more frequent meals dramatically increased liver and abdominal fat on a high calorie diet.

Myth 4: Egg Yolks Should be Avoided Because They Are High in Cholesterol, Which Drives Heart Disease

Eggs in a Basket

Cholesterol in the diet has remarkably little effect on cholesterol in the blood, at least for the majority of people.

Studies have shown that eggs raise the “good” cholesterol and don’t raise risk of heart disease.

One review of 17 studies with a total of 263,938 participants showed that eating eggs had no effect on the risk of heart disease or stroke in non-diabetic individuals.

Whole eggs really are among the most nutritious foods on the planet and almost all the nutrients are found in the yolks.

Telling people to throw the yolks away may just be the most ridiculous advice in the history of nutrition.

Myth 5: Eat ‘Whole’ Grains

Bread

Wheat has been a part of the diet for a very long time, but it changed due to genetic tampering in the 1960s. The “new” wheat is significantly less nutritious than the older varieties and may increase cholesterol levels and inflammatory markers. It also causes symptoms like pain, bloating, tiredness and reduced quality of life in patients with irritable bowel syndrome.

Myth 6: Saturated Fat Raises LDL Cholesterol in The Blood, Increasing Risk of Heart Attacks

Foods High in Saturated Fat

Several massive review studies have recently shown that saturated fat is NOT linked to an increased risk of death from heart disease or stroke.

 

The truth is that saturated fats raise HDL (the “good”) cholesterol and change the LDL particles from small to Large LDL, which is linked to reduced risk.

For most people, eating reasonable amounts of saturated fat is perfectly safe and downright healthy.

Myth 7: Coffee is Unhealthy and Should be Avoided

Coffee has long been considered unhealthy, mainly because of the caffeine. However, most of the studies actually show that coffee has powerful health benefits.

Man Drinking a Cup of Coffee

This may be due to the fact that coffee is the biggest source of antioxidants in the Western diet, outranking both fruits and vegetables… combined.

Coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of depression, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s… and some studies even show that they live longer than people who don’t drink coffee).

Myth 8: To Lose Weight,  Eat Less Fat

Bacon

Fat is the stuff that is under our skin, making us look soft and puffy.

Therefore it seems logical that eating fat would give us even more of it.

However, this depends entirely on the context. Diets that are high in fat AND carbs can make you fat, but it’s not because of the fat.

In fact, diets that are high in fat (but low in carbs) consistently lead to more weight loss than low-fat diets… even when the low-fat groups restrict calories.

Myth 9: A High-Protein Diet Increases Strain on The Kidneys and Raises Your Risk of Kidney Disease

Raw Lamb Chops

Although it is true that people with established kidney disease should cut back on protein, this is absolutely not true of otherwise healthy people.

Numerous studies, even in athletes that eat large amounts of protein, show that a high protein intake is perfectly safe.

In fact, a higher protein intake lowers blood pressure and helps fight type 2 diabetes… which are two of the main risk factors for kidney failure.

Also let’s not forget that protein reduces appetite and supports weight loss, but obesity is another strong risk factor for kidney failure.

Myth 10: Full-Fat Dairy Products Are High in Saturated Fat and Calories… Raising The Risk of Heart Disease and Obesity

Dairy Products

Eating full-fat dairy product is not linked to increased heart disease and is even associated with a lower risk of obesity.

In countries where cows are grass-fed, eating full-fat dairy is actually associated with up to a 69% lower risk of heart disease.

If anything, the main benefits of dairy are due to the fatty components. Therefore, choosing low-fat dairy products is a terrible idea.

Myth 11: All Calories are created equal

Woman With Fruit And Junk Food on The Table

It is simply false that “all calories are created equal.”

Different foods go through different metabolic pathways and have direct effects on fat burning and the hormones and brain centers that regulate appetite.

A high protein diet, for example, can increase the metabolic rate by 80 to 100 calories per day and significantly reduce appetite. In one study, such a diet made people automatically eat 441 fewer calories per day. They also lost 11 pounds in 12 weeks, just by adding protein to their diet.

There are many more examples of different foods having vastly different effects on hunger, hormones and health. Because a calorie is not just a calorie.

Myth 12: Low-Fat Foods Are Healthy

Yogurt

When the low-fat guidelines first came out, the food manufacturers responded with all sorts of low-fat “health foods.”

The problem is… these foods taste horrible when the fat is removed, so the food manufacturers added a whole bunch of sugar instead.

The truth is, excess sugar is incredibly harmful, while the fat naturally present in food is not.

Myth 13: Red Meat Consumption Raises The Risk of All Sorts of Diseases… Including Heart Disease, Type 2 Diabetes and Cancer

Meat

We are constantly warned about the “dangers” of eating red meat. It is true that some studies have shown negative effects, but they were usually lumping processed and unprocessed meat together.

The largest studies (one with over 1 million people, the other with over 400 thousand) show that unprocessed red meat is not linked to increased heart disease or type 2 diabetes.

So… don’t be afraid of eating meat. Just make sure to eat unprocessed meat and don’t overcook it, because eating too much burnt meat may be harmful. That means butter chicken is safe, chicken tikka could be harmful.

Myth 14: The Only People Who Should go Gluten-Free Are Patients With Celiac Disease, About 1% of The Population

Young Man Eating Bread

It is often claimed that no one benefits from a gluten-free diet except patients with celiac disease. This is the most severe form of gluten intolerance, affecting under 1% of people. But another condition called gluten sensitivity is much more common and may affect about 6-8% of people. Studies have also shown that gluten-free diets can reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, schizophrenia, autism and epilepsy.

Myth 15: Losing Weight is All About Willpower and Eating Less, Exercising More

Woman Standing on The Scale, Frustrated

Weight loss (and gain) is often assumed to be all about willpower and “calories in vs calories out.”

But this is completely inaccurate.

The human body is a highly complex biological system with many hormones and brain centers that regulate when, what and how much we eat.

It is well known that genetics, hormones and various external factors have a huge impact on body weight.

Junk food can also be downright addictive, making people quite literally lose control over their consumption .

Myth 16: Saturated Fats and Trans Fats are Similar… They’re The “Bad” Fats That we Need to Avoid

A Single Butter Curl

The mainstream health organizations often lump saturated and artificial trans fats in the same category… calling them the “bad” fats.

It is true that trans fats are harmful. They are linked to insulin resistance and metabolic problems, drastically raising the risk of heart disease.

However, saturated fat is harmless, so it makes absolutely no sense to group the two together.

Interestingly, these same organizations also advise us to eat vegetable oils like soybean and canola oils. But these oils are actually loaded with unhealthy fats… one study found that 0.56-4.2% of the fatty acids in them are toxic trans fats!

Myth 17: Protein Leaches Calcium From The Bones and Raises The Risk of Osteoporosis

Protein Rich Foods

Although it is true that a high protein intake increases calcium excretion in the short-term, this effect does not persist in the long-term.

The truth is that a high protein intake is linked to a massively reduced risk of osteoporosis and fractures in old age.

This is one example of where blindly following the conventional nutritional wisdom will have the exact opposite effect of what was intended!

Myth 18: Low-Carb Diets Are Dangerous and Increase Your Risk of Heart and Kidney Disease

Low-carb diets have been popular for many decades now.

Man at a Restaurant Eating Steak

Mainstream nutrition professionals have constantly warned us that these diets will end up clogging our arteries.

However, since the year 2002, over 20 studies have been conducted on the low-carb diet. Low-carb diets actually cause more weight loss and improve most risk factors for heart disease more than the low-fat diet.

Myth 19: Sugar is Mainly Harmful Because it Supplies “Empty” Calories

Glass Full Of Sugar Cubes

When consumed in excess, sugar can cause severe metabolic problems. Many experts now believe that sugar may be driving some of the world’s biggest killers… including obesity, heart disease, diabetes and even cancer.

Myth 20: Refined Seed- and Vegetable Oils Like Soybean and Corn Oils Lower Cholesterol and Are Super Healthy

The truth is that several studies have shown that these oils increase the risk of death, from both heart disease and cancer. Even though these oils have been shown to cause heart disease and kill people, the mainstream health organizations are still telling us to eat them.

They just don’t get it… when we replace real foods with processed fake foods, we become fat and sick.

Myth 21: Eating a ‘Healthy Diet’ is enough. Supplements are not necessary

This is a very common belief among the population, and the tragedy is that the medical community contributes to the spreading of this lie. The reason is that as doctors, our teaching of Nutrition during medical studies, is  almost non-existent. So for all practical purposes, your doctor is no better than your grandma when it comes to nutrition. In fact, grandma’s knowledge, backed by tradition and culture, is often accurate.

WHO recommends that all adults take a MultiVitamin supplement daily. Vitamin D levels are inadequate in majority of the population.

We know that micronutrients like vitamins and minerals are part of vital reactions in the body, without which the body cannot function effectively and gradually succumbs to illness.

So targeted supplements can be literally life saving.

Be Informed. Stay Healthy.

From Kris Gunnars, BSc |

How to Do the Perfect Squat

 Squats are a full-body fitness staple that work the hips, glutes, quads, and hamstrings, and sneakily strengthen the core. Squats may help improve balance and coordination, as well as bone density .

How to do the perfect Squat:

The Bodyweight Squat

1. Stand with feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart, hips stacked over knees, and knees over ankles.

2. Roll the shoulders back and down away from the ears. Note: Allowing the back to round (like a turtle’s shell) will cause unnecessary stress on the lower back. It’s important to maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement.

3. Extend arms out straight so they are parallel with the ground, palms facing down. Or, if it’s more comfortable, pull elbows close to the body, palms facing each other and thumbs pointing up.

4. Initiate the movement by inhaling and unlocking the hips, slightly bringing them back. Keep sending hips backward as the knees begin to bend.

5. While the butt starts to stick out, make sure the chest and shoulders stay upright, and the back stays straight. Keep the head facing forward with eyes straight ahead for a neutral spine.

6. The best squats are the deepest ones your mobility allows. Optimal squat depth would be your hips sinking below the knees (again, if you have the flexibility to do so comfortably). Pro tip: Squatting onto a box until the butt gently taps it will be a reminder to squat low.

7. Engage core and, with bodyweight in the heels, explode back up to standing, driving through heels. Imagine the feet are spreading the floor (left foot to the left, right foot to the right) without actually moving the feet.

Squat Snafus (and How to Fix Them)

Mistake No. 1: Not dropping down low enough

The fix: Take a slightly wider stance, which allows the body to stay steady while it squats deeper, and engages more muscle groups. It’s easy to want to squat just low enough so the thighs are parallel with the ground, but squats can be much more effective when we drop as low as possible (the hip joint lower than the knee joint) while still maintaining good form, Greatist Expert and trainer Dan Trink says.

Mistake No. 2: The knees drift inward

The fix: Turn the toes out (between 5 and 20 degrees, to be technical) to keep knees from caving inward. Knees should track in line with both the ankles and the hips to help avoid injury and get deep in the squat.

Mistake No. 3: The body leans too far forward

The fix: Put most of your weight in the heels when lowering into a squat. The weight distribution will help keep the torso upright throughout the entire movement rather than causing you to teeter forward. It will also help keep the hips back and down, outside of the heels. Think of spreading the floor apart by driving outward through the back/outer portion of the heel.

Mistake No. 4: Descending too quickly

The fix: When weight is added, moving too quickly could increase chances of injury. It’s okay to explode with power when returning to a standing position (so long as the body remains controlled), but sitting into the squat should be a little slower to maintain proper form.

Mistake No. 5: Not warming up

The fix: Warming up is important before taking on such a complex move. It’ll help prepare the body’s joints and muscles for movement, and might even help prevent injury once heavy lifting gets underway. Jumping rope, rowing, and doing bodyweight squats help prep the body for movement. If squatting with a loaded bar, start with an empty bar and add weight slowly.

Thanks to Erica Giovinazzo for demonstrating the movements.

Thanks to Greatist, posted as is.

How to Do Intermittent Fasting: 17 Popular Questions Answered

Yuri Elkaim


How to Do Intermittent Fasting

If you’ve been wondering how to do intermittent fasting, I’m going to provide you with the ultimate primer on this amazing dietary practice.

You see, intermittent fasting is arguably the least expensive and most powerful healing method we can incorporate into our lives.

Every religion has an element of fasting—whether it’s 30 days of Ramadan or a one day Yum Kippur fast. Our ancient ancestors were definitely on to something.

We humans have been fasting since we first walked the earth. Our paleolithic ancestors didn’t have the luxury of 24/7 convenience stores, a Starbucks on every corner, or even refrigerators to store their food.

Thus, they ate what was freshly available.

But sometimes they couldn’t find anything to eat, and their bodies evolved to be able to function without food for extended periods of time. Today, we still have this same biology – we haven’t evolved at all.

And, if anything, fasting from time to time is more “natural” and healthier than constantly eating 3-4 (or more) meals per day. I’ll show you proof further below.

For years, my clients and readers have asked me which is better for weight loss; eating 3-5 meals per day or intermittent fasting, not to mention they also wanted to know how to do intermittent fasting.

So in this post, I’m going to answer 18 of the most common fasting questions I’ve been asked in order to give you a solid understanding of the topic.

Let’s jump in…

1. What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and not eating. It’s not a diet that says “eat this, not that”, but rather you don’t eat any food for a certain length of time – usually 16-24 hours.

There are a number of different types of intermittent fasting (highlighted below), but they all serve the same purpose—to allow your body time without food to spend more of its energy on internal healing and repair—something that cannot happen when you’re constantly in a fed state.

2. Who is Intermittent Fasting For?

Based on the numerous benefits you’re about to discover, intermittent fasting is really meant for anyone who is serious about improving their health and perhaps losing weight without overhauling their diet.

The 10 Best Ways to Lose Weight Without Dieting or Exercising

Technically, you don’t need to change anything about your diet to benefit from intermittent fasting, which makes it very appealing to many people.

Intermittent fasting is also for those who want that extra edge to burning fat while maintaining their muscle (shouldn’t we all?).

It’s completely safe to do and provides enormous benefits so it’s really just a matter of committing to it, trying it out, and seeing if it’s something you want to do regularly.

3. What Are Some Intermittent Fasting Benefits?

There are literally dozens of benefits! If you’re wondering how to do intermittent fasting to get the most bang for your buck, check out some of these incredible benefits – all backed by science:

Increased Life Expectancy:

Studies on animals are being done by Dr. Mark Mattson and colleagues at the National Institute on Aging. The findings from these studies suggest that animals age slower and live longer when they consume fewer calories. The research is showing that this effect can be achieved by eating less each day, or by fasting on intermittent days.

Living Longer - The Okinawa Secret to a Long, Lean Life

Improved Hormone Profile:

When fasted, we get significant reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels, as well as a drastic increase in human growth hormone. These all favorable for losing weight, maintaining muscle, and reducing our risk of insulin resistance, diabetes, and heart disease.

Faster Weight Loss:

Most people want to know how to do intermittent fasting because they’ve heard it’s a safe and effective way for losing weight. And they would be correct.

Many studies have shown that both overweight and obese subjects burn more fat and lose weight with intermittent fasting).

Here are a number of other documented benefits of intermittent fasting:
  • Maintenance of skeletal muscle mass
  • Decreased blood glucose levels
  • Decreased insulin levels and increased insulin sensitivity
  • Increased lipolysis (breakdown of fats) and fat oxidation
  • Increased uncoupling protein-3 mRNA(important for the production of energy inside the cell)
  • Increased norepinephrine and epinephrine levels, which increases fat breakdown
  • Increased glucagon levels, which breaks down fat
  • Increased growth hormone levels, which preserves muscle mass
4. Why is Intermittent Fasting Effective?

A 2014 review of the literature showed intermittent fasting’s powers come from its impact on adaptive cellular responses that reduce oxidative damage and inflammation, optimize energy metabolism, and improve cellular production.

Basically, that means that it helps your body deal with stress, which includes being able to better cope with fasting (which is a form of stress) itself.

Fasting also triggers the process of autophagy, which breaks down and recycles dysfunctional proteins and cellular debris.

This is  similar to taking out the trash and cleaning up around the house – a process you’d hope would be taking place in your body on a frequent basis.

5. Why Does Intermittent Fasting Burn Fat?

Basically, not eating tells your body to rely more heavily on its fat stores. This is a similar phenomenon experienced with consistent exercise training.

Your body becomes “smarter” and understands that, in order to maintain blood sugar and spare muscle and liver glycogen (stored carbohydrates) for potential immediate use, it’s better off relying on fat, which naturally provides more energy (9 calories per gram) versus carbohydrates or protein (4 calories per gram each).

6. Which Type of Intermittent Fasting is Best?

Here, I’ll explain how to do intermittent fasting through three different methods and I’ll tell you which one I employ on a weekly basis.

Alternate Day Intermittent Fasting:

Alternate day intermittent fasting is basically fasting every other day for a 24-hour period. For instance, you would eat normally on Monday, fast Tuesday, eat Wednesday, fast Thursday, eat Friday, fast Saturday, and so on.

This style of intermittent fasting is the most popular form used in research studies, but from what I have seen it isn’t very popular in the real world. I’ve never tried alternate day fasting myself and I don’t plan to do so.

In my eyes, it’s a bit excessive and many of the negative effects seen in some women while fasting tend to be related to this type of fasting.

And it makes sense since you’re not eating half the time, which is not advisable, especially for women for whom carbs and caloric intake are important for hormones and fertility.

If this is the first method you try as you figure out how to do intermittent fasting, my fear is that it will be too difficult for you and you’ll give it up altogether.

The truth is, it’s just not sustainable for most people unless you enjoy feeling miserable 50% of your life. As a result, I think you’re better off using either (or a combination) of the following two intermittent fasting methods.

16/8 Daily Fasting:

This type of intermittent fasting was popularized by Martin Berkhan from Leangains.com and has worked really well for him and thousands of his followers.

Basically, you fast for 16 hours and eat during the remaining 8.

His general position on the fasted phase is that it should last through the night and during the morning hours. Ideally, the fast should then be broken at noon or shortly thereafter if you wake up at 6-7 AM like most people. Afternoons and evenings are usually spent in the fed state.

To be quite honest, even though I only do a committed fast once per week, I probably do 16/8 fast – inadvertently – 2-3 times per week mostly because I don’t feel like eating anything until about lunch time.

It doesn’t matter when you start your 8-hour eating period. You can start at 8am and stop at 4pm. Or you start at 2pm and stop at 10pm. Do whatever works for you. Based on my schedule, I tend to eat around 1pm and 5pm most days.

The 1-Day Fast:

As the name implies, this is a 1-day fast – typically 18-24 hours in length.

Here, instead of fasting every day or every other day, you simply fast once per week. I’ve found this to be most realistic and sustainable for most people.

To make it easy on yourself, simply start your fast after dinner so that by the time you wake up the next morning you’ve already completed about 12 hours of your fast. Then, if you can make it on water and/or herbal tea until mid-afternoon or early evening, you’re golden.

Being hard on yourself for not making it the full 24 hours is not a good idea. Don’t beat yourself up. If you’ve fasted 14, 17, 20, or however many hours, just be happy with the fact that you’ve given your body a “breather” to do some much needed cleansing and healing.

Please remember as well that your first 1-day fast will likely be a challenge, especially if you’re used to eating all the time. However, it will also be one of the most rewarding experiences you go through as you’ll a lot about why you eat.

A lot of times you’ll recognize that you’re not hungry but rather anxious, bored, or in a “conditioned” situation (like working at your desk) where you would normally be snacking on food. This awareness alone is worth doing a 1-day fast.

Whichever type of intermittent fasting you choose, the additional benefit it provides you is a little more flexibility with your diet.

You don’t need to be a food nazi and nit pick every single thing you eat as a weekly fast can help clean up some of the junk. But also don’t use that as a hall pass to eat whatever you want at your other meals throughout the week.

7. How to do Intermittent Fasting — Where to Begin

Whether you’re a man or woman, the benefits of fasting are simply too numerous to ignore. So how do you get started?
I’m very aware that the mere mention of the term fasting terrifies many people, conjuring up images of intense suffering and starvation. They picture themselves waking up in the morning and starting their 24-hour timer, anxiously counting down the milliseconds until they can have the first bite of their post-fast meal. Others can’t even fathom the idea of going a full day without food.

It really doesn’t have to be so awful, and there’s an approach that actually makes it quite doable. For example, if you had a big dinner around 7 p.m., your body would be in a “semi-fasted” state by the time 10 p.m. rolls around. Consider that the kickoff of your fast. Hit the sack and sleep for 7 to 8 hours. By the time you wake up, you’ve completed one-third of your day’s fast without batting an eyelash, literally.

If you’re anything like me, you might not feel hungry in the morning. There’s a good chance this will happen considering how much you stuffed yourself the day before. So much for breakfast. If you can make it to lunch on a few glasses of water, then you’ve just knocked out 14 hours of your fast.

And if you can make it to at least 4 p.m., that’s 18 hours. You’re really on fire at this point. Maybe you can have a cup of peppermint tea as a reward. After all, this is when the massive health benefits from your short-term fast really start to kick in.

At this point, if you really can’t take it, you can have a smoothie or smaller meal to break your fast. However, if you really want to win, power through to dinner without taking a bite. Once you reach 10 p.m., you’ve made it. You’ve successfully completed your fast and you can go to bed dreaming about breakfast.

If you can’t wait until morning to eat, I recommend a small high-protein meal or, better yet, a protein shake with a few carbs about an hour before you go to sleep. That way, you provide essential proteins to your muscles, while keeping your tummy satisfied until morning. The 1-Day Fast isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible either, and when you stay focused on the benefits, it becomes a lot more doable. Can you do this? I bet you can.

What makes it all a whole lot easier is simply making the decision to do it. Most people have a tough time without food because they’re constantly thinking about what they’ll eat next. In the middle of a stressful day, that just feels like too much to handle, as the satisfaction that comes from a delicious meal—even one that’s not good for you— helps people soothe their blues away. When that food isn’t there, they start panicking.

When you consciously make the decision that tomorrow will be a fast day, you activate a new mechanism inside yourself. You’re forced to let your innards recharge while you reflect on the bad eating habits with which you’ve been self-medicating. Fasting is such a profound tool for deep change. No wonder people have been turning to it for centuries.”
There you go. That’s all you need to start intermittent fasting.

8. How to Do Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss?

Although a lot of the research on fasting has used “alternate day” fasting where you basically don’t eat every other day (which is crazy if you ask me), you can still see noticeable fat loss results with just a single day of fasting each week.

So finish dinner and start your fast thereafter. Then, if you can make it through to the next day’s dinner you’re golden. Remember, when your body is in a fasted state is starts to rely more on its fat stores for fuel.

Thus, it helps you become a fat burner instead of sugar burner who is constantly craving food. It’s a very freeing process.

Here’s another strategy you can use to speed your weight loss while intermittent fasting:

At any point of your day, do 5-10 minutes of high intensity interval training to increase your body’s release of catecholamines. These are your fight- or-flight hormones—specifically, epinephrine and norepinephrine—released by the adrenal glands in response to stress like high intensity training.

One of the roles of these hormones is to break down stored fat in your body into free fatty acids that can then be converted into energy. This intense exercise also depletes your glycogen stores much more readily.

As glycogen is depleted, your body must rely further on burning fat for energy.

You do not get this catecholamine response with low-intensity exercise. (If the word intensity scares you, don’t be alarmed. You’ll only be doing 5 to 10-second bouts interspersed with nice and easy recovery.)

And if you want to take your fat burning to the next level, then after you finish your intervals, spend 30 minutes or more going for a nice easy walk or bike ride to burn up those free fatty acids (from broken-down fat) that have flooded into your bloodstream.

Post-workout is when your body, since it’s recovering, really relies on those fats for fuel.

For instance, a 2008 study showed that even though carbohydrates were the predominant fuel source during the actual workout, for more than 3 hours afterwards, fats became the main contributor to energy.

Basically, the most fat was burned post-workout. But again, workout intensity sets the stage for this to happen.

So, to really take advantage of this fat-burning window, I strongly recommend following your high intensity intervals with 30 minutes (or more) of low-intensity cardio like walking.

This will help shuttle those free fatty acids floating around in your bloodstream into your muscles to be burned as fuel.

9. What Should I Eat After My Intermittent Fast?

One of the most important steps in learning how to do intermittent fasting is figuring out how to ease back into eating.

When you finish your fast you need to pretend that your fast never happened. No compensation, no reward, no special way of eating, and no all-out binges.

The minute you decide to stop fasting, simply wipe the fast from your memory, and eat the exact way you would normally eat at that specific time of the day (while eating responsibly of course).

If you end your fast at dinnertime, have dinner. If you end your fast at 4:00 PM and you don’t typically have dinner until 6:00 or 7:00 PM, then have a light snack… but nothing larger than you would normally have at that time.

There is no magic way to end your fast. The absolute best thing you can do is simply pretend your fast never happened and begin eating in the exact way you would normally eat at that specific time of day.

One thing I have noticed though with many clients is that they tend to “crave” healthier foods at the end of their fast.

As a result, they end up choosing a green smoothie or a healthy snack instead of devouring a large pizza (as you might think would happen after not eating anything all day).

10. Is Intermittent Fasting Bad for My Blood Sugar?

The truth about having low blood sugar is that it is not nearly as common as we are often led to believe. But obviously check with your doctor if you’re uncertain.

For the vast majority of the healthy population, we are easily able to maintain healthy blood sugars that are neither too-high nor too-low in a whole range of different situations, including fasting and intense exercise.

In research examining the effects of a 24 hour fast, it was found that fasting did not cause blood sugar levels to dip below 65mg%, meaning that during the entire 24 fast, blood sugar slowly lowered itself, but remained at normal non-hypoglycemic levels.

11. Can I Exercise When Intermittent Fasting?

I absolutely encourage you to practice as many different types of exercise as possible. Just like nutrition, I think variety is the key to exercise and both yoga and mountain biking are excellent examples of exercises that complement intermittent fasting.

As long as you are doing some form of resistance training at least two or three times a week you will not lose muscle since intermittent fasting actually increases growth hormone, which helps preserve muscle.

One thing you may notice is if you work out on day in which you’re fasting, your energy levels may be a little lower. That’s because the workout will be tapping into lowered glycogen reserves, which means you may fatigue sooner than on a traditional “eating” day.

However, exercising, especially for short durations at high intensity, in a fasted state is a secret weapon I would strongly encourage you to explore as it will accelerate fat loss tremendously (more on that below).

12. Why Do I Get Hungry When Intermittent Fasting?

Well, you’re not eating any food so naturally your stomach might experience the odd growl here and there.

Additionally, your hunger hormone ghrelin responds to a lack of food in the stomach, which will naturally have it firing on all cylinders, making your brain think you’re starving.

Hunger pangs usually dissipate after your first 2-3 fasts as your body adjusts.

13. Why Do I Get a Headache When Intermittent Fasting?

First of all, not everyone does.

But there has been a lot of research on Ramadan fasting and headaches.  It seems that women are particularly susceptible to headaches while fasting.

This is not due to dehydration and may actually be similar to withdrawal symptoms, similar to the headaches you experience when you quit drinking coffee cold-turkey.

From my experience, if you experience headaches they do tend to go away after your first couple of fasts. If needed, you can treat your headache as you normally would when not fasting. Just remember to drink lots of water and get some fresh air during your fast (and in general).

14. Can I Drink When Intermittent Fasting?

Yes you can but make sure there are no calories.

That also doesn’t mean drinking diet soda is ok, because it’s not. Just drink water or herbal tea.

Some people tell you that black coffee is ok to drink during a fast but I wouldn’t advise that. Yes, the caffeine in the coffee will skyrocket your epinephrine which can assist with fat loss, but since I don’t advise drinking coffee in general, you’re better off without it, especially when its caffeine isn’t buffered by food.

Instead, focus on drinking plenty of water and/or any herbal teas that you enjoy without the use of milk, sugar, or sweeteners. Remember, this is a day of “rest” for your body so that means no calories of any kind.

15. How Often Should I Do Intermittent Fasting?

This really depends on the type you’re using but if you’re following my 1-day fast, then once per week is plenty. Some people choose to do TWO 24-hour fasts per week and have seen great results doing so, but I would say that’s the maximum.

But if you’re doing the 16/8 fast, you can do it as often as you like. In fact this is a good way to deal with travel or work, not having to worry about eating out.

16. Will Intermittent Fasting Slow Down My Metabolism?

In spite of all the fat burning benefits I’ve already mentioned, you might still be wondering whether or not intermittent fasting will slow your metabolism to a halt.

After all, you’ve probably been told that you have to eat every 2-3 hours or your metabolism will shut down and you’ll store fat. Thankfully, that couldn’t be more untrue.

In a 2000 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, subjects went through 4 days of fasting to determine the impact on their resting energy expenditure, which is the amount of energy your body needs to carry out all of its basic functions when you’re resting.

The findings would surprise most people: for the first 3 days, the subjects all saw their resting energy expenditure (metabolism) increase!

In another study by a different group of researchers, people who even fasted every other day (alternate day fasting) for 22 days had no decrease in their resting metabolic rate.

In addition, people who were on very-low-calorie diets and on a resistance exercise program (i.e., lifting weights) did not see a decrease in resting metabolic rate, and these people were eating only 800 calories a day for 12 weeks!

In still more studies, there was no change in the metabolic rate of people who skipped breakfast, or people who ate two meals a day compared to seven meals per day.

The bottom line is that food, or the lack thereof (at least in the short term), has virtually nothing to do with your metabolism.

In fact, your metabolism is much more closely tied to your body weight, and specifically your muscle mass. If your body fat (and thus your lean mass) goes up or down, so does your metabolism.

It is prolonged fasting which slows metabolism. What we are doinh here, however, if alternate fasting and ‘feasting’ (normal eating).

Slow Metabolism - The Number One Cause

The #1 cause of slow metabolism is low muscle mass.

Bringing a few of these studies to your attention has hopefully shown you that short-term fasting can provide incredible benefits without worrying about it sabotaging your metabolism.

There’s nothing to be scared of, and hopefully, I’ve eased any misconceptions you’ve had about how to do intermittent fasting and its impact on your metabolism.

17. Is Intermittent Fasting Safe for Women?

Ah, I’ve saved the best for last.

This is the biggest area of controversy when it comes to how to do intermittent fasting.

Those who caution women against intermittent fasting state that studies show that it negatively impacts fertility. And that’s true.

Unfortunately, what most of these people fail to realize is that ALL of these studies use “alternate day” fasting protocols where women are literally eating nothing every other day!

No wonder their hormones get messed up and have fertility issues.

Remember, I’m advising a 1-day fast once per week – which is much, much safer and I’ve yet to see any negative effects in the thousands of women that I’ve helped with intermittent fasting.

There is some research that looked at the effect of short-term fasting on the menstrual cycle of women.

These research studies found that despite the metabolic changes that occur during fasting, even fasts as long as 72 hours do not seem to have an effect on the menstrual cycle of normal cycling women.

Interestingly, even longer fasts have been shown to have little impact on the menstrual cycle of normal weight women.

There is research, however, to suggest that longer fasts (72 hours) can affect the menstrual cycle of exceptionally lean women (body fat levels well below 20%). (18, 19)

Overall, there’s a lot of research (even some of the “alternate day” studies) that show intermittent fasting to be safe, healthy, and effective at burning fat in women of all shapes and sizes. But again, we’re not going crazy with this and only fasting for no longer than 24 hours.

Nonetheless, if you’re a woman and still unsure whether or not intermittent fasting is right for you, then my advice would be to inch yourself into it so that you’re fasting for 8-10 hours at a time. Then gradually increase that length of time as you see fit.

UPDATE: Here are a few more questions that have come across my desk…
What is your opinion on intermittent fasting if a person has hypothyroid?

In general you should be fine if your fast is no longer than 24 hours. Here’s what you should know:

Since the circadian rhythm is affected by both food and light exposure, lifestyle practices can enhance natural circadian rhythms. These practices should optimize the circadian cycle:

Light entrainment: Get daytime sun exposure, and sleep in a totally darkened room.

Daytime feeding: Eat during daylight hours, so that food rhythms and light rhythms are in sync.

Intermittent fasting: Concentrate food intake during an 8-hour window during daylight hours, preferably the afternoon. A 16-hour fast leading to lower blood sugar and insulin levels, and the more intense hormonal response to food that results from concentration of daily calories into a short 8-hour time window, will accentuate the diurnal rhythm.

Adequate carb intake: this will be taken care of on other days where you’re eating plenty of healthy carbs.

I’ve read that it’s not a good idea if you have adrenal fatigue. What’s your thoughts?

It will depend on the individual but if you’ve got full blown AF you may want to do a shorter fast and have something small throughout the day to stabilize your blood sugar.

Hope that helps.

Sta Healthy.

The Most Important Cholesterol Ratio to Watch

 Dr. Stephen Sinatra

It's important to watch your triglyceride to HDL cholesterol ratio.

As many of you know, I’ve long said cholesterol isn’t the real culprit when it comes to heart health, inflammation is. That hasn’t changed. But there is one cholesterol ratio you want to watch—your ratio of triglycerides to HDL cholesterol levels. In fact, a study published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation found that those people with the highest triglyceride-to-HDL cholesterol ratios had a sixteen times greater risk of heart disease than those with the lowest ratios.

What should your triglycerides-to-HDL cholesterol ratio be? Ideally, you want no more than a 2:1 ratio of triglycerides to HDL cholesterol. So, if your triglycerides are 100 mg/dl, your HDL cholesterol should be 50 mg/dl. Anything under 3:5 is considered a good ratio, but I don’t like to see a blood lipids ratio that’s over 5:1. (Learn more about this ratio in my book, The Great Cholesterol Myth.)

If Your Ratio of Triglycerides to HDL Cholesterol is High, How Can You Lower It?

One of the most powerful solutions I’ve found for promoting a healthy triglyceride to HDL cholesterol ratio is an extract from the citrus bergamot orange grown in the Calabria area of Italy. Research has shown it helps to lower triglycerides and increase HDL cholesterol levels. Another important benefit is that it helps to reduce blood glucose levels.

How to Lower Triglycerides Naturally
  • Reduce your intake of sugar and processed carbohydrates which can raise your triglycerides.
  • Take omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) which help promote normal triglyceride levels. For triglyceride support, take 2–3 grams daily in divided doses.
To Raise Your HDL Cholesterol Levels
  • Take niacin (vitamin B3). Since it can cause flushing, my recommendation is that you start with 250 mg of niacin three times daily, and slowly work up to 1–2 grams in divided doses three times a day.
  • Get regular, physical exercise. Strive for 30–60 minutes of aerobic activity three to five days a week.
  • Drink red wine in moderation. Red wine helps to boost HDL cholesterol, plus it contains resveratrol, a phytonutrient with cardio-protective benefits.
  • Diet is crucial. Avoid processed foods, as well as those high in sugar and trans fats. Instead, opt for foods that are rich in heart-healthy fats and soluble fiber. Almonds also help to support healthy HDL cholesterol levels.

Stay Informed, Stay Healthy.

Superfood: 8 Powerful Alfalfa Benefits

Alfalfa benefits our health in some amazing ways.

What is Alfalfa?

Alfalfa is an extraordinary superfood and has been prized for its healing properties for centuries.

The ancient literature on this incredible plant—the edible parts look like tufts of bean sprouts—dates back to 1300 B.C., and it was used in Iran as fodder for horses. It would find later use in traditional Chinese and Indian Ayurveda as a treatment for a plethora of ailments.

Alfalfa is a perennial plant that grows in a temperate climates and sends its roots up to 20-30 feet deep into the ground.

This allows it to extract essential minerals from the earth that make it such a wonderfully nutritious source of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.

It belongs to the Fabaceae family, which also includes the humble pea. Although alfalfa is not always thought of as a green, the name itself derives from the arabic term for “green fodder”. That’s good enough for me!

Nutritional Benefits of Alfalfa

Alfalfa benefits milk-producing livestock because of its high protein content and digestible fiber, and is primarily used as both a fresh and dried fodder for horses and livestock.

Besides being a rich source of protein and fiber, alfalfa is also rich in most of the vitamins and some essential minerals like zinc, manganese, magnesium, iron and calcium.

Eventually, the health benefits of alfalfa came to made use of by humans as well.

In its grassy (cellulose) form, it’s problematic for our digestion, but used as seed sprouts, juice, or as dried leaves in powder, tablet or tea form, it’s a wonderful addition to our diet.

I personally love alfalfa sprouts in my salads and lettuce wraps.

How the Superfood Alfalfa Benefits Your Health 

With it being a virtual nutritional powerhouse, it is not surprising that alfalfa benefits us in so many varied ways. I’ve listed some of its most important benefits here:

1. Reduction of Serum Cholesterol

Alfalfa is rich in saponins, phytoestrogen, antioxidants and digestible fiber, all of which prevent fat from clogging up our arteries. Though the sprouts are not very rich in saponins, the dried leaf powder does manage to control serum cholesterol significantly.

2. Control of Diabetes and Obesity

Its high digestible fiber content ensures a feeling of satiety which can reduce our hunger and also our obesity. All of this indirectly benefits patients suffering from diabetes and obesity.

3. Relief from Constipation

The presence of digestive fiber and digestive enzymes in alfalfa is of humongous benefit to our digestion.

4. A Great Source of Protein

Alfalfa sprouts and dried leaf powder are rich sources of easily digestible protein and are therefore a great source of protein for vegans and vegetarians.

5. A Source of Essential Vitamins

Alfalfa is perhaps one of the few foods that can take care of most of your body’s vitamin requirements.

The phytonutrients in the plant include phytoestrogens, saponins, flavonoids, alkaloids, coumarins, phytosterols, amino acids, vitamins, terpenes and digestive enzymes.

That’s a mouthful, but that’s not all!

It’s also a rich source of Vitamins C and K and caters to the daily requirements of the B complex family of vitamins.

In addition to the vitamins, the daily requirements of some essential minerals like magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, and calcium are adequately fulfilled by eating alfalfa.

Zinc and magnesium are essential ingredients required for the production of testosterone, which makes them an essential requirement for reproductive health, especially in the males.

Adequate testosterone levels are essential for physically active people—especially athletes.Considering this, it’s clear that consumption of alfalfa is a good way to build your body for high performance. I wish I ate more of it when I was a professional football player!

6. Cardiovascular Health

Alfalfa contains certain compounds that prevent the formation of atherosclerotic plaques and clots.

Alfalfa also provides the body with flavonoids, which help in the relaxation of the vascular smooth muscles, thereby rendering them more pliant and thus less susceptible to clogging.

This directly decreases the chances of a cerebrovascular accident and myocardial infarction. In short, it does wonders for your cardiovascular health.

7. Alleviating Kidney Problems and Relieving Fluid Retention

Sluggish kidneys are known to improve with regular use of alfalfa. In fact, it has been traditionally used as a diuretic and many herbalists prescribe it in kidney and prostate ailments.

The thinking is that it reduces the blood urea levels and improves creatinine clearance. This has a cascading effect in relieving fluid retention in patients, which in turn improves overall health.

8. Hormonal Benefits for Women

Alfalfa benefits women deeply as it’s an extremely rich source of phytoestrogens.

Regular use of alfalfa provides for a hormonal balance in premenopausal and menopausal women.

These are just a few scientifically proven benefits of alfalfa. If you take a look at the history of its use in the realm of folk healing, there are so many more to consider.

Alfalfa tea has been traditionally prescribed to people suffering from various respiratory conditions, everything from bronchitis and whooping cough to allergies and hay fever.

It has also been known as a folk remedy for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Finally, alfalfa acts as an adaptogen, which helps your body restore itself to a general state of balance.

YURI ELKAIM

Deskercise! 33 Smart Ways to Exercise at Work

Recent research suggests that the recommended 30 minutes of cardio five times per week may not undo the health risks of a sedentary lifestyle .

So what’s a worker chained to his or her desk to do? Luckily short bouts of aerobics, strength exercises, and stretching in between conference calls and Gchats can help improve fitness levels and heart health . While these deskercises, or desk exercises for the cubicle-bound, won’t promise Olympic mile times or six-pack abs, they might just improve strength and burn a few extra calories to boot.

Cardio

1. The Twinkle Toe: Tap into your inner Fred Astaire by speedily tapping those toes on the floor under your desk. Or graduate to a harder (and less inconspicuous) move: Stand in front of a small trashcan and lift up those legs to tap the toes on its edge, alternating feet, in soccer-drill fashion.

2. The Stair Master: Want to avoid elevator small talk in favor of elevating the heart rate? Take the stairs! Accelerate on the straight-aways and take two at a time every other flight for a real leg burn.

3. The Slog, Then Jog:  Pop up from your chair  and jog in place. Willing to huff and puff a little more? Pick up those knees! Continue for one minute, return to spreadsheets, and repeat.

4. The Celebratory Split Squat Jumps: With feet hip-width apart, step the left leg back two feet and balance on the ball of the foot. Next, lower into a lunge, and then accelerate upwards in an explosion of celebration. While in the air, switch feet so that the left foot is planted firmly in front and the right leg is now behind. Repeat 10-12 times on each side.

5. The Cubicle Wanderer: Walking during work is totally underrated . Take a stroll down the hall to catch up with coworkers or welcome a new employee.

6. The Mover and Shaker: Release stress and spark some energy with a quick bout of seated dancing when no one is looking!

 

Butt and Legs

7. The Wall (Street) Sit: Wall sits are great for building strength and endurance. Standing with your back against the wall, bend the knees and slide your back down the wall until the thighs are parallel to the floor. Sit and hold for 30-60 seconds. For some extra burn, try crossing the right ankle over the left knee, hold for 15 seconds, then switch!

8. The Last Man Standing: Sure, standing around isn’t exactly traditional exercise, but research shows it’s got more than a leg up on sitting. After all, long periods of sitting are linked to increased risk for diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease, whereas standing significantly increases your daily caloric expenditure . Stand whenever you can, and consider roping in other coworkers to have standing meetings too!

9. The Patient Printer: Why lackadaisically stand by the printing pages when you could be sculpting your calves with calf raises? Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, press up onto the tippy toes, pause at the top, then lower back down. Repeat for three sets of 12-15 reps, or until the printing, faxing, or scanning is done. Ready to level up? Try raising only one leg at a time.

10. The Silent Seat Squeeze: Believe it or not, some deskercises can be kept under wraps, and this isometric glutes exercise is one of them. To start toning, simply squeeze the buttocks, hold for 5-10 seconds, and release. Repeat until the agenda wraps up or the glutes tire. The results will be uplifting in more ways than one.

11. The Seated Leg Raiser: When pay raises are nowhere to be seen, consider the leg raise. (Bonus: they’re hardly noticeable underneath the desk!) While seated, straighten one or both legs and hold in place for five or more seconds. Then lower the leg(s) back to the ground without letting the feet touch the floor. Repeat (alternating legs if raising them separately) for 15 reps. Underwhelmed? Loop a purse or briefcase strap over the ankle for added weight, or for more of an abs workout, add a crunch.

12. The Desk Squat: Mastered the art of standing around? Add a squat! Start standing with feet together (and the desk chair pushed out of the way). Bend the knees slightly so the thighs are almost parallel to the ground, as if sitting in a chair. As you bend, raise the arms straight up or towards the computer screen. Keep the knees together and aligned. Hold for 15 seconds and release. Repeat for 4-6 reps.

13. The Lunch Break Hammy: Strengthen the hamstrings with this standing leg curl. Stand behind your chair and hold onto it for support. Gently kick one foot back, aiming the heel for the top of your thigh. Lower the foot back down and repeat exercise with the other leg. Do 10 reps, take a bite of your lunch, and then do 10 more.

14. The Grim Reamer: Scope out the office for a ream of paper, or a sealed package of printing paper. While seated, place the stack in between the knees and press legs inward, engaging the inner thighs. Continue squeezing the paper ream in place for 30-60 seconds while sorting through the morning’s flood of emails. (Now that’s multitasking!)

 

Shoulders and Arms

15. The Cubicle Dip: Triceps dips can be done almost anywhere, including a cubicle. Using a sturdy desk or a non-rolling chair, sit at the very edge and place hands on either side of the body while gripping the chair’s edge. With the feet planted on the floor a step or two away from the desk or chair, straighten up the arms to lift up the body. Next, bend the arms to reach a 90-degree angle so that your body dips down, hold, and re-straighten while keeping the body raised above the chair. Complete 8-10 reps.

16. The Stapler Curl: Trusty staplers are always guarded closely, especially the red ones. Seated or standing, take the stapler in one hand with the palm facing upwards. Starting at the thighs, bend the elbow and curl the arm up towards the chest, just like a regular dumbbell biceps curl. Pause momentarily and then lower the stapler back down. Continue for 12-15 reps, then switch. Don’t have a weighty stapler? Try using a filled water bottle or a heavy change purse (the vending machine can wait!).

17. The Namaste:  Seated upright with feet flat on the floor, bring the palms together in front of the chest and push both hands together powerfully until you feel the arm muscles contract. Hold the prayer hands pushed together for 20 seconds. Release and repeat the sequence until you feel a little more zen.

18. The Secret Handshake: Let’s make a deal. Sitting up and with feet flat on the floor, clasp hands together as if giving yourself a handshake (with one hand’s thumb pointing to the floor and the other pointing to the ceiling). Then pull! Resist the motion of both arms (you should definitely feel this in those biceps). Hold for 10 seconds or more, release, and repeat.

19. The Fist Pump: Received approval from the head honcho for extra vacation days? Time to rock out to that Bruce Springsteen playlist while simultaneously toning the arms. Fist punch into the air like a champ (alternating arms, of course), and continue for 60 seconds or more—or until you realize the boss is right behind you.

20. The Knuckle Sandwich: So the big cheese said no to the promotion and returned your project covered in red ink. To relieve frustration and get a fab arm fix, try shadow boxing to the perfect boxing playlist. Stand (if you can) and throw out a few jabs, hooks, and uppercuts in rapid succession (just watch out for computers and coworkers!). Continue for a minute or longer to blow off steam and tone the arms, chest, and core.

21. The Flapper:  Standing with arms by your sides and palms facing behind, pulse the arms backward for 5 seconds. Release and repeat for 12-15 reps. For best results, make sure to keep the arms long and straight!

22. The Casual Lean: Waiting in the hall for a meeting to start? Perfect time to nonchalantly work out the upper arms! Casually lean against the nearest wall, supporting your body with the forearm only. Now lean into the wall until the upper arm almost touches it, and then push back out. Repeat for 15 reps or until the meeting gets underway.

23. The Lumberjack: Stand and clasp the hands together, resting them on the right shoulder as if holding an axe. Gently swing the imaginary “axe” by straightening the elbows and moving the hands toward the left thigh. Next, bring the clasped hands to the left shoulder followed by a swing to right thigh. Repeat 15 times on each side, or until all office plants have been hacked down.

24. The Office Genie: Want to add a little magic to the workday? Raise the legs into a criss-cross applesauce position while seated in a chair. With your hands on the armrests, push upwards to raise the body off the seat and remain floating for 10-20 seconds. After granting a few wishes, release back down to the chair, rest for a minute, and repeat. Craving more magic? Try this balancing act while in a chair that spins.

Chest, Back, and Neck

25. The Pencil Pinch: Roll back the shoulders until the shoulder blades are pinched together. Pretend you’re holding a pencil between the scapulas (or try it for real!). Hold for 5-10 seconds, release, and repeat for 12-15 reps.

26. The Shoulder Shrug: Simply raise both shoulders up toward the ears, hold for 5 seconds, then relax. Repeat for 15 reps. Feeling unstoppable? Try advanced shoulder shrugs while standing and holding a paper ream in each hand.

27. The Pinstripe Push-Up: This slightly modified wall push-up is more suitable for suits. Standing one to two feet from a sturdy wall (not a cubicle divider!), lean forward until palms are flush against the wall, with arms straight and parallel to the ground. Next, bend the elbows to bring the body towards the wall, hold for two seconds, then push back to the starting position. Complete 12-15 reps.

28. The Nape Shaper: Turtleneck season is over—it’s time to tone that neck! For the first isometric neck strengthening trick, put your head in your hands as if exasperated by the workday (you may already be in this position), and press your palms into your forehead as if trying to push the head backward. Resist the motion by engaging the neck muscles. Next, clasp the hands behind the back of the head and try to push the head backward, resisting the motion with your hands. Hold each deskercise for 5 seconds, or until The Evolution of Ryan Gosling has finally loaded. Slowly release, rest, and repeat 5 times each.

Core

29. The Desk Chair Swivel: Lucky enough to have a fun swivel chair? Use its twirl to your advantage with this oblique abs fix. Sitting upright and with the feet hovering over the floor, hold the edge of your desk with your fingers and thumb. Next, use the core to swivel the chair from side to side. Swish back and forth for 15 rounds.

30. The “Weeee” Desk Chair Wheel: Go ahead, play with your wheelie chair (everyone wants to!). While seated in a chair with wheels, position yourself at arm’s length from a desk or table and grasp its edge with your hands. Next, engage the core, raise the feet slightly off the ground, and pull with your arms until the chair slowly rolls forward and your chest touches the desk’s edge. Then roll back by pushing away, with the feet still raised. Repeat 20 times, or until you burn holes into the carpet.

31. The Posture Perfecter: Perfect posture is a must for long days at the desk. Practice safe desk ergonomics by adjusting the chair height to make sure the feet, hips, and arms are at 90-degree angles to the floor. Engage the core to keep the back straight throughout the day. No slouching allowed!

32. The Fab Abs Squeeze: Another silent deskercise, this one can be covertly executed when walking down the hall or seated during a call. Simply take a deep breath and tighten the abdominal muscles, bringing them in towards the spine as you exhale. Stay squeezed for 5-10 seconds and release. Repeat for 12-15 reps.

33. The “Crunch Time” Crunch: The deadlines are looming, as are hopes for a six-pack by summer. (And maybe a six-pack of Corona, too.) While most jobs don’t condone in-office boozing, you can get the other six-pack with some seated isometric crunches. With both elbows on the thighs, try to curl the chest in towards the legs while resisting the movement with the arms. Hold for 10 seconds, release, and repeat times 10.

Also Check Out: 50 Bodyweight Exercises You Can Do Anywhere

Keep forgetting to do your deskercises at work? We know you’re a Microsoft Outlook pro! Make a calendar reminder or apply sticky notes around the workstation. Embarrassed? Seek out an empty conference room on a lunch break. We bet our biceps that coworkers will not only enjoy your deskercise routine, but admire it.

Stay Healthy anywhere. There’s no excuse not to. 

Proven Benefits of Quercetin

Quercetin - Dr. Ax

Have you ever wondered what makes a “superfood” super? Or what key superfoods like red wine, green tea, kale and blueberries all have in common? The answer is quercetin, a natural compound tied to what all of us seek: better longevity, heart health, endurance, immune system and more.

Research even shows that quercetin displays anticancer properties. In fact, there isn’t much this powerful antioxidant compound can’t do, especially when combined with the health benefits of bromelain, an anti-inflammatory enzyme.

All this explains why I strongly recommend consuming food sources that contain quercetin regularly. But what are those foods? And how much should you consume? Let’s explore.


Considered one of the most abundant antioxidants in the human diet, quercetin plays an important part in fighting free radical damage, the effects of aging and inflammation.  While you can get plenty of quercetin from eating a healthy diet, some people also take quercetin supplements for their strong anti-inflammatory effects.


 

Quercetin benefits - Dr. Axe

Benefits of Quercetin

1. Lowers Inflammation

At this time, practitioners and patients report using quercetin to effectively fight conditions related to inflammation, including (6):

  • “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis)
  • high cholesterol
  • heart disease and circulation problems
  • insulin resistance and diabetes
  • eye-related disorders, including cataracts
  • allergies, asthma and hay fever
  • stomach ulcers
  • cognitive impairment
  • gout
  • viral infections
  • inflammation of the prostate, bladder and ovaries
  • chronic fatigue syndrome
  • cancer
  • chronic infections of the prostate
  • skin disorders, including dermatitis and hives

2. Fights Allergies

Quercetin is a natural antihistamine and an anti-inflammatory, making it effective for naturally lowering the effects of season and food allergies, plus asthma and skin reactions.

Quercetin can help stabilize the release of histamines from certain immune cells, which results in decreased symptoms like coughs, watery eyes, runny noses, hives, swollen lips or tongue, and indigestion. In fact, it’s so effective that quercetin is used in ancient Chinese herbal formulas created to block allergies to certain foods (such as peanuts), known as food allergy herbal formulas. Studies show that quercetin, a natural medicine and phytochemical, is equivalent at fighting allergies as some prescription medications, all with little to no side effects.

3. Supports Heart Health

Because of its ability to lower inflammation and oxidative stress, quercetin seems to be beneficial for people with heart and blood vessel-related disorders.  For example, eating lots of deeply colored fruits and veggies that contain flavonoids is linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular diease, and even death, in older adults.

Studies done in animal and some human populations show that various types of flavonoids (quercetin, resveratrol and catechins, for example) can help reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, which is a dangerous condition caused by plaque building up within the arteries. Cut-off blood flow in the arteries is one of the primary risk factors for experiencing a heart attack or stroke, which is why cardiac arrest is less likely among people who eat a nutrient-packed diet.

Antioxidants also seem to protect the body from experiencing increases in LDL “bad” cholesterol and can help regulate blood pressure levels. Certain studies show that quercetin prevents damage to LDL cholesterol particles, and it seems that people who eat the most flavonoid-rich foods typically have healthier and lower cholesterol levels, plus less incidence of hypertension. In fact, if you’ve ever heard that red wine is good for your heart, that’s because it’s a natural source of quercetin. It’s one of the main active ingredients in red wine extract, which is associated with healthier heart function.

4. Helps Fight Pain

Taking quercetin supplements can help lower pain associated with autoimmune conditions, such as arthritis, as well as infections, including those of the prostate and respiratory tract. That’s because quercetin reduces inflammatory pain. There’s some evidence from several small studies that people experiencing bladder pains from infections (causing an urgent need to urinate, swelling and burning) have fewer symptoms when taking quercetin supplements.

Flavonoids are also linked to reduced symptoms of prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). There’s evidence that when patients with RA switch from eating a “typical Western diet” to one higher in antioxidant-rich foods (like uncooked berries, fruits, vegetables, nuts, roots, seeds and sprouts), they experience less pain and reoccurring symptoms, making quercetin a natural arthritis treatment.

5. Might Help Improve Endurance

Quercetin is added to some athletic supplements because it’s believed to help increase athletic performance and endurance, likely because of its positive effects on blood flow. Antioxidants like quercetin could boost physical performance since they help increase the health of blood vessels, which carry oxygen and nutrients to muscle and joint tissue.

Other studies also show that quercetin helps increase immune function and prevents susceptibility to illnesses that can occur when someone trains intensely and experiences exhaustion. One study found evidence that taking 500 milligrams of quercetin twice daily helped protect cyclers from developing exercise-induced respiratory infections following periods of heavy exercise.

6. Might Help Fight Cancer

A Boston University School of Medicine study published in the Journal of Biological Regulators and Homeostatic Agents shows a link between a nutrient-dense diet rich in quercetin plus other antioxidants and a lowered risk of cancer.  Quercetin seems to have potential chemo-preventive activity and might have a unique antiproliferative effect on cancerous cells, making it an effective addition to any natural cancer treatment approach.

Flavonoids can help stop the processes involved in cell mutation, the growth of tumors and symptoms related to typical cancer treatments, such as radiation or chemotherapy.

Quercetin is considered a safe treatment approach for stopping cancer, and in the future, we might see it used as a natural therapy instead of, or in conjunction with, conventional methods.

7. Helps Protect Skin Health

Capable of blocking “mast cells,” which are immune cells critical in triggering allergic reactions, inflammatory disease and autoimmune disease, quercetin helps protect skin from the effects of disorders like dermatitis and photosensitivity.


Top Natural Sources of Quercetin

All types of tasty red, green and purple-pigmented plants come packed with quercetin — for example, red wine, blueberries, apples, red onion and even green tea are some of the best sources of quercetin. The amount of quercetin found in plant foods can vary a lot depending on where they’re grown, how fresh they are, how they’re prepared and so on.

Some of the top sources of quercetin to add to your diet include:

Quercetin foods - Dr. Axe


Are There Any Side Effects of Quercetin Supplements?

Because it’s derived naturally from foods, quercetin seems to be safe for almost everyone and poses little risks. Most studies have found little to no side effects in people eating nutrient-dense diets high in quercetin or taking supplements by mouth short term. Amounts up to 500 milligrams taken twice daily for 12 weeks appear to be very safe.

For women who are pregnant or breast-feeding, quercetin doesn’t seem to have any negative effects, although there hasn’t been much research done in this population so it’s always a good idea to talk it over with your doctor first.

It’s always simple to Stay Healthy!

Habits Of People Who Reach & Maintain Their Ideal Weight

from Brian Syukihappyandhealthypeopledrinkwaterduh-825x496

 

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Ever wondered why most people never lose weight? Or why folks can’t keep the weight off after they lose it? There are many reasons why people fail to lose weight, but instead of focusing on those who fail, let’s look into those who succeed.

Here are a few things they do differently to lose weight and keep it off for the long haul. If you emulate what they do, soon you’ll be sharing your own success story.

1. They are flexible with their diets.
People who lose weight and keep it off understand that 100 percent adherence to diet is not necessary. So they eat healthy 90 percent of the time. Frankly, it’s totally fine to eat foods you enjoy every now and then. In fact, following a strict diet is stressful and usually leads to binging.

2. They don’t obsess over small things.
You’ll never hear anyone credit their weight-loss success to “training when the body is in the fat-burning zone” or “not eating carbs after 6 pm.” A lot of people in the fitness industry are looking to make a quick buck, and they’ll make you believe anything

What time you decide to exercise or eat doesn’t make a significant difference in weight loss. Instead of buying into these weight-loss myths, focus on things that really matter like, calorie intake, eating healthy foods, and establishing a regular fitness regimen.

3. They exercise regularly.
I’m sure you’ve heard of people who have lost weight without exercising. As appealing as it may sound, exercise is a huge part of a healthy lifestyle, and a great tool to help you maintain your weight. Exercise (especially strength training) will help build muscle mass and enhance fat loss. Aim to exercise at least three to four times a week.

4. They track their food intake.
Naturally, to lose weight you have to maintain a calorie deficit. Tracking your food intake will help you know if you are consuming food groups in the right proportion specifically if you are getting enough protein and good fats.

5. They drink water.
Studies show that drinking plenty of water is good for weight loss. Make sure you drink at least two liters of water a day.

6. They eat home-cooked meals.
Cooking gives you the opportunity to prepare delicious, healthy meals — and know exactly what is going into your meals. It also makes it easier to control portions.

7. They develop habits they can maintain long term.
These people understand that eating healthy and exercising is a lifetime thing. They don’t jump from one fad diet to another. Find and develop habits that you can maintain for a lifetime.

8. They track their progress.
I suggest you track your weight and body-fat percentage. Weigh yourself once a week, at the same time each week, using the same scale. Taking daily measurements doesn’t make sense because weight fluctuates due to water retention. Also, measure your body fat percentage after every three weeks.

By the way, you don’t need to make all these changes at once. Make one or two changes every week and eventually they’ll become habits.

I have myself lost 10 kg over the last eight months, and it is easy to keep it off because eating healthy has become a lifestyle. The changed gut bacteria promote healthy eating because I no longer have cravings ( or only very occasionally, when I give in happily!).

Stay Healthy.

Image Courtesy Google

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