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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Processed Foods Vs Whole Foods

Source: PsycheTruth

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sitting on the Time Bomb - Part 2

Many Canadians are poorly informed about diet-related diseases. This information is vital to one's health and well being. It is important to be informed about the hidden dangers in your North American consumption habits. Many holistic nutritionists agree that there are many errors contained within the Canadian Food Guide. And in a few cases, the stated information on the said guide is in fact opposite to the reality! The choice is ours. We can choose to make changes for our greater good, or ignore the impacts of our food choices on our bodies. Choose wisely!

Source: Amazing Discoveries

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Your Health Your Choice - Part 1

The majority of the population today is serious lacking the pertinent information needed to make healthy lifestyle changes. When it comes to diet and dieting, many of us are misled by "experts" and we are often duped into thinking that we are eating "healthy". What is healthy eating? The following series will tackle this very issue. You may be pleasantly surprised, doubtful or perhaps even shocked by what is revealed. Make sure to take notes!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Skinny On Cheese...

Do you have a fetish for cheese? Beware, eating more than 50 grams of cheese daily may increase your risk of bladder cancer, a new study has claimed.

A team of Dutch and Belgian researchers found that the risk increased by more than 50 per cent in those who ate more than 53 grams of cheese a day -- roughly the same weight as a small chocolate bar.

But eating less than that did not appear to increase the dangers, said the researchers, who also found that a daily portion of olive oil, on the other hand, can more than halve the risk of getting the disease, the Daily Mail reported.

For the study, the researchers looked at how dietary fats influence a person's chances of getting bladder cancer, which kills thousands of people every year worldwide.

According to scientists, smokers are four times more likely to develop the disease than non-smokers. Other risk factors include exposure to harmful chemicals in the workplace and repeated bouts of bladder infections. But studies have produced conflicting evidence on whether different types of fats prevent cancer or increase the chances of it occurring.

In the latest research, the team set out to discover if saturated fats, such as those found in meat and dairy products, made cancer more likely while healthier fats, such as olive oil, offered some protection. They studied the eating habits of 200 bladder cancer victims and compared them with 386 volunteers who had not developed tumours.

The results showed eating cheese had little effect unless the amount exceeded 53 grams a day. After that the risk went up by more than half.


Monday, October 31, 2011

Important Achilles Stretches

What is an Achilles tendon Injury?

Firstly, let's take a look at where the Achilles tendon is located and what it does.

As you can see from the diagram to the right, the Achilles tendon is located at the rear (posterior) of the bottom half of the lower leg. In the diagram it is represented by the thick band of connective fibre that runs from bottom of the Gastrocnemius muscle to the heel bone.

The Achilles tendon is used to plantar flex the foot, or point the foot downward. This allows a person the run, jump and stand on one's toes.

The Achilles tendon is the strongest tendon of the body, and able to withstand a 1000 pound force without tearing. Despite this, the Achilles ruptures more frequently than any other tendon because of the tremendous pressures placed on it during competitive sports.

There are two main types of injuries that affect the Achilles tendon; Achillis Tendonitis and Achilles Tendon Rupture.

Achilles Tendonitis is simply an inflammation of the tendon, and in most cases is caused by excessive training over an extended period of time.

Achilles Tendon Rupture, on the other hand, is a tear (or complete snapping) of the tendon, and usually occurs as the result of a sudden or unexpected force. In the case of a complete rupture, the only treatment available is to place the lower leg in a plaster cast for 6 to 8 weeks, or surgery. As both of these treatments are beyond the scope of this newsletter, we'll be focusing the rest of this article on Achilles Tendonitis.

Causes and Risk Factors

There are a number of causes and risk factors associated with Achilles Tendonitis. One of the most common causes is simply a lack of conditioning. If the tendon, and muscles that connect to the tendon, have not been trained or conditioned, this can lead to a weakness that may result in an Achilles injury.

Overtraining is also associated with Achilles Tendonitis. Doing too much, too soon places excessive strain on the Achilles tendon and doesn't allow the tendon enough time to recovery properly. Over time small tears and general degeneration result in a weakening of the tendon, which leads to inflammation and pain.

Other causes of Achilles injury include a lack of warming up and stretching. Wearing inadequate footwear, running or training on uneven ground, and simply standing on, or in something you're not meant to. Biomechanical problems such as high arched feet or flat feet can also lead to Achilles injuries.

So what are some of the things you can do to help prevent Achilles Tendonitis?

1. Warm Up properly
A good warm up is essential in getting the body ready for any activity. A well structured warm up will prepare your heart, lungs, muscles, joints and your mind for strenuous activity.

2. Plyometric Training
Plyometric drills include jumping, skipping, bounding, and hopping type activities. These explosive types of exercises help to condition and prepare the muscles, tendons and ligaments in the lower leg and ankle joint.

3. Balancing Exercises
Any activity that challenges your ability to balance, and keep your balance, will help what's called proprioception: - your body's ability to know where it's limbs are at any given time.

4. Stretch and Strengthen
I'll cover these in a lot more detail a little later on when I discuss rehabilitation and conditioning exercises.

5. Footwear
Be aware of the importance of good footwear. A good pair of shoes will help to keep your ankles stable, provide adequate cushioning, and support your foot and lower leg during the running or walking motion.

Source: The Stretching Institute

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Spicy Sweet Potato Pancakes

Spicy Sweet Potato Pancakes

This pancake is wonderful as an appetizer or as a side dish with dinner. Adjust the heat to your liking.
Preparation Time: 15 Minutes
Cooking Time: 6 Minutes for 5 pancakes
Servings: about 12 pancakes

* 1/2 cup (125 mL) plain yogurt
* 1/4 cup (50 mL) chopped fresh coriander
* 2 tbsp (25 mL) finely chppped green onion
* 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt

* Sweet Potato Pancakes 1 Ontario Sweet Potato (about 12 oz/375 g)
* 1 small Ontario Onion
* 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely minced
* 2 tbsp (25 mL) all-purpose flour
* 1 tsp (5 mL) salt
* 1/4 tsp (1mL) ground cumin
* 1/4 tsp (1 mL) cayenne pepper
* 1 egg, lightly beaten
* Vegetable oli (Coconut Oil is healthier)


In small bowl, stir together yogurt, coriander, green onion and salt; set aside.

Sweet Potato Pancakes:

Peel potato; grate into medium bowl. Peel onion and grate into same bowl; toss. Turn into strainer and squeeze to press out any liquid; return to bowl. Stir in jalapeño. In small bowl, stir together flour, salt, cumin and cayenne pepper; toss with sweet potato mixture. Stir in egg until thoroughly mixed.

Heat just enough oil to coat bottom of large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Using about 3 tbsp (45 mL) potato mixture for each pancake, press gently into 2 inches (5 cm) round. Place in pan. Repeat, adding about 4 more to pan, but do not crowd skillet. Cook for 3 minutes or until bottoms have set and are crisp and brown. Carefully flip and cook until crisp and brown and hot inside, 2 to 3 more minutes. Serve with coriander yogurt sauce spooned over top.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Important Lower Back Stretches

Lower back stretches are important for the flexibility and range of motion of the lower back and hip muscles. Good lower back flexibility allows for the unrestricted and pain free movement of the lower back and hips.

Sports that benefit from the lower back stretches below include: Archery; Basketball and Netball; batting sports like Cricket, Baseball and Softball; Boxing; contact sports like Football, Rugby and Gridiron; Cycling; Golf; Hiking, Backpacking, Mountaineering and Orienteering; Ice Hockey and Field Hockey; Ice Skating, Roller Skating and Inline Skating; Martial Arts; racquet sports like Tennis, Badminton and Squash; Rowing, Canoeing and Kayaking; Running, Track and Cross Country; running sports like Football, Soccer, Gridiron and Rugby; Snow Skiing and Water Skiing; Surfing; Swimming; throwing sports like Cricket, Baseball and Field events; Walking and Race Walking; Wrestling.

Lower Back Muscles being Stretched
During the following lower back stretch videos there are a number of muscles within the lower back and hips that are stretched. Below is a comprehensive list of the anatomical muscle names involved in the following lower back stretches.

■Semispinalis Cervicis and Thoracis
■Spinalis Cervicis and Thoracis
■Longissimus Cervicis and Thoracis
■Splenius Cervicis
■Iliocostalis Cervicis and Thoracis
■Iliocostalis Lumborum


Thursday, October 13, 2011

All About SUGAR!!!

Human bodies are designed to run on carbohydrates, which is the source of our energy. We fulfill this need by consuming complex carbohydrates from whole foods like whole grains, vegetables, beans or lentils; or simpler carbohydrates such as from fruits.

However, with technology, man has extracted sweetness but leaving behind the nutrients. Refined sugar is lethal for human consumption because it has been depleted of its life forces, vitamins and minerals, rendering it “empty”.

Concentrated sugar—in the forms of white sugar, brown sugar, glucose, honey and syrup—releases sugar fast, causing a rapid increase in our blood sugar levels when consumed.

If this sugar is not required by the body, it is deposited in "storage" as fats. These concentrated sugars are almost totally devoid of useful nutrients.

When the blood sugar level rises, the pancreas releases insulin into the blood stream. Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate the level of blood sugar.

When we consume food that releases sugar fast (high glycemic index), our body over-reacts to the increase in blood glucose by producing more insulin than necessary.

As a result, blood glucose falls too much within a short time, causing you to feel hungry again. When you respond to that hunger by eating another high glycemic meal, it sets off another cycle of swing in the insulin level.

Over time, these exaggerated increases and falls in the insulin level will lead to a reduction in the body's ability to respond to insulin, the development of a condition called insulin resistance.

When this happens, the glucose level in the blood system remains constantly high. The pancreas respond by producing more and more insulin to try to maintain the sugar blood level, until it can no longer keep up anymore.

This condition is directly damaging to the cells and can cause very severe long-term damage to the body.

Some of the common health problems known that are related to this condition are insomnia, obesity, type-II diabetes, polycystic ovary disease, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and hormone related cancers.

Do not be deceived and use artificial sweetener. They mostly contain aspartame that are even deadlier than your table sugar. A plant-based sugar called stevia is a much healthier alternative.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Importance of Achilles Stretches

So what are some of the things you can do to help prevent Achilles Tendonitis?

1. Warm Up properly

A good warm up is essential in getting the body ready for any activity. A well structured warm up will prepare your heart, lungs, muscles, joints and your mind for strenuous activity.

2. Plyometric Training

Plyometric drills include jumping, skipping, bounding, and hopping type activities. These explosive types of exercises help to condition and prepare the muscles, tendons and ligaments in the lower leg and ankle joint.

3. Balancing Exercises

Any activity that challenges your ability to balance, and keep your balance, will help what's called proprioception: - your body's ability to know where it's limbs are at any given time.

4. Stretch and Strengthen

I'll cover these in a lot more detail a little later on when I discuss rehabilitation and conditioning exercises.

5. Footwear

Be aware of the importance of good footwear. A good pair of shoes will help to keep your ankles stable, provide adequate cushioning, and support your foot and lower leg during the running or walking motion.

Source: The Stretching Institute

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lose Weight Quickly – Manage Your Stress

When one decides to lose weight we want to lose weight quickly. It is hard enough to commit to changing your life so you definitely want to see results to keep your motivation up. Typically we choose to do some form of exercise in combination with a nutritious diet. These are the obvious steps we need to take. What may not be so obvious is managing your stress. Stress will affect your hormone production, your ability to relax, and even sleep. These effects of stress will make it harder for your body to lose weight. So if you want to lose weight you not only have to have a healthy body but you also need to have a healthy mind. Remember your looks are only a reflection of your health. If you focus on feeling better the great body will follow.

When we are stressed we release cortisol among other hormones. Cortisol causes the body to store fat, in particular around the waistline. It also can negatively affect your immune system. As many people who have dealt with stress know, the ability to relax and sleep well can be challenging if our mind is racing on stressful situations that come from a myriad of areas in our lives. Work, family, and friends can all be sources of stress at times.

The inability to sleep well will reduce your ability to produce growth hormone (GH) which not only aids in the recovery of your workouts but helps keep the body from storing fat. So stress has a double whammy of high cortisol and low GH sabotaging your plans to lean down.

Many of us dismiss the stress in our lives. People drink or take recreational drugs to deal with stress. Others distract themselves in other ways. Many of us do not tackle stress head on. Working out helps to negate the affects of stress. Certain exercises though are particularly helpful.

When we are stressed it reflects itself as tension that we hold in our bodies. Most notably people get tight shoulders but it is not limited to one particular area of the body. By releasing the tension in our bodies we are directly tackling the symptoms of stress. So stretching, yoga, and massage are great ways to tackle stress.

We also need to learn to clear our minds of the thoughts that cause stress. Meditation is a great way to clear the mind. Remember though that just like any new skill; it takes time to become good at meditation. In other words it takes practice to be able to block out all the random thoughts that stress you out on a regular basis. But if you keep trying you will notice your ability to remain calm when you are not meditating will also improve.

So when you decide to start living a healthy lifestyle and you want to lose weight quickly make sure you address all the facets of health. Eat a nutritious diet, work out regularly, and make de-stressing part of your fitness plan.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Spicy Curried Tofu & Kale Stir Fry

Takes 5 minutes to make, costs less than $6.00 and packed full of protein, vitamins and minerals, omega-3, and taste! Perfect meal to whip up during your detox, or any time really.


100g's Non-GM Organic Firm Tofu
1/2 Bunch of Kale
Handful of Walnuts
1 Tsp of Coconut Oil

Spices to taste
Sea Salt
Cracked Black Pepper


1. Dice tofu into cubes and pat dry with towel
2. Heat oil in skillet to medium heat
3. Add cubes and spices
4. Cook for 3 minutes stirring occasionally
5. Toss in walnuts (crushed)
6. Cut kale into bite sized pieces removing stems, wash and pat dry
7. Toss over top of tofu and cook lightly until tofu turns a bright dark green colour - Do Not Over Cook

Serve immediately and enjoy!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Health Benefits of Vegetarian Diets

Recently, there has been a renewed interest in vegetarian diets. Today there are countless books, cookbooks, and magazine articles promoting vegetarian diets and providing guidance for those who wish to follow a meatless diet.

A Short Historical Perspective on Vegetarian Diets

In the past, many viewed vegetarianism as strange and faddish but appropriately planned vegetarian diets are now recognized by many, including the American Dietetic Association, as being nutritionally adequate, and providing healthful benefits in the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases.

Choosing a nonvegetarian lifestyle has a significant health and medical cost. The total direct medical costs in the United States attributable to meat consumption were estimated to be $30-60 billion a year, based upon the higher prevalence of hypertension, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, gallstones, obesity and food-borne illness among omnivores compared with vegetarians.

A large body of scientific literature suggests that the consumption of a diet of whole grains, legumes, vegetables, nuts, and fruits, with the avoidance of meat and high-fat animal products, along with a regular exercise program is consistently associated with lower blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, less obesity and consequently less heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and mortality. In African-Americans, the frequent consumption of nuts, fruits and green salads was associated with 35-44 percent lower risk of overall mortality.

Distinguishing Feature

A vegetarian diet is distinguished from an omnivorous diet by its content of dry beans and lentils. These take the place of meat and fish as the major source of protein. And there are so many different kinds of beans you can choose from - kidney, lima, pinto, cranberry, navy, Great Northern, garbanzo, soy beans, and black-eyed peas. These can be served with rice, added to soups, stews, and salads or a variety of casseroles, and made into different ethnic dishes.

Tofu, or soy bean curd, can be used in dips and spreads, or served with pasta or stir-fried vegetables. Soy protein contains isoflavones, such as genistein and daidzein, that act as phytoestrogens and inhibit tumor growth, lower blood cholesterol levels, decrease the risk of blood clots, and diminish bone loss. These benefits clearly translate into a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer and osteoporosis.

Cancer Protection

A major report published by the World Cancer Research Fund in 1997 recommended we lower our risk of cancer by choosing predominantly plant-based diets rich in a variety of vegetables and fruits, legumes and minimally processed starchy staple foods, and to limit the intake of grilled, cured and smoked meats and fish. These methods of preparing meat produce polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heterocyclic amines which are carcinogenic.

Over 200 studies have revealed that a regular consumption of fruits and vegetables provides significant protection against cancer at many sites. People who consume higher amounts of fruits and vegetables have about one-half the risk of cancer, especially the epithelial cancers. The risk of most cancers was 20-50% lower in those with a high versus a low consumption of whole grains.

About three dozen plant foods have been identified as possessing cancer-protective properties. These include cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower), umbelliferous vegetables and herbs (carrots, celery, cilantro, caraway, dill, parsley), other fruits and vegetables (citrus, tomatoes, cucumber, grapes, cantaloupe, berries), beans (soybeans), whole grains (brown rice, oats, whole wheat), flaxseed, many nuts, and various seasoning herbs (garlic, scallions, onions, chives, ginger, turmeric, rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage, and basil.

These foods and herbs contain of host of cancer-protective phytochemicals such as carotenoids, flavonoids, isothiocyanates, isoflavones, ellagic acid, glucarates, curcurmins, liminoids, lignans, phenolic acids, phthalides, saponins, phytosterols, sulfide compounds, terpenoids, and tocotrienols. These beneficial compounds alter metabolic pathways and hormonal actions that are associated with the development of cancer, stimulate the immune system, and have antioxidant activity.

Heart Disease

Regular fruit and vegetable consumption reduces the risk of ischemic heart disease. A recent survey of 47,000 Italians found that persons in the highest tertile of vegetable consumption had a 21and 11% reduced risk of myocardial infarction and angina, respectively, compared with those in the lowest tertile of vegetable consumption.

A British study found that daily consumption of fresh fruit was associated with a 24 percent reduction in mortality from heart disease and a 32 percent reduction in death from cerebrovascular disease, compared with less frequent fruit consumption. Daily consumption of raw salad was associated with a 26 percent reduction in mortality from heart disease.

In another study, lifelong vegetarians had a 24 percent lower incidence and lifelong vegans (those who eat no eggs or dairy products) had a 57 percent lower incidence of coronary heart disease compared to meat eaters. Healthy volunteers who consumed a vegetarian diet (25% of calories as fat) that was rich in green, leafy vegetables and other low-calorie vegetables (tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, celery, green beans, etc.), fruits, nuts, sweet corn and peas experienced after two weeks decreases of 25, 33, 20 and 21 percent in total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and total/HDL cholesterol ratio, respectively.

Various factors exist in fruits and vegetables that provide possible protection against cardiovascular disease. These factors include folic acid, dietary fiber, potassium, magnesium, carotenoids, phytosterols, flavonoids, and other polyphenolic antioxidants. Typically, vegetarian diets are also somewhat lower in saturated fat and cholesterol. Vegetarians typically have lower blood cholesterol levels. Plant diets rich in soluble fiber (such as found in dry beans, oats, carrots, squash, apples, and citrus) are useful for lowering serum cholesterol levels.

The many flavonoids in fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains, have extensive biological properties that reduce the risk of heart disease. Flavonoids are among the most potent antioxidants. They protect LDL cholesterol from oxidation; inhibit the formation of blood clots; and have hypolipidemic effects and anti-inflammatory action. European studies found that those who had the highest consumption of flavonoids had 60 percent less mortality from heart disease and 70 percent lower risk of stroke than the low flavonoid consumers.

The yellow-orange and red carotenoid pigments in fruits and vegetables are powerful antioxidants that can quench free radicals and protect against cholesterol oxidation. Persons with high levels of serum carotenoids have a reduced risk of heart disease. The recent EURAMIC study found that a high intake of lycopene (the red pigment in tomatoes, pink grapefruit, and watermelon) was associated in men with a 48 percent lower risk of a myocardial infarction compared with a low intake of lycopene. Cholesterol synthesis is suppressed and LDL receptor activity is augmented by the carotenoids beta-carotene and lycopene, similar to that seen with the drug fluvastatin.

Berries, Beans and Grains

Anthocyanin pigments, the reddish pigments found in fruits, such as strawberries, cherries, cranberries, raspberries, blueberries, grapes, and black currants, are very effective in scavenging free radicals, inhibiting LDL cholesterol oxidation and inhibiting platelet aggregation. Various terpenoids in fruits and vegetables, and tocotrienols in nuts and seeds facilitate lower blood cholesterol levels, by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase. Garlic, onions and other members of the Allium family, contain a variety of ajoenes, vinyldithiins, and other sulfide compounds that have antithrombotic action and may lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

A number of studies have shown that legumes lower blood cholesterol levels, improve blood sugar control, and lower triglyceride levels. Since beans are good sources of soluble fiber, vegetable protein, saponins, phytosterols and polyunsaturated fat, consuming a diet rich in legumes will lower risk of heart disease.

In the Nurses' Health Study, the highest consumption of whole grains was associated with about a 35-40% reduction in risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. In the Adventist Health Study a regular consumption of whole wheat bread was associated with a 40 to 50% reduced risk of fatal and non-fatal heart disease.
Nut Studies

Epidemiological studies have consistently reported that frequent nut consumption is associated with a 30-60% reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease. A number of clinical trials have demonstrated the effectiveness of diets containing almonds, pecans, peanuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts, or walnuts to significantly lower LDL cholesterol levels by 7 to 16 percent, without much change in HDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

While nuts are high in fat, they are naturally low in saturated fat and most are quite rich in monounsaturated fat. Nuts also contain a number of vitamins, minerals and other substances important for cardiovascular health, such as potassium, magnesium, vitamin E, folic acid, copper, and dietary fiber. In addition, most nuts contain phytosterols, tocotrienols, and protective polyphenolics such as ellagic acid and flavonoids.

Stroke and Diabetes

Data from two prospective studie supports a protective relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption and risk of ischemic stroke. Cruciferous and green leafy vegetables and citrus fruits were the most protective. Data from the NHANES study revealed that consuming fruit and vegetables three or more times a day compared with less than once a day was associated with a 27% lower incidence of stroke, a 42% lower stroke mortality, a 27% lower cardiovascular disease mortality, and a 15% lower all-cause mortality. In the Adventist Health Study, non-vegetarians had a risk of fatal stroke that was 20-30% higher than the vegetarians. Data from population studies and human trials provide evidence that vegetarian dietary patterns lower blood pressure. Lower systolic blood pressures in elderly vegetarians has been reported to be best accounted for by their lower body weight. Vegetarians living in northern Mexico, were found to have lower body weights, higher potassium and lower sodium intakes, and lower mean blood pressures than non-vegetarians.

Higher consumption of nuts and whole grains has been associated with lower rates of diabetes. In a large prospective study, fruit and vegetable intake was found to be inversely associated with the incidence of diabetes, particularly among women. Men and women who reported seldom or never eating fruit or green leafy vegetables had higher mean HbA1C levels than those who had more frequent consumption. An increased consumption of fruit and vegetables appears to contribute to the prevention of diabetes.


The consumption of a generous supply of whole grains, legumes, nuts, fruits and vegetables provides protection against chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. A plant-based diet is rich in its content of health-promoting factors such as the many phytochemicals.

Source: Winston Craig, MPH, PhD, RD.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Beer - Low Carb or Low Alcohol?

Are you aiming to cut carbs? You consume one third as much

You drink in only 3 grams of carbohydrate from a 375ml bottle or can compared to 10 grams from regular beer. So you're drinking in about one-third the carbs of regular beer. You save 7 grams carbs per bottle or can which is around the carbs in half a slice of bread. Not much of a saving really. But over an evening of say six beers, this would translate to 40 grams less carbs.

Are you aiming to drink less alcohol? You won't save anything!

Low carb beers have the same alcohol content as full-strength regular beers. They're NOT low-alcohol which is probably why they appeal as they have a better flavour.

If you like numbers, check the table below. You'll see low carb beer has around 4.6% alcohol v/v, which is the same as regular beer and more than mid-strength (at 3.4% v/v) or light beers (2.7% v/v).

Carbs vs alcohol?

Removing EITHER carbohydrate or alcohol from beer means you end up consuming less kilojoules (20 to 33 per cent less depending on the brand), which gives you a good reason to order either if you're after weight loss.

What's interesting though, is both low carb beer and light beer are similar in kilojoules - around 450 kJ per bottle or 120 kJ per 100ml.

From a health viewpoint, irrespective of whether you are trying to lose weight or not, it's better to drink less alcohol than take in less carbohydrates. Therefore, my preference would be a lower-alcohol beer. You cut back on alcohol (which is good news for your liver, blood pressure and cancer risk) AND save on kilojoules.

One final point:

Compared to soft drink, beer is NOT high in carbohydrate in the first place. Regular beer has 3% carbs while soft drink has 10 or 11%. So a 375ml bottle or can contains about 10g of carbs compared with 40g for the soft drink.


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Organic vs. Regular Milk--Is It Worth Your Money?

What Is Organic Milk?

When you shop in your dairy section you might see regular milk on sale for dirt cheap, and then organic, hormone free milk advertised at twice the price. Why is this type of milk more expensive, and is it worth your extra money? Are there any health benefits (or detriments) to buying either type? What does "certified organic" mean?

This article aims to bring to you the information and facts I have found--on both sides of the argument--and let you decide for yourself. Before I delve into the pros and cons of organic vs. regular, lets define what "organic milk" really is.

Defining Organic

The first thing has to do from the ground up. No harmful pesticides or fertilizers (organic only) are allowed in the feed the cows eat.

The second is no bovine growth hormones (BGH) are allowed to increase milk production. There's no genetic mutation or irradiation permitted.

Third is no antibiotics are allowed, and if a cow does need to be treated it will not be returned to the herd for a year to make sure the antibiotics are out of its system.

And fourth has to do with grazing time. Organic cows must have "access to pasture." Much like "free range chicken," this has a lot of interpretations from being out in the pasture all day to only limited grazing time.

So those are the definitions--let's delve into the discussions.

Why Does It Cost So Much?

If you've ever browsed the dairy section you've probably noticed the substantial difference in price between regular milk and organic milk. Its often almost double the price of regular milk.

The reason for this is it costs more to raise organic cows. Everything from bedding to feed to grazing areas has to be organic. Also, using less cost and time effective ways to raise and milk the cows, purchasing organic feed and allowing more pasture area per cow means more land must be owned and maintained, and less milk produced per unit of land--thus increasing the cost.

Organic Farm Practices Go Beyond Your Glass Of Milk

Organic dairy farms begin with taking care of our earth. Using organic herbicides that are not toxic to the planet benefit more than just the cows, it benefits everyone.Workers aren't exposed to substances that cause all sorts of health problems, and our water tables stay cleaner.

As part of the organic agreement, no sewage fertilizer or synthetic fertilizer--which are allowed on normal farms--are allowed on organic farms.

Cows are also not given food made from animal byproducts, which can transmit mad cow disease. Finally, no genetically altered food is fed to the cows. Mark Kastel, co-director at The Cornucopia Institute, a farm policy research group and organic industry watchdog based in Cornucopia, Wis., says, "In terms of the environment, organic management practices that are required by law protect the soil and ground and surface waters from pollution."

Hormones Used In Cows

BGH (bovine growth hormone) or rbST (recombinant bovine somatotropin) are hormones that increases milk production in cows. These cause an insulin like growth factor (IGF-1) in the milk, survive pasteurization and are thereby passed on to humans and absorbed directly into the bloodstream. There is much debate on whether these hormones promote the mutation of human breast cells to cancerous forms. There are also claims that IGF-1 also stimulates the growth of already present cancerous breast and colon cells.

While the USDA and FDA have approved this hormone and claim there are no harmful effects, it has been banned in Europe, Canada, and Japan.

Hormones also affect the cows themselves. The cows get more sick once injected with the hormone, and are prone to mastitus--a painful infection in the udder. So the cows are then given high doses of antibiotics which also get passed along in your milk. Mastitus can cause pus to emit in milk which increases the harmful bacteria count. Perhaps this is eradicated with pasteurization, but drinking pus and/or antibiotics doesn't sound all that appealing to me.


When a non-organic cow gets sick or has an udder infection (which happens more often to cows injected with hormones), she is treated with a dose of antibiotics. While Stephanie Hill, a dairy specialist and assistant professor of animal science at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University in Greensboro, says that it's illegal to give antibiotics to a lactating cow, adding that farmers are responsible for any antibiotics that show up in tanker-truck samples, which would force the dumping of the entire truck's contents, there is ample evidence of antibiotics found in milk.

One study stated that prior to the approval of BGH,38% of milk sampled nationally was already contaminated by illegal residues of antibiotics and animal drugs,and this study shows that 21% of milk samples were positive for traces of antibiotics beyond the recommended holding period.

Consuming antibiotics through your milk can make you more immune to antibiotics and more susceptible to antibiotic resistant bacteria and diseases. MRSA--methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus--is an extremely dangerous bacterial infection that's highly resistant to some antibiotics and is becoming more widespread in the United States. Studies are being done on MRSA transmission from cows with mastitus to people. Google a picture of what a MRSA infection looks's not pretty.

What Does "Access To Pasture" Really Mean?

This is a gray area in the organic world. Does that mean the cows wander free across the countryside as they like or are the doors let open for 10 minutes to allow them to graze if they like?

The Cornucopia Institute is a nonprofit that promotes economic justice for family-scale farming, and provides a scoring card for dairies if you want to see how they measure up in regards to treatment of the cows.

Large scale dairies like Horizon are more like conventional dairies--lots of cows lined up munching away on organic pellets while being milked. A responsible farmer who rotates his cows on different crops not only is rewarded with milk with more nutrients, but with healthy pastures as well. Studies show that cows that graze on pasture have milk have higher levels of beneficial nutrients. Click here for more information.

There is still a lot of discussion on this and every dairy farm is different on the amount of land per cow they have and how much grazing time the cows get. The best solution if you want to go organic is to try to do your own research on the brand you buy.

Expiration Dates...

One major advantage of organic milk is that it stays fresh significantly longer than regular pasteurized milk. That is because they use a different process than pasteurization to preserve the milk. While regular milk is pasteurized or flash pasteurized, meaning it is exposed to high heat (140-160 degrees) for a short amount of time then rapidly cooled to destroy bacteria, protozoa, molds, and yeast. According to Wikipedia, however, pasteurization is not intended to kill micro-organizms.

Organic milk is usually given a ultra high temperature (UHT) treatment, meaning it is heated to 275 degrees for a couple of seconds. This kills all the bacteria in the milk, allowing it to have a longer shelf life than normal pasteurized milk which doesn't eradicate all bacteria. UHT also has a shorter processing time, which reduces the spoiling of nutrients found in the milk.

UHT milk also doesn't need to be refrigerated (a weird concept to us Americans, I know), so UK dairy farmers want to make 90% of milk UHT treated to cut down on greenhouse gasses (this is still being discussed).

Whether or not you like your milk icy cold or room temperature, UHT treatment done on organic milk does make it last much longer than pasteurized milk. But to be fair to both sides, you can find non-organic UHT treated milk.

Are There Any Health Differences?

The FDA and USDA claim there are no significant differences between organic and regular milk in quality, safety and nutrition. You can read more about their report in this article from the National Dairy Council.

However, in all my research what I noticed most were conflicting reports. Reports that antibiotics were illegal to use on lactating cows, yet there were still illegal amounts in a high percentage of milk. Studies suggesting hormones have no effect on humans or cows and studies suggesting it can cause emotional and health damage to cows and may be contributing factors in some major human illnesses. From my own personal experience, however, when I switched to organic dairy the intensity of my hormone-related migraines decreased SIGNIFICANTLY.

A new study has just been published by Newcastle University in the Journal of Science of Food and Agriculture stating that organic milk is healthier for you. The study showed that cows that were allowed to graze naturally--you know, like they did in the good old days--produced milk which contained significantly higher beneficial fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamins than regular dairy cows that feed in a line at a trough. It also showed that during summer months, one of the beneficial fats in particular - conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA9 - is found to be 60% higher in organic milk than regular milk. You can read more on this study at this article.

A Word On Taste

Some commenters have mentioned a different taste in organic and regular milk.

Most traditional dairies use Holstein cows that are fed a mixture of grain, including corn. Corn is not a natural part of a cow's diet, increases the acidity in the stomachs and in turn makes the cow sicker. The "fix" is to pump them with antibiotics. If you've grown up on conventional milk, you may just be more accustomed to this taste.

Organic dairies, especially smaller, local ones, may use different breeds of dairy cows. They may have different levels of fat in the milk, different smells, or even a slightly different color of the milk. If they are fed only by grazing on fresh pasture, the flavor will probably be very different than a cow that eats dried pellets in a stall.

Even location can play a role. A Jersey cow eating fresh grass in Virginia may produce different tasting milk than a Jersey cow eating grass in Washington.

The Choice Is Udderly Yours

When I set out to write this article I was drinking regular milk. During the course of my reasearch, and in the years since, I've definitely become convinved as to the benefits of organic milk. Even our butter, yogurt, cheese and ice cream are all organic now.

And a word on certified organic: talk to your local dairy farmers at a farmers' market, or do some reasearch on the internet. Just because a dairy isn't certified organic doesn't mean it doesn't apply environmentally healthy practices. Some dairies are too small to afford all the qualifications that come along with being certified. We used to get our milk from a farm an hour north of us, where we could drive up anytime and see the cows out in the pasture, happily chomping away on fresh grass. That family's dedication to being organic was thorough, though they couldn't afford all the extras that come with certification.

So, if you don't really care about trace antibiotics, trust the FDA and want to save some cash, you can buy regular. But if you care about the impact dairies make on the environment, your local farmers and ultimately your body, you may want to consider buying organic.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Summer Recipe: Spicy Carrot Soup

If your gut gets very angry with you when you eat or drink anything with milk products (meaning, you get bloated and gassy due to lactose intolerance or food allergy/sensitivity), then you probably shy away from soup recipes that have the word "cream" in them. But guess what? You can make cream-based soups with almond, hemp or brown rice milk, which is precisely what this recipe does.

The main ingredient in this recipe is, as the title suggests, carrots. If you visit any farmers' market this summer, which I encourage you to do, you can find heirloom carrots -- they're perfect for this dish. They come in a variety of colours -- yellow to purple -- and have different tastes from tart to super sweet.

Carrots are a food with a ton of nutritional benefits. Not only do they help improve our vision, they also help our heart. A recent study out of the Netherlands revealed yellow and orange foods reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Additionally, because of their high antioxidant content, they reduce the risk of many different cancers. A wonderful source of vitamins A, C and K, carrots are also beautifying -- they're good for hair and skin.


8 to 10 medium-sized organic carrots, grated
2 cups diced organic celery
2 medium-sized organic potatoes, diced
6 cups organic chicken broth or homemade chicken stock (swap with vegetable stock if you are a vegetarian)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup almond milk
Juice of ½ lemon
Spices to taste (Suggestions: Sea salt, fresh pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, curry. Or, better yet, use whatever is growing in your herb garden.)

Crock-Pot (Slow Cooker) Method:

Place grated carrots, diced celery, potatoes, garlic and chicken broth in crock-pot.
Cover and cook on high setting for about four hours. Turn off heat and let contents cool.
When cooled, puree mixture in a blender or food processor. When all vegetables have been pureed, return to crock-pot. Add the almond milk, the lemon juice and, in desired amounts, the spices to your preference and taste. Cover with lid and cook on low setting for about one hour or until milk and spices have blended in. Serve warm or cold.

Even if you don't have a slow cooker, this dish can be made on the stove using a large pot. Cook vegetables in chicken broth/stock until soft and follow recipe as above. After pureeing and remaining ingredients have been added, heat thoroughly on stove top for about 30 minutes on a low setting just until milk and spices have blended in.

Place in soup bowls and garnish with a sprig of fresh parsley and grated lemon zest.

Makes eight to 10 servings.

Source: Joy McCarthy, Registered Holistic Nutritionist

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Recipe: Black Bean Salad with Corn

This black bean salad with corn is great on its own, over some fresh greens, or wrapped in a sprouted grain tortilla. It uses Mexican flavors for a spicy kick, and fresh vegetables for a light and refreshing salad.

Prep time: 20 min.

Makes enough for 4 salads.

Black Bean Salad with Corn Ingredients

* 1 1/2 cups black beans (cooked measure)
* 1 cup corn
* 1 lime (or 2), zested and juiced
* 1/2 Tbsp olive or flax oil (optional)
* 1 tsp oregano, fresh or dried
* 1/2 tsp cumin
* 1/2 tsp coriander
* pinch of cayenne
* pinch salt
* 1 tomato, diced
* 1 bell pepper, any color, chopped
* 2 green onions, chopped, or a handful of chives
* 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, minced (optional)

Black Bean Salad with Corn Directions

1. Put the beans and corn in a bowl, along with the lime zest and juice, spices, and a pinch of salt. Leave this to marinate for at least 10 minutes, or up to 2 hours. The longer you leave it, the more the flavors will infuse into the beans.
2. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and serve. I hope you enjoy this black bean salad with corn, the latest of my healthy vegan recipes.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Proper Push Up Form: How To Do A Push Up

Proper Push Up Form #1: Straight Head/Neck Position

I see this as a common mistake for people who are simply not strong enough to complete a push up (usually weak chest muscles), or simply have poor posture from working on a computer all the time. The head is forced forward and down in an effort to make the push up easier. I would recommend doing knee push ups (you have to start from somewhere, right?) until you can easily keep your head in line with your torso as you do the push up in a slow and controlled motion.

Proper Push Up Form #2: Keep Shoulders Back & Stable

As some people do push ups they start shrugging their shoulders towards their ears, which forces more pressure on the triceps. Typically this is a result of weak chest muscles, or similar to the neck position, poor posture. Keeping your shoulders down, back, and stable will force your chest to work much harder, which will make the exercise more effective.

Proper Push Up Form #3: Hands Below Plane of Shoulders

If you have not developed your chest muscles, the chances are you will start your pushup with your hands above the plane of your shoulders. What I mean is that when you get ready to do a pushup, your hands are placed above your shoulders, almost in the same horizontal plane as your head. Keep your hand position slightly wider than shoulder width apart, next to the middle of your chest, which will properly work your chest, shoulders, and triceps pretty equally so they all benefit.

Proper Push Up Form #4: Pressure on Outside of Hands

While push ups are a great exercise, they can easily cause overuse injuries, especially in the wrists. Put the pressure of the weight on the outside of your hands, not the bottom of your hand/wrist, which is what I did for years. The outside of your hand is very stable and strong, which explains why MMA fighters strike with the outside of their palm. You can pretend like you are gripping the floor to help keep the pressure off your wrists. I wish I knew this one 15 years ago!

Proper Push Up Form #5: Hips and Torso Straight

In an effort to make the push up easier, oftentimes I see people either slouching their hip downward, or pushing their hips upward. By not keeping the hips and torso straight, the abs are almost taken out of the equation. Keep your hips in line with your torso to properly engage your abs and properly recruit the muscles as they were intended (chest, shoulders, triceps, and abs).

Proper Push Up Form #6: Full Range of Motion

I’ve heard a million times how you should never let your body dip below a 90 degree angle in your elbows. I think this came about because of shoulder concerns. In my opinion, I think you should use a full range of motion (just as with every other exercise) as long as it doesn’t hurt your shoulders. In fact, if I couldn’t get the full range of motion and get that stretch in my pecs and shoulders at the bottom of the rep, I probably would never do push ups. Try to get your chest to slightly graze the ground, or come within an inch of the ground.

Proper Push Up Form #7: Controlled Tempo

I think this applies to most exercises along with the full range of motion. Control the descent and push up forcefully. It’s cool if the positive phase is very quick in the beginning, but in general, a 1 second up, 2 second down count is ideal. Controlling the tempo dramatically reduces risk of injury and substantially increases muscle stimulation.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Hip Flexor 101 - Stretching Video

If you’re back to ice sports, cycling, are sitting or driving more, or have been hauling heavy packs, you may be at risk for hip flexor tightness and pain. The biggest and deepest of the hip flexors is the iliopsoas, which begins as one muscle and splits off into two, the psoas major and the iliacus. About 50% of the population also has a psoas minor muscle.

Iliopsoas trigger points can cause pain in the most unusual places, including the mid and low back, upper buttocks, hips, groin, abdomen, and pelvic floor.

Hip flexor pain can be so debilitating, you may back off from your favourite activities, have a hard time sleeping, and may not be able to stand straight without pain. Tight iliopsoas muscles can also increase scoliosis, misalign the hips, and put compression on the intervertebral disks. There are so many ways to go about releasing these deep muscles that it’s a shame for anyone to suffer because they’re tight.

Source: Youtube,

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fighting The Urge To Eat Sugary Foods?


Chromum is a micromineral (or trace element) that helps control levels of blood glucose, insulin and cholesterol in the body. It was discovered in 1797 by the French scientist Louis-Nicolas Vauquelin. In this article I will be discussing chromium in greater detail.


Chromium was first recognised as part of the mineral Siberian red lead which was discovered by the German mineralogist Johann Gottlob Lehmann in 1766. Scientists were unsure of what new elements Siberian red lead contained because it had a form and colour they had never seen before. Studying this mineral was very difficult because miners struggled to extract it so only small amounts were available for scientists to examine.

In 1797 a French scientist named Louis-Nicolas Vauquelin began studying Siberian red lead. He discovered a new element which he described as “a new metal, possessing properties entirely unlike those of any other metal”. In 1798 he managed to isolate a small sample of this metal by heating charcoal with a chromium trioxide (a compound of chromium found in Siberian red lead). It was later named chromium following suggestions by two French chemists Antoine Francois de Fourcroy and René-Just Haüy.


The human body contains about 2 milligrams (mg) of chromium which is stored in very small amounts in the bones, liver, soft tissues and spleen. As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, chromium helps the body regulate levels of blood glucose, insulin and cholesterol. This makes it a very useful nutrient for people suffering from diabetes The list below outlines the main functions of chromium in more detail:
- Assisting in the metabolism of carbohydrates, dietary fats and proteins.
- Assisting in the metabolism of nucleic acids (which are the building blocks of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA)).
- Boosting the immune system by enhancing the ability of white blood cells to fight infection.
- Controlling blood glucose levels by increasing the effectiveness of insulin (a hormone that allows your body’s cells to take glucose from the blood).
- Controlling the release of insulin (which allows for better blood glucose control).
- Keeping the arteries soft and supple.
- Maintaining normal blood cholesterol levels (by breaking down cholesterol).


Our need for chromium increases as we get older. Adequate intake (AI) levels for this nutrient were established by the National Academy of Sciences in 2001 and are listed below:

- Children aged 0-6 months:- 0.0002mg.
- Children aged 7-12 months:- 0.0055mg.
- Children aged 1-3 years:- 0.011mg.
- Children aged 4-8 years:- 0.015mg.

- Men aged 9-13 years:- 0.025mg.
- Men aged 14-50 years:- 0.035mg.
- Men aged 51 years and over:- 0.03mg.

- Women aged 9-13 years:- 0.021mg.
- Women aged 14-18 years:- 0.024mg.
- Women aged 19-50 years:- 0.025mg.
- Women aged 51 years and over:- 0.02mg.

Pregnant Women:
- Pregnant women aged 14-18 years:- 0.029mg.
- Pregnant women aged 19-50 years:- 0.03mg.

Lactating Women:
- Lactating women aged 14-18 years:- 0.044mg.
- Lactating women aged 19-50 years:- 0.045mg.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How to Use Proper Squat Technique | 7 Tips

Squats are the KING of all exercises because they are a “functional” exercise that affect your ability to live a full, healthy life. Anything from getting out of a chair, to squatting down to pick something off the floor requires squat strength. Especially as we get older, proper squat technique is absolutely critical to maintain health and longevity.

The squat requires core stabilization, leg, and hip strength. If you are using a barbell on your back, or holding dumbbells, then the squat involves every muscle group in your body. This video gives you 7 tips to squat with perfect form every time:

Watch this Squat Demo

While there are several different squat variations that I will be introducing in future posts, here are the 7 tips in more detail to ensure you squat with perfect form every time:

1) Proper Squat Technique: Hip Hinge

When most people try to squat, the knees protrude far over the toes, the butt goes straight down, and the heels come off the floor. This happens because proper squat technique requires some hip flexibility, proper balance, and a “hip hinge”.

Each time you squat you should hinge your hips so that your butt moves backwards during the downward phase of the squat, your knees will no longer protrude well over your toes (if you are tall, this may happen, but make sure it does not put pressure on your knees). Finally, the pressure of the squat will be on your heels instead of your toes and you will be able to get more depth to your squat.

2) Proper Squat Technique: Straight Head Position

One major mistake people make when they squat is rounding their necks, or looking down at the ground. The spinal alignment is automatically thrown off, which makes the squat a very dangerous exercise, especially if you are using a lot of weight.

Sometimes I pick a spot on the wall that’s in line with my eyes as I am standing straight, then as I squat down, I keep my eyes on that spot. My head is automatically in the correct position.

3) Proper Squat Technique: Chest Out/Shoulders Back

A key theme with the squat is to make sure your spine is in proper alignment. By keeping your shoulder back and your chest out, your lower back will most likely have the correct natural curve. If you instead round your shoulders and sink your chest in, your spinal alignment will be thrown off.

4) Proper Squat Technique: Slightly Arched Lower Back

As you can see in the picture to the right, the bottom of the spine (known as the lumbar spine) has a slight arch. You should keep your lower back flat, to slightly arched as you squat.

Hyperextending your lower back by arching too much, or rounding your back can put significant pressure on the intervertebral discs, which are soft gel like cushions that protect each vertebrae. If the disc ruptures because of too much pressure, a portion of the spinal disc pushes outside its normal boundary, which is called a herniated disc and may require surgery to repair. I can’t emphasize enough to make sure your lower back is flat to slightly arched throughout the entire squat movement.

5) Proper Squat Technique: Athletic Stance, Toes Pointed Out

Use an athletic stance for the squat so that your knees are slightly bent, feet are firmly planted on the ground, and toes pointed outwards slightly, which helps with stabilization. The wider you put your feet, the more it works your glutes and hamstring (back of the leg), and the easier it will be to stabilize. The closer in you put your feet, the more your quadriceps will be emphasized (the front of the leg).

One common mistake when people use too much weight is that one, or both knees will cave in towards their center. Make sure to keep your knees out and choose weight that is appropriate for your level.

6) Proper Squat Technique: Exhale Up/Inhale Down

Breathing is very important for squatting in particular because it is a challenging exercise. Improper breathing can make you light headed, or nauseous, and in extreme cases, some people even black out.

As you are lowering yourself, remember to take a deep breath in, then as you are pushing up, breathe out forcefully. Always keep this breathing pattern. Towards the last few reps, you may consider taking a few extra breaths at the top of the squat position as you are standing for some extra energy.

7) Proper Squat Technique: Depth of the Squat

The depth of the squat primarily depends on your hip flexibility. If your hips are very flexible, then you may be able to squat “below parallel” (hamstrings are below parallel with the floor) and if you have poor hip flexibiity, then you will be “above parallel”.

In general, try to shoot for your hamstrings about parallel with the floor, which deeply engages your thighs, hips, and glutes. Some powerlifters will squat “ass to grass”, which I think for most people is too dangerous. If you can go lower than parallel that’s fine, just make sure you don’t experience any pain in your knees, or lower back, and always keep your lower back flat, to slightly arched.

A couple other tips to keep in mind is as you are practicing proper squat technique is to look at the profile of the squat as you are standing sideways towards the mirror. You may also consider videotaping your form as well.

Source: Marc Perry,

Monday, August 15, 2011

Tailbone Pain.... Ouch!

What causes coccydynia?

Most often, the cause of coccydynia is unknown ("idiopathic"). Other causes include trauma (for example, from falls and childbirth); abnormal, excessive mobility of the tailbone; and – very rarely – infection, tumor, or fracture.
What are the symptoms of coccydynia?

The classic symptom is pain when pressure is applied to the tailbone, such as when sitting on a hard chair. Symptoms usually improve with relief of pressure when standing or walking.

Other symptoms include:

* Immediate and severe pain when moving from sitting to standing
* Pain during bowel movements
* Pain during sex
* Deep ache in the region of the tailbone

How is coccydynia diagnosed?

A thorough medical history and physical exam are essential. It is important to note any particular injury, whether recent or in the remote past. A history of prolonged labor or childbirth injury should be noted. A thorough inspection/palpation of this area is needed to detect any abnormal masses or abscesses (infections).

A lateral X-ray of the coccyx is taken to help detect any significant coccygeal pathology, such as a fracture.

Your health care provider might order more sophisticated tests such as CT scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or a bone scan of this area if this is clinically indicated.

How is coccydynia treated?

Treatment most often is conservative and consists of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) -- such as ibuprofen and naproxen -- to reduce inflammation, and the use of a therapeutic sitting cushion to take the pressure off of the tailbone when sitting. It might take many weeks or months of conservative treatment before significant pain relief is felt.

Cleveland Clinic’s Spine Institute might refer you to a biomedical engineer for measurement and construction of a customized seating cushion. This specially designed seating cushion provides an "open area" in the seating surface that shifts the weight off of the tailbone to promote healing.

Your health care provider might consider physical therapy to treat coccydynia. This might include exercise to stretch the ligaments -- the tissue that connects bone to bone in a joint -- and strengthen the supporting muscles. Modalities such as heat, massage, and ultrasound might also be used.

Coccygeal manipulation is used to move the coccyx back into its proper position and alleviate pain.

Coccygectomy or surgery to remove the coccyx is only considered in rare instances, and only in very severe cases, when extensive conservative management does not control the pain of coccydynia. The main risks associated with surgery are infection and wound healing problems. There is a significant risk that the surgery will not result in pain relief.

Depression and anxiety, which might be present -- especially if the pain has been there for a long period of time -- should be aggressively treated.

A multidisciplinary chronic pain rehabilitation program might be offered in some instances.

Source: The Cleveland Clinic Foundation

Sunday, August 14, 2011

How To Get Get Enough Protein In Your Veg Diet

Protein & Essential Amino Acids

Protein is essential for health, along with carbohydrates and fats. We use protein to make building blocks, called amino acids, for every part of our bodies: blood, skin, cartilage, muscles and bones, hormones and enzymes.

Our bodies can synthesize 16 of the 23 amino acids that we need. That leaves 8 essential amino acids (9 for children), which must come from the foods we eat.

The Essential Amino Acids Have Important Functions In The Body:

* Isoleucine (Ile) - for muscle production, maintenance and recovery after workout. Involved in hemoglobin formation, blood sugar levels, blood clot formation and energy.
* Leucine (Leu) - growth hormone production, tissue production and repair, prevents muscle wasting, used in treating conditions such as Parkinson’s disease.
* Lysine (Lys) - calcium absorption, bone development, nitrogen maintenance, tissue repair, hormone production, antibody production.
* Methionine (Met) - fat emulsification, digestion, antioxidant (cancer prevention), arterial plaque prevention (heart health), and heavy metal removal.
* Phenylalanine (Phe) - tyrosine synthesis and the neurochemicals dopamine and norepinephrine. Supports learning and memory, brain processes and mood elevation.
* Threonine (Thr) monitors bodily proteins for maintaining or recycling processes.
* Tryptophan (Trp) - niacin production, serotonin production, pain management, sleep and mood regulation.
* Valine (Val) helps muscle production, recovery, energy, endurance; balances nitrogen levels; used in treatment of alcohol related brain damage.
* Histidine (His) - the 'growth amino' essential for young children. Lack of histidine is associated with impaired speech and growth. Abundant in spirulina, seaweed, sesame, soy, rice and legumes.

USDA Protein Requirements:

The USDA recommends 56 grams of protein a day for a man age 40 weighing 160 lb, and 46 grams of protein for women - based on a 40 yr old woman who weighs 140 lb. That’s about 0.36 grams of protein for every pound of body weight. But in fact, protein needs vary depending on age, size, growth, health, physical activity, body type, pregnancy and lactation.

Complete and Incomplete Protein:

To be absolutely clear: Vegetarians and vegans really don't need to worry about getting "complete protein". And it is NOT NECESSARY to combine specific protein foods at one sitting to make complete protein.

ALL plant based foods have varying amounts of protein (plus carbohydrates, fats and other good things), and the body will combine proteins from all sources, to get all the "complete protein" that it needs.

A "complete protein" is one which has all the essential amino acids in the correct proportion.

"Incomplete proteins" also have all the essential amino acids, but are too low in one or more of them (limiting amino acid) to form a complete protein.

Foods from animal sources are complete proteins. Some foods from the plant kingdom, such as soy and quinoa, are complete proteins. But most plant foods have one or more limiting amino acids which limit the availability of all the other amino acids in the food. These foods are called 'incomplete proteins'.

For example, the limiting amino acid in grains is usually lysine (Lys); in legumes it can be methionine (Met) and tryptophan (Trp). So, the low level of Lys in grains is complemented by a higher level in legumes, and vice versa, to make a complete protein.

Just like everybody else, vegetarians and vegans need complete protein to get all the essential amino acids, so their bodies don’t fall into a negative protein balance – otherwise known as starvation. Fortunately, it’s very easy to get plenty of protein in a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Complementary Protein Theory Debunked:

Scientists used to think that vegetarians, and especially vegans, would develop protein deficiency if they didn’t get eight or nine essential amino acids all together in proper amounts at every meal.

Frances Moore Lappé, author of ‘Diet For A Small Planet’, is well known for the theory of combining complementary proteins at each meal. In the 20th Anniversary Edition of her book, she has altered her views in light of new knowledge about amino acid storage.

Whenever we eat, our body deposits amino acids into a storage bank, and then withdraws them whenever we need them. So, it’s no longer considered necessary to eat complementary proteins together at one sitting, to make complete protein. Your body does that automatically, from all the foods that you eat over the course of a day or so.

We still need a healthy variety of good protein building foods, so the body can make enough complete proteins to be happy, even though you don't need to worry about how and when you combine them.

What Vegetarians Should Eat To Get Enough Protein:

Each plant food has its own unique amino acid profile, from green leafy veggies to tubers, from barley to quinoa, from lentils to tofu, from macadamias to brazil nuts. By eating a variety of plant foods with 'incomplete proteins' throughout the day, we can easily get enough 'complete protein.' For lacto and ovo-lacto vegetarians, any food can be complemented by the high quality proteins in dairy products or eggs, but it isn't at all necessary to include animal foods to get enough protein in your diet.

In plant foods, there are three broad categories: legumes, grains, nuts & seeds. Your body puts together amino acids from these foods to give you complete protein throughout the day. For instance, the amino acids in legumes (beans & lentils) are balanced by those in grains, nuts and seeds, and vice versa. Vegetables and fruits also contribute significant amounts of protein. A one cup serving of avocado, for example, has 3 grams of protein, and a medium potato with skin has 4 grams.

Vegans and vegetarians can't help getting all the essential amino acids, through eating different combinations of grains, legumes, nuts & seeds, vegetables & fruit several times throughout the day.

Eating for complete protein isn't a scientific system of food combining, where you have to keep track and analyze everything you eat. It's a natural traditional way of eating, which most human beings have thrived on, for thousands of years. Food is a sensual pleasure, and complete protein is a side benefit.

Source: Dr. Linda Posch MS SLP ND

Monday, August 8, 2011

What Is Gluten?

Gluten is a special type of protein that is commonly found in rye, wheat, and barley. Therefore, it is found in most types of cereals and in many types of bread. Not all foods from the grain family, however, contain gluten. Examples of grains that do not have gluten include wild rice, corn, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, quinoa, teff, oats, soybeans, and sunflower seeds.

Gluten can be removed from wheat flour, producing wheat starch. All of the gluten in wheat flour, however, cannot be removed. Still, according the the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), if a certain amount of the gluten is removed, the food product can be labeled "gluten-free." (This is somewhat similar to food products that can be labeled as 0 Calories even though a serving contains 4 or less Calories.) Gluten helps make bread elastic, providing it with that chewy texture it has when eaten. For this reason, flour that has had most of its gluten removed, produces a sticky dough that feels much like chewing gum.

Gluten provides many additional important qualities to bread. For example, gluten keeps the gases that are released during fermentation in the dough, so the bread is able to rise before it is baked. In addition, gluten firms up when it is cooked and, with the help of starch, helps ensure the bread maintains its proper shape.

Gluten also has an absorbent quality, which is why bread is capable of soaking up broth. Because of this feature, gluten is often used by those on a vegetarian diet as an imitation meat. On the downside, gluten is believed to be partly responsible for causing bread to become stale.

Some people suffer from a condition called celiac disease, which impedes the digestion of gluten. Individuals with celiac's must eat foods that do not contain gluten in order to prevent illness. If improperly addressed, gluten intolerance can be fatal. In addition, care must be taken when eating grains that do not contain gluten, particularly oats and teff, as they are commonly grown near foods with gluten or processed in the same bins. Catholic sufferers of celiac disease must also exercise precaution, as wheat, which contains gluten, is a required ingredient in the wafers used for certain religious ceremonies.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Want To Lose Weight? Then Stay Away From....

The foods you must STOP EATING RIGHT NOW when trying to lose weight are...

* You need to stop drinking regular & diet sodas. Quick fact: If you replaced a 20oz bottle of soda with water daily... You would easily lose up to 35 pounds in one year so if you're addicted to soda - go here to see how to stop drinking soda and...

* Replace coffee with a natural fat burner like Green Tea because coffee increases stress & stress leads to fat gain and... Coffee increases your cravings making you eat more causing you to gain fat but...

* You can drink the natural Green Tea fat burner, lose more weight, and still get your caffeine fix for the day and...

* Cut down on or try to stop drinking alcohol. Quick fact: Alcohol is basically the refined juice of natural foods which makes it a drink of pure concentrated sugar that will make you gain fat easily and...

* AVOID the grocery store snack aisle - Stop eating potato chips, popcorn, cookies, candy, ice cream, cakes, etc. The ingredients in these foods make you want to eat more and the companies who make these snack foods know you'll stay addicted to them (even after you gained lots of weight eating their snacks) but...

The companies don't care if you gain weight because of their snack products as long as they make their money off YOU and if you're addicted to snacks - Read 30+ ways to curb your cravings for snacks, salt & sugar

* You need to make a strong effort to cut down on your salt & sugar intake because too much salt & sugar causes you to gain water weight making you look fatter than you already are and...

* Avoid processed foods as much as possible because the processing of these foods removes all the stuff that helps you lose weight and replaces it with stuff like sugar, corn syrup and hydrogenated oils to make you fatter so...

* Read food labels and avoid anything that has sugar as it's main source of carbs or has corn syrup & hydrogenated oils as ingredients and...

* Don't be fooled by the term "Multigrain" since it's just a fancy word for processed carbs and choose "Whole Grain" products only and...

Here's a bigger list of Foods NOT to eat when trying to lose weight...

1. Fried foods
2. Hamburgers & French fries
3. Table sugar
4. Plain Jam
5. salted nuts
6. smoked nuts
7. refried beans
8. Baked Beans
9. Chocolate Fudge
10. Candy
11. Toffee
12. Gums
13. Boiled sweets
14. Mint Sweets
15. Liquorice
16. Honey - Honey has minimal nutritional value & has the same calorie content as sugar.
17. Soft drinks
18. Tinned fruits
19. Chutney
20. Pickle
21. bacon
22. sausage
23. cured meats
24. ham
25. fatty cuts of steak like T-bone & rib-eye
26. Puddings
27. Corn syrup
28. Fruit juice - It's better to eat raw fruit instead of fruit juice because fruits contain more fiber and the juice will always contain more sugar than the actual fruit.
29. Cake
30. Bread made with white flour
31. Soda pop, such as Coke®, Pepsi®, Mountain Dew®, etc.
32. All baked goods made with white flour
33. Coffee
34. Biscuits
35. Fast foods
36. Pasta made with white flour
37. Canned fruits w/added sugar
38. Most packaged cereals
39. Alcohol can slow your metabolism down by 73%
40. Potato chips
41. Popcorn
42. Cookies
43. Ice cream
44. Cakes
45. Pies
46. All deserts
47. Artificial sweeteners
48. Most bottled green teas have more ingredients in it to help you gain weight than the actual green tea itself to help you lose weight.