Category Interesting Articles

How to Overcome Emotional Eating

Eating is a part of life.  Your body gets its nutrients from food.  Sometimes we can go overboard with our eating habits and it can result in gaining weight.  One issue with food is emotional eating.

The problem of emotional eating may end with the scale but it begins in the mind.  Stress takes its toll on your life.  When your defenses are compromised your health takes a hit and so do your emotions.

Everyone has good days and bad days.  How we deal with the bad ones brings emotional eating into play.  You look for comfort for your hurts.  People who turn to food for comfort find a coping mechanism that won’t judge them, hurt them or tell them “no.” To complicate the issue, eating pleasurable foods can stimulate the release of endorphins just like exercise.  So, after you eat, you feel better.

Emotional eaters use food to relieve stress.  They hide behind the food instead of seeking solutions to the problems.  This is not uncommon when the stressor is something horrible such as physical abuse or a death.

But, how do you know you are using food in this way?  The first sign is obvious.  You will gain weight if you eat too much.  In light of the weight gain, examine other areas of your life:

* Have you been under stress lately at work or at home?
* Has anything traumatic happened in the last year?
* Are you dealing with a problem but haven’t found a solution?

Answering “yes” to any of these questions could mean that you are an emotional eater.  You eat but you are not necessarily hungry at the time.  The foods that you choose are what we term “comfort foods”:

* High fat foods like French fries, fried foods
* High carb foods like macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes
* Sugary foods like ice cream, donuts, cookies, cake

There is help for emotional eaters.  The first step is recognizing that you have a problem.  You’ll experience feelings of helplessness and guilt.  The guilt is over potentially ruining your health and the helplessness lies in the fact that you don’t see a way out.

Secondly, seek counseling.  There are many types of counselors out there that can meet your need.  Emotional eating has nothing to do with dieting or changing your eating habits but gaining control over your emotions.

A counselor might suggest things like visualization, practicing problem solving skills, relaxation techniques and family support.  Visualization helps you to see your problems in a realistic way and not blown out of proportion.  You will also learn to see food as nutrition for the body and not an emotional crutch.

Thirdly, your family can learn your triggers for stress and be on the lookout for changes in your eating habits.  They can help you be aware of the foods you are eating, assist you in making healthy food choices and exercise along with you.  Proper diet and exercise increases immunity, blood flow and positive thinking.  Yoga enhances the mind/body connection so you don’t eat when you aren’t hungry.

Finding new ways to solve your problems and deal with stress will push food out of the equation.  You’ll feel good about finding solutions which will replace the dependence on food.

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    The Power of Antioxidants for Staying Young

    Everyone wants to grow old gracefully.  Some go under the knife to get that youthful look while others opt for a more natural way to maintain that healthful glow.  The way to make peace with age can be found in the types of foods that we eat and the miracle ingredient they contain.

    This hidden “miracle” is called antioxidants.  They have graced the pages of magazines, medical journals and every product from hand cream to supplement pills.  But what are antioxidants and what can they do to keep you looking your best?

    Antioxidants are substances that fight the aging process that goes on in your body.  They are not produced by the body so to get the benefit of these power-packed substances you must ingest them.  A variety of foods contain antioxidants.

    Let’s go back to the beginning.  The body continually replenishes its cells.  Through a process called cellular metabolism, the body produces energy, more cells and repairs any damage.  One by-product of cellular metabolism is unstable molecules called free radicals.

    Free radicals are molecules that damage your body.  They are unstable because they are missing an electron.  To get another one and become stable, free radicals will steal electrons from cells.  That theft damages the cells in a variety of ways.

    The results are visible and invisible changes to our bodies.  The development of diseases like cancer, diabetes, arthritis and neurological deficiencies may begin to affect you as you age.  Also, thinner skin wrinkles and brittle bones are a problem.  Free radicals enter our body from outside sources as well: cigarette smoke, radiation and the sun’s UV rays.  The more free radicals we encounter, the greater the damage that can be done.

    Antioxidants have been shown to be of great help in the free radical problem.  Antioxidant substances combine with free radicals and neutralize them.  Once they are neutralized, they can no longer do any damage.  Scientists don’t have any idea of a recommended daily dose of antioxidants to correct free radical damage and the diseases that come with age, but they do know that eating foods rich in antioxidants makes a huge difference in how we live.

    Where do you find antioxidants?  They are all around us.  Look no further than your local farmer’s market or produce aisle in the grocery store.  Fruits and vegetables contain the principle sources of antioxidants.

    Examples of antioxidants include:
    * Vitamin C
    * Vitamin A
    * Vitamin E
    * Lutein
    * Lycopene
    * Beta-carotene

    Certain minerals like zinc and selenium also function in the body.  They are not antioxidants but they boost the immune system to fight against free radical damage.

    Antioxidants are also found in nuts, legumes, cold water fish, seafood and red meat.  So, eating a varied diet of fruits, vegetables and the foods just named will increase the amount of antioxidants in your system and help reduce the incidence of disease.  Eating fruits and vegetables in their natural form instead of juices brings the benefit of other nutrients found in the foods.  Juices also contain a lot of sugar that is not needed by your body.

    Food does more than stave off hunger.  Natural substances found there can cause us to live longer and stay free of disease as we age.

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      Getting Started with Homeopathy

      Homeopathy is an alternative form of medicine that has been used for thousands of years to treat everything from life threatening illnesses to the common cold.  While many people used to modern medicine may find it suspicious, it is still one of the most used types of medical treatment worldwide and is steadily gaining popularity in the western world.

      Homeopathic medicine is based on three basic principles.  The biggest principle of homeopathy is that like treats like.  Instead of treating based on the disease doctors think you have, treatment is done based on the symptoms you know you have.  The second principle is that there is only one treatment, not two or even ten like a traditional doctor might give you.  The third principle is that everything is given in extremely small doses.

      To treat yourself homeopathically, you must figure out all the symptoms.  Once you know your symptoms, you find a substance that causes the exact same set of symptoms and take a small amount of it.  Because you are only taking a very small amount, the substance not only doesn’t harm you, it’s said to cure you, generally long term or even permanently.

      When most people hear about homeopathy, their initial reaction is “no way!”  Treating symptoms with something that causes your symptoms seems totally counterintuitive, but it’s a concept that’s used in modern medicine as well as more ancient cures.  Shots commonly used to treat allergies contain a small amount of whatever you’re allergic to.  Many vaccines contain a small amount of the disease they’re designed to protect against.

      While homeopathic medicine is not only considered effective, it has many benefits over modern medicine.  Like many other natural medical treatments, most homeopathic remedies are totally natural.  While this doesn’t necessarily make them safe, these remedies tend to cause fewer side effects, have little drug interactions, and are generally better for your overall health.

      Homeopathic medications are also considered better for your body because they work with it. Many modern medicines work to suppress symptoms like fever or coughing. These symptoms are the body’s natural ways to get rid of disease.  Instead of suppressing symptoms, homeopathic medicine works to cure the problem itself while addressing the specific symptoms.

      When the right treatment is found, homeopathy is considered very effective.  The big problem is that just like there are thousands of prescriptions and over the counter drugs, there are also thousands of homeopathic remedies as well.  And if you don’t pick exactly the right one, it won’t work.

      While you can buy homeopathic remedies over the counter, just like herbal and other alternative medicines, that doesn’t mean it’s 100% safe to treat yourself.  If you’re serious about this treatment you should speak to a doctor who has experience in alternative medicine or even see a specialist in the area.

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        The Importance of Breakfast

         

        It often amazes me how people take better care of their cars than their bodies. I have yet to meet a person who said, “God has a plan as to when my car should ‘die’ and I do not need to worry about it. I don’t need to check or change the oil, or perform any routine maintenance. And I don’t need to worry about the type of gasoline I use.” We recognize the necessity of proper care to get the longest life and best performance out of our automobiles. When will we realize that proper care also gives our bodies the longest life and best performance?

        Today, a wealth of scientific research has confirmed that most of the leading causes of death and chronic diseases are preventable. We have been talking about the lifestyle factors that will help us improve our health. Adding breakfast to your eating pattern is a major step to improving your lifestyle. Well, why bother with breakfast? Food is fuel. Many studies have emphasized the importance of breakfast. If you want to make the most of your day, fuel your body early with the right stuff.

              

        ONE STEP AT A TIME: WHAT TO DO

         

        THE IMPORTANCE OF BREAKFAST

          

        Other studies have even linked healthy breakfasts with less chronic disease, increased longevity and better health. Starting your day with a good breakfast boosts your energy, increases your attention span, and heightens your sense of well-being. You’ll be in better control of your emotions. A good breakfast is one that provides at least one third of the day’s calories.

          

        Most people give a variety of reasons for not eating breakfast. A common reason is that they are not hungry in the morning, which is a result of eating a full meal late in the evening or late snacking. When they go to bed, the body is still busy digesting all that food. Digestion then goes into a slower gear during the hours of sleep and there is still food in the stomach in the morning. The stomach needs a rest too. A tired stomach does not feel like digesting a big breakfast. When you get up in the morning, your glucose or blood sugar level is at its lowest point in the day. Glucose is the basic fuel for the brain and central nervous system. A good breakfast will keep you from being tired and irritable by mid-morning.

        The effects of a skipped breakfast are short attention span, lack of alertness, longer reaction time, low blood sugar, decreased work productivity. Surely, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Take time to eat a large, balanced breakfast. It’s a good investment of your time. Once you get into the habit of eating breakfast, you may feel hungry in the morning.

         

        APPLICATION: HOW TO DO IT

        Breakfast is a great way to get more fiber into your diet. Plan wisely for a healthy breakfast. Many prepared cereals have added refined sugar, often hidden. Read labels carefully to select cereals prepared without excessive sugar, salt, fat, and additives.

         What’s your excuse for not eating breakfast?

        •  “No time?” How much time does it take to eat a bowl of cereal? Make toast and eat it on your way to work. Make your breakfast the night before. Making time for breakfast is making time to be healthy.

        •  “Not hungry?” To get started, don’t eat anything after an early supper. Finish supper by 6:30 p.m.

        •  “Might gain weight?” Eating breakfast will actually help you reach and maintain your healthy weight. Your appetite will be satisfied longer. You’ll be eating food when you can best burn the calories. You’ll feel great. Eat breakfast.

        •  You “don’t like breakfast foods?” You don’t have to eat traditional breakfast foods. You can eat leftovers, or a sandwich. Any healthy food is fine. Caffeine may mask hunger.

        •  You “don’t like eating breakfast?” It is in your best interest to eat breakfast. Take the step. Do the right thing. Eat breakfast.

         

         

        Simple, easy ways to add Breakfast:

        •  Start Small. If your not a breakfast eater, begin with whole wheat toast and/or a piece of fruit. In a few days, add more food.

        •  Choose Fruit for Breakfast. Fruit gives you fiber. Fresh fruit is the best choice. There are many to choose from: oranges, grapefruits, apples, bananas, grapes, kiwis, mangos, melons, berries. Eat two servings of fruit every morning. Canned fruit packed in juice is also a good choice. Add dried fruit to your cereal.

        •  Eat High Fiber Hot Cereal. Hot cereal is the best choice, but there are several brands of cold cereal on the market that are high in fiber and low in sugar. Oatmeal is a favorite hot cereal. Try a seven grain cereal and experiment with different grains such as millet, brown rice, quinoa, corn grits for a variety. Try cooking grains in a crock pot overnight and it’s already the next morning. Or cook up a large batch and re-heat the next day. Make your own granola. Add a high fiber cereal to your favorite low fiber cereal. Gradually increase the amount of the high fiber cereal and decrease the amount of the low fiber cereal. For example, if you like cornflakes, add Wheat Chex to the cornflakes. Each morning add a little more Wheat Chex and a little less Cornflakes.

        •  Choose Whole Grain Bread. Eat two slices of toast in the morning or a whole grain bagel. Spread with fruit spread or applesauce or your favorite nut butter.

        •  Make Healthy Pancakes or Waffles. Have you ever considered topping your pancakes or waffles with fruit?

        •  Instead of scramble eggs try scrambled tofu. You’re in for a great surprise.

        •  The sky’s the limit. The only limitation is your imagination. Make it a priority. Eat breakfast.

         

        CHOOSE:

        High fiber, ready to eat cereals and whole grain breads.

        –Choose a cereal with at least 3-5 grams of fiber per serving.

        –Choose cereal that have 5 grams or less of sugar per serving.

        Remember 4 grams of sugar=1 teaspoon.

        –Choose bread with at least 2 grams of dietary fiber per slice.

         

         

        YOUR CHALLENGE: YOU CAN DO IT!!

        Try this simple experiment. Eat one or two servings of fresh fruit every morning for the next three weeks. Eat as many different kinds as you can find.

          And remember, Health is by Choice…not by chance! The choice is yours. You don’t have to be a statistic. By adopting a better diet and wiser lifestyle habits, you can live longer, feel better, and enjoy a healthier, more productive life.

         

        ~*~

        Nancy Schmieder works with the Better Living Ministries in Wayland , NY as a Certified Lifestyle Consultant and Specialist. The Better Living Ministries is a Community Resource for Lifestyle Education and Support. Health by Choice is a practical, simple journey on how to incorporate healthy habits into your lifestyle. Nancy is a Mother of five and she lives with her family in Springwater , NY . Her e-mail address is n.schmieder@frontiernet.net

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