Archive | November 2015

Healthy Ingredients To Add Flavor To Your Food!

When adding ingredients to your food, things that are high in fat, calories, sodium and sugar may be tempting as you may think they add the most flavor. However this is not always true. There are many ingredients that are both delicious as well as healthy that can add amazing flavors to your food! Below is an article describing 10 of these ingredients. Enjoy and eat healthy!

10 Healthy Flavor-Boosters

by Dana Angelo White in Healthy Tips, September 8, 2010

http://blog.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/2010/09/08/10-healthy-flavor-boosters/

Herbed Orzo – Photo Courtesy Food Network Magazine

Who says tasty foods needs to be high in calories? We’ve created a hit list of flavor boosting ingredients. So bring on the big flavor, no — huge flavor for a minimal amount of calories.

1: Fresh Herbs
Parsley over roasted potatoes, basil in tomato salad, tarragon in a chicken dish, or dill in a warm bowl of soup are just a few of the very different ways to use fresh herbs. They’re also loaded with vitamins and antioxidants – use them frequently and the health benefits stack up.

2: Spices
Dried herbs and spices are concentrated sources of flavor – a little goes a long way.
Curry powder, cinnamon, dried oregano, star anise and achiote are just a few of our faves.

3: Chile Peppers
Add some flavorful fire to your foods with all kinds of chile peppers. Chiles aren’t just hot and spicy – each variety has it’s own special flavor.

4: Wine
Wine adds depth and interest – a splash of red is the secret to my roasted tomato sauce. Always use a wine you would like to drink, because cooking concentrates the flavor. And don’t worry about the alcohol, most of it cooks out – and so do the calories!

5: Liqueur
Just like wine, a splash of liqueur can change the flavor of an entire dish. Try almond-flavored Amaretto or berry-flavored Chambord in, and anise-flavored Pernod in savory recipes.

6: Vinegar
Vinegar’s sharp edge gives salad dressings, soups and sauteed veggies a pop of tangy flavor. With so many different kinds to choose from, you can add zing to a variety of recipes. Try raspberry vinegar for homemade salad dressing, sherry vinegar in shrimp stir fry, or balsamic cooked down and drizzled over fresh fruit.

7: Citrus
Both the juice and zest from lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit are no-fail options when you want to turn up the flavor in sauces, vegetables dishes and desserts. The essential oils from the zest permeate everything from applesauce to salsa and the pucker of freshly squeezed juice can balance out sweet or salty flavors.

8: Garlic
Raw, sautéed or roasted, even the tiniest bit of garlic will bring meats, poultry, pasta, stocks, sauces and veggies to life. Check your local farmers market for this seasonal goodie.

9: Dijon Mustard
Yellow mustard has spice, but Dijon has pizzazz. Whether it’s a salad dressing, sandwich spread or marinade, at less than 10 calories per teaspoon, you can’t go wrong with this flavor-packed condiment.

10: Vanilla Extract
Vanilla isn’t just for baking — a splash in oatmeal, smoothies or coffee adds an extra layer of flavor without any additional calories. Try it in homemade chocolate candy.

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

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Delicious and Healthy Hummus!

Hummus and Garlic Pita Chips is my favorite snack because it’s delicious and healthy. Since I love spicy food, my favorite store bought hummus is Sabra Supremely Spicy Hummus. I have not tried making it but it is very easy to make. You will see a simple recipe as well as the history, benefits and flavors of hummus as you in the article below. Enjoy and get your nutrition!!!

What Is Hummus? 8 Reasons to Eat It Every Day!

http://draxe.com/what-is-hummus/

Reasons to eat hummus everyday Title

What is Hummus?

Hummus is a creamy, thick spread made primarily from mashed chickpeas and a few other healthy ingredients that has become popular worldwide over the past couple of decades. It has long been enjoyed in Middle Eastern and North African countries and today in commonly eaten across North America and Europe too.

In fact, hummus is one of the most widely consumed Middle Eastern foods in the United States today; in 2008, over 15 million Americans reported that they eat hummus on a frequent basis! That’s a lot of people getting to experience all of the health benefits of hummus!

If you’re new to hummus and are still wondering, “what is hummus exactly?”, then read on to find out what it’s all about why you should ideally be eating it everyday.


The Rich History of Hummus

Hummus has a rich tradition- some even refer to it as an “ancient” food that has a history of being consumed by important historical figures in the Middle East.

focus on middle east, Globe under magnifying glass

According to ancient scriptures, hummus- at least as we know it today- was first consumed in Egypt around the 13th Century, although the recipe used at this time differed from today’s because it omitted tahini and used other nuts instead.

Today hummus still plays a major part in the diet of many healthy populations living around the world, mainly in the Middle East.

Hummus is commonly consumed with every single meal in Israel, is frequently included in all “mezzeh tables” in Syria and Turkey, is eaten most days for breakfast along with bread in Palestine and Jordan, and is still enjoyed in Egypt and many Arabic nations in a variety of meals too.


Is Hummus Healthy?

Mediterranean and Middle Eastern populations have been consuming good-quality olive oil and tahini for thousands of years. This type of diet that is still eaten in these regions today (which also frequently includes other hummus ingredients like beans, lemon, and garlic) has been shown to be very anti-inflammatory, and we know that inflammation is the root cause of many chronic disease.

hummus and crackers

Eating a diet similar to these healthy populations can help to lower cholesterol and triglycerides levels, to reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, and to lessen the chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

So is hummus healthy? If you make homemade hummus with real ingredients or buy a quality store bought hummus then yes!

Basic hummus recipes contain 6 healthy ingredients: chickpeas, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, sea salt, and tahini.

Flavored types of hummus- for example, popular types like roasted red pepper or Kalamata olive hummus which you may have seen in supermarkets- has additional ingredients that are mixed into the basic hummus recipe described above.

This is good news because it keeps the tastes of hummus interesting and offers a wide variety of options.

Hummus Nutrition Facts

When you look at hummus nutrition facts, you will see that it is loaded with nutrients. A 100 gram serving of hummus contains the following nutrients:

  • Protein 5g
  • Fiber 5g
  • Fat 9g
  • Carbs 20g
  • Vitamin C 13% RDA
  • Vitamin B6 20% RDA
  • Folate 15% RDA
  • Iron 10% RDA
  • Zinc 10% RDA
  • Phosphorus 11% RDA
  • Manganese 28% RDA

The whole-food, unprocessed, plant-based ingredients used in hummus make it an excellent choice to include in your meals for these reasons.

Hummus Nutrition Facts Infographic Table

What Is Hummus Made Of?

ChickpeasChickpeas

Like all beans and legumes, chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) are high in plant-based in protein and fiber. They help to make you feel full, to improve digestion, and aid to heart health too (12).

They are also one of the longest consumed legumes in the world- they have been a part of certain traditional diets for 7,500 years! Additionally, chickpeas are a good source of 3 nutrients that help to reduce common symptoms associated with PMS: magnesium, manganese, and vitamin B6.


olives and olive oil Olive Oil

Olive oil used in hummus is very healthy because it is consumed without cooking the oil, and we know from research that olive oil heated repeatedly or to a very high level can oxidize and become hydrogenated.

Traditionally, hummus is often made with good quality extra virgin olive oil, but if you decide to make your own, make sure to avoid fake olive oil, and be careful to purchase extra virgin olive oil that is truly pure and free from fillers.


Whole Garlic ClovesGarlic

Raw garlic, as it is used in hummus, offers an impressive amount of nutrients including flavonoids, oligosaccharides, selenium, high levels of sulfur, and many more.

Consuming raw garlic frequently has been proven to help reduce risk factors associated with heart disease and various cancers (34). Garlic also acts as an anti-fungal, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-viral too.


Lemon juiceLemon Juice

Lemon juice has an alkalizing effect on the body, which combats the high level of acidity that is common in most modern diets. Additionally, lemon juice helps to increase immunity, boost digestion, and to help keep blood sugar levels stable.


Sea salt on a wooden boardSea Salt

An unprocessed, traditional hummus will likely use a good-quality sea salt to add flavor, as opposed to more processed “table salt” which is iodized. Sea salt, especially Himalayan sea salt, has numerous health benefits: it contains 60 trace minerals.

It also helps to keep your fluid levels balanced and to keep you hydrated, and provides sodium levels that help to balance potassium intake. Himalayan sea salt also contains important electrolytes and enzymes that aid in nutrient absorption.


tahini in a bowl Tahini

Tahini is made of ground sesame seeds and is thought to be one of the oldest condiments in the world. Sesame seeds offer a wide range of important micronutrients and macronutrients too- everything from trace minerals to healthy fatty acids.

According to recent studies, sesame seeds also have important beneficial properties, including antioxidant Vitamin E,  that can help reduce risks associated with insulin resistance, heart disease and cancer (56).

Aside from having a stellar ingredient list, science shows us that when the ingredients in hummus are combined, they offer even more health benefits. This has to do with the way that the fats, carbohydrates, and proteins found in hummus work together to give us even more of a feeling of satiety after eating it. Because of the fats found in hummus, nutrient absorption is also increased if you pair hummus with other nutritious whole-foods, like vegetables.


8 HEALTH BENEFITS OF HUMMUS:

1. Good Source of Plant-Based Protein

What is hummus good for? To start, hummus is an excellent protein source for vegetarians, vegans, and omnivores too. Chickpeas, which are the base of nearly all hummus recipes, are high in protein which can help to make you feel full after consuming them. The feeling of satiety therefore makes you less likely to snack (especially on junk food) between meals.

Because hummus is often eaten with pita bread or another type of whole grain, the chickpeas and grains together make up a “complete protein”, meaning they contain all essential amino acids that are necessary for the body to acquire from food and to then use for energy.

Tahini, made from ground sesame seeds, is also a great source of important amino acids (specifically one called methionine), which allows tahini to create another complete protein when combined with chickpeas, similarly to chickpeas and grains do.


2. Fights Illness & Disease

 Beans, and chickpeas in particular, have been shown to help balance cholesterol levels, reduce hypertension, and to protect against heart disease. (7,  8 ) In fact, hummus is commonly eaten in many Mediterranean nations that experience great health, low rates of cardiovascular disease, and longevity- Greece and Turkey being two of these.

This may be due to the high fiber content in chickpeas, which helps people to avoid overeating and gaining harmful excess weight, especially around the organs. Beans also help to keep the arteries clear from plaque build-up, decreasing the chances of cardiac arrest and stroke. In fact studies show that having just one daily serving (about 3/4 cup cooked) of beans of any kind can help to decrease chances of a heart attack and to help balance “bad” LDL cholesterol.

Chickpeas have also been shown to have protective properties against cancer, in particular colon cancer. This is due to chickpeas’ ability to keep the digestive system, including the colon, free from harmful bacteria and toxic build-up, since the beans’ fiber helps to keep waste moving out of the body quickly.

Additionally, a diet rich in all beans has been shown to reduce hyperglycemia and to help balance blood sugar levels. This decreases the chance of developing diabetes or insulin resistance. In fact, populations who traditionally ate beans often, but then switched to diets that contained less beans, suffered from much higher rates of disease. Once reintroducing beans back into the diet, these populations experienced significantly less issues balancing blood sugar.


3. Decreases Inflammation

Knee inflammation and joint Pain, arthritis

Inflammation is the body’s natural defense to move toxins out of the body. However, when your body has a high level of inflammation, it indicates that you body has been trying to overcome food, environmental or medicinal toxins. Foods that help reduce inflammation also help in reducing the chance of arthritis and disease and they help to heal the body.

Hummus has both garlic, olive oil and chick peas which are all known anti-inflammatory foods. In a recent study, extracts from garlic were shown to reduce inflammation and help fight wrinkles and aging. While for centuries garlic has been used to boost the immune system and cure diseases, more studies are being conducted to understand how and what about garlic make it so effective. (9 , 10)

Olive oil has been found to reduce inflammation in the body and can also help with healthy cholesterol levels. (11)

Chick Peas have been found not only to reduce inflammation but also to reduce blood clots. Research done on two different varieties of chickpeas showed both effective at reducing inflammation markers. (12)


4. Helps Digestion & Intestinal Health

Human Digestive System Chalkboard Illustration

Chickpeas are an excellent source of fiber, which has multiple health benefits: helping to foster a healthy digestive system, making us feel full and satisfied, improving cardiovascular health, and more (8).

Consuming enough fiber daily (between 25-35 grams depending on your gender and needs) is correlated with a healthy body weight and deceased chance of obesity-related diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and many more.


5. High in Vitamins and Minerals

It is hard to beat the winning combination of essential micronutrients that the ingredients in hummus has to offer! In addition to protein and fiber, the chickpeas used in hummus are high in iron, folate, phosphorus, and B vitamins (all especially important for vegetarians and vegans who may be lacking in these nutrients).

Lemon juice also contains a high level of immunity boosting vitamin C and antioxidants. Tahini has high levels of copper, magnesium, zinc, iron, phosphorus, and calcium too. And of course there is garlic too; garlic contains many trace minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins (manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and selenium to name a few) and has been shown to benefit the heart and to boost immunity too.


 6. Bone Health

Sesame seeds, used in making tahini, are an excellent source of various important bone-building minerals including:  zinc, copper, calcium, magnesium,  phosphorus, iron, and  selenium. Bone loshealthy and unhealthy bone density anatomy diagrams is often a concern for people as they age, including women who go through menopause and experience hormonal shifts that can result in bone weakening, and even osteoporosis for some.

The trace mineral copper, which tahini is an excellent source of, helps to keep the skeletal structure strong by facilitating the binding of collagen to elastin, which is one important building-block of bones. At the same time, calcium may be able to help lower levels of bone loss, especially as someone ages. Zinc has been shown to be an important factor in bone development and growth and a protector of bone health.

Studies have shown that zinc deficiencies are closely tied to stunted bone growth and that zinc can contribute to bone formation and healthy mineralization in both younger people and older populations that are more at risk (13). 1/4 cup serving of tahini/sesame seeds provides roughly 163% of your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of copper, 25% of your RDA of zinc, and about 17% of your RDA of calcium.


heart and cardiogram virtual 7.  Heart Health

Studies suggest that diets rich in extra virgin olive oil, one of the main ingredients used in hummus, helps to prevent cardiovascular disease in several important ways. Regularly consuming good-quality olive oil has been correlated with improving blood pressure levels, glucose metabolism, and reducing harmful cholesterol. (1415)

Both olive oil and sesame seeds have also been shown to help reduce inflammation and to provide important antioxidants, both which play a part in maintaining heart health by keeping the structure of arteries and cell walls healthy.  Finally, diets rich in beans have been shown to help protect heart health partially due to their low score on the glycemic index. (16)


8. Boost Your Energy

Chickpeas, like all beans and legumes, contain starch, which is a complex carbohydrate that the body is able to use steadily for energy. Starches contain natural sugars called glucose, which the body uses easily for many essential functions. Unlike simple sugars- found in many products like refined flour, white bread or pasta, soda, candy, and most other processed foods- starches take an extended period of time to break down once consumed.

This means they provide “time released” energy and do not spike your blood sugar in the same way that simple carbohydrates found in processed foods do. The process of digesting and utilizing the glucose found in all beans and starches is drawn-out, keeping blood sugar stable for a while before it beings to drop back down again and you require more food.

Hummus Health Benefits Chart

Types of Hummus

There are endless ways to use hummus: as a dip along with whole grain sprouted bread or crackers, smeared on a veggie-based sandwich, as a dressing on top of salad or grains, and even as a healthy substitution for other spreads like sugary jelly or butter. Due to all the different types of hummus that is now readily available in almost all grocery stores, finding and using hummus has never been easier.

If you are lucky enough to live by a health food store, definitely check out their hummus selection- chances are they carry hummus varieties that are unlike any you’ve ever seen in larger grocery chains. In health food or vegetarian-based stores, it’s now common to find hummus made from other types of beans (black beans, edamame, or lentils for example) and with ingredient additions and flavors that can spice up any bland meal. Some of my favorite types of hummus include:

  • cilantro
  • jalapeno
  • curry
  • sweet potato
  • roasted red pepper
  • black bean
  • eggplant (baba ghanoush)

These are just a few of the many unique twists you can create when making homemade hummus.


How to Make Hummus

Although there are many brands of hummus on the market that use minimal ingredients and avoid an excess of added preservatives, it’s always a good idea to make your own homemade version of any food that you frequently eat whenever possible. This ensures you know exactly what is going into your recipe and that you can get the full health benefits of hummus, plus it saves you money too!

Luckily, hummus is super simple to make- all you really need are some very basic ingredients and a food processor or even blender.

Here is a basic hummus recipe to get started, and then look online or in stores to get some inspiration for different ingredients and flavors that you can try adding. I like adding pine nuts or extra garlic and roasted red bell peppers. The best thing is, making your own hummus means you can whip up a big batch all at once to keep on hand in your refrigerator and use throughout the week.


Hummus Recipe

hummus, Dr. Axe Recipes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 8-12

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cans garbanzo beans
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Sea salt to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Drain and rinse garbanzo beans, reserving 1/4 c. liquid.
  2. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend.
  3. Add more water or olive oil until desired consistency is reached.
  4. For best results, drizzle it with olive oil when storing.

It will keep for up to a week and still taste delicious!

Hummus, Dr. Axe Recipe Card

Secrets to Making Great Homemade Hummus

Take note from some of the healthiest populations around the world and start incorporating hummus into one of your meals every day. Think outside the box and use hummus for an unexpected addition to many types of meals, just like the populations that have been eating it for hundreds of years do.

Scoop some hummus up with flatbread, serve it as part of a meze plate along with homemade baked falafel, or add it on top of grilled organic chicken or fish. No matter how you like using it best, reap the many health benefits of hummus by eating it often!

For even more information on making your own hummus at home and how you can use it every day in multiple simple recipes, check out my featuring “master hummus maker” Jeff Burns.

So in closing, what is hummus? It’s a creamy delicious dip that is healthy for your whole body that you should incorporate into your diet today.

Scents And Scents-Ability

Previously I wrote an article about the benefits of aromatherapy on your well-being. Now I am going a little further to explore the effects of different scents more specific to your brain chemistry and emotional responses to these scents. This is what I am calling Scents-Ability. Explore, Enjoy, Experience!

11 Scents That Can Do Wonders For Your Well-Being

Apr 26, 2014 | Updated Aug 05, 2015

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/5193609

Sally Anscombe via Getty Images

To most people, a smell isn’t just a fragrance — it’s a memory. When you get a whiff of chocolate chip cookies, you may think of baking in your Mom’s kitchen. When a warm breeze blows the smell of fresh flowers, you’re instantly rocketed back to your first dance and the corsage your date brought.

And these nostalgic ties aren’t just a coincidence — there’s science behind why we cherish these aromas. Our olfactory response is directly linked to the emotional center of our brain, causing a flood of warm and fuzzy feelings with a simple sniff. Unlike touch or taste, scents are directly correlated with past experiences. It’s no wonder the smell of rain or the scent of a swimming pool makes us so reminiscent.

But aside from their memory-inducing powers, certain scents can also do amazing things for our mind and body. From stress relief to headache relief, certain aromas have a way of making an impact (and positively so). In honor of Sense of Smell Day, below find 11 scents that are more than just a nice fragrance — they benefit your well-being.

Lavender can help you sleep.

http://m.huffpost.com/_uac/2014adpage.html

Cinnamon can sharpen your mind. It’s one of the coziest scents out there — but this sweet-smelling spice can also boost your brain power. Researchers from Wheeling Jesuit University studied participants and found that those who took a whiff of cinnamon improved in cognitive functions like visual-motor response, working memory and attention span.

Pine can alleviate stress.

Fresh-cut grass can make you more joyful. You may think mowing the lawn is an annoying, menial task, but the fresh scent the chore yields may be making you happier. Scent researchers found that a chemical released by a newly-mowed lawn can make people feel joyful and relaxed. The aroma may also prevent mental decline as you grow older. The smell apparently is so powerful that neuroscientists came up with a perfume and air fragrance that matches it so the lawnless can also reap the benefits of the feel-good scent — no lawn mower required.

Citrus can help you feel more energized.

Vanilla can elevate your mood. Vanilla may often be used as a synonym for “bland,” but this scent is anything but when it comes to our happiness levels. In a study published in the Proceedings of ISOT/JASTS 2004, researchers found that taking a whiff of vanilla bean elevated participants’ feelings of joy and relaxation. The results were measured through mood mapping, which included emotions ranging from happiness and stimulation to apathy and irritation.

Pumpkin can serve as an aphrodisiac.

Peppermint may boost concentration. In addition to giving you sweet breath, peppermint may also do your brain a favor. A small study out of Wheeling Jesuit University found that smelling peppermint could be linked to greater cognitive stamina, motivation and overall performance. Known for invigorating the mind, it’s even been used as an aid for students when taking tests. There is also a small bit of research to suggest that the menthol scent in peppermint even tricks the brain into thinking that it alleviates stuffy nasal passages — just the thing you need when you’re feeling a little under the weather.

Jasmine may ease depression.

Their aesthetic is already pleasing enough, but this floral scent also has serious mood perks. A 2010 study found that not only does the smell of jasmine create a sense of alertness, it can also serve as a way to help with depressive thoughts. Researchers found that the stimulating effect of jasmine oil can aid in the relief of depression and can lead to an uplifted mood. Pretty powerful for a tiny flower.

Apples may mitigate a migraine. You know what they say, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” — and that may be more true when it comes to headaches. Research has suggested that the smell of the crisp fruit may actually help ease a migraine. One 2008 study showed that those who found the scent appealing had a noticeable reduction in headache symptoms as well as shortened migraine episodes. Previous studies on a green apple’s odor have also found the scent may help control feelings of anxiety during stressful moments.

Olive oil can satisfy your appetite.

The Riggs Family Needs Your Help

Hello All! Some dear family friends of my family had their house burned down by 2 thirteen year old kids (charges have been pressed) and lost everything in the fire and over $400,000 in damages. By the Grace of God they were not hurt. Raji and Mike Riggs are the amazing parents of their lovely daughter Chaya and their amazing younger son Billy. Billy’s classmate started a GoFundMe account to help the family. If you can please donate to help this incredible family. Thank you so much!

https://www.gofundme.com/p57nx5y8

Have More Fun, Enjoy Your Life!

Stress, worry, anxiety, depression. Four responses that can happen as a result of various life events that take can steal your peace and joy in life. Completely normal. But what if you had tools that could help you bring back fun to your life so that it is more enjoyable? You deserve to live a happier life and the article below describes 5 ways to have more fun in your everyday life!

5 ways to have more fun in your everyday life

Get healthier and happier by making sure your days are more enjoyable

By Lisa Bendall

http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/life-and-work/5-ways-to-have-more-fun-in-your-everyday-life

5 ways to have more fun in your everyday life

image: http://www.besthealthmag.ca/sites/default/files/images/iStock_000017466492XSmall.jpg

Looking for fun? Don’t put it off to that vacation you may never take or the ATV you can’t afford. You don’t need a special occasion to have fun, says Aisha Alfa, a certified life coach in Winnipeg. “We’re so much more productive, creative, loving and accepting when we are in a joyful state,” she points out. “If we could create that state more often, we could accomplish more, and we’d have a better self-image and perspective on life.”

It’s not hard to inject more fun in your day-to-day life. The first step is to forget the idea that it’s only for kids, and be open to adding enjoyment to your daily routines. Here are five ways you can have much more fun:

1. Go after laughter

If you suspect you’re laughing less as time goes on, you may be right. A researcher at University of Glamorgan in Wales concluded that as people age, they don’t laugh as often. But giggles are good for you: They lower stress levels, exercise your lungs, strengthen your immune system and may even protect you against heart disease. Plus, laughing is loads of fun. Make a point of watching a funny movie, TV show or stand-up comedy routine. Click on those hilarious videos your Facebook pals are passing around. Tell some jokes. Do a laughter exercise first thing in the morning by bending over, stretching and laughing your head off.

2. Switch up your same-old

Stuck in a rut? Now, that’s no fun. “In our routines, we tend to become less and less present and aware,” says Alfa. Try shaking things up a little. Take a different walk to work or school and admire the scenery. Do your weekly grocery shopping at a store you’re not used to. Who knows what new gourmet treats you may find? It doesn’t even have to be much of a change to make it fun. “What if you slept in your bed the opposite way? It gives you a giggle!” Alfa says.

3. Sign up with your social circle

If you’re planning to take an exercise class or evening course, get friends to go with you. Now you have a regular excuse to spend time with folks who make you feel good, and your leg lifts or study sessions will be a lot more fun. My weekly aqua fitness sessions were a hoot when my pal joined in and we cracked jokes throughout class. Experts at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research say that people are happier when they have a connection to their community. There’s even widespread evidence that physical activity—like the kind you get from a regular workout—improves your sense of well-being.

4. Do something you suck at

Yes, really! Whether it’s tackling a recipe for cheese soufflé, flying a kite with your neighbour’s kid or working on your swan dive, it can be fun to add activities to your everyday life that you haven’t mastered. We’re not talking about setting yourself up for frustration, but challenging yourself to a task you don’t yet know how to do. Without the pressure of having to be perfect, you’re free to laugh at your clumsy attempts, maybe learn something new and, most important of all, just enjoy yourself. The world won’t end if you fail, because nothing’s riding on your success, although Alfa notes: “You might succeed in ways you’re not expecting to, like changing your routine, networking with people or getting alone time. There’s success in everything.”

5. Practise peace, love and forgiveness

Naturally, life is less fun when you’re hung up on your neighbour’s noisy car muffler, your sister’s gossiping habit or even your own flabby thighs. When you make a point of extending goodwill and forgiveness—and yes, that includes a healthy dose of self-love—you can let go of what makes you grumpy. “It sounds corny,” says Alfa, “but the more we can accept ourselves and the people around us, the more we can push the boundaries, and experience joy and laughter in places we didn’t expect to have it.”

Milk Comparison

Lately I have been seeing not only commercials for different kinds of milk, but also commercials for “this milk” against “that milk”. Personally I enjoy 2% organic cow milk and almond milk.  And in India, the beautiful country from where my family originates, they drink deliciously healthy buffalo milk.  They make yogurt with buffalo milk as well and I absolutely love it.  I tried soy milk once and enjoyed the taste, but had an allergic reaction.

Below is an article comparing the different kinds of milk. Drink up and enjoy!

Fitnesstreats.com, low-sugar high-protein treats

Foods to Battle Cold And Flu

Cold-Flu-1Cold and flu season is here and dealing with them is frustrating and inconvenient. Who has time to be sick? Eating the right foods will help you battle these illnesses. Boost your immunity and blow away those illnesses so that you can move on and do what you’ve got to do!

Survive Cold Flu Season

Eating Tips for Cold and Flu Season
By Kerri-Ann Jennings, MS, RD

http://www.m.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/discomfort-15/cold-flu-season/foods-immunity

So you want to do everything you can to stay well and avoid this year’s cold or flu. You might want to start with your diet.

Of course, you need to get enough sleep, stay active, and curb stress. But then, certain foods can support your immune system and help it protect you.

One of the first things you want to do, says Woodson Merrell, MD, author of The Detox Prescription, is cut down on foods that lead to inflammation. That includes refined carbohydrates like white flour or white rice, sugar, and saturated fats found in butter and other animal fats, such as chicken skin.

In place of them, Merrell recommends you eat:

  • Lots of vegetables, herbs, and spices
  • Some fruit, but not too much
  • Whole grains
  • Lean protein
  • Moderate amounts of healthy oils such as olive oil

Feed Your Cold

Want to “feed your cold”? Make room on your plate for these items:

  1. Mushrooms: These are good for your immune system, Merrell says, especially shiitake, maitake (also known as hen of the woods), and reishi mushrooms. The familiar button mushroom is a good way to get vitamin D, which you also need. Mushrooms, says Elson Haas, MD, author of Ultimate Immunity, are most delicious when cooked.
  2. Garlic: Eating garlic regularly is one of the best things you can do during cold and flu season. Allicin, a natural chemical in garlic, fights bacteria and possibly viruses too. Remember, colds and the flu are caused by viruses, not bacteria.
  3. Citrus: These tangy fruits are a great way to get vitamin C. It’s a key antioxidant that also supports your immune system. In addition to oranges, grapefruits, and other citrus fruit, you can get vitamin C from peppers, kiwi, and strawberries.
  4. Herbs and spices: These not only make your food tasty, Merrell says, they also have been shown to kill germs. Try curry, which is a mix of spices like hot peppers, turmeric, garlic, and ginger that curb inflammation. Rosemary, oregano, and thyme are other herbs that give you antioxidants.
  5. Probiotics: These “good” bacteria help keep your gut healthy. That, in turn, is good for your overall immunity. You can find them in fermented food, such as sauerkraut, kefir, and some yogurts. Look for “live cultures” on the label.
  6. Prebiotics: These are carbs your body cannot digest. They are food for probiotics, so they’re good to include in your diet. Oats and barley have one called beta-glucan. Onions, bananas, and asparagus have another called inulin.
  7. Chicken soup: It really does help you through a cold. It helps fight inflammation. Warm liquids, including chicken soup, can soothe your sore throat and help relieve congestion.
  8. Astragalus : This root is used in traditional Chinese medicine to stimulate the immune system. Some studies have found that astragalus can help your body fight off colds. Although it’s often added to soups, it is also available as a supplement. Before you take any supplement, check with your doctor.