Greatest GIFT

Faith, God's Wisdom, journey to healthy living, Life and dreams


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Too much cholesterol

foods-high-cholesterolAccording to WEBMD, our body through our liver produces 75 percent of cholesterol that circulate in our blood. A normal level of cholesterol plays an important part in helping our cells do their proper jobs in our body system. 25 percent of cholesterol comes from our food. Therefore, when we eat foods high in cholesterol more than our body needs; and we eat them everyday, it can cause damage deep within our body. We don’t feel any symptoms when our body carries too much cholesterol, but over our life span, it can lead to a build up of plaque inside the arteries and narrows the space available for blood flow and can trigger heart disease. It’s pretty scary!

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But there are ways to lower our body’s  cholesterol, thank goodness! First stop is to have our cholesterol level tested via blood testing at the doctor’s office. The results would show the levels of bad (LDL), good (HDL) and triglycerides.

 

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Since I started this blog and has kept my weight down with the help of plant based eating, I have lowered my blood pressure and my last cholesterol test showed a low level because of the plant based foods I’ve become accustomed to. My intake of meat, poultry and seafood becomes my side dishes. I’m still into smoothies, apples, oranges, grapefruit which I eat in the morning after drinking a glass of water. I still drink eight glasses of water. Most especially, I still keep track and weigh myself daily before I start my day. If I gain a pound or maybe two, I eat more plant based and lesser simple carbs and less protein and I still do intermittent fasting.  If I am mindful of what I eat daily, keeping the weight down is easier nowadays.

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Calorie Awareness

People nowadays can easily consume more than 2,000 calories in one seating. With the abundance of restaurants and fast food chains, a person can easily devour more than 4,000 calories from eating breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner in a day. If a person eat this much everyday, the weight gain is obvious. And if this person is not eating healthy, the person’s immune system would suffer and so does the rest of the person’s body organs and cells. Chronic diseases will follow suit.

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This worth of breakfast food is 2,100 calories, according to The Upshot article on What 2,000 calories look like.

Lunch

This lunch combination, or it can be for dinner,  is worth a whooping 2,670 calories.

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This delicious meal just by itself without a soda or side dish and bread is 2,370 calories.

And when we dine out, we totally disregard the need to eat veggies and fruits that have so much nutrients and what our immune system is craving for. So, when we eat restaurant entrée and fast food, our digestive system is working so hard. If we are lucky, our body may get some protein in the process, but mostly bad fat and bad carbs that would add up to our waistline because that is where the bad food we had eaten would end up, while our immune system starve to death.

Ever since I’ve started using food scale and have been journaling my food intake for a year now,  I’ve noticed that my stomach has adjusted to the reduced calories I’ve been consuming each day.  I’ve mostly consumed foods eaten at home which I prepare and cook. Occasionally my hubby and I would venture and eat out at Whole Food’s food court or buy the ready made lunch/dinners they sell, which is heat and eat. Mostly, they are nutritious and not so high in calories. We’ve dined out occasionally on special occasion and I would go back to eating less the following day.

I’ve read that the way to accomplish this effect is to train your body to get used to accommodating smaller meals. Your stomach will adjust to proportions suitable for the needs of the average quantity of food you’re used to taking in, in a single serving. Over time, eating smaller-portioned meals reduces the size your stomach is accustomed to inflating during mealtime.

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This is one of my measured food portion for lunch which consisted of Asparagus Risotto at 71 calories, a combo of wild Akeya rice and brown rice at 203 calories, baked chicken wings at 107 calories and 136 calories of Romaine and Avocado salad with cucumber and Siracha ranch dressing. The total calories for lunch that I have eaten was 517 calories. That day I had also consumed 301 calories of healthy breakfast cereal with strawberries mixed with plain Kefir. For snack I had an apple with peanut butter and some blackberries at 235 calories. For a year now, I’ve used smaller plates and bowls. For my drink, I always have 8 glasses of water consumed in a day, not counting my glass of Mineral Water I would drink for lunch almost everyday. Thankfully, Mineral Water is zero calories.

My total calories that day was 1,053.screenshot_2016-05-30-15-58-22.png

To maintain my weight, according to this plan, I have to eat 1,599 calories (for me this is a lot of calories)  and to lose weight, I have to eat less than 1,368 calories a day.

I can see now why I gained a lot of weight from dining out. I had eaten more than 1,599 calories. Knowledge is power definitely! Using a food scale now, it revealed to me that  it’s very easy to eat more than 2,000 calories or more in a day!

I’ve learned that veggies and fruits have lower calories. We can eat lots of veggies and fruits combined and it will not even make it to 2,000 calories. Amazing!

According to this article I’ve read, women who consume more fruit and vegetables have a healthier and more attractive glow than those who don’t, scientists have discovered.

Carotenoids – a type of pigment found in carrots, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens and tomatoes, is credited with helping to protect against cancer.

People consuming diets rich in carotenoids are healthier and have lower death rate from a number of chronic illnesses.

The chemical can also work as antioxidants, aiding in the prevention of cancer.

A recent study showed that eating at least seven portions of fresh fruit and vegetables a day was linked to a 42 per cent lower risk of death from all causes.

I’ve just read that: “A new study published in JAMA Oncology revealed four lifestyle choices that can reduce the risk of breast cancer. Staying away from smoking, keeping a healthy weight, limiting alcohol intake and avoiding hormone therapies after menopause can lower your risk of getting breast cancer by 30 percent.”

 


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White Coat and White Bloat Syndrome

I saw my cardiologist yesterday for my six months check up. The medical assistant was amazed that I’ve lost weight. She told me that my weight was 126 in May 2015. I told her that I was 121 that day she weigh me in. She said that different scale has different results. I was very surprised with her response because she did not point out that everything from my clothes to my shoes add up to the weight reading on the scale. I mentioned that to her and told her that when I weigh myself in the morning, I don’t have any clothes on to get my correct weight. Whitebloatsyndrome

Yesterday, I had to remove my sweater and my sandals so that at least my weight at the doctor’s office is not way too off from my weight in the morning. Being my appointment was in the afternoon, I had already eaten and had drank some water already. At least, the difference in my weight was about 4 pounds. The doctor’s office scale indicated I was 109 pounds, while my morning weigh in was 105.6 pounds.

I’ve realized, too, that when they take my blood pressure at my cardiologist office, my blood pressure was way too high. Yesterday my BP reading was 200/80. WhiteCoatHypertension5That was too high and inaccurate. The medical assistant and the doctor said that I may have a white coat hypertension. When I think about it now, I may surely be suffering with that kind of hypertension, but only at the cardiologist office. Another medical assistant took another reading and the systolic level went down to 168 which was still high. At my regular doctor, I never get that kind of very high blood pressure reading.WhiteCoatHypertension4

According to Wikipedia:

White coat hypertension, more commonly known as white coat syndrome, is a phenomenon in which patients exhibit a blood pressure level above the normal range, in a clinical setting, though they don’t exhibit it in other settings. It is believed that the phenomenon is due to anxiety that those afflicted experience, during a clinic visit.

The patient’s daytime ambulatory blood pressure is used as a reference as it takes into account ordinary levels of daily stress. Many problems have been incurred in the diagnosis and treatment of white coat hypertension.

The term “masked hypertension” can be used to describe the contrasting phenomenon, where a patient’s blood pressure is above the normal range during daily living, although it isn’t above the normal range when the patient is in a clinic setting.

Diagnosis

In studies, white coat hypertension can be defined as the presence of a defined hypertensive average blood pressure in a clinic setting, although it isn’t present when the patient is in other settings. Diagnosis is made difficult as a result of the unreliable measures taken from the conventional methods of detection. These methods often involve an interface with health care professionals and frequently results are tarnished by a list of factors including variability in the individual’s blood pressure, technical inaccuracies, anxiety of the patient, recent ingestion of pressor substances, and talking, amongst many other factors. The most common measure of blood pressure is taken from a noninvasive instrument called a sphygmomanometer. “A survey showed that 96% of primary care physicians habitually use a cuff size too small,” adding to the difficulty in making an informed diagnosis. For such reasons, white coat hypertension cannot be diagnosed with a standard clinical visit. It can be reduced (but not eliminated) with automated blood pressure measurements over 15 to 20 minutes in a quiet part of the office or clinic.WhiteCoatHypertension6

Mayo Clinic explanation of white coat hypertension here at:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/expert-answers/white-coat-hypertension/FAQ-20057792

There must be something that is stressing me out every time I see my cardiologist. Thank goodness that I have a daily log of my blood pressure readings and my daily weight that I can show to my GP and my cardiologist for the correct BP readings at home. It’s frustrating because now doctors can email their patients their medical records and the patients will see what they have recorded at their end. I hate to say it, they are mostly wrong information and limited in scope. Mine showed a wrong height, wrong BP reading info and seem that it did not show what my cardiologist and I had conversed about my health progress.

He asked me what did I do to lose weight. I explained what regimen I have done which I have posted here on my blog. He seemed to be writing down the information. And he agreed that diet and the type of foods I have eaten in the past months helped me tremendously. He also concurred that blood pressure goes down when a person loses weight. He repeated that my heart is in good shape, very healthy according to the echocardiogram and the nuclear tests in May 2015; and he added that the pain I might have experienced in the past was probably gas from indigestion, which made sense. He commended me for taking a proactive role with my health.

There were minor findings from my nuclear test that he needs to monitor, so he wanted to see me in six months for another echocardiogram. I guess I only suffer white coat syndrome at the cardiologist office and not with my Primary Care Physician or come to think of it, if they don’t ask me to take a test or two for preventive care. I think I may have to pass this up next time they told me I’m due for a preventive assessment review.

Maybe because my cardiologist and his office are not in sync with my current health updates, I guess I feel frustrated and it is stressing me out in the back of my mind. Especially, when I viewed my current medical record with them yesterday. It looked like nothing has changed in my condition except my weight. I guess they do not have time to build a relationship with their patients being pretty busy with other patients. I guess I might just have to take this whole thing with a grain of salt.wpid-screenshot_2015-08-07-20-37-20-1.png

My overall health is really in my hands. I cannot depend on conventional doctors to take care of my health. I have to accept the facts that their medical records about me would be erroneous because no one really pay attention on correcting them and they based things on what their medical instruments tell them whether it’s wrong or not. I just have to leave it at that.  I have to take care of myself by continuously being proactive with my healthy eating habitsasparagus, reading articles about health from functional and alternative doctors and learn from them. If I keep on eating the right foods wpid-screenshot_2015-08-28-07-30-36-1.pngand eating less and do my daily intermittent fasting, intermittentfastingstaying away from most of the processed foods, drinking water, have a good night sleep schedule; my conventional doctors would just be saying on the back of their heads: “there goes my business!” Just leave them in wonderment. Really, when you’re ill and naïve about your health and uneducated, it’s easy for  conventional doctors to whip up any kind of diagnosis. It’s really trial and errors with them because they don’t really know you and your body personally.wpid-screenshot_2015-08-04-15-07-28-1.png

http://www.ehow.com/how_5013527_avoid-white-coat-syndrome.html

According to ehow.com, there’s a way to avoid White Coat Syndrome:

  • From the evening before you go to the doctor, stop drinking water. If you have less water, you will have lower blood pressure. The only reason you’re not drinking water is so you can have a few uneventful doctor’s visits without the high blood pressure speech. If you do this, make sure you test yourself so you know you don’t have high blood pressure.
  • On the way to the doctor, listen to pleasant music. Smile. Enjoy life. Drive slowly. Do everything to be relaxed on the way to the doctor. Ignore the stresses of your life. Do not think or worry about white coat syndrome. What’s on your mind can have a huge effect on blood pressure, so it’s best to be relaxed as much as possible.
  • Walk slowly into the doctor’s office. Excessive physical exertion will raise blood pressure.
  • Stay relaxed the whole time at the doctor. Meditate. Smile at the world. Close your eyes. If you have somebody with you, fall asleep while you wait, which will make you very relaxed and lower blood pressure
  • After you get a normal blood pressure reading and avoided the high blood pressure speech, congratulate yourself on a job well done. You’ve conquered White Coat Syndrome on this visit.WhiteCoatHypertension3
  • Tell your doctor about your white coat syndrome. This is the most important step.The doctor’s job will be to determine how pervasive your white coat syndrome is. He calls it white coat hypertension, which is still just as serious as regular hypertension or high blood pressure. On one hand, your blood pressure may be normal during the rest of the day, which means blood pressure meds will give you hypotension (low blood pressure). On the other hand, high blood pressure during other stressful parts of the day (other than the doctor’s visit) may warrant treatment of white coat hypertension. In many cases, the doctor will still want to prescribe you blood pressure meds anyway because if you’re stressed from doctor’s visits, you’re probably suffering hypertension during the other stressful parts of your life. If you have other factors such as heart disease or overweight, your doctor might err on the side of caution and diagnose white coat hypertension. Your doctor will do what’s right for you. If he prescribes you meds anyway, it’s not a defeat. He’s doing you a favor in treating white coat hypertension.

And take a deep breath!


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Fall Season comes with Hopes and Dreams

My weight loss journey has been successful and I’m now down to 106.8 pounds. WordPressMy hubby, on the other hand, has finally reached his weight loss goal of 185 pounds. He is 6 feet and 1 inches tall. So he is now maintaining his weight. Losing weight has really given him a new leash on life and so do I. First and foremost, we feel good and healthy.wpid-2015-09-23-20-15-38-457.jpg It is really the quality of food we eat daily that determines the quality of life we will be leading. It is true what the health buffs and alternative doctors are preaching and teaching about eating plant based whole foods. They really do wonders in every aspect of our being. wpid-screenshot_2015-09-03-23-25-52-1.png Consumption of fruits and veggies do the body good and we have been feeling the good results from eating them. wpid-screenshot_2015-08-28-07-33-17-1.jpg Losing weight in a healthy way is really the answer to a better life.wpid-screenshot_2015-09-03-15-50-32-1.png I cannot emphasize enough the importance of this God given subsistence to prevent and cure what’s ailing us as a society, community or a group. It really starts from the inside out.wpid-screenshot_2015-08-14-13-23-27-1.png When we love and respect our body by taking care of it and knowing how it functions, it will reciprocate back by naturally repairing the cells and organs and our body’s immune system appreciates the caring we give it. wpid-screenshot_2015-08-28-07-30-19-1.png

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My progress on Intermittent Fasting

wpid-screenshot_2015-08-28-07-33-42-1.jpgSince I’ve been on intermittent fasting, my blood pressure has steadily been at a normal range. My systolic has been in 120s, 110s, 111, and my lowest reading is 106. My diastolic level is always low mostly in the mid 60s.  My GP doctor gave me recently a blood test report: my Cholesterol is 205, my Triglyceride is 70, LDL 130 & HDL 61. My Blood sugar is 92 which is normal; my kidney, liver and thyroid are working fine. My BMI is now 21.8 and my weight is down to 108.2.naomi109lbs copy

Since high blood pressure can cause heart attack and/or stroke, uncontrolled or unmanaged high blood pressure can really be a very serious risk to our health and to our mortality. I’ve read young adults of this generation have already developed HBP without even knowing it. With the increase in the number of overweight and obese men and women, there is a risk of untimely death due to diseases that comes with being overweight or obese.

According to the American Cancer Society, An estimated 1 out of every 3 cancer deaths in the United States is linked to excess body weight, poor nutrition, and/or physical inactivity. These factors are all related and may all contribute to cancer risk, but body weight seems to have the strongest evidence linking it to cancer. Excess body weight contributes to as many as 1 out of 5 of all cancer-related deaths.

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According to the American Heart Association,  people with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher are considered obese. The term “obesity” is used to describe the health condition of anyone significantly above his or her ideal healthy weight. Don’t be discouraged by the term. It simply means you are 20% or more above your ideal weight, and you are not alone.

Nearly 70% of American adults are either overweight or obese. Being obese puts you at a higher risk for health problems such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and more.

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I’ve read that as our weight increases so does our blood pressure. Our blood pressure is affected on what type of food we eat everyday. According to Dr. Mercola of Mercola.com: “Like obesity, high blood pressure is an epidemic. And like obesity, your best treatment is to evaluate your lifestyle and make the necessary adjustments.”  He also mentioned that fructose can cause the blood pressure to skyrocket. He added that people with high blood pressure should remove all grains and sugars from their diet, particularly fructose, until both their weight and their blood pressure have normalized. Eating sugars and grains — including any  type of bread, pasta, corn, potatoes, or rice — will cause our insulin levels and blood pressure to remain elevated. He added that we should limit the amount of fructose we get from fruits that we eat to 15 grams daily.wpid-screenshot_2015-08-18-21-11-54-1.png

One of the recommendations of Dr.Mercola in regards to high blood pressure is doing intermittent fasting. He believes it is one of the most effective ways in normalizing insulin/leptin sensitivity.

From  AuthorityNutrition.com on their article about intermittent fasting, they reported that IF changes the function of cells, genes and hormones. While our body is on fast state, 1) the Blood levels of insulin drop significantly, which facilitates fat burning. 2) The blood levels of growth hormone may increase as much as 5-fold. Higher levels of this hormone facilitate fat burning and muscle gain, and have numerous other benefits. 3) The body induces important cellular repair processes, such as removing waste material from cells and 4) there are beneficial changes in several genes and molecules related to longevity and protection against disease.

Intermittent Fasting Can Help You Lose Weight and Belly Fatwpid-screenshot_2015-08-10-19-58-22-1.png

Lower insulin levels, higher growth hormone levels and increased amounts of norepinephrine (noradrenaline) all increase the breakdown of body fat and facilitate its use for energy. The people on review study also lost 4-7% of their waist circumference, which indicates that they lost lots of belly fat, the harmful fat in the abdominal cavity that causes disease. One review study also showed that intermittent fasting caused less muscle loss than continuous calorie restriction.

Intermittent Fasting Can Reduce Insulin Resistance, Lowering Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

 Intermittent Fasting Can Reduce Oxidative Stress and Inflammation in The Body

 Intermittent Fasting May be Beneficial For Heart Health

Studies show that intermittent fasting can improve numerous risk factors for heart disease such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglycerides and inflammatory markers.

Intermittent Fasting Induces Various Cellular Repair Processes

When we fast, the cells in the body initiate a cellular “waste removal” process called autophagy. This involves the cells breaking down and metabolizing broken and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells over time. Increased autophagy may provide protection against several diseases, including cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. IF triggers a metabolic pathway called autophagy, which removes waste material from cells.

Intermittent Fasting May Help Prevent Cancer

Intermittent Fasting is Good For Your Brain

Intermittent Fasting May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

Intermittent Fasting May Extend Your Lifespan, Helping You Live Longer

Excerpts from: http://authoritynutrition.com/10-health-benefits-of-intermittent-fasting/

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The importance in gaining knowledge about our Body Mass Index

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BMI is what medical doctors use as screening tools together with their patients weight. They go hand in hand on their medical records. I always wonder why the medical assistant always lead me to the clinic’s weight scale the moment I enter the clinic for check up.

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I never really had given it too much thought as to why they want to know my weight measurement until I got educated with Body Mass Index as of late. It seems crucial to put the dots together with family history, your diet and your lifestyle as a whole, as well as your weight and your body mass index. It will give a doctor an idea on where you stand with your health.

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And it should set an alarm in my head that I am at risk for serious conditions such as stroke, heart problems, respiratory, muscle as well as joint diseases. A high BMI could indicate cholesterol and high blood pressure risks putting strain to the heart and the brain.

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I never really thought how important it is to pay attention to my weight, until I’ve gained a few pounds and my blood pressure readings were high. I’ve decided to seek medical advise. My BMI was probably close to being overweight when I saw a doctor. But before that, I’ve gained weight that probably my BMI was over 25. I knew I needed to lose weight when I saw myself on photos and videos. But just looking in the mirror, there’s a sense of denial that I was gaining weight. When I started weighing myself again, reality hit that indeed it’s time to lose the excess weight. Another indicator was I felt tired easily and I was not feeling great plus I was suffering from heartburn each time I was in bed.

What’s bad with all of these was the idea that somehow planted in my head; which started from an article reading about it several years ago, that when you reach a certain age, extra weight is not bad to prevent osteoporosis or thinning of the bones– a reduction in bone mass, due to depletion of calcium and bone protein as a person gets older, especially for a woman. That made me complacent with my weight increase and I let myself go. Not a good thinking.

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When I finally put two and two together and getting more understanding about my BMI, it got easier to lose those extra poundage; plus the fact that excess food consumption leads to health risks as well as an abuse of our body system and organs. Measuring my waist is very important, too; however, the medical doctors don’t pay too much attention to it more than the BMI. I can see why because as we lose weight, we will decrease our belly fat, especially if plant based foods or raw and whole foods are parts of our healthy diet. Green leafy vegetables and asparagus and fruits are full of fiber and low in calories. Berries, too are low in calories and full of fiber that give feeling of fullness and satisfaction. Avocados and nuts, and oatmeal are good sources in reducing belly and abdominal fats. The possibilities are endless in regards to flattening the tummy and these types of foods keep us satisfied. Once we’ve learned to tame our sugar addiction in the form of bad carbs from processed foods, whole foods which are the complex carbs or what they now called slow carbs will become the best tasting, wholesome eats of our lives. Just make sure they are organic grown and non-GMOs.

I am not a vegan nor a vegetarian for I eat lean grass fed meat and organic lean chicken, as well as wild caught fish and seafood; although I limit my intake of them and I interchange. I prefer more consumption of wild caught fish instead of red meat.  Brown rice, quinoa, hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, kimchi, saurkrauts, miso are also our kitchen staples.

I am now down to 109 pounds and my BMI is 22. My recent visit with my GP, he gave me thumbs up and he was glad I’ve lost weight. He advised me that my BMI should never go below 20 as lower than 20 can put me at risk with osteoporosis. I’m keeping that in mind.

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