Greatest GIFT

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


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Blood Pressure and Medications

 

systolicHigh blood pressure worries and frustrations in four years time had led me on a mission and a quest to find out about this notorious and scary hypertensive heart disease.

When I gained 35 extra pounds in a matter of five years of quitting my job and relocating, I’ve noticed I became very sluggish and I would feel tired even just after a shower.  I knew that I needed to do something about the changes I was feeling. For one thing, I did not even know that I gained so much weight. I’ve thrown caution to the wind, stopped weighing myself in the morning, enjoyed life and ate out a lot even if there was no special occasion. I’ve eaten sweet desserts way late in the evening, had some ice cream and junk snacks while enjoying internet browsing and watching movies. I was just having the greatest time of my life after working so long and hard in life. It was a time of junk foods that I did not even know were bad for me; and eating out and buying all kinds of processed foods, were part of finally arriving to a period and time that alarm clocks no longer ruled my life. I could be up almost all night, waking up late in the morning with no set sleep schedule. Hey, this was what life was all about after all!

Then came a warning sign. To compensate with bad eating habits, I would do my treadmill workout. At first I was able to still do high speed intensity and uphill workouts. But then one day, I had a bad fall while sort of running on our hallway to catch an important life event on video. It was a bad tumble on a hard concrete flooring, chest first. A few months later, when I felt okay to go back to exercising, I started feeling chest pains while tread milling. I would stop working out for days, and returned back when the pain was gone, but there was still the same nagging chest pains.

One night I woke up with this worse chest pain on my left side that my hubby had to take me to the emergency. Thank goodness, it was not a heart attack. However, the emergency doctor suggested that I see a cardiologist to be safe and sure that my heart is not weakening. The following day after seeing a cardiologist, he wrote me a prescription for Nitrostat to take as needed should I experience chest pains again. The cardio visit led to another visit as he wanted me to undergo some tests. I declined having one of them because of what was written about the possible bad reactions to the test. The doctor mentioned that my blood pressure was in a high range. He suggested that it might be the cause of my chest pains.

Knowing nothing about high blood pressure, I did not know where to start. But it led me to start researching about it. I’ve read that caffeine intake can elevate blood pressure. I stopped drinking tea and coffee, not even decaf, and the chest pains subsided. I read that I should buy a blood pressure monitor to help with knowing my blood pressure numbers at home. My first blood pressure monitor was giving me high systolic numbers but my diastolic numbers ever since was normal.

Getting frustrated and stressed out with worries about the high blood pressure, I finally saw a general practitioner who suggested that I start taking blood pressure medication. The first medication prescribed was Lisinopril. When I went back for 3 months check up, I told my doctor that I was experiencing bad night coughing. He then took me out of that and prescribed Benicar, but I had a bad sore throat and itching from taking it that I had to go back to my GP and he changed the BP prescription to Losartan. I stayed with Losartan for a while. This time I started with a Blood Pressure Log to keep track of my daily BP systolic and diastolic numbers and heart rates. And I bought a better and reliable BP monitor. My numbers were good and stayed in good range.

I make it a habit to take three months worth of BP log sheets each time I see my doctors. I have a white coat hypertension syndrome where my blood pressure systolic reading is higher at the doctor’s office. I used to wonder why, but I know now the reason. Everything is rush-rush in the doctors office. Taking blood pressure measurement should be done after 5 to 10 minutes of rest sitting down doing nothing.  Your upper left arm is at the same height as your heart, placing it on a table. The clinic assistant should not do anything or not talk to you or touch you to take your heart rate etc., while taking the measurement. These are not adhered at the doctors office. They don’t give you a chance to breathe if ever. You’re already stressed out being there and if they call your name right away while filling some paperwork for updates, your heart is already racing. Of course, in turn, your blood pressure reading undoubtedly has skyrocketed. This is what I tell them now after they take my measurement and my reading was high; and I show them my BP log sheets. I am right away vindicated. I don’t give them a chance to tell me to up my BP med dose just because.

Many people find that their blood pressure increases because of subconscious stress from confrontation with medical institutions and the staff working there. This is usually called “white coat hypertension”, that is, elevated blood pressure levels from just seeing the white lab coats doctors wear.
This is a common problem: a full 10-15% of people diagnosed with high blood pressure after measurements taken at a hospital or medical facility, later find that measurements taken in their own home or averaged over 24 hours are normal.

If you’re one of the people with “white coat hypertension”, you have approximately the same risk of heart disease as other people with normal blood pressure. People with “white coat hypertension” don’t need blood pressure-lowering medication – but they often get it unnecessarily! ***DietDoctor.com

lowerbloodpressurenaturally

This time around I started on my plant based diet, reducing simple sugar carbs and saturated fats, started with calorie counting and lost a significant amount of weight. My BMI went down to normal. I also started with intermittent fasting. Anyway with BP med intake it seemed like I finally achieved successful control of my blood pressure, or so I thought.

But then after a few months of taking Losartan daily, I started feeling backaches, cold sweats especially at night and the worse chills like I could hardly breathe at night and would wake me up in the middle of the night. Suffice to say, I had so many sleepless nights. I would have chest pains on top of it that my GP referred me to another cardiologist who is more reliable than the previous one I was referred to at the Emergency Hospital. This time I finally agreed to have a cardiogram test and a nuclear test. My nuclear test had a good result. I do not have any blockage and my heart condition is good and so did my cardiogram result.

But I was still being pestered with back pains and all the side effects that came with taking Losartan. I had a little argument at my next visit with my GP. He was getting annoyed that I was complaining about side effects. And asked me point blank why should he prescribe me another BP med when I seemed to complain about side effects all the time. I told him you’re my doctor, you’re supposed to help me. But looking back at it now, I guess he probably would want me to stop taking them period. Both of us frustrated, he prescribed Norvasc or Amlodipine. At this point, I was just about as stressed out with BP meds.

veggies

I then researched on what veggies and fruits and whole grains and other plant based foods that can naturally lower my blood pressure. I’ve adjusted my daily prepared meal to be as close as the Mediterranean diet focusing on lots of veggies and fruits.

After taking the Amlodipine for three months, side effects followed.

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I had the worst lower and upper back pains. I could barely sit down for a few minutes because I would have chest pains and back pains. I started getting very tired and fatigue at the end of the day that I had to stop taking it because I can hardly get a good sleep. This time I did not call my GP. I felt good through all the summer last year after quitting Amlodipine. The back pains were going away. I was able to get goodnight sleep again. Without the BP med, I found out that with adding plant based foods and losing weight, my blood pressure numbers are not bad at all. My energy was optimal.

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But I decided to give Amlodipine another try early this year to make sure that I was just not imagining the side effects. Just three weeks into taking it everyday, my lower and upper back started to bother me again. I started getting dizzy and feeling faint like I would pass out. My legs were starting to swell and ache like I was having a blood clot on both legs. I started sneezing really bad everyday, I could barely function. I lost my energy. I was able to prepare my smoothies and eat plant based foods, but I was so fatigued toward the end of the day that I felt like I was so depressed and feeling run down. I told myself that this is not the way to live a full life! I was having a restless sleep. I’ve prayed so hard and asked God for discernment and wisdom on how I could deal with these trials I was going through with my health.  I was exhausted and tired and sneezing continuously most days that once and for all, I’ve got to stop taking the BP med.

 

Norvasch

Lowering blood pressure helps prevent getting angina, heart attacks and strokes. BP medications can surely lower your BP, but with the side effects that come with taking these meds long term, a person will die of side effects, not of the high blood pressure. And would possibly die of heart attacks anyway. These drugs are awful! I’ve learned to be vigilant with all these drugs doctors prescribe to be used long term and daily. Check out the side effects! Most likely, you will experience those side effects. These conventional drugs will take over your life and lose it in the process. My chest pains were actually caused by these BP drugs!

After a week of quitting the BP med,  I felt better. I’ve been taking Gaba Plus for years, so I started taking them again. I stopped taking my supplements because of fear that they might badly interact with my BP med.  I started taking Fish Oil and Co Q-10 and Vitamin D and calcium again. In my research, I found out that taking Gaba Plus and Fish Oil will lower my blood pressure.

Yesterday, my blood pressure systolic was 127 and my diastolic was 64 and heart rate is 62. I’ve been getting good BP readings even without the conventional BP med. The chest pain is gone and yesterday, I returned to doing a moderate treadmill walk. When I’ve first embarked on changing my eating habits and lost a lot of weight and doing intermittent fasting, I was in the middle or period of taking the BP med. So whatever benefits and nutrients I was getting was helping me somehow,  but the side effects of the BP med were so overwhelming that daily dose of this medication was giving me a poor quality of life.

In a recent 6 month’s visit last week at my cardiologist office, I told the nurse practitioner that was assigned to me that I stopped taking the BP med. I showed her my BP log sheets and told her the side effects I experienced. She was concerned about the BP reading that was taken by the clinic assistant because my systolic reading was high. I told her what I’ve learned about the right ways to take BP measurement. I was surprised she didn’t know. She let me rested for about 5 to 15 minutes and took another blood pressure measurement. It was 135/70 with 64 heart rate.

Blood pressure readings varies each time in a day, it can be lower, in the middle, higher or extremely high depending on how our heart and brain react on things around us. I found out that it is normal. The medical concern really is if our systolic or diastolic number remain high, especially the systolic number and does not change even when we are at rest before doing the measurements.

One of the best websites about hypertension or high blood pressure I’ve read was DietDoctor.com ( https://www.dietdoctor.com/blood-pressure )

An ideal, healthy blood pressure is not over 120/80. This is what young, healthy and lean people have…

Values between 140/90 and 160/100 are considered as slightly elevated blood pressure.
Over 160/100 is said to be moderately elevated.
Over 180/110 is a severely elevated blood pressure.

If your blood pressure is severely elevated (over 160 systolic or over 100 in diastolic), medication is wise. If you have other risk factors for heart disease (like smoking, diabetes or obesity), medication may be recommended even for a slight elevation in blood pressure (over 140/90).

Up until recently there was no evidence that medication improves the health of otherwise healthy people with mildly elevated blood pressure (140-159 systolic and/or 90-99 diastolic). This meant it was unclear whether it was worth risking the side effects of the medication if all you have is a slight elevation.

After losing a lot of weight and eating plant based foods, my daily blood pressure readings are in the mid 120s and low and mid 130s at the most. The Fish Oil and Gaba plus have added extra help in lowering my blood pressure steadily without BP medication. Hopefully, I am at the time now that I have reached the level where my blood pressure is finally well controlled. I’ve thanked God and grateful to Him that He has given me understanding and wisdom in overcoming the maladies concerning high blood pressure. God once again opened my eyes!

Omega 3

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Peak Fasting

I finally broke the plateau hurdle in my weight loss journey! Aside from losing the two pound gain from the 2017 Christmas holidays, which got me back to 105 pounds. I maintained this weight since late 2015 when I started losing weight and plateaued at 105 lbs.

It’s very true, the last 5 pounds are the hardest to lose. Either I was not mentally ready to get lower than 105 or my mind is playing games with me.

wp-1507945080633..jpgThis is me at 105 lbs. last year before the holidays. It looks like I look okay. My BMI was 21.2 which is considered a normal weight. What makes me get rattled is when I go to my primary doctor and my cardiologist for my checkup, I seemed to gain an additional 5 or 6 lbs. each time they weigh me in! So for them, I am 110 or 111 lbs. which is ridiculous. I still am considered normal weight for my height, but it seems unfair. Whatever the weight that registered at the doctor’s office scale is what they go by and record on their office chart. And they don’t pay attention when I say my weight is lower than that! One assistant said: “you must have eaten a lot before you got here.” No lady, it’s all the clothes I’m wearing! No sympathy I’m telling you! LOL

On the positive side of things, I am so thrilled that I am 2.6 pounds away from my goal of 100 pounds! My BMI is 20.7. The less weight I can lose, my BP will go down more and my heart would not work as hard.

What really helped me to get past the diet plateau, was the peak fasting or intermittent fasting. When I started my weight loss journey, I did not know anything about peak fasting. I was losing weight by counting calories then, which tremendously helped a lot. Weighing the food we eat had educated me and my husband and reality sets in as to why people gain weight. The bad carbs are the greatest culprit of all. Anything with sugar triple your chance of gaining unwanted weight. And so does saturated and trans fat. Anything heavy in weight, like sweet potatoes to grapefruit to meat ribs with bones, we would remove the parts that will not be eaten when we use the food scale. Or else they will add up to the gram count!  152 grams of half of a medium size grapefruit is 64 calories already.  Sweet potatoes at 51 grams is 77 calories.

 

 

They seem small in calorie numbers, but when we add the other foods to the list, they add up to the daily food budget. I’ve learned to truly lose weight, and still able to consume variety of foods good for me is to weigh my food. To maintain my weight is to learn how to eyeball the amount of my daily food intake and learn to adjust when I gain an ounce or two or a pound based on what the food scale has taught me.

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This was my lunch one day at 353 calories. I can eat tons of veggies without hurting my food budget.

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This is 465 calories. Sweet Potatoes and the pork ribs provided the most calories on one lunch this week.

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I had a bowl of organic popping corn to the lunch mix. My lunch for today, Sunday was 284 calories including the popcorn. Bowl of popcorn is 69 calories at 19 grams. Panseared seabass was so delicious with tomatoes, red peppers and red onions. My sides were organic garbanzo beans and pearled couscous. I can only have 21 grams of pearl couscous which is not very much in a very small serving cup. And it’s already 75 calories taken away from my daily calorie budget. We did not know couscous would steal the calorie show. They are as bad in calorie count as white rice!  The lunch was so good though! Mediterranean diet at its best! And the kitchen still smells so good!

Most of my daily breakfast consists of veggie and fruit smoothies which always meet my daily fiber requirements together with veggie salads. This week I’ve added some organic apple with a tablespoon of peanut butter. 20180128_193850.jpg

Today, for my morning snack, I had this delicious crispy noodle and nut mix. For a very small cup of this to die for snack, it cost me 131 calories! I cheated on this one and I added a little more so it was more than 131 calories. But I just had to have it.

I do moderate treadmill walking most days which helps reduce the calorie budget. I drink 8 glasses of water everyday. My last meal is always lunch, then I start with my peak fasting.

http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2016/04/29/peak-fasting.aspx

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Intermittent Fasting, weight loss and Christmas holidays

Ahhhhh, the holidays are finally over! A month of holiday celebration was somehow a hurdle with losing or maintaining weight; but thankfully, I only gained two pounds total since yesterday, New Year’s Day!

I got so used in doing intermittent fasting and it helps on days before and after Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year; the reason why I was able to control my weight. The calorie counting I incorporated during those times that I have to lose 20 pounds when I started changing my lifestyle habits, has given me the heads up when I was facing with all those glorious holiday foods. I knew that if I ate more than the calories that I have been used to, I will gain the following day. But I’ve learned also that if I ate less the next day of gaining some ounces or a pound, without being hungry as I fast, the following day, I would lose the calories I gained. That’s how I was able to maintain my weight. FB_IMG_1513610750289.jpg

I’ve learned that our body system can adapt to changes in eating habits, so if I feed my body less, it would be happy and content. The lessons I’ve learned as I am realizing it now is if I trained my system to eat less processed sugar, like cakes, cookies, chocolates, ice cream, pies; my system will adapt and would not anymore clamor for those types of food. The biggest dilemma for me is if I start tasting them again on holidays, and they are so attractive during the holidays, my digestion process seems to want to betray me and dislike the taste of the natural sweetness of the whole foods such as fruits. It doesn’t help, too, that most of the best fruits are not in abundance during the winter season of holidays galore.

Well, I promised myself that today, I’m starting to nip it in the bud, start to eat less and less simple sugar again, replace them with smoothies and more veggie salads, which get my energy in a better level, and control my hunger pangs and to get back to working out.FB_IMG_1513610843289.jpg

How sight and smell relate to digestion

 

“At first glance — or sniff — the digestive link between your eyes, nose, and stomach sounds a tad weird. But think about it: How many times has the sight or scent of something yummy like a simmering stew or baking bread set your tummy rumbling?

The sight of an appetizing dish or the aroma (actually scent molecules bouncing against the nasal tissues) sends signals to your brain: “Good stuff on the way.” As a result, your brain — the quintessential message center — shoots out impulses that

 

  • Make your mouth water.

 

  • Make your stomach contract (hunger pangs).

 

  • Make intestinal glands start leaking digestive chemicals.

All that from a little look and sniff. Imagine what happens when you actually take a bite!

Tasting and chewing in the digestion process

You know that small bag of potato chips you have stashed way at the back of your desk drawer? Well, dig it out and take a chip.

As the chip hits your tongue, your mouth acts as though someone had thrown the “on” switch in a fun house.

 

  • Your teeth chew, breaking the chip into small manageable pieces.

 

  • Your salivary glands release a watery liquid (saliva) to compact the chip into a mushy bundle (a bolus in digestive-geek speak) that can slide easily down your throat on a stream of saliva.

 

  • Enzymes (which you can think of as digestive catalysts in this case) in the saliva begin to digest carbohydrates in the chip.

 

  • Your tongue lifts to push the whole ball of wax . . . no, bolus, back toward the pharynx, the opening from your mouth to your esophagus, and then through a muscular valve called the upper esophageal sphincter, which opens to allow the food through. In other words, you’re about to swallow.”

source: http://www.dummies.com/education/science/biology/the-human-digestion-process-or-what-happens-after-you-eat-food/

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Just One Bad Meal Can Mess with Your Health

Morgan Spurlock’s documentary Super Size Me was one of the first to vividly demonstrate the consequences of trying to sustain yourself on a diet of fast food. After just four weeks, Spurlock’s health had deteriorated to the point that his physician warned him he was putting his life in serious jeopardy if he continued the experiment.
But as the featured study showed, it doesn’t take a virtual month to experience the health effects of a poor diet. In fact, the changes happen after just one meal, according to research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

When you eat a meal high in unhealthy fats and sugar, the sugar causes a large spike in your blood-sugar levels called “post-prandial hyperglycemia.” In the long term this can lead to an increased risk of heart attack, but there are short-term effects as well, such as:

Your tissue becomes inflamed (as occurs when it is infected)
Your blood vessels constrict
Damaging free radicals are generated
Your blood pressure may rise higher than normal
A surge and drop in insulin may leave you feeling hungry soon after your meal

The good news is that eating a healthy meal helps your body return to its normal, optimal state, even after just one. Study author James O’Keefe of the Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Missouri told TIME:

“Your health and vigor, at a very basic level, are as good as your last meal.”

source: https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/04/29/junk-food-metabolism.aspx

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I experienced this poor diet effect when I ate a meal high in unhealthy fats and sodium, one night when we went to see a movie last month before Christmas week in a theatre, where they serve food inside the auditorium. I thought to myself, it was only for one night, it would not hurt me, but it did. I felt so restless in bed and I had chest pains. I lost the calories I gained from it two days after I got back to eating my healthy homemade meals, but it surely proved that foods served in restaurants are not the best quality foods that your body definitely does not need. I can even tell now which restaurants we would go to and their foods will give me heartburn. Of course, after going twice, and it’s still doing the same result after I ate their food, there is something in their ingredients that do not agree with the human body’s digestion. For one thing, to gain profits, they serve you with the cheapest ingredients combine with trans fats and high in salt and hidden sugar, it’s a stomach catastrophe waiting to happen. Overtime, when you keep eating fast foods, you will develop all kinds of  maladies:  illness · sickness · disease · infection · ailment · disorder · complaint · indisposition · affliction · infirmity · syndrome · bug · virus – you name it!wp-1508636809959..jpg


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Food Shopping for health and wellness

Ever since I’ve modified my eating habits for the past few years, I’m always conscious of what to buy at the grocery stores.  I have gained knowledge into the type of foods that  would either make me healthy or will eventually cause diseases to propagate in my precious body. I’ve learned so much about organic foods and GMO laden produce and food products. It’s scary when you think about what’s out there bad to eat.

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When it comes to my health, I don’t want anymore to let food commercials dictate what I should eat. I was commercially sublimated during my younger years of busy and stress loaded life. When you’re young, you don’t think of food in terms of your health, but what would make you feel stuffed, glutted or engorged regardless of the bad consequences and that would satisfy your hunger pangs. Looking back, I had eaten quite loads of fast foods. They were delicious, for Pete’s sake! Ate in many restaurants, hole in the wall types, and some elegant ones. I let the chefs’ or cooks’ concoctions to rule my eating habits. It was fun while it lasted. As luck would have it, I was into workouts to save my life! Yes! You should see my collections of VHS and DVD workout tapes! I have tons! And I still have them, but now contemplating in donating them.

I lost some weights, maintained the weight loss, but eventually succumbed to gaining extra pounds. That’s when health problems surfaced. My blood pressure went up and I was not feeling so good anymore. This led me to research about the causes of high blood pressure and how to manage it naturally. I went through different types of high blood pressure meds and most had bad side effects. It was frustrating. My salvation: plant based foods! They are miracle foods. But then I’ve learned that not all plant based foods are created equal.

DirtyDozens

Most grocery stores carry food produce that are laden with dangerous pesticides. Even the ones on the grocery shelves.DirtyDozens2 To top it off, most are GMO or genetically modified foods. They are foods genetically altered to look attractive to our eyes and genetically enhanced to have longer shelf life!GMO2

“The rise in autoimmune diseases, infertility, gastrointestinal problems and chronic diseases may be associated with the introduction of GM foods. In a position paper by the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, the authors ask all physicians to consider the role of GM foods in the nation’s health crisis, and advise their patients to avoid all GM foods whenever possible. The Academy also recommends a moratorium on GM seeds and calls for immediate independent safety testing and the labeling of all food items containing genetically modified products. As of 2010, the U.S. does not require food manufacturers to identify foodstuffs produced with genetically modified crops.”

How To Avoid GMOs
“The best way to avoid GMOs is to cook at home using certified organic ingredients. Organic foods, by law, are non-GMO. When buying produce such as corn, look for the PLU code on the label — if it begins with 9, it is organic.GMO4 If you use packaged or prepared foods, look for “USDA Certified Organic” on the label. Packaged foods that contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients are not permitted to contain GMOs. Assume that all restaurants are serving GMOs. The vast majority of non-organic products sold in a conventional supermarket, including pet foods and baby foods, contain some form of GMO corn, soy or other ingredients.”

Source: https://www.livestrong.com/article/216714-dangers-of-gmo-foods/

I only have one body to live on and one life to live. But I have capabilities to control what I will eat. Screenshot_20171022-111922.jpgThis day and age, there are tremendous information at my beck and call to help gain knowledge on protecting my health.

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Today’s breakfast – organic cereal with 11 grams of fiber and 9 grams of protein with some blackberries

I’m thankful and grateful for stores that are popping up and carrying organic and non GMO foods. Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and now Aldi. Groceries near us are carrying organic produce and non GMO products. On the side of our world, we have HEB and Kroger and even 99 Ranch that dedicate organic food sections, or organic and non GMO products spread all over their food shelves. You just have to hunt and look for them. And because of the increase demands for organic and non-GMO products, the overall costs are moderately going down. Now that Amazon owns Whole Foods, I’ve seen organic pricing getting to the level, in some degree, with their conventional counterparts.

Screenshot_20171022-111733.jpgIt cost me such a lot of hours of research to get where I am with my health now. I am, more than ever, pays attention subsequently to what I require for myself to be able to give the necessary defense, to protect my body from the radical changes that poor eating habits entail. I promised myself to succeed.

 

 

 


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Maintenance Monday

20171016_160157.jpgAfter the weekend, Monday is a good day to start getting the weight down to at least where I feel my weight loss effort is a success! Not that I gained some extra pounds since the last time I blogged my weight progress. At this stage of my conscious food mindfulness, I would say if I gained a pound or two, it’s quite easy to lose the unwanted pounds because it’s not much.

What is hard for me now is to lose that last 5 pounds. My body seems to not want to let go. Today, I started using again the small cups I’ve used when I started this weight loss journey. I have tons of those small cup sizes and I know I will not ran out. The challenge is how long will I be able to stick to the calorie counting. What’s nice is I do not have to weigh my food by using my food scale. The length of time that I’ve used it to lose 16 pounds, which is about 6 months, I’ve mastered the tedious food weighing technique.

I’ve gained 30 pounds through the years, and getting down to where I am now, was a 4 year struggle, and the hardest is eating less than my usual intake. It took me to so many researches and guides to healthy lifestyle changes. I’ve learned that the unwanted pounds I was carrying led me to borderline hypertension stage 1. I initially took the precaution of taking prescribed blood pressure medication but eventually it manifested some awful side effects. I was described different kinds, and the end result was the same. The pestering side effects; and I’m not about to take another medication to cure the side effects!

There must be a better way, and there was, a natural way to lowering and controlling the blood pressure from escalating. Losing weight and plant-based food – a Dash and Paleo lifestyle eating. I don’t think of it as a diet but a lifestyle overhaul. Adapting Intermittent  Fasting at the same time made weight loss a success. To this day, Intermittent Fasting for me is a way of life. Giving the digestive system a chance to rest has given my body to repair itself.

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Homemade cooking is the best way to lose weight and control what gets into my body. I’ve mostly used organic ingredients. Today I’ve made this dish – It’s a pastured raised ground veal. I cooked it with some white onions, garlic, 2 tablespoons of scallions and some green pepper with some lime juice. Stir fry them together, until meat is cooked.  I bought the veal at Whole Foods and it’s already pre-mixed with Taco seasoning which are all natural. It’s Gluten free, although I do not have a problem with gluten, and there’s no MSG added and no nitrates. It’s manufactured by Strauss free raised. It has natural spices, paprika salt, cottonseed oil. It would be good with organic tortilla, but it’s good with brown rice as well.

“Veal is enriched with vitamin B. This vitamin is essential for energy and healthy metabolism. Other than vitamin B, veal is a rich source of vitamin B-12, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid. People who consume beef on regular basis can easily switch to a smarter and healthy choice with veal. People living with a strict calorie regimen, still get a taste of life with veal as it delivers only 179 calories from a 3 ounce top round cut. There is no difference in the calorie segment for the people eating beef or any kind of other red meat.”  Source: http://benefitof.net/seven-secret-health-benefits-of-veal-they-do-not-want-you-to-know/

I don’t eat very much red meat. I try to vary my everyday homemade Protein menu: fish, seafood, poultry, some white meat, and once in a while steak. Everyday, we have our morning veggie and fruit smoothie; and our meal always have a veggie salad to the mix.

20171016_160411.jpgI’ve also made today Chayote with wild caught Shrimps from Whole Foods. I cooked it with onions, garlic and tomatoes and added some chicken broth and some salt (I use coarse Kosher) to taste. When the Chayote is well cooked, I added the Shrimps and cooked for about an additional 5 to 10 minutes and it was ready to serve. It was delicious! “Chayote is a gourd plant, eaten in similar fashion to the summer squash, cucumbers and melons. You can add raw chayote to salads or cook them in meat or vegetarian dishes. … Chayote can also help support weight loss efforts, as it is low in calories and fibrous. Furthermore, chayote is a rich source of dietary fiber, antioxidants, iron, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, potassium, copper and vitamins B1, B2, B6 and C. Another strong suit of this vegetable is its folate content, which is helpful for cell division and DNA synthesis.” Source: Mercola.com

20171016_160504.jpgIf I want some rice with the meal, I always make organic Brown Rice mixed with tri-color organic Quinoa. “Health benefits of brown rice include better functioning of cardiovascular system, digestive system, brain and nervous system. It is loaded with powerful antioxidants which provide relief from a range of ailments such as hypertension, unhealthy levels of cholesterol, stress, mental depression and skin disorders.” Source: Organic Facts  I only eat a cup of Brown Rice/Quinoa as it’s not low in calories. If I eat more, I will gain weight.

“Researchers attribute the health benefits of quinoa to its complete nutritional makeup. Quinoa is close to one of the most complete foods in nature because it contains amino acids, enzymes, vitamins and minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. Quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat. It is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids. Quinoa contains almost twice as much fiber as most other grains. Quinoa contains Iron. Quinoa contains lysine. Lysine is mainly essential for tissue growth and repair.” Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4994/7-Benefits-of-Quinoa-The-Supergrain-of-the-Future.html

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Keeping it real

Based on what I experienced in the past in regards to weight loss and maintenance is to always be updated with articles about getting fit. They may sound to me as the same advice, but another article might sound more specific and gives me inspiration to keep up with being fit. I’ve learned from past experience that when I let go and  stop paying attention about what I’ve read, I lost the desire to keep my weight down, and for all I know the weight crept up on me.img_20160530_172601.jpg

Before the internet swept us all up with all the high tech, the smart phones, and tremendous flow of articles about everything under the sun, including health advice and healthy nutrition, I was buying all kinds of fitness, nutrition and health magazines. I subscribed to some of them. It got pretty expensive and took up a lot of space that I am glad that I can just put the articles now on my favorites to read later.

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I do not have so much weight to lose, so I can be a little flexible, controlled eating 2 or 3 days and eat a little more on one particular day. I follow pretty much the article below that I’ve read recently. It’s good to have those days when some cravings get fulfilled .

Today, I ate what I’ve wanted and not worry of the extra intake, watched a favorite period drama series that my husband and I enjoy, but we still maintain having fruits and whole grains. I ate more than my share of peanuts, ate more of my lunch meal and I was pretty much happy. I still religiously follow intermittent fasting everyday. After each meal, I continuously drink water until I have about 8 to 9 glasses of water, and that would keep me full.

 

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It’s true that a good night sleep would prevent me from overeating. So I make it a habit to sleep at the same time each night to help me dose off quickly and restfully.

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Whether you’ve recently lost a bunch of weight, you’re heading out on a vacation, or a big holiday of eating is coming up, preventing weight gain is easier than you think. Aside from no-brainers like drinking a lot of water and not eating an entire cake every day, keep these tips in mind, and you won’t have to worry about the scale numbers creeping up.

Save yoga pants for yoga

Wearing leggings when you’re not down dogging is comfy, yes, but a bad habit to get into. The stretchy fabric and elastic waistband are so forgiving that you’ll have no idea if your waist is expanding. Save the spandex for your workouts and opt for something more structured like a pair of jeans or a fitted dress so you can keep tabs on your waistline.

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Fiber, and more of it    

Fiber has the ability to fill you up for hours. Include at least eight grams at every meal and three to four at every snack to help you reach a goal of 25 to 30 grams a day. Nosh on fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, and seeds and you’ll have no problem getting your fill.

30 minutes, at least

Get in the habit of moving daily. Aim for at least a half hour, with four to five days devoted to more rigorous or longer workouts, and two to three days a more moderate workout like walking, hiking, or stretching. Be sure to include strength training with weights since building muscle helps you burn calories faster. If you don’t have time, studies show that even 15 minutes proves beneficial.

Make one meal of the day a big, huge salad to fill up on fiber without a ton of calories. Include a variety of greens and fresh veggies in your salad along with a low-fat protein source like beans or marinated tofu, add cooked whole grains to make it even more filling, plus avocado or sunflower seeds to add healthy fats. Ensure you eat one salad every day by making a week’s worth all at once.

Chocolate, alcohol, or french fries

Cravings only grow stronger with time, so keep them at bay by giving in to them! Indulging a little every day will settle those cravings, so you can move on and stay committed to your healthy diet. The key, though, is to enjoy a small taste and to be done. Don’t let a little indulging turn into a week of eating whatever you want.

Research shows those who are sleep-deprived tend to eat hundreds of calories more, not just because they’re awake longer, but because sleep affects levels of hunger-regulating hormones.

Feeling tired makes you more likely to reach for sugary pick-me-ups. Get to bed at the same time every night (even on weekends), and set your alarm for the next day, making sure to get between seven and nine hours of sleep.

As a bonus, the extra energy will allow you to hit your a.m. workout with intensity, instead of hitting the snooze button and skipping out.

derived from:

http://www.msn.com/en-us/health/weightloss/6-things-you-can-do-every-day-to-prevent-weight-gain/ar-AAh3hv8?ocid=spartandhp#page=1

 

 

 


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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.

2000calbreakfast

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.

dinner

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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Break from Calorie Counting is over!

Too much of a good thing is not good after all. When I thought I was able to maintain my weight without the help of a fitness app, I would be able to succeed. Fat chance! Suffice to say, I’m back to doing my fitness app or I may have to call it, food journal. Without journaling your daily eating habits, it’s failure waiting to happen.

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My weight loss program – lost 2 1/2 pound since I’ve started calorie counting last Sunday, May 22, 2015

I’ve already lost 2 1/2 pounds since I’ve started with calorie counting last Sunday! Yesss! I’ve gained 4 pounds when I took a break last October 2015 from doing my weight loss program through a fitness app. I was able to maintain my weight during Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, but Mother’s Day this month and another eating out excursion at a Korean Restaurant did me in.  Early on, it needed to be nipped in the bud before my weight goes haywire. Awareness and prevention go hand in hand.

I really feel good, health wise. I had my recent 6 months check up with my cardiologist and primary doctor and got a good health evaluation. I want to keep it that way.

At the cardiologist office, my blood pressure reading was 110/78! And this is at the doctor’s office where my BP would go up as I have this white coat syndrome. My echo cardiogram test came out great, too. My heart is in good condition.

I’m aiming to get to 100 pounds. My height is 4’ll and this weight is best for my height. My target date is August 2016 and most likely I maybe successful. When I stopped doing this fitness up, I was 105 pounds from my start point of 122 pounds. This time around, I’m ready to lose that extra 5 pounds. I’m motivated! screenshot_2016-05-27-06-26-23.png

2016MothersDay

Nine tips to tame your appetite:

  1. Cut out processed food and eat whole foods. Focus on vegetables, fruit, nuts, whole grains, olive oil, wild fish and grass-fed meats.
  2. Eat breakfast. Studies show that it’s easier to keep weight stable over time when you eat breakfast each day. In general, eating earlier in the day can help keep you from overeating. Try not to eat anything within two hours of going to bed.
  3. Eat slowly. Your stomach takes 20 minutes to tell your brain when you are full so eat slowly and mindfully. Try to enjoy every part of your meal.
  4. Moderate or eliminate alcohol. Do this to lower your sugar calories as well as help prevent you from overeating.
  5. Avoid your trigger foods. Know your own trigger foods and avoid them. Soda, sweets, bread and baked goods are common trigger foods.
  6. Keep a journal. We use food to block our feelings, but you can use a journal to keep you from emotional eating. A journal helps you deal with your emotions in a healthy way.
  7. Get sufficient sleep. Even just a little loss of sleep makes you hungrier. While people’s need for sleep varies, most adults need between seven and eight hours each night.
  8. Control stress levels. Stress makes us overeat, and it makes us crave the wrong kinds of food. Try to actively relax instead by incorporating meditation or yoga into your life.
  9. Exercise. Walk a minimum of 30 minutes each day, and add in more activity as you are able.

from: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2015/09/9-tips-help-stop-overeating-video/