Greatest GIFT

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


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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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Bad Cholesterol is pretty scary!

“LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol is often called bad cholesterol because it can build up in the walls of your arteries and form plaque, which can narrow and reduce the flow of blood through your arteries (arteries are the blood vessels that carry blood away from your heart). This plaque buildup can lead to a condition called atherosclerosis —also known as ‘the hardening of the arteries.’”  Source: https://www.repatha.com/high-ldl-causes-treatment/?WT.srch=1

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Recently I heard news from a close friend of mine that her husband had an emergency surgery to remove his gallbladder full of gallstones. Gallstones may form when there is too much cholesterol in the bile. …
High levels of bilirubin can lead to formation of gallstones. …
In case the gallbladder is not able to empty often enough or if it is unable to empty completely, there may be a concentration of bile. …

I was not familiar with gallbladder which I thought was the same as the bladder that stores urine. They are two different body organs.

Gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac which is made up of a mucous membrane, a fibromuscular coat, and a serous layer. It lies in a depression of the posterior surface of the liver.

Gallbladder

Urinary bladder is a part of the urinary system that stores urine produced by kidneys until urination takes place. It is found anterior and inferior to the pelvic cavity and posterior to the symphysis pubis. Bladder receives urine through ureters, the small tubes connecting two kidneys and the urinary bladder.

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“Cholecystectomy is the medical procedure that surgically removes the gallbladder. Around 60% of the patients that undergo this procedure experience an improvement in their digestion, but for the 40% patients, they experience side effects and other discomforts. Diarrhea is a common side effect of removing gallbladder. Heartburn can also be experienced by people who have undergone cholecystectomy.
Unexplainable discomfort is usually felt by the patients a few days after the surgery. Bloating is the result of carbon dioxide pumped inside the body and remains there.
Difficulty in breathing. It is important that after surgery, deep breathing is now practiced. Heartburn is the result of improper digestion. Since there is not enough bile in the system, some of the fatty foods remain undigested and these fatty acids and gastric acids will try to regurgitate back to the esophagus, causing pain in the chest, neck, throat, etc.. “ Source: http://www.tandurust.com/digestive-problems/dangers-of-removing-gallbladder.html

Hopefully, my friend’s husband is one of the 60% patients that improve their digestion when the gallbladder is removed.

Anyway, I never realized that too much cholesterol in the body cannot only affect the walls of our arteries, but can cause problems on the other parts of our organs. Pretty scary!High-Cholesterol-Foods

How to Lower Cholesterol Naturally
These are the 7 steps you can take to lower cholesterol naturally. And if you follow all of them, you can count on a very high success ratio.

Eat a healthy cholesterol lowering diet. Some fats help lower cholesterol, while others can raise it. So get your fats right.

Reduce overall fat intake, avoid trans fats, limit saturated fats and replace “bad” fats with “good” fats, such as olive oil and those found in whole grains and omega 3 fish.

High fiber foods also help lower cholesterol naturally. They decrease “bad” LDL and increase “good” HDL cholesterol.

Do regular healthy physical activity. At least 30 minutes of exercise a day has been shown to decrease total cholesterol and improve “good” HDL cholesterol levels, while lack of regular physical activity can raise “bad” LDL cholesterol levels as well as lead to weight gain.

Reach and maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight can decrease “good” HDL levels and increase “bad” LDL and total cholesterol levels.

Eliminate sweets and refined foods. Few realize that eating sweets and other high glycemic foods increase triglycerides and cholesterol production. These foods are also addictive. Once you eliminate them, you’ll find that fruits, vegetables and whole grains actually taste sweet.

Cut out caffeine and alcohol – drink water. Both caffeine and alcohol have been shown to elevate cholesterol. So it’s best to switch to pure water and, at the very least, follow the “no more than one a day” rule.

Don’t smoke or use tobacco in any form. Smoking damages blood vessels, contributes to hardening of the arteries and is a major health risk for heart disease, stroke and other degenerative diseases.

Practice good healthy stress management. Just like cholesterol, a certain amount of stress is healthy – such as with exercise. But the link between excess stress and high cholesterol production is well established. So take time to relax, let go, meditate, enjoy yourself or do whatever it takes to keep your stress level under control.

Use the 7 steps to lower cholesterol naturally to reach optimum levels of:
Triglycerides less than 150 mg/dl.
Total cholesterol less than 200 mg/dl.
HDL “good” cholesterol over 40 mg/dl.
LDL “bad” cholesterol less than 100 mg/dl.

You can greatly reduce your all-around risk of both heart disease and stroke, the #1 and #3 causes of premature death in the U.S. by simply following these guidelines on how to lower cholesterol naturally.   Source: http://commonsensehealth.com/how-to-lower-cholesterol-naturally-in-7-steps/

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List of Foods that Lower Cholesterol Naturally.  

Below is a list of foods that lower cholesterol naturally. You can use this list of cholesterol reducing foods as a guide when eating and should consider having a majority of these foods that lower cholesterol in your home.

– Oat cereal

– Cereals containing flaxseed or psyllium

– Whole grain cereals

– Pecan nuts, walnuts, olives, soy nuts

– Dried or canned beans, peas and lentils

– Corn, fresh, frozen or canned

– Soybean products

– Whole wheat bread

All types of fruits, especially currants, grapes, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, citrus fruits, apples.

– Canola and olive oils and margarines made from these oils.

All vegetables, especially onion, watercress, leeks, spinach, carrots, artichokes, avocado, broccoli, kale Brussels sprouts and cauliflower

A variety of flavorings, herbs and spices, especially fresh garlic.

– Lean meats and chicken.

– Salmon, swordfish, tuna and trout

Source:  http://www.all-about-lowering-cholesterol.com/foods-that-lower-cholesterol.html

Another method of healing I found on line is Ginger Garlic Apple Cider Vinegar Mix:

1 piece of grated ginger, 1 glove of garlic, 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon of honey, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Liquefy with the use of Nutri Bullet blender. Consume 1 tablespoon of the mixture before breakfast and another before lunch or dinner.  This mixture lowers blood pressure and cholesterol naturally according to the website. Screenshot_20171030-091257.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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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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