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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New development on blood pressure numbers

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Two days ago, I went to see my primary doctor for a 6 months checkup and refill of my blood pressure medication. I’ve been trying to stop taking it for the sole reason that I want to lower my blood pressure naturally. However, my blood pressure the past days for my systolic seemed to be elevated and I was trying to figure out if it was because I stopped taking my BP med. My systolic reading was around 138 to 140 in the morning. And I thought it was high, as I was getting systolic readings of 126, 127, 130 to 134 before I stopped taking my BP med.

I was running out of my med, so I’ve decided to see my doctor. He was glad that I maintained my weight. I told him that the chest pain I was having before was completely gone after I stopped drinking anything with caffeine, especially coffee and tea. My doctor said that I’m having a bad reaction to it. I referred to the pain as angina and he told me that I should not use that word as I do not have it. It is a heart disease and other doctors may misunderstand me.

My doctor conveyed to me that there were some research studies done about blood pressure measurements that was discussed at the doctors convention he attended. I knew pretty much what he was going to tell me as I’ve read these reports online. In my case, since I do not have other health issues or chronic conditions, the 3 months worth of BP readings I shared with him via my daily log were great. He told me not to worry so much of my blood pressure even if my systolic goes up to 150 from time to time. He believes I should keep taking my low dose of BP med and we will take it from there. He knows that I’ve changed my diet and started eating more veggies and fruits and that I am proactive in regards to my health. April2016

I was ecstatic! Finally, a conventional doctor I’m seeing is accepting the change of times in the medical field. There’s hope for conventional doctors. High blood pressure is a serious condition and millions of people in the world have them and they do not know that they are walking time bombs as HBP is a silent killer that lead to massive heart attack or stroke.

One of the reports I’ve read about the changes on blood pressure measurement, I copied and posted below to remind myself and this great news. The link to the website where I gathered the information from, I’ve attached and posted here.

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“Whom does this study affect?

SPRINT focused on a specific group of people with hypertension: those 50 and older with at least one other chronic condition, such as heart disease or kidney disease (both of which raise heart attack and stroke risks), and those 75 and older. Of every six people with high blood pressure, only about one of them is in such a high-risk group.

If you are in that group, talk with your doctor about whether lowering your systolic blood pressure to 120 is worth the risk, says Harlan Krumholz, a cardiologist at Yale University. If you’re not in that group, based on these new findings, you may not need to aim for such a low number.

Also talk with your doctor about making lifestyle changes that can help reduce blood pressure. Those are especially important for people like those in the group studied in SPRINT.

For the rest of us . . .ReduceBloodPressurerightaway5

If you’re not in one of the previously mentioned high-risk categories, what should your blood pressure be? Consumer Reports’ medical experts consider 150/90 a reasonable goal for most people age 60 to 75 who don’t have other risk factors. They suggest a goal of 140/90 for people younger than 60, those with diabetes and those younger than 50 with chronic kidney disease.

Those numbers are based on recommendations from an independent expert panel convened by the NHLBI. The panel noted that achieving levels below 140/90 can require additional blood pressure drugs or high doses. That increases the risk of the previously mentioned side effects and — depending on the drugs — problems such as persistent coughing, erectile dysfunction and frequent urination.

But be sure of your numbers.

Uncertain about your blood pressure? Get it measured, even if you think it’s fine. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that everyone 18 and older be screened for hypertension. Having high blood pressure generally causes no obvious symptoms, so an estimated one-fifth of American adults with the problem don’t know they have it.

Surprisingly, the most accurate way to measure your blood pressure is not at your doctor’s office. Up to 30 percent of people receive an incorrect diagnosis of high blood pressure, often because their blood pressure is normal at home but spikes in a doctor’s office, perhaps because of anxiety. Blood pressure can also fluctuate depending on such factors as sitting position, bladder fullness and placement of the monitor’s cuff.

The gold standard for measuring blood pressure — a method known as ambulatory monitoring — involves wearing a small, doctor-prescribed device that records your blood pressure at frequent intervals over 24 hours. But that monitoring isn’t widely available, and insurance might not cover the cost. A good alternative, the task force says, is a home blood pressure monitor. Record levels once in the morning and once in the evening for a week.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/its-important-to-get-high-blood-pressure-under-control-but-how-low-should-it-go/2016/04/21/9193efe8-b3bc-11e5-9388-466021d971de_story.html

http://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/news/20131218/new-blood-pressure-guidelines-raise-the-bar-for-taking-medications


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Health and Intermittent Fasting

screenshot_2016-01-09-09-38-07-1.pngCancer Awareness is a thing of the past. The people who started this movement was just in for the money, how much you can donate to be aware of the vicious disease that is cancer. What we all need to know now is how to prevent it, to not be part of the million numbers who survived or got killed by it. How can we not be aware of cancer when what we’ve been reading now is people dying of it. It’s in the papers and all over the internet.

I’ve started with Intermittent fasting to lose and maintain my weight.img1458758819217.png I have been doing it for months and I’m so used to it that I don’t get hungry anymore during my daily fasting hours. To lose weight, it’s just a matter of how much calories I would eat on the hours I allotted for eating which is breakfast and lunch. To maintain is eating the same amount of calories. To be successful with it, I have to eat what my immune system or my microbiome or gut community would love to eat so they could make my system work properly in absorbing the food I feed them. I’ve stayed with eating lots of raw organic veggies, some organic whole grain, organic and grass fed beef and wild caught fish and seafood. I’ve added a teaspoon of coconut oil to my morning smoothie blend which I have not done in the beginning of my weight loss journey last May of 2015. I’m eating it sparingly as it is a saturated fat, but a good feed for the brain. I’ve used good fats like avocado oil for cooking, and extra virgin oil for my salads. Flax seeds and hemp seeds are my favored seeds to blend with my smoothie and salads.screenshot_2016-04-23-17-33-09-1.png

Fasting and Prevention

“For those trying to keep cancer at bay, intermittent fasting may improve your sensitivity to insulin and reduce your insulin resistance, which has been linked to several types of cancers. There’s also some evidence that fasting induces your body’s cells to begin the process of autophagy – including neuronal and general autophagy – to clean up cellular “garbage.”

While the scientific evidence on cancer prevention is still premature – and keep in mind the majority of clinical studies have been in animals, not humans – nevertheless there is some exciting evidence showing the potential!” http://www.hope4cancer.com/information/healing-cancer-on-time-how-intermittent-fasting-may-help.html

“We could not predict that prolonged fasting would have such a remarkable effect in promoting stem cell-based regeneration of the heatopoietic system. When you starve, the system tries to save energy, and one of the things it can do to save energy is to recycle a lot of the immune cells that are not needed, especially those that may be damaged.  What we started noticing in both our human work and animal work is that the white blood cell count goes down with prolonged fasting. Then when you re-feed, the blood cells come back. ” – Valter Longo, corresponding author. (1)

“Again, because fasting significantly lowers white blood cell counts, this triggers stem cell-based regeneration of new immune system cells.  More importantly, it reduces the PKA enzyme, which has been linked to aging, tumor progression and cancer.(1) It’s also noteworthy to mention that fasting protected against toxicity in a pilot clinical trial where patients fasted for 72 hours prior to chemotherapy.” http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/06/22/scientists-discover-that-fasting-triggers-stem-cell-regeneration-fights-cancer/

 


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Coffee, my heart’s enemy!

Change is afoot! I cannot drink coffee, and though I love the taste and smell of it, hands down, I cannot have it! I have to give up even the decaffeinated ones. Since 97% of caffeine has been removed, the remaining 3% still create havocs to my heart and angina sets in until my body eliminates the coffee out of my system.coffee

It’s actually the caffeine that my heart is allergic to and it reacts on caffeine’s entrance in my body’s bloodstream. Even tea is my heart’s enemy because of the caffeine. I’ve come to a conclusion that anything with caffeine added to food, my heart will pitter patter and starts crying out loud! It surely gives me quite a fright. Thank goodness, my heart is in good condition according to my cardiologist.

“The reason for the angina: Vasoconstriction, it is the narrowing of blood vessels. When vasoconstriction occurs, blood flow is slowed down or partially blocked. It can occur in response to psychological conditions or drugs, such as decongestants, pseudoephedrine or caffeine.”

“By limiting your caffeine intake, you may be able to avoid vasoconstriction and decreased blood flow in the brain. The study published in “Human Brain Mapping” found that those who consumed high levels of caffeine had less cerebral blood flow, when compared to low and moderate caffeine users. In the study, 45 milligrams per day was considered low dosage, 405 milligrams per day was considered moderate and 950 milligrams per day was considered a high level of caffeine.”

Excerpts from:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/395736-does-caffeine-constrict-blood-vessels/

I had never been in the habit of drinking coffee like other coffee lovers do. I never did. I’d have a cup once in a while in my younger years, but it was never an ongoing leisure. I drink it then only to perk me up in the morning on the way to work, if I did not get a good sleep the previous night. The desire to be constantly metabolized, in short, energized by coffee everyday was never my thing. Therefore, I did not know then that my heart reacts to caffeine except when I was taking diet pills moons ago. Caffeine is one of the ingredients in diet pills. I definitely did not put two and two together.

Not until I’ve gotten the luxury to be able to stay home. My hubby loves coffee and the coffee aroma got me entangled with the idea of a cup of joe in the morning would be a welcome change. Three days with coffee gave a sudden chest pain. I’d stop drinking it and the pain would go away. Unbeknownst to me, the caffeine raised my blood pressure, too.

As of late, I’ve given coffee a last try by trying some decaf. It didn’t do no good to my heart either especially if I have it every morning, even in small amount. It was alright if I only have it once in a blue moon. But no chance everyday. Coffee is acidic and an acidic body can cause inflammation and increases the chance of diseases thriving in our bodies.

Pros and Cons of coffee ~~ According to this website,

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/7-coffee-pros-cons.html

The goods on coffee are: Can reduce the risk of diabetes, fights free radicals, improves memory and cognition.

The negative effects of coffee: can increase Osteoporosis, can cause wrinkles, weight gain, conventional coffee is laden with pesticides.

On this website: http://www.healthassist.net/blog/general/pros-and-cons-of-coffee/

The site particularly discussed about heart disease as part of the negative effects of drinking coffee and high blood pressure. If I continue drinking coffee, regular or decaf, there’s a possibility that my heart may give up on me  due to high blood pressure, which is another side effect of coffee drinking. “Recent Italian study found that coffee drinking can slightly increase the risk for development of sustained hypertension in persons with elevated blood pressure.”

I guess coffee is no longer in my future. As much as I love the smell and aroma of newly brewed coffee, I have to think of the many cons associated with getting addicted to it.

Goodbye coffee, it’s been nice knowing you at Starbucks, especially. coffee2And I am no longer a fan of Starbucks for years now. Talking about pesticides and toxins in their coffee!

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