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.

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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More Sunny Days

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The weather is changing and I can feel the change in my mood and body. I am getting more motivated to do some light workouts nowadays. My diet remains the same as usual, the green smoothies seem to be as perfect to have than winter time. Though, I kept up with preparing it almost everyday during winter. Best of all, I’ve maintained my weight! Intermittent fasting is still a way of life, which I am so used to now.

However, Springtime is surely happy days. The sun always keeps me in a better mood. It indulges me to have a much better outlook. screenshot_2016-03-31-22-41-43-1.png

The time change this month had screwed up my sleeping habit and it’s only recently that my circadian rhythm finally is back to normal and I’m able to establish my inner clock to work in my favor again with regards to a restful sleep.

According to Dr. Mercola:

“A number of studies indicate that springing ahead to Daylight Saving Time (DST) may be hazardous to your health. Although the one-hour time change may seem minor, when it comes to your body’s internal clock, it actually is a big deal.

The latest study suggests turning your clock ahead for DST may set the stage for a small increased risk of heart attack the following day.1

The findings were published in the March 2013 edition of the American Journal of Cardiology.2 The study showed a small rise in heart attack rates the Sunday following the shift to DST, the Saturday night when you lose an hour.

However, the study showed a small tick downward the Sunday following the change back to standard time, when you gain an hour. Given that heart attacks appear to increase following the shorter night, it is reasonable that sleep deprivation may be to blame.

There are numerous studies showing the adverse health effects of sleep deprivation. But the studies involving one-hour time changes point to just how sensitive your body is to seemingly insignificant changes in your diurnal rhythms.

The lead researcher of the featured study speculates that a more significant result may be found with a larger sample size—the population in this study was quite small. When you consider these results in light of prior studies, the issue becomes more of a concern.”

Reading this made me realize that I had a lot more sleepless nights during the week after the time change or Spring Forward. When I can have a good and restful sleep, I can feel the goodness it brings to my mood and my body temperament. My blood pressure reading is good. I just wish that whoever is responsible for these time changes will stop changing the time. If I can choose, I want it to just stay on daylight saving time.

 


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Natural Human Growth Hormone

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With this update, my current weight is 104.2, which I was able to maintain last holiday season due mainly to intermittent fasting. I’ve eaten more than usual during Christmas and New Year. But because of intermittent fasting, I was able to keep my weight down. I’ve gained a pound, but after the New Year, I’ve easily lost a pound and back with my usual calorie control healthy lifestyle.

I believe intermittent fasting is one of the most powerful interventions out there if you’re struggling with your weight and related health issues. One of the primary reasons for this is because it helps shift your body from burning sugar/carbs to burning fat as its primary fuel.

via Dr. Mercola

Breaking Down Fat

When you are not eating, your body is not absorbing food. If your body is not absorbing food, there is little insulin in the blood. However, your body is always using energy; and if you’re not absorbing food, this energy must come from internal stores of complex carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Under these conditions, various organs in your body secrete hormones:

  • pancreas – glucagon
  • pituitary gland – growth hormone
  • pituitary gland – ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone)
  • adrenal gland – epinephrine (adrenaline)
  • thyroid gland – thyroid hormone

These hormones act on cells of the liver, muscle and fat tissue, and have the opposite effects of insulin.

When you are not eating, or you are exercising, your body must draw on its internal energy stores. Your body’s prime source of energy is glucose. In fact, some cells in your body, such as brain cells, can get energy only from glucose.

The first line of defense in maintaining energy is to break down carbohydrates, or glycogen, into simple glucose molecules — this process is called glycogenolysis. Next, your body breaks down fats into glycerol and fatty acids in the process of lipolysis. The fatty acids can then be broken down directly to get energy, or can be used to make glucose through a multi-step process called gluconeogenesis. In gluconeogenesis, amino acids can also be used to make glucose.

In the fat cell, other types of lipases work to break down fats into fatty acids and glycerol. These lipases are activated by various hormones, such as glucagon, epinephrine and growth hormone. The resulting glycerol and fatty acids are released into the blood, and travel to the liver through the bloodstream. Once in the liver, the glycerol and fatty acids can be either further broken down or used to make glucose

Human growth hormone (HGH) plays a vital role is staying young, long after you’ve finished growing. HGH is a product of the pituitary gland, the master gland of the body. As the name implies, it promotes linear growth in children and adolescents. After the body stops growing taller, levels of HGH decline and often become very low in adult life.
Growth hormone helps burn fat, build muscle and fasting triggers the “growth hormone response”, which prevents you from losing muscle while you fast. Since your muscle is largely responsible for your metabolism, growth hormone also plays a large part
in keeping your metabolism elevated while you are fasting.

 Naturally Increased Growth Hormone

) When you sleep
2) When you are in a fasted state

Natural HGH Booster #3: A Sleep Mask

You release the most growth hormone while you sleep. Use a sleep mask to block out light, allowing melatonin, the sleep hormone, to surge, and get a deeper, more restorative sleep.

Scientific studies show fasting and intermittent fasting promote weight loss and burn belly fat, but have other important anti-aging health benefits, such as protecting the brain from degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, the Huffington Post reported.

Researchers say fasting and intermittent fasting keeps the brain from shrinking and protects it from stress. Fasting as little as eight days a year could have significant health benefits, even for older people and cancer patients.

Research conducted at the USC Davis School of Gerontology indicates that fasting for two to four days at a time can regenerate your entire immune system — especially for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

“When you starve, the system tries to save energy, and one of the things it does is recycle a lot of the immune cells that are not needed, especially those that may be damaged,” said study author Dr. Valter Longo, a professor of gerontology.

Longo said fasting can be especially beneficial for older people (whose immune systems become damaged with age) and for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. “If you start with a system heavily damaged by chemotherapy or aging, fasting cycles can generate, literally, a new immune system,” he said.

Boosts Human Growth Hormone 2,000%

Previous research from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Utah indicates periodic fasting dramatically increases human growth hormone. In a recent study, men who fasted for 24 hours experienced a 2,000% spike in HGH, while women saw a 1,300% increase. Studies show fasting stabilizes blood sugar and improves cholesterol.

Fasting for an entire day or two at a time can be difficult for most people, but you can reap the anti-aging and weight loss benefits of calorie restriction through intermittent fasting, which calls for alternating days of feeding and fasting.

Intermittent fasting can slow down aging by limiting the oxidative and metabolic stresses that damage cells, the Wall Street Journal reported.

According to research by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), intermittent fasting is better than conventional dieting for fueling weight loss, improving brain health, and maintaining lean muscle mass. “Just as exercise makes muscles stronger, fasting makes the brain stronger,” said Dr. Mark Mattson, chief of the NIA’s neurosciences lab.

What’s more, this pattern of intermittent fasting helped the animals maintain their lean muscle mass even as they aged — the exact opposite of what happens to both animals and people as they get older.

Hugh Jackman Credits IF For Buff Wolverine Body

Similar experiments conducted on humans (alternating between days of normal eating and calorie restriction) showed the same effects. Dr. Mattson said fasting for short periods of time like 16 to 24 hours induces a state of stress in the body, which responds by releasing neurotrophic proteins that stimulate neurons and other cells.

Actor Hugh Jackman recently credited intermittent fasting for helping him achieve his rippling Wolverine body. Jackman, 45, said IF also gave him more energy and improved his sleep.

Hugh’s 16/8 intermittent fasting protocol involves doing all his eating for the day during an eight-hour window and then not eating at all (except for water) for 16 hours. Jackman typically consumes all his calories between 10 am and 6 pm. It’s an eating plan he follows even when he’s not training for a role.

(Marcola) I view intermittent fasting as a lifestyle, not a diet, and that includes making healthy food choices whenever you do eat. Also, proper nutrition becomes even more important when fasting, so you really want to address your food choices before you try fasting.

This includes minimizing carbs and replacing them with healthful fats, like coconut oil, olive oil, olives, butter, eggs, avocados, and nuts. It typically takes several weeks to shift to fat burning mode, but once you do, your cravings for unhealthy foods and carbs will automatically disappear. This is because you’re now actually able to burn your stored fat and don’t have to rely on new fast-burning carbs for fuel. Unfortunately, despite mounting evidence, many health practitioners are still reluctant to prescribe fasting to their patients


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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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Intermittent fasting and weight goal

I am just five pounds away from my weight goal and at this point, I am not really in a hurry to get there. After losing 17 pounds since June 8, 2015, I can now wear a size 4 and even some size 2 clothes! Most of the clothes I was wearing before losing weight were pleasantly bigger now for me. I love that feeling!

I am not strictly calorie counting anymore like daily use of weight goal app nor do I use food scale either. I pretty much know now how to gauge the food I would eat for the day and still lose ounces or maintain my current weight. I still drink 8 glasses of water each day which has tremendously helped me with my weight loss.

And most of all, which is so important, is I weigh myself every morning. This works for me years ago before I started gaining weight. When I was weighing myself daily, I was able to maintain my weight for years. When I stopped this important habit, my weight slowly crept up. I have learned this the hard way, just because I listened to all these online articles on the pros and cons of daily knowledge of your weight. Not all the things that these so called health experts are true, at least, in my case and what will work or not work for me. It’s good to read them and be updated, but I’ve learned to pick and choose what will work for me eventually.

My own body is my indicator. What surely has done wonders to my body organs and cells and immune system is eating more raw vegetables. Real organic foods have delivered the goodness to all areas of my body. I can feel it and I see it with my blood pressure readings and blood tests.

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Intermittent fasting has done great things for me also. I am forever going to do this in my lifetime.

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According to Dr. Joseph Mercola:

Timing Your Meals Can Significantly Boost Weight Loss Success

“There’s compelling evidence suggesting that when you eat morning, noon, and night, you increase your risk for both obesity and diabetes. Not only does this continuous grazing tend to lead to overeating in general, it also causes biological changes that result in metabolic dysfunction and subsequent weight gain and diminished health.

Our ancestors did not have access to food 24/7, and from a historical perspective it appears your body was designed for intermittent periods of fasting. In fact, a number of beneficial effects take place when you go for periods of time without eating. For the last couple of years, I’ve suggested an intermittent schedule that limits meals to a narrow window of six to eight hours a day — ideally by skipping breakfast, and having lunch be your first meal.

However, some people really struggle without breakfast, and I’ve more recently come to realize that you can skip breakfast or dinner — as long as you skip one of them. The key to remember is to only eat within a window of six to eight consecutive hours each day, and avoiding food for at least three hours before bedtime. However, due to the way your body generates energy from mitochondria production explained below, I am not convinced that it’s ideal to skip dinner. Another alternative is to have a very light meal as early as possible.”

What works for me as far as intermittent fasting goes and in which I have incorporated in my daily routine is my daily meal window is 5 to 6 hours and sometimes I stretched it to 7 hours, but rarely. Most of the time, I’m done eating for the day and starts my intermittent fasting at 4 pm. I eat breakfast and by 2 pm, I should have eaten my lunch. By 4 pm, I start drinking more water to fill me up. I am so used to not eating until the following day at most time by 10:30 am. I can pretty much tell if I maintain or lose ounces when I weigh myself the next day. My body loves this routine. Should I wake up feeling hungry, I would end my fasting earlier than usual and eat. At any rate, I’m able to fast for 18 hours daily.

Also from Dr. Mercola’s website, I pretty much follow his chart and his food pyramid below, but not necessarily to the letter. But I surely avoided a lot of processed foods and my daily meals mostly include grass fed meats, organic chicken and wild caught fish. For my grain, I mostly eat brown rice and have always included flax seeds, chia seeds and hemp seeds to my daily green juice. Last summer, I’ve eaten lots of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, all organic and eaten a lot of the power packed organic veggies. Since the season has changed and fruit choices are limited, I make sure I eat organic bananas and organic apples. I eat plenty of sunflower seeds. I have some Whole Food scones to treat myself once in a while or some of Whole Foods or HEB’s French Macarons. Or some whole grain bread or French Brioche. But I make sure I limit my sugar intake overall. My last blood test, my blood glucose reading was good. I want to keep it that good!

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MercolasFoodPyramid


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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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An Eye Opener

The more I read about the connection between gaining excess weight and high blood pressure and high cholesterol, the more I realized why my blood pressure skyrocketed for the last 2 years! The first year, I did not even know it was high. There were symptoms but I was not paying attention. I knew I was gaining weight and I got tired fast. I even was accepting I’m getting older, it’s part of life. That was not the right frame of mind. Now I realized that wherever I am in my stage of life, I have to be proactive and maintain a healthy weight. We live and we learn.

Looking back at my blood pressure chart for blood pressure monitoring at home, my systolic readings were way high in October and November 2014. My systolic readings were 168, the highest and the lowest was 141. My average systolic reading was 146.39. No wonder I was not feeling so good! Thank goodness, my diastolic readings have always been low.  My doctor started me with a blood pressure med when I decided to seek help last year. But I refused to take more drugs as I go along. Something has to go; it’s either the BP med or my excess weight. It really did not dawn on me that yes, it’s the excess weight that has to be dealt with. I read that just a modest weight gain can increase our blood pressure, even in lean, healthy people. This is especially true if we tend to gain weight in the belly area.

According to  Dr. Virend Somers, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic ~ “with even a small weight gain like 5 pounds, there is a significant increase in the overall risk of cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke. While these findings are important on an individual level, the impact of these findings is multiplied as more and more adults fall into the overweight or obese category, Somers said.“This is important to see on an individual level, but on the overall population as well,” he said. He said that an increase in weight also comes with an increase risk of high blood pressure, which opens us up to a slew of heart health risks.”

According to Healthline.com, high blood pressure, or hypertension, affects about 67 million American adults, or 1 in every 3, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Not even half — only 47 percent — have their high blood pressure under control. The common condition is characterized by higher than normal pressure from blood pushing against blood vessel walls. Early stages of high blood pressure cause no symptoms, so it is also known as “the silent killer” because of the damage it can cause before diagnosis. Excess weight increases the strain on the heart, raises blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and lowers HDL (good) cholesterol levels. It can also make diabetes more likely to develop. Losing as little as 10 to 20 pounds can help lower your blood pressure and your heart disease risk. To successfully and healthfully lose weight—and keep it off—most people need to subtract about 500 calories per day from their diet to lose about 1 pound per week.

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August of 2012 at Woodstock, New Brunswick, Canada – I’ve lost 10 pounds here but still on the chubby side.

I’ve started concentrating on losing weight in May 2011, lost 10 pounds in 2012 and I was able to keep off those 10 pounds until the Christmas holidays in 2014. This year, I’ve finally put my foot down and focused on losing more weight by calorie counting and intermittent fasting, which I’ve been blogging here for extra motivation and accountability on my part.

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this morning, my BMI is 22- blood pressure was 113/60. The pair of shorts I’m wearing is a size 5. Old shorts I used to wear in the early 90s! I kept these with hope that I can wear them again!

My hubby has lost a lot of weight since we started calorie counting on June 2015. He is 6’1 and weighing now at 194. Aside from doing calorie counting, he is also on intermittent fasting and brisk walking around our neighborhood with some jogging. In a matter of six months, he was able to normalize his blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Before this, our doctor told him six months ago that if he did not change his lifestyle habits, he may have to start with statin drugs. His good blood test counts recently are testaments that we can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels naturally, by eating healthy foods like veggies and fruits, whole grains, good fats, lean meats, poultry and fish and eating less and exercise.

This morning, my blood pressure reading was 113/60 which is considered normal. My BMI is 22.


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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.

http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/dietandphysicalactivity/bodyweightandcancerrisk/body-weight-and-cancer-risk-effectswpid-screenshot_2015-08-20-20-01-04-1.png

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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Portion Control with whole, raw and organic plant-based foods, Ghrelin and Leptin hormones

Losing weight becomes really not an effort anymore when my body got used to intermittent fasting. My eating window is from 10 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon, max is 4 p.m. where I should have been done eating. Then my daily fast starts at 5 p.m. It’s an 18 hour fast that becomes part of my daily routine. I’m used to it, now that I don’t feel hungry anymore during the fasting window.

I read up to get educated about Ghrelin hormone, known as the hunger hormone. It’s a little complicated, but I will pursue to learn more about it. This hormone has the capacity to either make us overeat or under eat, so it seems. It’s a growth hormone releasing peptide.

According to News Medical Net:  ~ “a hormone that counteracts the effects of ghrelin is leptin, which is produced by the fat or adipose tissue in the body. Leptin induces satiation or a feeling of fullness after a meal. When the leptin level is high, hunger is decreased. Since ghrelin increases hunger, several weight loss procedures aim to reduce the ghrelin level in order to increase satiation, even with a small meal.”

I read up on leptin and I gathered some information as to why a good sleep schedule and eating whole, raw plant based foods work perfectly together with intermittent fasting.

According to Wikipedia, Leptin , the “satiety hormone, is a hormone made by adipose cells that helps to regulate energy balance by inhibiting hunger. Leptin is opposed by the actions of the hormone ghrelin, the “hunger hormone”. Both hormones act on receptors in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus to regulate appetite to achieve energy homeostasis.  In obesity, a decreased sensitivity to leptin occurs, resulting in an inability to detect satiety despite high energy stores.  

“Dr. Leo Galland’s blog on Huntington post about leptin read: ~ “what can impact leptin based on the research done at the Laval University in Quebec is that 7-8 hours of sleep each night, on average, was associated with relatively higher levels of leptin. In contrast, getting less sleep meant lower levels of leptin and higher body mass index in the study.

Part of my weight loss journey is getting at least 7 hours of sleep every night. Doing intermittent fasting makes me sleep better as I do not experience heartburn anymore or any stomach disturbance. I consume my last glass of my 8 glasses a day regimen by 7 in the evening, so that I don’t have to run to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Big long drop of cold water poured into full glass (isolated on white background)

Dr. Galland said that: “Regular exercise stimulates the activity of fat-burning enzymes. The exciting news is that the hormone leptin also stimulates these enzymes, which can increase your metabolic rate even when you’re not exercising. This is important because for most people, the resting metabolic rate accounts for two-thirds of the total number of calories they burn each day.”

He listed ways to increase metabolism. He suggested Omega-3 oils: “Benefit from Omega-3 Oils. Omega-3 essential fatty acids are essential to the healthy functioning of the body and brain. Omega-3s help heal inflammation as well as promoting a wide range of cellular activities, and improving or preventing depression, Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders. Plant sources of Omega-3s include: ground flax seed, walnuts, and beans — especially navy, kidney and soy. Animal sources include fish, especially oily cold-water fish such as salmon or tuna.”

Part of my eating regimen is eating fish and ground flax seeds.

Dr. Galland suggested to: “Up the Fruit and Veg Servings to 9 or 10 a Day. Find delicious ways to incorporate fruits and vegetables into every meal. Choose those fruits and vegetables with deep colors and intense flavors that reflect their high content of anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, like carotenoids and flavonoids. The deepest red and blue flavonoids belong to a subgroup called anthocyanins, found in the jewel-like colors of blueberries, cherries and pomegranates.”

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I incorporate strawberries and blueberries with my whole grain cereal. I add blackberries, raspberries and banana to my green juice which consists of kale, spinach, broccoli, carrots or whatever veggies I have in the fridge. And I always have veggie salads with mushrooms, yellow and red bell peppers, radicchio, cherry tomatoes and other veggies. I add pieces of avocados and making sure to not having so much as it’s high in calories. I also use pickled beets in small portion. I make sure they are all organic. I recently made some pesto with basil from my garden, organic cheese, olive oil, garlic and pine nuts.

He also suggested to have some snacks to satisfy hunger, and desserts add fun and satisfaction to a meal. Indulge, but in healthy choices only. Enjoy delicious snacks such as crunchy walnuts or almonds, and dessert treats made from fruit and yogurt that will excite your palate while keeping you satisfied.

Since I am on calorie counting to lose weight; to control my food portion, I limit my intakes of nuts and seeds, but I try to always have a few handful everyday during my eating window which is about 6 to 7 hours. My favorites are sunflower seeds, chia and hemp seeds, walnuts, peanuts, cashews and chestnuts.

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is not a form of starvation but a way for you to time your meals to maximize your body’s ability to burn fat.

Our portion sizes are way, way out of proportion

In recent years, the amount of food we consider to be a single serving has ballooned. In some foods, it’s increased as much as a whopping 700%.  What most people would think of as a serving of ice cream, for example, is probably about a cup. In reality, though, a 230-calorie “serving” of Ben and Jerry’s is half a cup, or just about 8 large spoonfuls!

“Portion size is a big problem. Most people would say, ‘Well that looks like a serving,’ but in reality it’s two or three servings.”

Think of this the time you’re out to eat. If you get a bowl of pasta, consider taking half to-go. If you’re eating family-style, start by covering half your plate in salad greens.