Greatest GIFT – Naomi Jeremiah

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


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Fruits for Breakfast!

I took a break from doing veggie and fruit smoothies and celery juicing for breakfast first week of July this year. I could feel my system needed a change. I’m completely off from any prescribed BP medication since last year and I feel good without those horrible side effects that came with BP med! My cardiologist couldn’t agree more. He was happy with my BP readings without the medication in my system, but instead it’s with the help of plant based eating daily.

Spring 2019 was dealing mostly with sinus allergy that seemed like forever. I thought the sneezing and runny nose would be my company for a while there. Even with smoothies and juicing, the sinus battle continued. I’ve ordered from Amazon anything Elderberry, Echinacea, Vicks Vaporub and inhaler and humidifier.

Spring was a struggle; but the Spring sun was a relief. I always enjoy the Spring sun, way too beautiful.

Since I stopped juicing and drinking homemade smoothies, which I have done mostly since 2016, I’ve decided to try eating fruits for breakfast this summer. There’s abundance of fruits in summertime so I am taking advantage of the many fruit choices. Although, Winter last year and Spring 2019, I was consuming citrus like oranges, pumelos, grapefruits aside from eating apples.

Oatmeal was my favorite morning warm ups. I kept up with veggie salads as sides for lunch. My BP readings stayed down and good. I’ve maintained my weight and kept myself busy with organizing and getting rid of dust collectors and clutters.

When I started fruits only for breakfast, my energy heightened much better than doing smoothies and celery juice. I’ve realized, too, that when I juiced fruits, it did not agree with my system as I’ve lost the fiber my body needs. However, when I eat whole fruits; three or four small servings of different kinds of fruits, I feel great! With veggie salads, all organic, like arugula, different varieties of cucumbers, romaine, tomatoes, avocados for lunch and a main daily homemade dish of small serving of either fish, or lean chicken or lean meat, I am set for the next hours of intermittent fasting daily. I’ve incorporated IF since 2016 and my sleeping patterns and circadian rhythms are at its best! Sleep has always been sweet. Unless, something is worrying me or there are exciting events the next day that would keep me tossing and turning, most of my sleeping hours are so satisfying. I found out that by the time I am ready for bed, all the food I’ve eaten have almost been fully digested by the time I hit the bed, so all my system has to do is repairing and healing what needs to be healed in my body while I’m asleep. Eating fruits in the morning has lowered my blood pressure naturally, much better readings than with smoothies and juicing.

There are some days I’d get off IF when travelling or eating out. If I get lucky, and I did not eat restaurants’ foods which cause heartburn, my sleep will still be okay. Sometimes, I need that break, but the next day, I’d go back to my eating schedules to maintain my weight. It’s not easy especially when I splurge on some sweet desserts and bread. But I need to focus for the sake of my blood pressure.

As we get older, blood pressure spikes especially if we are not eating right. I’ve learned that high blood pressure leads to so many illnesses. It’s an indicator when something is wrong in our body. It’s a signal of some future events that are detrimental to our health. I’ve learned of this after thorough research and personal experiences when I started getting aware of this silent killer. High blood pressure almost always show up as one of the contributing factors to illnesses when diagnosed with heart disease, heart failure, stroke, diabetes, high cholesterol, kidney disease, Adrenal and thyroid disorders, sleep apnea as one of the few known causes associated with high blood pressure.

So, organic fruits for breakfast to the rescue! So many fruit choices, including bananas, apples, cherries… I love summer!

healing7

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Cold bedroom, best sleep!

This morning, I woke up and the room temperature was 62 degrees F. That is very cold for me. But when it’s cold in the bedroom, I always get the most relaxing, peaceful and long slumber. sleep7

I’ve been so fortunate for a while now that I am able to get a good shut eye, at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep. It was not always a great sleep in the past for me. I had trouble sleeping before and I would wake up tired.

Two years ago, I’ve decided to find ways to correct my sleeping habits in the hope that I can cure my insomnia or sleep disorder. Through the latter part of my adult life, good sleep was very hard to achieve.sleep2 I resorted into taking over the counter sleeping pills, and then switched into more natural sleep aid, like Melatonin and Valerian. They did not really help that much. From time to time when I was very tired, I would doze off and get maybe 4 to 6 hours of sleep. For one thing my mind was so active, mostly worrying about the next day’s work activity or maybe personal issues would interrupt my sleep.

 

The internet and cell phones did not help and when social media and smart phones came along, sleeping was a distraction more than a necessity. sleep9Especially when some research group was saying you don’t need to have an eight hour of sleep. It’s different in each individual. Not everybody have the same sleeping requirements. So that played in my mind and as long as I’d get to sleep, even just five hours a night, I will be okay. I did not have a sleeping schedule set. Whenever I feel sleepy, that was the time. But as time went by, the less sleep I was getting. I had to rely on over the counter sleeping medication on nights when I was so wide awake. My mind was going 100 miles per hour thinking of so many things.

On one of our vacation road trips, I found a book written by Dr. Don Colbert entitled The Bible Cure for Sleep Disorders. The book gave way for me to embark and research about achieving a natural way to get good sleep.

Work With Your Wake/Sleep Cycles
Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day can help to set a rhythm to your sleep cycle and prompt your body to recognize when rest time is approaching. A morning ritual such as meditation or yoga that reduces your stress can be extremely beneficial – and this can also be repeated before sleep.

Move your body earlier in the day and avoid anything too vigorous at night, if possible. Movement, particularly movement that gets the heart rate up or is physically exerting, typically activates the sympathetic nervous system making you alert and awake, and subsequently decreases your melatonin (sleep hormone) production. Instead, in the evening, allow yourself time to slow down, unwind and stimulate your sleep neurotransmitters. Around 60 to 90 minutes before sleep, turn off your “devices”, turn the lights down and maybe include some meditation or light reading. Finding sleep hygiene that works for you is incredibly important, but these are great starting points for everyone. from: https://www.foodmatters.com/article/when-sleep-is-elusive-getting-quality-rest?fbclid=IwAR2n_bPPRMTPltLnxchyez6DdCw09nZAl8m5oS-ftwXDDv2kSMigL4Kszpg

The first thing I’ve changed was my sleeping schedule. I started sleeping at the same time at night and waking up at the same time in the morning. It took time changing the bad sleeping habit. I found a good herbal sleep medicine at Sprouts. It’s called Deep Sleep.deepsleep2 It doesn’t have side effects deepsleepso it’s safe to use. With Deep Sleep, it helped me to make a transition from a poor quality of sleep to a rhythmic sleep cycle. I try not to take it every night if I don’t have to.  When I am very sleepy, I would skip it. sleep4

I made it a point to turn off my desktop computer two hours before bed. I give myself time to relax. I brush my teeth two hours before I go to bed as I find that brushing my teeth right before bed makes me wide awake.

What helps me to stay asleep is making sure that I’m done with my daily water intake, which is 8 glasses a day, about 4 to 5 hours before bed, and not eating before bedtime. That’s where my intermittent fasting works in my favor. I stopped eating by 4 to 5 pm at the latest. It settles my stomach and most of the food I’ve eaten have digested by the time I get to bed. I don’t experience heartburn that can interrupt with sleep. I don’t take any medication nor supplement I discovered could interrupt with my sleep. Celery juice and smoothies and vegetables and fruits had helped me settle my stomach at night.

“Set your smart thermostat to slowly lower your home’s temperature starting at dinner time and ending at 65 degrees when bedtime rolls around. This gradual loss of temperature and light can really help stoke the motivation to sleep.” https://www.menshealth.com/health/a25628788/how-to-get-more-sleep-expert/

In winter, I would turn off the central heat and by the time I’m in bed the bedroom is getting cold. During warm days, I set my air cooling thermostat to 68 degrees, but now that I know that I can have a good sleep at 62 degrees under three blankets and a thick comforter, I might settle for 65 degrees.

What I find so helpful that relaxes my mind is reading my daily Bible devotional before bed. As I meditate on God’s Word, my mind relaxes and what I have read about God’s goodness and faithfulness and His love for us completely take over my mind. Thankfulness and gratefulness to God clears my mind of worry, concern and fear and giving my burden to Him stop the mind from self-involved thoughts. Afterwards, I would do my deep breathing of 4-7-8 about 8 timesbreathing and I’m ready for a restful shut eye.

And If I get lucky, I might remember my dream that I usually have about the time I would wake up. And I remember a lot of my dreams since I no longer deprive myself of a much needed sleep every night. I actually have a sleep journal and it’s fun to go back and review what I wrote from time to time.

When I get to Stage 5 of my sleep, I can feel, when I wake up in the morning, that I had a restful, long and peaceful sleep and a deep sleep at that. I’m getting a lot of them lately, the cold weather must have aided as well.sleep3

“What is deep sleep and how much do we need of it?

Some studies have shown that your deep sleep should at least be 20% of your overall sleep. It means that since most adults need 8-9 hours of sleep, they will need about 1.6-1.8 hours of deep sleep to feel fully functional next day.”  from: newhealthadvisor.com

What stage of sleep is most important?

For a quick review of the four stages of sleep:
Stage 1 (N1): This is the lightest sleep, lasting as little as five minutes,…
Stage 2 (N2): This light sleep is also fairly easy to be awoken from,…
Stage 3 (N3; formerly N3 and N4): This is deep sleep, during which the body performs maintenance…
Stage 5: REM sleep is the only sleep stage in which we dream.

from: soundsleephealth.com   sleep

Why is REM sleep important?

REM sleep is important because it is the restorative part of our sleep cycle. Typically, you begin the sleep cycle with a period of non-REM sleep followed by a very short period of REM sleep.  from: azumio.com

How much sleep does an adult need?

An average adult needs between 7.5 and 8 hours of sleep per night.

Can you get too much deep sleep?

According to New Health Advisor, adults 18 and older need anywhere from 1.5-1.8 hours of deep sleep per night, which is about 20% of your overall sleep. Some people, however, may find they need more in order to feel fully rested. There’s no such thing as too much deep sleep.  from: eightsleep.com   sleep6


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Blood Pressure and Medications

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

lowerbloodpressurenaturally

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

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

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

veggies

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

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

amplodipinesideeffects2

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

amplodipinesideeffects

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

 

Norvasch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Omega 3


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Intermittent Fasting is my way of life

IntermittentFasting

 

I’ve been on intermittent fasting for almost two years now and I’d say I’ve never felt better in my whole entire life. I’m so used to doing it that my body has well adapted to this daily fasting regimen that I don’t feel deprived. Drinking 8 glasses of water after eating only within a certain ‘window’ of time each day, has helped curve any hunger. On my daily eating window, I make sure to eat wholesome plant based foods which keep me full and would carry me during my fasting hours.

New study from the University of Florida proposes that intermittent fasting works because it causes repeated “flipping of the metabolic switch.” After you have fasted for about 12 hours, you start to lose body fat because your body is forced to change temporarily from its main energy source, glucose (sugar) to fat from the fat stored in your body, and using these fatty acids that are converted to energy to produce ketones that are also used for energy. The “metabolic switch” is defined as the shift from using glucose to using fatty acids and fatty-acid-derived ketones for energy, and then shifting back to glucose when eating is resumed. This leads to weight loss and a variety of other metabolic benefits including lowered blood pressure, resting heart rate, cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar levels. Most of the studies reviewed in this new article show that intermittent fasting caused weight loss primarily through loss of body fat, not loss of muscle.  **DrMirkin.com

My recent blood test has confirmed to me that my daily intermittent fasting has greatly improved my numbers. My fasting blood glucose level has gone from 92 in 2015 to 85 in 2018.BloodSugarglucose

Blood sugar testing measures how much glucose is in the bloodstream. No matter what is eaten, from a small snack to a large meal, blood glucose values rise in response to any carbohydrates that are digested.

In a healthy person, the pancreas reacts to the higher blood glucose by releasing insulin, a hormone that converts blood sugar into usable energy.
In addition to carbohydrates, other body processes also raise blood sugar levels.  When a person fasts, which is defined medically as not eating or drinking anything aside from water for at least eight hours, the release of glucagon is triggered in the body. Glucagon instructs the liver to metabolize reserve supplies of glycogen, which are then circulated into the bloodstream as sugars. Accordingly, the amount of plasma glucose goes up. This is how the body creates energy even while fasting.

In sum, when diabetes is not present the body responds to all blood sugars by manufacturing insulin in proportion with the glucose level. When it comes to fasting blood sugars, insulin lowers and stabilizes the levels so that they remain in a normal, healthy range. Yet when any form of diabetes is present, either pre-diabetes, Type 1 diabetes or Type 2 diabetes, the whole physiological process doesn’t work correctly, and blood sugars are often considerably higher than normal. The fasting blood sugar test (FBS) is commonly used to detect the existence of diabetes. **BloodSugarEasy.com

I have cut down considerably, from my daily lifestyle diet, the ingestion of simple sugar and processed foods. Most processed foods have added sugar that our body does not need. I reduced intake of sweet carb desserts like cake, pastries, cookies, crackers, chocolates, ice cream; you name it, I cut it down and lost my sugar addiction in the process. bloodsugarlevel

I have added more organic fruits like apples, pears, most berries, bananas, kiwi, mangoes and other seasonal fruits. I alternate eating them and when they are available, but there’s always fruits in my daily eats.

Diets rich in fruits and vegetables help to reduce the chance of obesity, heart attack, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and other health issues. While fruit juices and applesauce aren’t necessarily something you have to avoid when planning your meals around diabetes, these snacks have had their fiber removed and as such lack much of the nutrition found in whole fruits while hosting a higher sugar content. Fruit has been identified in American diets as one of the most under-consumed foods, with the standing recommendation being to consume at least 2 cups of fruit in a daily diet of 2000 calories. Consuming a well-rounded nutrient profile while minimizing foods that can lead to spikes in blood sugar is essential for diabetics to function at their best.

Vegetables became my main food ingredients in my daily meal. Most days, my breakfast consists of green smoothies. They consist of different types of organic kale, spinach, carrots and broccoli. My lunch I always make veggie salads which can be with cucumber, tomatoes, red and yellow bell peppers, romaine, radicchio, all organic. My plate is an abundance of veggies with small share of lean meat, chicken or seafood, with small portion of brown rice and quinoa.  I cook daily and I seldom eat out.

I was able to maintain my weight and I can say intermittent fasting has helped me with that and more. There are more great results I’ve got from my recent blood test that I will cover next time I blog.

IntermittentFasting4 IntermittentFasting3IntermittentFasting2

 


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Peak Fasting

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Intermittent Fasting, weight loss and Christmas holidays

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

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

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

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

How sight and smell relate to digestion

 

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

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

 

  • Make your mouth water.

 

  • Make your stomach contract (hunger pangs).

 

  • Make intestinal glands start leaking digestive chemicals.

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

Tasting and chewing in the digestion process

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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Just One Bad Meal Can Mess with Your Health

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Maintenance Monday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.