Greatest GIFT

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


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Walking for health and energy

Today, I walked along the sidewalks of Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris!

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Although I’ve been to the country sides of France, during our travel, we intentionally decided not to be in Paris at all.

Today via Live Stream, I felt like I was there and walked the streets of this popular tourists destination. I’ve discovered these Live Stream videos on You Tube last year and I incorporated these video walks with my treadmill exercises. I really enjoyed it. I’ve gone to different parts of the world via these Live Streams. I’ve gone to Hawaii, Australia, Wales (in real life, we were in Wales in 2014), the country sides of Great Britain and some places here in the U.S.

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I really enjoy these virtual walks on my treadmill. It’s mostly a 30 to 35 minutes of walking. The videos are well done and I actually feel like I was there at these places walking and enjoying the sights.

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These Paris street sidewalks are just like walking on the streets of the Los Angeles Rodeo Drive but on a bigger scale. They also have stores popular in the U.S. like Sephora, Disney, Gap, QuickSilver, Abercrombie & Fitch, among others.

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Some of the health benefits of walking include good physical and mental health, protection from heart ailments, diabetes, cancer, and other types of chronic conditions. Further studies show that walking increases bone mineral density and prevents the condition of osteoporosis.

Walking

 

 

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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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Keeping it real

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Save yoga pants for yoga

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

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Fiber, and more of it    

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

30 minutes, at least

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

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

Chocolate, alcohol, or french fries

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

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

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

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

derived from:

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

 

 

 


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Calorie Awareness

People nowadays can easily consume more than 2,000 calories in one seating. With the abundance of restaurants and fast food chains, a person can easily devour more than 4,000 calories from eating breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner in a day. If a person eat this much everyday, the weight gain is obvious. And if this person is not eating healthy, the person’s immune system would suffer and so does the rest of the person’s body organs and cells. Chronic diseases will follow suit.

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This worth of breakfast food is 2,100 calories, according to The Upshot article on What 2,000 calories look like.

Lunch

This lunch combination, or it can be for dinner,  is worth a whooping 2,670 calories.

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This delicious meal just by itself without a soda or side dish and bread is 2,370 calories.

And when we dine out, we totally disregard the need to eat veggies and fruits that have so much nutrients and what our immune system is craving for. So, when we eat restaurant entrée and fast food, our digestive system is working so hard. If we are lucky, our body may get some protein in the process, but mostly bad fat and bad carbs that would add up to our waistline because that is where the bad food we had eaten would end up, while our immune system starve to death.

Ever since I’ve started using food scale and have been journaling my food intake for a year now,  I’ve noticed that my stomach has adjusted to the reduced calories I’ve been consuming each day.  I’ve mostly consumed foods eaten at home which I prepare and cook. Occasionally my hubby and I would venture and eat out at Whole Food’s food court or buy the ready made lunch/dinners they sell, which is heat and eat. Mostly, they are nutritious and not so high in calories. We’ve dined out occasionally on special occasion and I would go back to eating less the following day.

I’ve read that the way to accomplish this effect is to train your body to get used to accommodating smaller meals. Your stomach will adjust to proportions suitable for the needs of the average quantity of food you’re used to taking in, in a single serving. Over time, eating smaller-portioned meals reduces the size your stomach is accustomed to inflating during mealtime.

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This is one of my measured food portion for lunch which consisted of Asparagus Risotto at 71 calories, a combo of wild Akeya rice and brown rice at 203 calories, baked chicken wings at 107 calories and 136 calories of Romaine and Avocado salad with cucumber and Siracha ranch dressing. The total calories for lunch that I have eaten was 517 calories. That day I had also consumed 301 calories of healthy breakfast cereal with strawberries mixed with plain Kefir. For snack I had an apple with peanut butter and some blackberries at 235 calories. For a year now, I’ve used smaller plates and bowls. For my drink, I always have 8 glasses of water consumed in a day, not counting my glass of Mineral Water I would drink for lunch almost everyday. Thankfully, Mineral Water is zero calories.

My total calories that day was 1,053.screenshot_2016-05-30-15-58-22.png

To maintain my weight, according to this plan, I have to eat 1,599 calories (for me this is a lot of calories)  and to lose weight, I have to eat less than 1,368 calories a day.

I can see now why I gained a lot of weight from dining out. I had eaten more than 1,599 calories. Knowledge is power definitely! Using a food scale now, it revealed to me that  it’s very easy to eat more than 2,000 calories or more in a day!

I’ve learned that veggies and fruits have lower calories. We can eat lots of veggies and fruits combined and it will not even make it to 2,000 calories. Amazing!

According to this article I’ve read, women who consume more fruit and vegetables have a healthier and more attractive glow than those who don’t, scientists have discovered.

Carotenoids – a type of pigment found in carrots, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens and tomatoes, is credited with helping to protect against cancer.

People consuming diets rich in carotenoids are healthier and have lower death rate from a number of chronic illnesses.

The chemical can also work as antioxidants, aiding in the prevention of cancer.

A recent study showed that eating at least seven portions of fresh fruit and vegetables a day was linked to a 42 per cent lower risk of death from all causes.

I’ve just read that: “A new study published in JAMA Oncology revealed four lifestyle choices that can reduce the risk of breast cancer. Staying away from smoking, keeping a healthy weight, limiting alcohol intake and avoiding hormone therapies after menopause can lower your risk of getting breast cancer by 30 percent.”

 


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Break from Calorie Counting is over!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Nine tips to tame your appetite:

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

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


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New development on blood pressure numbers

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

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

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

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

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

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“Whom does this study affect?

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

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

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

For the rest of us . . .ReduceBloodPressurerightaway5

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

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

But be sure of your numbers.

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

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

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

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

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


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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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