Greatest GIFT

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


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Bad Cholesterol is pretty scary!

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

Cholesterolcholesterol-in-artery1Clogged Artery

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

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

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

Gallbladder

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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List of Foods that Lower Cholesterol Naturally.  

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

– Oat cereal

– Cereals containing flaxseed or psyllium

– Whole grain cereals

– Pecan nuts, walnuts, olives, soy nuts

– Dried or canned beans, peas and lentils

– Corn, fresh, frozen or canned

– Soybean products

– Whole wheat bread

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

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

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

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

– Lean meats and chicken.

– Salmon, swordfish, tuna and trout

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

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

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

 

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Food Shopping for health and wellness

Ever since I’ve modified my eating habits for the past few years, I’m always conscious of what to buy at the grocery stores.  I have gained knowledge into the type of foods that  would either make me healthy or will eventually cause diseases to propagate in my precious body. I’ve learned so much about organic foods and GMO laden produce and food products. It’s scary when you think about what’s out there bad to eat.

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When it comes to my health, I don’t want anymore to let food commercials dictate what I should eat. I was commercially sublimated during my younger years of busy and stress loaded life. When you’re young, you don’t think of food in terms of your health, but what would make you feel stuffed, glutted or engorged regardless of the bad consequences and that would satisfy your hunger pangs. Looking back, I had eaten quite loads of fast foods. They were delicious, for Pete’s sake! Ate in many restaurants, hole in the wall types, and some elegant ones. I let the chefs’ or cooks’ concoctions to rule my eating habits. It was fun while it lasted. As luck would have it, I was into workouts to save my life! Yes! You should see my collections of VHS and DVD workout tapes! I have tons! And I still have them, but now contemplating in donating them.

I lost some weights, maintained the weight loss, but eventually succumbed to gaining extra pounds. That’s when health problems surfaced. My blood pressure went up and I was not feeling so good anymore. This led me to research about the causes of high blood pressure and how to manage it naturally. I went through different types of high blood pressure meds and most had bad side effects. It was frustrating. My salvation: plant based foods! They are miracle foods. But then I’ve learned that not all plant based foods are created equal.

DirtyDozens

Most grocery stores carry food produce that are laden with dangerous pesticides. Even the ones on the grocery shelves.DirtyDozens2 To top it off, most are GMO or genetically modified foods. They are foods genetically altered to look attractive to our eyes and genetically enhanced to have longer shelf life!GMO2

“The rise in autoimmune diseases, infertility, gastrointestinal problems and chronic diseases may be associated with the introduction of GM foods. In a position paper by the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, the authors ask all physicians to consider the role of GM foods in the nation’s health crisis, and advise their patients to avoid all GM foods whenever possible. The Academy also recommends a moratorium on GM seeds and calls for immediate independent safety testing and the labeling of all food items containing genetically modified products. As of 2010, the U.S. does not require food manufacturers to identify foodstuffs produced with genetically modified crops.”

How To Avoid GMOs
“The best way to avoid GMOs is to cook at home using certified organic ingredients. Organic foods, by law, are non-GMO. When buying produce such as corn, look for the PLU code on the label — if it begins with 9, it is organic.GMO4 If you use packaged or prepared foods, look for “USDA Certified Organic” on the label. Packaged foods that contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients are not permitted to contain GMOs. Assume that all restaurants are serving GMOs. The vast majority of non-organic products sold in a conventional supermarket, including pet foods and baby foods, contain some form of GMO corn, soy or other ingredients.”

Source: https://www.livestrong.com/article/216714-dangers-of-gmo-foods/

I only have one body to live on and one life to live. But I have capabilities to control what I will eat. Screenshot_20171022-111922.jpgThis day and age, there are tremendous information at my beck and call to help gain knowledge on protecting my health.

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Today’s breakfast – organic cereal with 11 grams of fiber and 9 grams of protein with some blackberries

I’m thankful and grateful for stores that are popping up and carrying organic and non GMO foods. Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and now Aldi. Groceries near us are carrying organic produce and non GMO products. On the side of our world, we have HEB and Kroger and even 99 Ranch that dedicate organic food sections, or organic and non GMO products spread all over their food shelves. You just have to hunt and look for them. And because of the increase demands for organic and non-GMO products, the overall costs are moderately going down. Now that Amazon owns Whole Foods, I’ve seen organic pricing getting to the level, in some degree, with their conventional counterparts.

Screenshot_20171022-111733.jpgIt cost me such a lot of hours of research to get where I am with my health now. I am, more than ever, pays attention subsequently to what I require for myself to be able to give the necessary defense, to protect my body from the radical changes that poor eating habits entail. I promised myself to succeed.

 

 

 


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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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Health and Intermittent Fasting

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

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

Fasting and Prevention

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

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

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

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

 


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You are what you eat!

Cancer is now a worldwide threat and it seems  people from all walks of life get it. Being aware of this disease is well and good, but the most important thing is how to prevent it at all costs. There are ways to not let cancer cells take the reign over our immune system and overtaking our good cells.HealthagainsIlness2

Top Cancer Prevention Strategies

I believe you can virtually eliminate your risk of cancer and chronic disease and significantly improve your chances of recovering from cancer if you currently have it, by following these relatively simple strategies.

    1. Eat REAL Food: Seek to eliminate all processed food in your diet. Eat at least one-third of your food raw. Avoid frying or charbroiling; boil, poach or steam your foods instead. Consider adding cancer-fighting whole foods, herbs, spices and supplements to your diet, such as broccoli sprouts, curcumin and resveratrol.
    2. Carbohydrates and Sugar: Sugar/fructose and grain-based foods from your diet need to be reduced and eventually eliminated. This applies to whole unprocessed organic grains as well, as they tend to rapidly break down and drive up your insulin level.

The evidence is quite clear that if you want to avoid cancer, or you currently have cancer, you absolutely MUST avoid all forms of sugar, especially fructose, which are dirty fuels generating excessive free radicals and secondary mitochondrial damage.

    1. Protein and Fat: Consider reducing your protein levels to 1 gram of protein for every kilogram of lean body mass, or one-half gram of protein per pound of lean body mass. Replace excess protein with high-quality fats, such as organic eggs from pastured hens, high-quality grass-fed meats, raw pastured butter, avocados, pecans, macadamias, and coconut oil.
    2. GMOs: Avoid genetically engineered foods as they are typically treated with herbicides such as Roundup (glyphosate), and are likely to be carcinogenic and contribute to mitochondrial dysfunction. Choose fresh, organic, and preferably locally grown foods.
    3. Animal-Based Omega-3 Fats: Normalize your ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats by consuming anchovies, sardines, wild Alaskan salmon or taking a high-quality krill oil and reducing your intake of processed vegetable oils.
    4. Optimize Your Gut Flora: This will reduce inflammation and strengthen your immune response. Researchers have found a microbe-dependent mechanism through which some cancers mount an inflammatory response that fuels their development and growth.

They suggest that inhibiting inflammatory cytokines might slow cancer progression and improve the response to chemotherapy. Fermented foods are especially beneficial for gut health, and the fermentation process involved in creating sauerkraut produces cancer-fighting compounds such as isothiocyanates, indoles and sulforaphane.

    1. Exercise and Move More: Sit less, move around more and try to take 10,000 steps a day.  Exercise also lowers insulin levels, which creates a low-sugar environment that discourages the growth and spread of cancer cells. In a three-month study, exercise was found to alter immune cells into a more potent disease-fighting form in cancer survivors who had just completed chemotherapy.

Researchers and cancer organizations increasingly recommend making regular exercise a priority in order to reduce your risk of cancer and help improve cancer outcomes. Exercise may also help trigger apoptosis (programmed cell death) in cancer cells. Ideally, your exercise program should include balance, strength, flexibility, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT). For help getting started, refer to my Peak Fitness Program.

    1. Vitamin D: There is scientific evidence you can decrease your risk of cancer by more than half simply by optimizing your vitamin D levels with appropriate sun exposure. Your serum level should hold steady at 50 to 70 ng/ml, but if you are being treated for cancer, it should be closer to 80 to 90 ng/ml for optimal benefit.

If you take oral vitamin D and have cancer, it would be very prudent to monitor your vitamin D blood levels regularly, as well as supplementing with vitamin K2, as K2 deficiency is actually what produces the symptoms of vitamin D toxicity.

  1. Sleep: Make sure you are getting enough restorative sleep. Poor sleep can interfere with your melatonin production, which is associated with an increased risk of insulin resistance and weight gain, both of which contribute to cancer’s virility.
  2. Exposure to Toxins: Reduce your exposure to environmental toxins like pesticides, herbicides, household chemical cleaners, plastics chemicals, synthetic air fresheners and toxic cosmetics.
  3. Exposure to Radiation: Limit your exposure and protect yourself from radiation produced by cell phones, towers, base stations, and Wi-Fi stations, as well as minimizing your exposure from radiation-based medical scans, including dental x-rays, CT scans, and mammograms.
  4. Stress Management: Stress from all causes is a major contributor to disease. It is likely that stress and unresolved emotional issues may be more important than the physical ones, so make sure this is addressed. My favorite tool for resolving emotional challenges is the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT).

HealthagainsIlness

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/04/09/atrocious-state-cancer-treatment.aspx?utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20160409Z1&et_cid=DM102212&et_rid=1437307434


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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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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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Intermittent Fasting

I’ve heard about fasting on and off as I started searching for better ways to manage weight loss and optimal health. I’ve always thought that when you do fasting, you don’t eat nothing at all except liquid stuff. I’ve always thought that I can’t do that. I do not want to starve myself.

On one of my doctor’s visits late last year, my GP had wanted me to have my blood drawn to check where my body stands as I was concerned about my blood pressure. The nurse assistant told me I have to fast and stop eating at 12 midnight the night before my blood test. I can drink water and that’s it. I told my husband on the way home, that I’ve always had done that, so that’s no sacrifice on my part. I’m used to it. In fact, most of the time I don’t snack or eat anything after 10 pm and would just consume the rest of my scheduled eight glasses of water for the day.

Since my husband and I embarked into this journey of calorie counting, I would stop eating by 5 pm. I have already conditioned my body not to eat too much since summer of 2011 and I’ve lost 10 pounds. This was about the time I adapted plant based eating and cut down on red meat and limited added sugar in my food intake. From losing 10 pounds and maintained it for a while, I gained back 5 pounds by Christmas last year. I was having some rough time losing it by the first part of 2015.wpid-screenshot_2015-07-26-18-40-47-1.png

Thank goodness to stumbling into an app that monitor calorie intake! I told my husband about it and since then, we’ve lost quite a few pounds. My husband is currently weighing 202 pounds and I’ve lost 11 pounds in this calorie counting process. We are both used to eating a lot less now and do not feel deprived. We eat lots of veggies and fruits, fish, whole grain and some meat and chicken. My heavy meal is breakfast. I do not have cravings for sweets anymore since I’ve been eating veggies and fruits. They healed my cravings for simple sugar and bad carbs.intermittentfasting3

Anyway, I love reading about overall health studies and articles, and one of those I’ve read recently was about INTERMITTENT FASTING. According to Yuri Elkaim for U.S. News and published on Huffpost Healthy Living “intermittent fasting is a technique that incorporates a weekly fast into your routine. This method is great because it allows you to reap the benefits of fasting without leaving you feeling weak or deprived. I can understand that this idea might not sound very appealing, but the fact is there’s ton of health benefits to fasting, and it really isn’t as horrible as it sounds. Research shows that those who eat less are generally healthier and live longer than those who eat more. Intermittent fasting is based on this principle.” He also stated that: “The benefits of fasting come after about 18 hours, but this doesn’t mean you have to force yourself to go without food all day long. To give you an example of what a fast might look like, let’s say you stop eating after dinner at 7 p.m., you go to bed and wake up at 7 a.m. Right there you have already fasted for 12 hours. In this scenario, if you wait to eat your first meal at 1 p.m. you will have successfully completed an 18-hour fast. Not too bad, right?”

Unbeknownst to me, I’ve been doing some type of fasting already, 16 hours of fasting almost everyday. I drink two glasses of water first thing in the morning to get my body’s circulation going. Then after 9 am, I’m ready to eat my first meal for the day. If I can hold off until 11 am, I could be doing an 18 hour fast. Usually most days, I’m not hungry in the morning. Maybe I could try doing it once or twice a week. Mr. Elkaim recommends to do an 18 hour fast one day a week.

In Mr. Elkaim’s article, he said:  From a fat-burning perspective, intermittent fasting is a powerful tool. When you’re in a fed state, the body has to produce insulin to keep your blood sugar at a safe level. Insulin’s main job is to shuttle excess glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream over to the muscle, liver or fat cells for storage. But insulin doesn’t only take sugar out of the blood – it also increases fat storage. Now, if a person were to eat small, infrequent meals every day, this release of insulin would not be a big deal. The problem is many experts have led people to believe that eating five or six meals a day is the only way to eat for weight loss. Now let’s think about this logically for a second. Do you think the best way to lose weight is to cause your body to constantly release a hormone that favors fat storage? I didn’t think so!

Another rumor is that fasting and/or eating infrequent meals every day will slow down your metabolism. This simply isn’t true. To make this point clear, all you have to do is think back to our primitive ancestors. They rarely (if ever) ate the same amount of food on consecutive days. Their caloric intake was dependent on what was available on that particular day. And they would be forced to fast intermittently because sometimes food was simply unavailable. Furthermore, evolution takes, minimally, thousands of years, and even though our world has changed drastically, our bodies have not had time to evolve from this primitive lifestyle. As a matter of fact, it has only been within the last 50 to 100 years that our bodies have been exposed to a consistent caloric intake. The truth is, being in a consistently fed state is not natural to the body’s physiology. This is precisely why eating less leads to better health and a longer life.”intermittentfasting

Another website that talk about intermittent fasting is Marcola.com. According to the article I’ve read on this site:

Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Fasting is historically commonplace as it has been a part of spiritual practice for millennia. But modern science has confirmed there are many good reasons for fasting, including the following:
Normalizing your insulin and leptin sensitivity, and boosting mitochondrial energy efficiency: One of the primary mechanisms that makes intermittent fasting so beneficial for health is related to its impact on your insulin sensitivity.

While sugar is a source of energy for your body, it also promotes insulin resistance when consumed in the amounts found in our modern processed junk food diets. Insulin resistance, in turn, is a primary driver of chronic disease—from heart disease to cancer.

Intermittent fasting helps reset your body to use fat as its primary fuel, and mounting evidence confirms that when your body becomes adapted to burning FAT instead of sugar as its primary fuel, you dramatically reduce your risk of chronic disease.

Normalizing ghrelin level also known as “the hunger hormone”

Promoting human growth hormone (HGH) production:

      Research has shown fasting can raise HGH by as much as 1,300 percent in women, and 2,000 percent in men, which plays an important part in health, fitness, and slowing the aging process. HGH is also a fat-burning hormone, which helps explain why fasting is so effective for weight loss.

Lowering triglyceride levels and improving other biomarkers of disease
Reducing oxidative stress:

      Fasting decreases the accumulation of oxidative radicals in the cell, and thereby prevents oxidative damage to cellular proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids associated with aging and disease.

There’s also plenty of research showing that fasting has a beneficial impact on longevity in animals. There are a number of mechanisms contributing to this effect. Normalizing insulin sensitivity is a major one, but fasting also inhibits the mTOR pathway, which plays an important part in driving the aging process.

Intermittent fasting is by far the most effective way I know of to shed unwanted fat and eliminate your sugar cravings. Since most of us are carrying excess fat we just can’t seem to burn, this is a really important benefit. When sugar is not needed as a primary fuel, your body will also not crave it as much when your sugar stores run low.

As mentioned above, the other mechanisms that makes fasting so effective for weight loss is the fact that it provokes the secretion of HGH—a fat-burning hormone that has many well-recognized “anti-aging” health and fitness benefits.

Last but not least, intermittent fasting has also been identified as a potent ally for the prevention and perhaps even treatment of dementia. First, ketones are released as a byproduct of burning fat, and ketones (not glucose) are actually the preferred fuel for your brain.

In addition to that, intermittent fasting boosts production of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which activates brain stem cells to convert into new neurons, and triggers numerous other chemicals that promote neural health. It also protects your brain cells from changes associated with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Research by Dr. Mark Mattson, a senior investigator for the National Institute on Aging, suggests that alternate-day fasting (restricting your meal on fasting days to about 600 calories), can boost BDNF by anywhere from 50 to 400 percent, depending on the brain region.”intermittentfasting2

For one thing, I do feel so much better and light as a feather since I’ve been eating less. Now with intermittent fasting, I’ll take it with a grain of salt, but keeping in mind that as it is I am already fasting in a more sensible and moderate way.  I’m glad that my blood pressure readings have been on normal levels. This morning my blood pressure was 115/68! That makes me happy.wpid-screenshot_2015-08-03-14-03-19-1.png


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What is Satiety?

asparagusThe dictionary states that Satiety is the quality or state of being fed or gratified to or beyond capacity. With regard to a losing weight journey, it is when the food ingested reaches the small intestine where you feel satisfied.

But then again, it depends on the food combination that we eat that will have an effect where you can feel full for at least 3 hours and you don’t feel to have a snack before the next meal.

There are times, for breakfast, that I can have a homemade smoothie consisting of small portions of raw spinach, kale, broccoli, carrots, blackberries, raspberries and banana and seeds (hemp seeds, chia seeds or flax seeds), and I would last without nibbling anything for snack for about 3 hours. But there are times, that I would need to have more for breakfast to completely feel satisfied, by having whole grain cereal and non-fat milk that I will feel satisfied. It will hit the spot of satiety. Until lunch.

This morning, I had Berry Fruitful Cereal by Kashi -139 calories, 133 grams of strawberries -43 calories and an organic fat free milk – 60 calories mixed together in a bowl. Total calories I consumed so far is 242 calories. And it’s been two hours now that I did not need to snack on anything. And I still feel full. When I eat cereal without fruit, I feel hungry in no time. The additional fiber from the strawberries helped me reach satiety.

Breakfast is the most important meal for me, as it helps me not to overeat later in the day as I calorie count. I aim for at least less than 300 calories for breakfast, so I have enough to cover my entire meal plan later in the day. To continue to lose weight I have to eat less than 1,433 calories per day. My weight was down to 113.1 the day before.

Yesterday, I’ve decided to eat a little bit more and go over my daily calorie allowance and find out how much I would gain back, without any exercise involved. I had a total of 1,520 calories eaten, eating 87 calories more. My total breakfast intake was 542 calories, 640 calories for lunch and 340 calories of snack. This morning I gained 6 ounces from 113.1 to 113.7 lbs.

In this weight loss journey, I do not eat dinner nor snack at night. To lose weight the following day, I have to eat about 711 calories or less to lose 4 to 5 ounces a day. I eat early lunch/dinner as early as 3 pm with some snack to feel satisfied the rest of the evening without grabbing anything else to eat and still feel satisfied until bedtime. I drink plenty of water the entire day, at least 8 glasses, and it helped me feel satiation without thinking of anything else to eat.

With this weight loss plan, I always make sure that I either have fish, beef, seafood or chicken for lunch. And always with a bowl of veggie saladstrawberriesspinach and some brown rice mixed with Quinoa. When I have extra calories to play with, I would snack on fruits, like guava, cherries, apple or watermelon early afternoon before or after late lunch. Or I’d have some unsalted garlic peanuts for my protein intake. Nuts are high in calories, so I’ve learned to eat them moderately, even those unsalted sunflower seeds have sky-high calories!

Though I ate 87 calories more than my daily allowance yesterday, I was not feeling so full, but well satisfied. I noticed though, that I was sleepy and needing an afternoon nap. With less than my daily allowance of 1,433, I feel energized and not sleepy at all, unless, I did not get my 8 hour of sleeping time at night.

I changed my weight plan with a different target weight of 107 lbs.; since 113 is not so far from my original target weight of 110.

For me, it’s fun to know or be knowledgeable on calories. Understanding the importance of calories in, I’ve learned that I was excessively eating more than I should; and that I do not need the extra food intake to live. Less is more even in meals. Knowledge is power. Getting enough food wisdom and understanding on the benefits of enjoying eating healthy would lead to a purposeful living.fruitsveggies