Greatest GIFT

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


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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


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Food Digest

digestive_diagram

In this journey of losing weight the proper way by eating nutritious food,bigstock-Heart-of-fruits-and-vegetables-184383741 I’ve read and researched articles upon articles on the right food to eat to sustain good health. Yesterday, as I was finishing up my lunch of fish, brown rice quinoa and mixed salad greens, I started wondering about how our food are digested and processed in our tummy; and how much our stomach can hold as we feed it. I’ve learned that our stomach is the size of our fist that can expand comfortably to hold 1 liter of food. When we swallow our chewed food, it goes to the esophagus and then to the stomach. human-digestive-systemdetailed The stomach does its job with the food we ingested before it goes to the small intestine. I’ve learned that to know when we feel satisfy with the food we ate, it would take 20 minutes from the time we swallowed our food to feel satiation. Health experts suggest not to eat too fast and learn to chew many times to give the food a chance to properly get digested. The reason for this is the stomach does not release the next batch of food we swallowed to the small intestine until it is able to do its own job of breaking down the ball of food and extracting nutrients from it. In the small intestine is where we started feeling full and it gives signals to the brain that our body has enough food and it’s time to stop eating. The stomach is the food storage or the holding tank of what we ate. And if we eat more than 1 liter of food, the stomach will get cramped. Maybe that explains why we get stomach ache from so much food we ingested.

The stomach which is the size of a close hand, expanding it to allow 1 liter of food is not really part of the normal function of the stomach. When we eat dense food such as meat and chicken, it takes the stomach 6 to 8 hours for this protein to be released. And depending on how we chewed this type of protein, they may linger in the stomach longer as the stomach is trying to break it down. Health Experts say meat may stay in our intestines 24 to 72 hours before it’s released. Red meat takes 1 to 3 days to complete the digestion process because of fat content and high protein. It takes 30 to 40 hours to complete the digestion process and elimination from the small intestine to the large intestine (colon).

I can see now why research say we can last without food for 3 days because we still have the food we ate in our system 3 days ago, especially protein food or animal protein. Vegetables and fruits take a back seat in the stomach when eaten with animal protein to allow this slow digested food to be let go to the small intestine. While waiting, the veggies and fruits get fermented in the stomach.

I’ve noticed that if I have 2 glasses of water in the morning, followed by my regular veggie and fruit smoothies, things seem to work well in my stomach and I would have a  food waste elimination after an hour or two if I’m not adding any animal protein to it first thing. Now, it makes sense why the food pyramid showed a plate with majority of fruits and vegetables and small portion of animal products. This type of eating is what our digestive system prefers as it helps with digestion and we do not compromise the health of our organs. Working hard our digestive tracts can take its toll on them on the long term. Which makes us prone to chronic illnesses and diseases in our body.

Bottom line for me, I don’t need extra food in my body that I don’t need especially junk food, loads of sugar and salty foods. Exhausting my stomach is cruelty to it when it’s only a size of a fist. My small intestine is completely satisfied with small portion of food by the time it reaches it. And if I have a small portion of protein such as meat or chicken or pork, which I seldom eat, I have to remember the slow and long digestive process before I can eliminate the waste from it after my small intestine extract the nutrients from it. I always have to remember to love my body because no one can love it as much as I do by not abusing the natural process of its creation.


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Successful weight loss

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I never knew losing weight can be easy even at the age when metabolism gets slower. I’ve been on and off with dieting through the years. Bought books to learn the secrets of losing weight successfully. I’ve tried different programs from Atkins to Weight Watchers, and Paleo in recent months.

I was successful in losing 20 pounds when I was younger after having a baby. My weight hit the roof when I could not get into a size 9 anymore. I clearly remember when I went into a panic mode, and I immediately went into a strict dieting, barely eating and then, supplementing my body with a diet pill daily. I lost the weight in a matter of a few months, but my body was experiencing so much fatigue and I was so hungry all the time. I was always getting a headache. But I still managed to lose the extra weight and I especially like that I reached my weight goal where I can wear my size small outfits again. I eventually incorporated exercising to my diet plan to be able to maintain my ideal weight. I’ve exercised everyday. Bought exercise videos, and got different exercise equipment. That was my workout regimen each and everyday of my life. I also did not go overboard with food. Unbeknownst to me, I was dehydrated all the time. I’d get dizzy most days and I lack good sleep. Since I was not eating properly, which I was aware of, I’ve taken supplements of Vitamins and Minerals, with additional Vitamin C.

My life was so hectic with work and socializing; work hard, play hard was my motto. I was able to maintain my ideal weight for quite sometime; until I was in a phase of my life where fine dining in a good restaurant became a thing with me and my hubby. We worked so hard on weekdays, so why not splurge with food on Fridays and weekends. Especially when work was so stressful, I felt comforted with dining in a restaurant. I am not into fast foods then and even now. Not that I knew already the pitfall effects of eating junk foods in our body system. I was just not attracted to foods that can be cooked so fast in no time. From time to time, maybe when things were rushed that I succumbed to having burgers at the fast food joints.

Though I was  still working out, my weight gain started to creep up slowly. For one thing, I stopped weighing myself in the morning. No matter what other people say about weighing everyday, it worked for me when I stepped on the scale each morning. I was able to lose some pounds here and there because I knew what my weight was. I’d workout harder or I’ve avoided eating three meals a day.

When I finally threw caution to the wind as in not weighing each day, started eating out not only in the weekends but almost everyday, my weight went haywire. This was during the time where eating out in newly opened restaurants was the in thing. Everyone at work who can afford to eat out and trying different authentic foods, enjoying sushi, all you can eat seafood places like Todai and the likes were rubbing off on us. And I must admit, my hubby and I had a great time and memories with the abundance of restaurants catering to our taste buds.

The catalyst that broke the camel’s back was when my hubby and I relocated to another state; sold our house and just enjoyed being non working citizens. Food was our best friend. No cares in the world is not a good thing most of the time; especially if it concerns your health. Over indulgence with fine dining has its price– our health. Slowly but surely, I’ve lost my energy. I did not feel so good. I bought a treadmill but if I did not use it all the time, it’s no help to me. When I checked my scale one day, the weight report was not a welcoming change. I’ve got to do something about it.

I’ve started searching online about healthy lifestyle. I’ve learned so much about plant based food. That vegetables and fruits can do wonders to your body, especially when you eat them raw. Slowly, I’ve changed what we have in our kitchen, refrigerator and pantry.

I’ve Facebook liked almost all of the health gurus and functional doctors and I’ve learned so much from them. When we’ve changed our eating habits to healthy eats of vegetables, fruits, whole grain bread and seeds, grass fed beef, organic chicken, and wild caught fish to nuts and all organic, I feel like I have so much energy. I can tell that plant based food is doing me so much good and I was so happy that feeling sluggish will be a thing of the past.countnutrients

Knowing that we have embarked into counting on nutritious and healthy food to make us feel good, I rest easy that this eating lifestyle is what we are looking for. Not eating out as much is for the best as we became GMO aware and organic food educated. I’ve learned to cook healthy food which gives me the driver seat in regards to salt and sugar intake. But all food has calories whether good or bad. Although the calories on fruits and vegetables are lower than meat, poultry, wild caught fish, grains, seeds and nuts and other food on the health chart, if you eat a lot of them, you will gain weight or just maintain your current weight. And we still need to lose weight.

So what’s the next best thing we discovered? Counting calories! With the help of an app that we found online, counting calories have made my husband and I lose weight. We bought a food scale so we can get right measurements in regards to grams, ounces, and so on. Weighing ourselves everyday again on our weight scale is the facts of life.  Seeing the weight goes down is the reward of calorie counting. It works for us!  My hubby has lost 27 pounds since May 2015; and I’ve lost 8 pounds so far since June 8th last month. I’m only aiming to lose 10 pounds for now. I am now down to 114 pounds. I’m hoping to get back to 105. Eventually, down to 100 as my ideal weight.

We finally found the right way to lose weight successfully, feel full and be nutritiously healthy. I’ve got into the habit of drinking 8 glasses of water daily; and I’ve been sleeping 7 to 8 hours each night. The rise in energy is amazing, as we continue to eat organic veggies, fruits, brown rice, quinoa, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds that we mixed in our veggie and fruit nutrablast each morning; and some grass fed meat, organic poultry and wild caught fish and shrimps, in moderation that is, we are on the right track of combating the weight gain we dreaded all these years. There’s hope to losing weight— for us it’s counting calories!

A scale with an apple and one with chocolate.