Monthly Archives: February 2017

Epilepsy and Nutritional Guidelines

Epilepsy is a fairly common condition that can cause repeated or prolonged seizures. These seizures can cause a number of different sensations, depending on the type of seizure that is involved and the severity of the epilepsy. It is important to note that not everyone who has a seizure has epilepsy and that not all seizures will be repeated. Because of some negativity surrounding the term epilepsy, some doctors now prefer to use the more neutral term seizure disorder.

There are two main categories of seizures: partial or generalized. In a partial seizure, there is a focus and only a small part of the brain is affected, while in a general seizure, more of the brain is involved. A simple partial seizure may cause a change in consciousness but not a loss of consciousness. Complex partial seizures typically involve unconsciousness.

The most serious and severe type of seizure is the grand mal seizure, a generalized seizure that involves the motor systems in the brain and involves convulsions. The grand mal seizure is marked by a tonic phase (forceful contractions of the muscles) and a clonic phase (slow, jerking movements). In addition, there are less severe types of seizures, including the petit mal seizure, which is also called the absence seizure and may be dismissed simply as daydreaming unless the actual diagnosis is made.

Epilepsy may be related to another problem, including a head injury, a brain tumor, a brain infection or a stroke. However, less than half of the people who have been diagnosed with epilepsy or seizure disorder even know why they have it at all. It is important that the disorder be recognized and diagnosed so that treatment can be started – without proper care, the seizures will become progressively more frequent and may become more severe. The doctor will typically rule out other disorders and diseases before diagnosing epilepsy because in its mild or early stages it can mimic other disorders.

The Symptoms of Epilepsy:

– You may notice strange smells or sounds. You may also have double vision.

– You may lose control of your muscles

– You may fall, twitch or jerk.

– You may stare-off into space and be unaware of it.

– You may faint.

In most cases, epilepsy is treated with medication that is meant to reduce or control the seizures. Some of the medications can cause other side effects, so the doctor must experiment with different types and different dosages so that the right control with the fewest side effects can be found. There are other treatment options for seizure disorders, including a special diet, surgery which is meant to remove the damaged tissue in the brain and the implantation of a device which is called a vagus nerve stimulator. This sends signals in the neck to help control the seizures.

The Special Diet

The diet suggested by doctors is called the ketogenic diet, which is high in fat and low in carbohydrates. In a ketogenic diet, the body does not burn carbohydrates for energy like it normally would, but burns fats instead. When the body burns these fats, it produces a carbon substance that is called ketones. In a seizure disorder, the ketones are thought to help suppress seizure activity. (Around 30% of the children who were put on the ketogenic diet have complete seizure control, while another 40% have enough control to continue with the diet).

The ketogenic diet is typically prescribed for a period of around two years and then carbs and other nutrients are gradually added back in. During the time spent on the diet, vitamins and minerals will have to be supplemented because the diet is deficient in a number of these nutrients, especially calcium and vitamin C. The diet has been criticized by a number of health groups because of the high fat content, however, there have not been any problems noted with heart disease or growth retardation for the children. Because childhood obesity is a major concern and there are so many children who have diabetes and other weight-related conditions, the possible benefits of the ketogenic diet must be weighed against its risks.

Other Dietary Considerations

Children and adults who have seizure disorders must try to avoid the artificial sugar called aspartame if it increases seizure activity. Aspartame does cause seizures in people with a metabolic disorder called phenylketonuria. This disorder does not allow the amino acid phenylalanine to be digested and used properly. (Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid which must be supplied by food and supplement sources. It is converted in the body to the non-essential amino acid tyrosine).

People with seizure disorders may also have some food sensitivities and food allergies that they should be aware of. In some cases, these foods may even trigger the seizure activity in the first place. Common foods that can trigger these reactions include dairy foods, including cheese, citrus fruits, wheat and food additives like tartrazine and benzoic acid. The level of food sensitivities can vary from person to person and the person can be eating these foods every day without knowing that they are sensitive to them. It is important to find out if there are food allergies that can trigger or have triggered seizure activity.

Protein supplements may be suggested in the ketogenic diet, however, supplements should only be started at the advice of a doctor. It is important to find the right supplement, especially if there are food sensitivities or other issues as well. Whey protein, for instance, may be difficult to digest if there is any problem with lactose intolerance. Soy or rice protein may be better suggestions in this case; rice protein is considered to be hypoallergenic and may be the best solution. Egg protein may be acceptable as a supplement as well. Protein bars may be suggested, however, the ingredients should be read carefully so that they do not contain any of those that might be considered to be problematic for the person with seizure disorders.

Doctors also suggest supplementing vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that fights the damages of free radicals that may increase seizure activity by interfering with normal brain cell activity. Selenium is a mineral that is also beneficial in controlling seizures. Good food sources of selenium include mushrooms, broccoli, cabbage, fish, garlic, onions and whole grains. If lactose is not a problem, whey protein helps by supplying the enzyme glutathione, which is an antioxidant that is important for the immune system. Folic acid should be included because some of the medications that are used to treat seizures may deplete many of the B complex vitamins. Folic acid is the supplemental form of the naturally occurring folate.

10 Top Notch Ideas For CNA Inservices

As a nursing supervisor, you are all too familiar with the basic (and often mandatory) inservice information presented to nursing assistants. At health care organizations across the U.S., CNAs sit through lessons on standard precautions, abuse and neglect, confidentiality and fire safety. Other common topics include nutrition, pain management and a variety of disease processes. Without question, these are all necessary inservices for nursing assistants.

However, to develop a team of top-notch CNAs, it’s important to go beyond what is necessary or mandated. Coming up with pertinent topics can be a challenge when you’re trying to fit inservice education into your already packed schedule. Here are some ideas for inservices that will get your nursing assistants thinking outside the box-and have a real impact on the quality of their client care.

1. Teach about Being Assertive

Top-notch CNAs are assertive people. They understand the difference between communicating passively, aggressively and assertively. They use their assertiveness skills to deal with difficult people and challenging situations. And, because they respect the rights of others without ignoring their own rights, they are excellent team players. Consider presenting an inservice that includes a “personal assertiveness assessment” so that your nurse aides can gauge their current communication style.

2. Examine Conflict in the Workplace

Try teaching your CNAs how to deal with on-the-job conflict. Provide them with practical tips for resolving conflict. Be sure to cover the dangers of gossip and bullying in the workplace and how they can handle conflicts with supervisors and clients. Armed with this information, your CNAs will focus less on “workplace politics” and more on the needs of their clients.

3. Discuss Maintaining a Professional Distance

One of the toughest things for anyone in nursing is to provide TLC to clients without overstepping professional boundaries. A top-notch CNA knows the difference between personal and professional relationships and can recognize the warning signs that professional distance has been lost. Giving an inservice on this issue will help your nursing assistants be caring without veering from the plan of care.

4. Promote the CNA/Nurse Relationship

In the same way that the relationship between nurses and physicians continues to evolve, so does the relationship between nurses and nursing assistants. Outstanding CNAs understand the importance of delegation, assertive communication and mutual respect. They know how to give a great report, how to make the most of their performance review and how to work together with nurses as a team. Consider presenting this information to your CNAs and your nurses for a real boost to nursing teamwork.

5. Practice Time Management Skills

Why are some CNAs better than others at completing their work on time? Nursing assistants who strive for excellence have learned how to avoid time wasters like procrastination, a lack of focus and a negative attitude. Help your CNAs become time savers by teaching them about setting goals and priorities and providing them with practical tips that help them work efficiently-whether they work in a facility or in clients’ homes.

6. Review the Normal Aging Process

During their short initial training time, nursing assistants learn a few basics about the human body. However, in order to enhance their observational skills, it’s good to give them more details about how humans age. Try presenting the information by body system. Talk about the lifestyle choices that slow aging and those that speed it up-and remind your CNAs how they can help their elderly clients enjoy a good quality of life.

7. Discuss End of Life Care

To be outstanding, CNAs should be able to handle the full spectrum of life, including the dying process. Give your aides information on the end of life, such as how to recognize symptoms that signal death is near, how to provide comfort for dying clients and their families and how to care for the body once death has occurred. Consider including information on death and cultural diversity and the stages of grief.

8. Brush Up on Mouth Care

Top-notch CNAs understand the importance and benefits of good oral hygiene and how it can affect not just the quality of their clients’ lives, but also their overall health. How about presenting an inservice that goes beyond the mouth care protocol for your workplace? Give plenty of tips for performing oral hygiene, dealing with dentures, and observing for oral and dental problems.

9. Delve into Basic Human Needs

To enhance your nursing assistants’ sense of empathy, give them an overview of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. During the inservice, review the five levels of basic human needs, how the levels relate to each other and how illness affects a person’s place in the Hierarchy. With a greater understanding of what makes people “tick”, your aides will excel at providing holistic, client-centered care.

10. Talk about Cost-Efficient Care

While cost-efficiency is always important in health care, it’s especially vital in today’s economy. Plan an inservice that provides practical tips for how nursing assistants can save money throughout their daily client care. Be sure to cover how to minimize waste and how time management, healthcare associated infections and medical errors affect the bottom line. Top-notch CNAs know that saving money today means better working conditions tomorrow!

Try incorporating a few of these topics into your current inservice schedule and see what happens. When inservice education goes above and beyond the norm, it spurs critical thinking, enhances the quality of client care, and encourages professionalism on the part of your aides.

Effects of Food Quality in Performance

Each time we sit down to eat, we make decisions that either support the digestive and immune system or don’t. We can either contribute to inflammation or have the opposite effect.

While these all sound like nutrition mumbo jumbo, these elements have a huge impact on your performance outside. Imagine trying to go on an intense day-long hike with gas pains and cramping. Or have a cold/cough on a ride at 10,000 ft.

Your performance is determined by the little choices you make every day, long before you hop in the car to head out on your adventure.

The Goals of Food Quality in Performance:

  1. Consistency – to perform consistently strong without cold or flu symptoms getting in the way.
  2. Feel Good – have a clear head, no digestive upsets, and strong muscles.
  3. Recovery Quickly – be able to get outside doing more of what you love more often.

What to Focus on:

  1. Supporting your digestive system (feel good and perform strong)
  2. Supporting your immune system (70% of your immune system is in your digestive tract!)
  3. Reducing inflammation (this will help you recover more quickly)

Quality Guidelines:

  1. Remove all foods you may be allergic or sensitive to – these can irritate your digestive system in the short term and weaken your immune system and cause inflammation in the long term.
  2. Get into homemade bone broth – broth made from bones contain gelatin and collagen, which helps build a strong gut lining and reduces digestive inflammation, as well as helps to repair muscle tissue.
  3. Eat fermented foods – fermented foods contain probiotics, which are good bacteria that help you digest your food better and out-compete any bad bacteria that may be trying to sneak in there.
  4. Avoid sugar – sugar can suppress your immune system cells that attack bacteria and viruses. Lay off the desserts, soda, etc.
  5. Focus on whole grains and legumes – refined carbohydrates break down quickly and act like sugar in your body.
  6. Limit dairy and alcohol – For the same reason as the point above. I know saying to give these up entirely may not be realistic, but I definitely want to encourage you to limit them. As talked about with refined carbs, foods that behave like sugar in your body are not always sweet.
  7. Eat high quality – you may have heard words like “toxic load” before with no explanation. Basically, eating a lot of pesticides can increase the toxic load in your body and contribute to inflammation (which means slow recovery post exercise) and a weakened immune system. So try to buy as many pesticide-free produce as you can. Also, the omega-3 content in grass-fed or pasture raised animal proteins are much higher than conventional. This also may be a buzz word you’ve heard before. Omega-3’s are anti-inflammatory so important for the same reasons as above.
  8. Stay consistent – following these guidelines for a day or two leading up to a big trip is not going to produce the results you desire so integrate these steps into your lifestyle. Your habits at home will speak volumes to your results outside.

Vitamin E – The Vitamin You Can Absorb Through Your Skin

Ever wondered why vitamin E is so often available as a vitamin E cream? And why this is such a valuable nutrient for the health of your cells? Read on and I will explain.

Because vitamin E is so widely available in food its unusual to encounter someone with a frank deficiency, although this vitamin is often used therapeutically by naturopaths as a supplement (usually alongside other nutrients).

This is one of the rare vitamins that you can absorb through your skin and mucous membranes, hence its popularity as an ointment. Once in your body, one of the main tasks of vitamin E is to help preserve the health of your cell membranes by acting as an antioxidant.

Your cell membranes are actually made up of fat molecules joined together by minuscule magnetic attraction, rather like oil floats on the top of water. These membranes are vulnerable to attack by free radicals, (molecules missing an electron who can damage cell membranes). A good supply of Vitamin E in your body can prevent these free radicals from causing damage to your cell membranes.

Vitamin E has a reputation as a free radical scavenger and oxidation-preventer in other parts of your body too. Within the gastrointestinal tract, it prevents vitamin A from being oxidised before absorption. High quality fish oil (omega 3) supplements routinely contain vitamin E, to prevent oil in the capsules from going rancid.

Although vitamin E supplements are sometimes used to promote cardiovascular health, or as an antioxidant, it is very popular as an ointment. It can slow premature aging of skin, and help heal damaged skin tissue and scars.

The best way to obtain your vitamin E is from food. There are several different varieties of vitamin E (tocopherols). Obtained from food, vitamin E will contain all the tocopherols, plus added nutrients. Vitamin E capsules may contain only one tocopherol of the vitamin (usually the alpha version), and may be synthetic. Yet another reason to focus on improving your nutrition with high quality food rather than taking supplements.

The best food sources of vitamin E are cold pressed oils, eggs, sunflower seeds, offal, molasses, peanuts, soy beans and lima beans.

If you are taking a vitamin E supplement, check the label: Natural vitamin E’s technical names are preceded with d- (e.g d-alpha-tocopherol). Synthetic vitamin E will be labelled as dl- (e.g dl-alpha-tocopherol). Although cheaper to produce, synthetic vitamin E is not absorbed as easily as its natural cousin.

Now you know why vitamin E is so valuable, including for your skin, consider buying a tub of vitamin E-enriched body lotion next time you’re shopping.

Why Are Salmon So Special?

The crystalline waters of Alaska host one of the world’s most valuable resources: healthy, natural, nutritional fish. Alaska has recognized the importance of their marine life, and has taken firm measures to ensure that the waters around their 34,000 miles of coastline remain pure, and that the fish living in those waters are harvested in a way that is sustainable and eco-friendly.

That’s a lot to brag about when Alaska salmon are in such high demand. Alaska’s response to this demand has been measured and responsible, ensuring that the world can continue to enjoy wild salmon for generations to come. What is that makes these fish so special, and the focus of so many great grilled salmon recipes?

For one thing, salmon is a rich source of protein and Omega-3 fatty acids, while being low on the harmful saturated fats and Omega-6 oils found in other animals. Alaska salmon live a rigorous natural life, and this vitality ensures lean fish with high quality texture and taste. The clean water and healthy organisms keep the salmon free of toxins and impurities in their environment and diet.

Look up grilled salmon recipes, and you will consistently find sources from health-food and low-calorie sites and cookbooks, proudly displaying the nutritional facts of each recipe. These sites will tell you not just how to cook salmon steaks, but will also likely boast about the variety of essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients packed into a savory salmon feast.

Salmon can be cooked fresh, thawed, or frozen, and this means that it can be enjoyed year-round, even long after the fishing season has ended for a given year. Grilling salmon is a summer-time activity as American as flipping burgers or baking apple pie, and is a whole lot healthier to boot. The versatility of salmon is another thing that makes it so special. It works in any cuisine, from Asian to French, and can be served as a main entrée, or worked into appetizers, salads, and soups. Just crack a cookbook; you’ll be amazed at the number of grilled salmon recipes.

You don’t need anyone to tell you that salmon makes a delicious meal, but if you have been wondering what makes this fish so special, remember that Alaska salmon is also a highly nutritional food, and represents a sustainable practice that you can be proud to participate in.

The Diet Of Costa Ricans And How It Keeps Them Healthy

Located between Panama and Nicaragua in Central America, Costa Rica boasts a proud culinary heritage. Many scorn Costa Rica food selections for being high in saturated fats, but in actuality Costa Ricans are far more active than other cultures.

Costa Rican’s, locally called Ticos, never eat excessively. Limiting their portions is one way they stay so healthy. Also, lunch is the most important meal of their day. In fact, like many Latin nations, businesses and schools close down for a couple of hours at lunch so that employees and students can go home and have a leisurely meal with their family. This allows both a strong focus on family life, but also on slowing down a meal. In America, a typical school lunch lasts a mere twenty minutes at most and work breaks are usually an hour tops, so many must eat at their desk or machine. A Costa Rican’s lifestyle is completely different.

Costa Rica food often revolves around rice and beans, such as Gallo Pinto, a dish that translates to “Spotted Rooster”. Gallo Pinto is a dish that includes black beans at a three to two ratio to rice. Also added are onions, garlic, and salt. Meats are eaten sparingly, while beans provide a high content of fiber. Fiber can help counteract the saturated fats. Costa Rica food choices rarely include dairy or cheese.

As Costa Rica has water on both sides with the Pacific to the west and the Caribbean to the east, fresh seafood is always available. Unfortunately, the seafood is also extremely expensive as the country exports the bulk of its seafood. Chicken, pork, and beef are the more popular meats. Costa Rica food supplies use organ meat as well; so expect to find dishes involving stomach, brains, and other organs on the menu. Other staples of Costa Rica food choices include fresh vegetables such as tomatoes and a variety of beans, fruits, including plantains, and rice.

Costa Rica’s capital city, San Jose, is packed with outstanding restaurants and cafes. In San Jose, one can experience bold foods and beverages. Staple beverages such as sugarcane soaked in hot water are second only to the nation’s delicious Costa Rican coffee. Drinks mixing corn meal and milk are also common. Plantains are similar to bananas in appearance, but they cannot be eaten raw. Plantains are pounded flat, battered, and fried tender.

As one travels to other regions, the choices for Costa Rica food also decrease and become more traditional with the beans and rice dishes. Beans and rice dishes are usually served alongside a carrot and cabbage or lettuce and tomato salad. Sometimes Arroz, (fried shrimp or chicken), are found on the table instead of beans and rice. The salads are typically larger than the portion of beans and rice and that helps the Ticos to stay fit.

It is possibly to choose healthy selections of Costa Rica food. Stick to plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and enjoy the delightful blend of culinary flavors.

Volleyball and Basketball – Agility, Quickness, and Vertical Jump

Volleyball and Basketball, two sports so different, and yet so much alike. Both need to focus on a balanced training program, that targets specific groups of muscles. The training needs to ensure that your agility, quickness, and vertical jumping ability are brought to your maximum. You need to begin with your attitude and mental strength towards your regular workouts.

Your attitude and your mental strength will be tested. If being on the top level of competing is where you want to be, then you have to work for it. If your attitude and your mental strength are not focused, you’ll never become all you can be. Your attitude helps you to focus, and your mental strength makes you focus. Only when both are in place, will you excel to your full potential.

Maybe the most important part of any training program is nutrition. What lots of athletes don’t realize is that training isn’t what builds your muscles, the correct nutritional program does. When your nutrition is properly regulated, every part of the body is tuned and injuries are kept down. Short cuts cannot be taken when it comes to nutrition.

A personal trainer that knows what works and what doesn’t is a plus. But not everyone agrees, thinking that doing a few exercises 4 or 5 times a week is all that’s needed. The unfortunate thing is that you can workout on your own and really feel the burn, but you may not be training the proper muscle and fiber groups for your particular needs.

Many promising athletes simply give up pursuing their dreams because of little or no improvement. What many times is the case is that they haven’t been training properly, and its got nothing to do with their ability. There’s more to training than just training, you have to know how to train correctly. And its your responsibility to understand how to train right, and if the program your following is the right one. If it feels wrong, then its wrong!

Unbalanced Force Factor Fitness Training Method For Men – Burn Fat, Gain Muscle

How To Attain Fitness Euphoria

The 5 Steps

Have you ever wondered why some people LOVE to exercise while others have no motivation to even get started? Have you ever wondered HOW they got that love and how you never found it? Let’s start by getting rid of one of the myths of the “workout” world. I read over and over again, “If they made a pill to get us healthy and lose excess weight, then we’d all be happy.” Not so. Think about that statement. Sure, you might get healthy and be able to lose weight. But that “euphoric” feeling of achievement and accomplishment released by the body’s own endorphins… Can only come from your own fitness efforts. THAT’S what it is all about. So…you want to know how to attain your very own state of personal euphoria? There are FIVE things in life that can help you to lose fat, change your body, better your health…AND improve the world and those around you.

STEP ONE

Find the belief in yourself.

Develop “self efficacy”. That is, the belief in your own self promises. The knowledge that once you make a commitment, you will follow it through to completion. Many times when we ask ourselves a question–especially when it comes to our health and wellness, we REALLY do already know the answer! It’s the belief in YOU that determines whether or not we accept the right answer. Think about all that you have learned from where you have been and what you have experienced. Embrace all the RIGHT lessons previously logged into your memory bank…ready and available for immediate recall. Believe in where you are going and how you intend get there. You KNOW the answers. No one can learn or teach you better than yourself. Are you ready to receive your own best advice? The Unbalanced Force Factor Training System was developed and based with this principle in mind. The principle of… SELF-EFFICACY.

STEP TWO

Baby Steps

Bite-sized chunks. Manageable increments. Measurable milestones. Achievable Workload. “Do” able tasks. Realistic expectations. In order to achieve anything in this life, we must first define our short-term goals. We must be able to determine the difference in short, medium, and long-term expectations when setting realistic goals. Life is an ultra marathon. But the first thing we must achieve…is taking that very first step. In order to get to that first step, there must be a mind-altering decision. The decision that you are ready to do what it takes. Plan your daily meals. Make efficient use of your daily plan. Prioritize the things that consume your time. List them according to what tasks will make the biggest impact at the end of the day. And the most important thing to plan on for the day… Make time for YOU. Now, I don’t mean treat yourself to excess indulgences. I mean give yourself permission to take the time for your personal health. Take this all-important matter into your own hands. Develop the discernment to know the difference in high priority things. Your workout should be at the top of this list! The Unbalanced Force Factor training system will enable you to reach personal fitness euphoria once you make it your priority!

STEP THREE

Understand Nutrition

It’s true that nutrition is a science. But that doesn’t mean rocket science. If it’s as simple as just following the guidelines as outlined in The Unbalanced Force Factor, or if you actually follow the advice of a registered dietician or medical physician… We have to fuel the body correctly. Use these very simple guidelines: Think about your health. Avoid dwelling on tastes or “enjoyment”. You can refine your taste palate to enjoy the right foods once you learn and accept the difference that they can make for your health. Think about your looks. Avoid getting caught up in the gluttony of buffets, fast foods, convenience and refined sugar products. Learn to enjoy… Lean meats Fresh fruits Fresh vegetables Whole grains Many wonderful nutritive spices If you want to make a change and you can only have one choice… Change the way you eat. The Unbalanced Force Factor can then work to take you to that euphoric level once you have the foundation of proper nutrition.

STEP FOUR

Focus and Visualization

Mental preparation is prerequisite to making changes. Once you can SEE the future, you can achieve it. See the trees BEFORE you see the forest. We must get the proper sleep. We must be able to rest when needed. We must be able to relax. Think about how you feel after a peaceful vacation from the normal pace and everyday responsibilities. Implement these practices on a daily basis. You simply do them in a shorter time frame. Take mini vacations with mental breaks to visualize what you desire. See it coming to you. When you are rested, and your health starts to improve it is very attractive to the people around you. In fact, it’s MAGNETIC. And if those around you feel good, you feed yourself with all your own positive energy generated. See your health. See your future. Get the proper rest, relaxation, and sleep you require. THEN… Have fun training with the Unbalanced Force Factor.

STEP FIVE

Act On Your Plan

It has been said that: “If you fail to plan… You plan to fail.” Push yourself to achieve goals and stick to plans. Break out of your old patterns. Teach yourself to accomplish the plan. Read something successful everyday. Listen to positive things daily. Avoid fear of new schooling, new ideas and concepts. Learn as much as you can in every situation. Lay the groundwork Work the plan.

Implement and attain all 5 steps to Fitness Euphoria. Embrace The Unbalanced Force Factor training and lifestyle method.

9 Switches for Better Nutrition

1. Dairy Milk for Nut Milk

There are so many alternatives to dairy milk today, that these alternatives are as available and accessible as the dairy options. If you switch from whole milk to, for example, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, you will get double the calcium and, depending on the brand, less than one quarter of the calories. Also, if you have an undiagnosed or undiscovered intolerance to dairy, this will offer you relief from that and make you feel fantastic.

2. Milk Chocolate for Dark

Swapping milk chocolate for dark, may be harder for some than others, but it will make a big difference if you are a regular chocolate eater like myself. Not only does dark chocolate have less sugar, more antioxidants and is less processed, but it is also richer in flavor and can satisfy your chocolate cravings faster.

3. Sugar for Xylitol

Xylitol is a naturally occurring sweetener. It is not artificial and can be processed by your body. Many low or no calorie sweeteners are chemically formulated and cannot be processed by your body. These sweeteners can actually be worse for you than sugar itself. However, Xylitol is a natural and delicious sweetener that can be used as a direct substitute for sugar, it has less calories and is sweeter so you use less.

4. Sugary Soda for Herbal Tea or Infused Water

This is probably one of the most obvious and most talked about switch. However, it is one of the most difficult for people because they are conditioned to the convenience of pre-prepared sugary drinks. Yes, making herbal tea or infused water does take extra time and effort, however, you can make it ahead in large batches and keep it in your fridge so it is readily available. There are also several, delicious combinations that you can make and experiment with to keep things interesting.

5. White Rice for Black Rice

White rice is a simple carb that lacks nutrients. However, black rice is full of antioxidants and goodness to nourish your body. The color of black rice is also amazing and it has an awesome, natural nutty flavor.

6. Pasta for Vegetable Pasta

Weather it spaghetti, spirals or couscous, there is a vegetable substitute for it. The best substitute for spaghetti is zucchini or shitake noodles. For couscous, try finely chopping cauliflower. Other alternatives to pasta products can include black bean spaghetti, chick peas, quinoa, carrot and beetroot. These alternatives have more nutrients, less carbs and are less processed than the pasta you get out of a packet.

7. Flavored Yoghurt for Plain

Flavored yoghurt contains a lot of sugar and is highly processed. There are several plain yoghurts that have no added sweeteners and that are minimally processed. An easy way to get flavored yoghurt without all the nasties is to get the plain stuff and add a natural sweetener and/or whatever fruit you like to it. Not only will this make the flavors more delicious, it will also add freshness and texture.

8. Energy Drinks for Tea or Coffee

Energy drinks are loaded with caffeine and sugar. Many also contain other artificial flavors, colors, preservatives and sweeteners. Energy drinks are one of the worst drinks available on the market and have several, proven, health consequences. If you need a pick-me-up, it is just as effective to have a cup of coffee or tea that has caffeine in it to keep you going. You could also opt for some fresh fruit or iced water to help you re-focus.

9. Packaged Condiments for Home-Made Versions

Packaged condiments often have many added, unnecessary ingredients and are highly refined. With thousands of recipes readily available online, it is now easier than ever to create your own condiments with less additives and more goodness. By making your own condiments, you should be able to get more flavor, more variety, less additives, less calories and know exactly what is in your food.

History and Health Effects of the Grapefruit Diet to Help Celebrities Lose Weight

With the recent trends in obesity and expanding body sizes, nutrition and weight loss have become popular topics in everyday conversations. The ever-expanding diet industry has spawned numerous products and off-the-wall nutrition tips to cash-in on our increasing obsession. Many of these “fad diets” make pseudo-scientific claims that appeal to people eager to drop a few pounds. The focus around one particular food group or a secret health food gives many of these diets the mystique to become popular. In recent history, one of the more popular of these fad diets has focused on consuming just grapefruit.

The grapefruit diet, also known as the Hollywood diet, originated in the United States in the 1930s. The diet centralizes on the claim that grapefruit has extraordinary weight-loss properties, such as a fat-burning enzyme. The grapefruit diet is considered unhealthy by most nutritionists due to the absence of essential vitamins and minerals and the low number of calories (less than 1,200 calories per day). On the other hand, incorporating a grapefruit with every meal can prove beneficial to the diet of a healthy person, provided that the dieter is not allergic to grapefruit or is taking medications that interact with citric fruit.

The grapefruit diet is a low-carb diet that generally occurs in a two-week cycle (12 days on the diet with 2 days off) that is repeated until the desired body weight is obtained. Advocates of the diet suggest that grapefruit helps burn body fat when eaten with foods high in dietary fat. Accordingly, the diet includes the consumption of meat, eggs, and fish, while restricting the consumption of sugars, sweet fruits, grains, and other carbohydrate sources. For best results, the diet requires three meals that are rich in fat and protein, complemented by one grapefruit, and with daily caloric intake below 1,200 calories.

The diet gained popularity in the 1970s after being mislabeled “the Mayo Clinic Diet.” Although the Clinic had no connection with the diet, the name-branding helped to bring the diet into popularity. In the 1980s, the diet was shortened to just 10 days with 2 break days, earning the nickname the “10-day, 10-pounds-off diet.” A 2004 study by the Florida Citrus department analyzed if grapefruit could aid in weight loss. Participants were encouraged to eat half a grapefruit with each meal and exercise regularly. The results were encouraging: a number of participants lost more than 10 pounds over 12 weeks. Note that the study focused on the addition of grapefruit to a healthy diet, not adopting a normal grapefruit diet. Nevertheless, a number of people claim short-term success with the diet, but long-term weight-loss maintenance still requires adoption of a healthy lifestyle.