Simply Protein Blog
The holidays are upon us, and that means lots of holiday parties and get-togethers will be filling our calendars in the weeks to come. There will be plenty of opportunities to connect with family and friends, while indulging in yummy foods and tasty drinks galore. But wait! That means a lots of extra sugar too!
While it’s natural to want to treat yourself around this time of year, it’s important to be aware of how much sugar you are actually consuming. A sudden increase in sugar intake can send glucose levels off the charts, and the damage done over the holidays can take weeks (or months) to repair once the parties are over.
It may seem like a slice of fruit cake, or a date square, is the healthier choice, but don’t be fooled! These sweet treats have extremely high sugar contents, even if the sugars are mostly natural. Dried fruits are a delicious addition to many tasty baked goods, but they are still jam-packed with sugar!
Hot drinks sweetened with honey are also full of sugar. And recipes that call for honey instead of refined sugar don’t let you off the hook. Because the body doesn’t know the difference between honey and refined sugar, it handles them both in the same way. Too much of either one can throw things totally off kilter.
Both dates and honey are high in fructose. Fructose is processed by the liver, and high levels of fructose can put the liver under strain, and can result in an increase in triglycerides in the blood. This may lead to an increased risk of heart disease.
Moderation is key
The idea is not to deny one’s self of all sweets all the time. But it is important not to be misled by the promising sound of “natural sugars”. They are sugars nonetheless, and should be avoided whenever possible. A few exceptions are, of course, allowed here and there. Especially during this party-packed time of year.
Holiday treats should be enjoyed in moderation, as is true of pretty much everything else in life! So go ahead, have a treat – just don’t have 4 or 5 thinking “Hey, it’s natural, what harm can it do?!” Now you know better, and you can make more careful choices about when to indulge and when to pass on the sweet stuff.
Holiday buffet: http://www.maryannhesse.com/avoid-holiday-bloat/
There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Patients with type 1 diabetes struggle with insulin production because their immune systems actually destroy the cells that release insulin. Insulin is the hormone that helps the body control the level of glucose in the blood. A lack of insulin means cells cannot absorb sugar (glucose) and use it properly for energy.
People with type 2 diabetes suffer many of the same problems because their systems are resistant to insulin. Type 1 diabetes is often detected in children and adolescents, while type 2 is more commonly detected in adults. Type 1 is not preventable, whereas type 2 may be delayed (if not prevented) with a healthy lifestyle, a healthy weight and regular exercise.
People with diabetes need to regulate their blood glucose levels constantly. This means checking the levels frequently, and often supplementing the insulin with an injection or an oral dosage. Doctors prescribe various insulin treatments to different patients depending on factors such as: age, lifestyle, activity level and personal life goals.
It is never easy to live with a chronic illness. Major life adjustments must often be made so as to live comfortably despite the chronic condition. It is possible to live a long and rewarding life with diabetes, but there are many factors to consider and great diligence is required in terms of diet, exercise and stress management.
Regulating blood glucose levels requires effort and close attention to how the body is feeling. It is important to eat healthy meals and snacks, to get regular exercise (cardiovascular, muscular and flexibility training) as well as finding ways to reduce stress (through meditation, therapy, relaxation techniques and/or other methods).
A few tips for living with diabetes:
- Hydrate: Low blood sugar levels can trick your brain into thinking you are hungry when you are really thirsty. Be sure to drink enough water during the day, especially between meals, when hunger seems to hit.
- Eat fibre: Fibre is a superfood when it comes to regulating blood sugar. Be sure to get enough of it (squash, spinach, etc…) in your daily diet.
- Exercise: Get moving every day. Even if it’s only a power walk. Movement helps the blood flow and improves your overall health immensely.
- Lotion up: Dry skin is a common side effect of diabetes. Be sure to hydrate the skin often with nourishing creams and lotions.
Managing a chronic condition is all about learning what it means for your body. What does your body need to operate at its best? Luckily, there are many resources out there for healthy living. Finding ways to lead a healthier lifestyle can be both fun and rewarding!
Water - http://themindunleashed.org
Insulin - http://www.marksdailyapple.com
Exercise - http://www.sharecare.com
So, what could be more discouraging than discovering your exercise plan has actually caused you to gain weight? This is the topic of a recent New York Times blog by Gretchen Reynolds. In it, she notes a study that was performed at Arizona State University in Phoenix in which 81 participants followed an exercise regime, while sticking to their usual eating patterns. Many of the participants actually gained weight after the 12-week program was finished.
Of course, losing weight is not an exact science, and there are many factors that contribute to the way our bodies lose and gain weight (metabolism, genetics, lifestyle choices…).
One explanation for the extra weight gain in the study was that participants had, in fact, made certain changes to their eating habits during the 12-week exercise plan.
According to Dr. Glenn Gaesser, the professor of nutrition and health promotion behind the study, if you find you are not losing weight (or have gained weight) after a month of exercising, “(you should) look closely at your diet and other activities”.
Often, when we follow a workout plan, we feel we should be allowed to consume more calories. We treat ourselves for our hard work by indulging in extra snacks. This behaviour is, of course, counterproductive for weight loss.
According to Dr. Gaesser, “fitness matters far more for health than how much you weigh.” Your body reaps the benefits of being active, regardless of what numbers appear on the scale. Unfortunately, many of us have deep-rooted feelings about weight and the ideal number we are striving for. We pay less attention to how we feel, and focus only on the numbers and our desire to see them go down.
The fact is, muscles weigh more than fat. This can be another cause for rising numbers on the scale during the course of an exercise regime. The focus should probably be on how strong your muscles are becoming, how much your cardiovascular system is improving and how clear your mind feels when you exercise. What’s in a number after all, when you can feel good about yourself and the way you are living your life?
Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, and it turns out those numbers mean far less than we thought they did!
Some studies show men seem to be less concerned about their health than women are. Men may be more likely to smoke and/or drink, they may be more willing to put themselves into dangerous or risky situations and they may be less disciplined when it comes to scheduling regular check-ups and screenings with their doctors.
This, of course, is a generalization. There are plenty of men out there who are on top of their medical needs and pay close attention to their health and fitness. Still, we thought we’d take a quick look at some of the health issues that concern men the most. We’d like to offer the guys a few tips on how to eat for optimal health, as well as some suggestions for achieving a healthy work-life balance.
It’s a well-known fact that, with age, our brains change. They not only change in size (unfortunately, they get smaller) but they also change in terms of regular functioning and susceptibility to certain illnesses such as stroke and dementia. Changes in levels of neurotransmitters and levels of hormones generally lead to some form of memory impairment that comes with age.
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Healthy eating habits start with choosing the right types of foods, but portion sizes are also a crucial piece of the puzzle. Eating large quantities of healthy foods defeats the purpose entirely. Many of us have trouble discerning just how much food we need to eat (especially when it comes to snacking!).