Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Emotional vs. Physical Hunger

We all know that angry moment when all you want to do is stuff your face with that bucket of chocolate chip ice cream. Ice cream ranks first on the comfort food list, chocolate and cookies come next for women while pizzas and steaks are second for men. Nevertheless, we all agree that food does more than just fill the stomach; it’s highly influenced by our emotions and feelings.



Photo credit:
NCCU International Association
Emotional hunger can feel identical to physical hunger – unless, of course, you have learned to distinguish each type’s characteristics.


  • Emotional hunger is triggered/ paired with an upsetting emotion – whether you picked a fight with your partner or failed at school. Physical hunger on the other side is triggered out of physical need.
  • Emotional hunger is sudden and urgent - one minute you’re not hungry and the next you crave everything! You would want to eat right away to ease emotional pain with comfort food.
  • Emotional hunger is all in your head and mouth – you crave the sweet taste of chocolate in your mouth or how cheesy that pizza would be rather than just filling the rumbling feeling you have when physically hungry.
  •  Emotional hunger is selective – you crave specific foods, such as sweets, chocolate, pasta or fast foods like pizzas, burgers or fries and you wouldn't feel satisfied unless you consume that particular food. However, while your physical hunger is affected by your preferences, it is actually highly flexible to alternative options and ends when you feel full.
  • Emotional hunger is quick, absent-minded and automatic with you nibbling on a whole bag of biscuits without even noticing or stopping when full! Whereas when you are physically hungry, you would be aware of how you are eating, what you've eaten and if you are still hungry.
  • Last but not least, because emotional hunger involves bingeing on lots of empty calories, unhealthy sugars, salts and fats, it usually ends with a huge sense of guilt while if you are eating to fulfill hunger, you know it’s a necessity to provide your body with the right amount of fuel it needs.

Therefore, next time you’re upset or angry and you feel sudden hunger, stop for a split of a second and assess your hunger –
Am I PHYSICALLY hungry or am I just feeding my EMOTIONS?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Making the Best Out of Pomegranates this Season!


It's pomegranate's season in Lebanon now, and it's by far the best fruit of the season! Pomegranates come in both sweet and sour flavors - sour being my favorite. 

Nutrition Facts

To start with, the crown-like structure on the top of the pomegranate before you crack it open is called calyx, the seeds are called arils and the white, rather bitter, outer layer surrounding the arils is called albedo.

Now that you cracked it open, pick your arils, ditch the albedo and you're in for about a 100-calorie treat, with vitamin C, vitamin K, folates and a tiny bit of vitamin A, potassium, copper, manganese and iron!

Health Benefits

  • Because of its high content of antioxidants such as phenolic acids, anthocyanins, punicalgins and ellagitannins, its juice has been associated with a decreased risk of prostate cancer tumor growth as well as metastasis in breast cancer.
  • Studies have been also analyzing pomegranate's hypoglycemic effect, such that it may benefit diabetes type 2 and metabolic syndrome by increasing insulin sensitivity and affecting glucose transporters.
  • Pomegranate juice can aid in decreasing LDL's oxidation which further helps in decreasing plaque formation and atherosclerosis overall and aid in better blood pumping to the heart.
  • Pomegranates may also help in decreasing blood pressure.
  • It's also associated with a decreased risk of total body inflammation.
  • Pomegranates possess antibacterial and antiviral characteristics.

Pomegranate sprinkled on Baba Ghannouj 

Quick Eating Tips

  • Arils can be eaten as such, yummier with your hands - but beware, they sure stain everything around!
  • Added to any salad type, fattouch and tabboule.
  • Best part, sprinkled on hummus and baba ghanouj!
  • They can be added to yogurt or labne, and fresh mint.
  • Mixed with boiled whole rice/oatmeal/whole wheat grains, blossom water and raw nuts (almonds, walnuts and pine nuts being my favorites)
  • Added to melted chocolate buttons, nuts fit in there too.
  • Mixed with cakes, cookies, granola bars, pies, mhallabiye, apple or banana crumbles, brownies, ice cream and cheesecake toppings.
  • Can be squeezed into a juice by blending arils or hand pressing them and then straining the juice.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

3 Food & Health Events I'm Attending this Month

There are 3 events I will definitely be attending this upcoming month - all about food, nutrition, health and cooking!

To start with, the In Shape Fair is in just couple of days. You can find diet companies, healthy programs and fit outings that have to do with nutrition, health and exercise! The best part in this fair, for me of course, is Radical's 3 hours of exercise that will take place on Saturday form 2 till 5.30 pm! Sure the live cooking is yum in this fair, but during this event, you actually exercise with Radical's team, with your friends and with everyone there! This takes place every year and is super fun! Just make sure to go dressed very sporty from head to toe, you'll burn off tons of calories on their excellent beats!


** You can check more about this fair on their website, its program and In Shape's facebook page as well!


The 2nd event I'm looking forward too is Pasta Making!!
Well we usually get our pasta dried and packed, straight from the supermarket so this will be the excellent opportunity to actually make this delicious meal from scratch!
I think Souk El Tayeb and Mira aim to celebrate World Pasta Day that happens to take place on the 25th of October, so it's a great idea to barge in, make me some pasta and have it too!


** You can check more about Souk El Tayeb and their delicious events on their facebook page and their website.


The 3rd yum event this month is the Beirut Cooking Festival! Here you'll get to know more about fine dining, exquisite cooking and super talented chefs in Lebanon! Needless to say, this festival gathers celebrity chefs who give you workshops on delicious recipes and show you how the pro's do them! They also offer wine and olive tasting sessions. The fun part are the cooking competitions they hold and the best one is the beautiful cookbooks corner they have!


** You can check more about this yum festival on their facebook page, their brochure and their website!


Food and Nutrition Blogs in Lebanon

We made it to the top 101 blog list in Lebanon based on 2famous.tv Blog!
Now the best part out of all this is the enormously beautiful list of Lebanese Blogs these peeps have gathered in one place - even describing every single blog and the topics it tackles.

Nevertheless, we at Paty M's Nutrition World know many Food, Cooking, Nutrition and Health Blogs that haven't been mentioned there and that are even better than this blog, humbly! So we decided to make our own tiny list of interesting, delicious, healthy [sometimes not - but still yummy] blogs that love food in any way whatsoever!


Nutrition and Health Blogs


Strawberry Blu

Health n' Horizons
Point a la ligne
Nourish Body and Mind
Eat Like Mira
Eat Light Tonight
Tea Calls
Ghi Nutrileaks
Eat like a Dietitian
New Trends in Nutrition
Pearl's Powder
Dietitian Sara


Delicious Cuisine Blogs


Dirty Kitchen Secrets
The Food Blog
Taste of Beirut
Anissa Helou
Phatima's Box
Cook in 5 square meters
No Garlic No Onions
Confetti Blues
Rose Water and Orange Blossoms
Leelouz World
Deezert 
Permanent Hunger
Maya' s Ingredients
Chicho's Kitchen
My Culinary Journey through Lebanon
My Fresh Levant
Mama's Lebanese Kitchen
Dima Sharif
Alice's Kitchen Cookbook
Will Travel For Food
Hommus w Tabbouli



** The list is in random order. It will start modest and will expand with time, so fill us in with any food blog, written by a blogger from Libano, so that we can give them credit for loving and appreciating good food!



Friday, October 12, 2012

Happy 2nd Blog-aversay to Us!

Don't let his small size fool you! SnubarMan - in particular pine nuts - are nutrient dense, rich in calories (with 60 calories in just 1 tablespoon) mainly because of their high content of the good kinda fat, the monounsaturated ones. It has the highest content of proteins among the nuts kingdom & it's rich in vitamin E, vitamin K, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc, Copper and Manganese.
It is quite nutritious so you can sprinkle some pine nuts in your salad, hummus, kibbe, fish and even with sweet snacks such as yogurt and dried fruits.

Anyhoo, point is, SnubarMan just dropped by to wish us a Happy 2nd Blog-aversary! :)
SnubarMan Illustrated by Rodrigue Harb - Left Hand Red Nose

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Healthy Green Fig Jam!

It's figs season now in Lebanon and we all know how moms and tetas rush to turn seasonal fruits into jams. Commonly jams are made with sugar, half-half. However, I found this recipe made 100 % from fruit!
Illustration by Rodrigue Harb - Left Hand Red Nose

It tastes yum, especially with walnuts and tahina! However, keep in mind that since sugar is not actually added to this recipe, its storage and expiry date are definitely different. You can store these fresh fig jam jars in a cool dry place up to one year, if still intact. Now once you open them, you better eat them in couple of days tops and store the jar in the fridge meanwhile. This is why go for smaller cuty-pie jars, you'll practice portion control!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Why I'm Still Pro-Organic Food


Everybody’s asking about organic food today, especially after this all-famous study that suggested that organic food is nothing special and does not offer better nutritional value when compared with non-organic traditionally grown ones. Well, for me, choosing to go for organic food [and being able to afford them for that matter, let’s be frank, they are more expensive!] was never about more or less nutrients.

Let’s say both provide us the ‘same’ amount of nutrients, just like Stanford suggested. However, whenever I can choose organic – money-wise and availability - I go for it and here’s why:
Photo credit: 
bloggingfairtradelebanon
  • To avoid questionable chemical pesticides in produce. Recent studies are even linking pesticides exposure to diabetes type 2!
  • To avoid antibiotic resistant bugs + antibiotics + hormones IF I decide to have meat.
  • To avoid human sewage, given that organic certifications ban the use of sewage sludge. And yes, in case you are wondering, organic certifications are applied in Lebanon by 2 bodies, check Libancert and IMC for more info on that.
  • No irradiation allowed.
  • Definitely no GMOs!
  • And last but now least, the advantage in Lebanon is that we all know someone who plants fruits and vegetables at the comfort of their own homes, well at least I do. Better yet, we can plant our own – my family already does that so I have no excuses not to have me some ‘better’ quality of the ‘same’ nutritious food.

The study was conducted abroad so I really don't know how much of it applies for crops and meats in Lebanon. However, it also suggested that levels of pesticides and antibiotics in non-organic foods are within safety limits. Well, no, I don't get that. If you can avoid crap then do so. Now no need to be a freak about it, it is OK not to have non-organic food from time to time; our bodies can handle cleaning crap. But with today's pollutants everywhere, I suggest we give this body more breaks - breaks from toxins, pesticides, antibiotics, dyes, additives and industrial/environmental/chemical crap!
Photo credit:
http://www.personal.psu.edu
Your body is your vehicle and you gotta take care of it so bombarding the organic industry for wanting less crap in food is ridiculous.

Bottom Line
I'm one of those pro-organic, whenever possible and feasible, of course.
  • If you can afford organic food, then do so.
  • If you can choose less processed foods, less crappy, less toxins, less pesticides, less antibiotics, less synthetic additives, less dyes, no GMOs, then do so.
  • If you can grow your own in your backyard, garden, balcony - and check Vertical Veg for that matter, then do so!



Monday, October 1, 2012

Health Halo ... in 'Low-Fat' Foods

Low fat foods are a trend now - they are more available and more customers are asking for them. They are labeled as 'low-fat', 'reduced fat', 'light' or 'lite'. But what you may disregard is that foods with fat extracted from them will have to increase something during processing - whether sugar, salt and/or artificial ingredients and flavors - to compensate for any loss in taste! In fact, not only do lipids make the food taste better, but they also give a delicious slippery texture on the tongue and throat. Therefore, new flavors and ingredients must be added to get customers to buy such products - taste and mouthfeel. The highly used ingredients added are commonly high-fructose corn syrup, sodium and artificial sweeteners. So, if you want to have low-fat foods, keep in mind to assess how much you, your health, your weight loss/maintenance program and your body need that extra ingredient you’re about to have.


Photo credit: lifehacker.com
On another hand, a study from Cornell Univeristy shows that when foods are labelled as ‘low-fat’, people were less guilty to eat them, they were encouraged to eat up to 50 % more and they took around 90 extra calories than they would have had if that claim was just not present on the food label! This trick is called Health Halo: when customers check such claims, they automatically underestimate the caloric content – consequently eating more.


Bottom line

1- Know what such claims mean for the nutrient you're looking for. 'Low, Little, Fewer' adjectives are different than 'Lower, Reduced' claims as well as they are different when describing fat, saturated fat, cholesterol or calories. So check this FDA's explanation sheet to understand more what each claim for each nutrient REALLY means. Therefore, read your food label properly – the food product might have lower nutrient or fat content than the original product and not in absolute content.

2- Don’t freak out from fats. Go for healthy ones – olive oil, olives, avocados  nuts, seeds and sunflower/corn/canola oils while ditching trans and saturated fats from fried, junk, refined and fast food! Your body requires them; they are much needed in absorbing vitamins A, D, E and K, protecting your organs, providing your with energy, producing hormones, developing your brain and in maintaining healthy cells and skin.

Don’t take low-fat foods for granted and definitely don’t treat them as free food!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Not Your Everyday Bone-Boosters



Bone-boosting starts when young
Photo credit: freshhealthyvending.com
It is commonly known that if you want to ensure strong bones, calcium is the boss. Now roughly, bones are half mineral deposit (calcium phosphate) and half proteins (mainly collagen), surrounded by muscular tissues. This physiology description is probably not new – however, when it comes to bone health, everyone seems to focus on calcium from milk, labne and cheeses. Little do they know that bone boosting goes beyond dairy consumption. Thus, what we need to focus on is how to absorb bone boosting nutrients, how to maintain their deposition and finally how to ensure bones a solid environment to sustain us through adulthood.

Absorption in the Intestines
To start with, vitamin D is much needed to ensure proper calcium absorption in the intestines. However, vitamin D is not widely spread in food so make sure to have fatty fish, sardines or tuna. In fact, canned sardines, with their tiny edible bones, can provide you with ample of vitamin D and calcium so make sure to have these bones too!
Recent research from Spain shows that consumption of olive oil, part of a Mediterranean diet, may strengthen the bones by being a vehicle for fat soluble vitamins, such as vitamin D. Consequently, this may increase the concentration of osteocalcin, a biomarker of healthy bones.

Sneak Peek on the Inside 
Given that bones are half proteins on their inside, consuming adequate amounts of dietary proteins is a must. On the other side, make sure to have enough vitamin C, such as citrus fruits (kiwi, oranges, berries), broccoli, green leafy veggies and bell peppers, to sustain healthy collagen formation as well as to prevent any bone loss. Vitamin K is needed as much to promote protein formation in the bones’ matrix. Green leafy vegetables such jews mallow (mloukhiye), chard, spinach and asparagus can provide your bones with this vitamin.
On the other hand, calcium is needed for mineral deposition. Yes, it can be found in milk and dairy products, but you can also get what your body needs from cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, nuts especially almonds, soy products like tofu and soybeans, beans, peas and sesame seeds. Calcium rich foods are often attributed to milk & dairy products, thanks to the lobbying of the Dairy Council! However, pay attention that many other foods provide you with the calcium your body needs!
Bone is boosted with regular exercise
Furthermore, keep in mind that high sodium intake has been shown to increase the calcium excretion in the urine, therefore, decrease your salt intake especially from processed and junk food and increase potassium in your diet from potatoes, bananas, dried fruits, beets, orange, tomatoes and beans for it may counteract this calcium excretion mechanism. 

Cushion your Bones
Your bones lay within muscular tissues that cushion and protect them so have adequate proteins, magnesium and vitamin D. Strong muscles are resilient, thus bones within them are less likely to break upon shock.
Last but not least, bone health is sustained with regular physical activity, especially weight bearing ones such as jogging, running, rope skipping and jumping  – practically anything that exerts gravitational force on your bones!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Mother-to-Mother Breastfeeding Support in Lebanon!

The first week of august is 'Breastfeeding Week' and what better way to celebrate this day, increase awareness about breastfeeding and pledge its importance than to create a solid support system for moms in Lebanon! Therefore, this guest post - by Nadiya Dragan El Chiti, a breastfeeding activist certified from the WHO in “Exclusive Breastfeeding" - is much needed!

' Since beginning of 2011 when I started working in Lebanon as a breastfeeding specialist many things have changed: the awareness about breastfeeding has increased greatly, many hospitals are currently working on receiving a title of “baby-friendly” (which means “breastfeeding-friendly), there are lactation courses offered to medical professionals, the new City Center mall being built right now will have a breastfeeding area for its customers, there was even a TV ad released recently to promote breastfeeding! And my favorite change of all is that now we have several groups in Lebanon that offer free mother-to-mother breastfeeding support and encouragement, about which I will gladly tell you in this article! '

La Leche League International is now in Lebanon

LLLI
La Leche League International (LLLI) is the oldest and most reputable breastfeeding support organization around the world. For more than 50 years this organization has been growing and offering free of charge breastfeeding help and most up-to-date information on breastfeeding all over the world (see www.llli.org). The unique aspect of this organization is that it is run by volunteering mothers! Women who have successfully breastfed for about a year and have the passion to support other breastfeeding moms can apply for leadership and start representing LLLI in their area/country. Once accredited a new leader will start her own group in the area where she lives and will have monthly meetings for mothers in her area to attend. A leader is also trained to give free consultations on different breastfeeding topics to mothers who need help.

Now we have LLLI represented in Lebanon! You can join their facebook group “La Leche League, Lebanon, Middle East” and see when and where the next monthly meeting will be held in Lebanon! All the meetings are free of charge and are informal gatherings of breastfeeding moms where attendants bring their babies and freely discuss different breastfeeding questions and share their experiences with each other! You can also email the leader in Lebanon via askLLLinLebanon@gmail.com if you have a particular question in breastfeeding you would like to discuss.

Mama-to-Mama Beirut Breastfeeding Support group

This is another opportunity for face-to-face meetings for breastfeeding moms in Lebanon free of charge. This group is run by Tamara Drenttel Brand, MA, MPH, a newly accredited lactation educator counselor, and a mother of an adorable fully breastfed 11 month old baby boy! The group meets bimonthly and you can join their FB page “Mama to Mama Beirut Breastfeeding Support” to follow the discussions of the members and see when and where the next meeting will be held. You can also reach Tamara directly via mama2mamabeirut@gmail.com or 70/998062.

Facebook Breastfeeding Groups in Lebanon
                                                                         
So there is Tamara’s “Mama to Mama Beirut” and there is mine – “Breastfeeding in Lebanon” with more than 260 members at the moment. Both groups offer a safe space for mothers to discuss their current problems and questions in breastfeeding as well as share their frustrations and achievements while mastering this beautiful art of mothering – breastfeeding.  Tamara and me monitor the discussions on the groups and contribute to them with our knowledge as breastfeeding counselors. We also constantly put links of new research findings in breastfeeding and share breastfeeding news from around the world.

Breastfeeding Peer Counselors in Lebanon

Breastfeeding Peer Counselors
will support your choice of breastfeeding
This is the most recent and most exciting advancement Lebanon has made this year in the field of mother-to-mother support – 7 passionate breastfeeding moms in Lebanon have volunteered to take the course on peer counseling offered by Tamara Drenttel Brand through AUB, and now are ready to offer free breastfeeding mother-to-mother support in their areas! Breastfeeding Peer Counselors are volunteers with personal breastfeeding experience who are trained to help mothers breastfeed by offering support, education & encouragement.
 
Why do I want to be a peer counsellor?
I would like to be that phone number in a new mother’s phone that always answers, listens, doesn’t judge, speaks kindly and comes to her aid with solutions and support. I want to her to know that I have no agenda other than to support her in deepening and nourishing the love she already has for her new baby.ds to communicate her needs!!! Most life-changing for me though, was that she also arrived with a hearty appetite for the breastmilk I would make. And so began a relationship that I have huge difficulty even describing without sounding clich├ęd. ‘Empowering’ is probably the word that captures best what breast-feeding has meant for me – I thought giving birth was my body performing at its best but I really no idea that it was capable of so much more. Feeding my baby with milk made from my own body has just been an incredibly intimate and loving experience.
Why do I want to be a peer counsellor?
I would like to be that phone number in a new mother’s phone that always answers, listens, doesn’t judge, speaks kindly and comes to her aid with solutions and support. I want to her to know that I have no agenda other than to support her in deepening and nourishing the love she already has for her new baby.
Contact info of all the counselors! 

Please feel free to contact any of them if you have questions about breastfeeding or need some support and encouragement to continue breastfeeding! Our breastfeeding peer counselors are waiting to hear from you!


Hayat Karanouh Naboulsi ‎  
(Beirut)
Phone: 03/33 37 36, Email: hayatkaranouh@gmail.com
Languages: Arabic, French & English

Sinead O'Dea  
(Beirut)
Phone: 76/121929, Email:
sineadodea@hotmail.com
Languages: English & Spanish

Farah Barbir Ounsi 
 (Beirut)
Phone: 03/631776, Email: farah.barbir@gmail.com
Languages: Arabic, English & Some French

Brooke El-Amine  
(Ras Beirut)
Phone: 70/113051
Language: English


Elizabeth Abi Khalil 
(Jbeil, Jounieh & Batroun)
Phone: 03/187683, Email: Elizabeth.abikhalil@gmail.com
Languages: Arabic, French & English

Angela Bonifacio   
(Fanar)
Phone: 70/247 747, Email: lala_bon@yahoo.it
Languages: English, French, Spanish & Italian

Carole Bourjeily Bou Habib  
(Horsh Tabet & Sin El Fil)
Phone: 03/799177, Email: carole@iforinterior.com
Languages:  Arabic, French & English


Breastfeeding is the most beautiful gift a mother can give to her baby and herself! Now we have so many mother-to-mother support opportunities in Lebanon! Help, advice and an encouraging word is just a phone call away and at the tips of your fingers on Facebook! We are waiting to hear from you, ladies!



Guest post by Nadiya Dragan El-Chiti

Nadiya Dragan El-Chiti is a graduate from the University of Maine, Orono (USA), with Master’s Degree in Communication and a certificate from World Vision in coordination with WHO for accomplishing an intensive training in “Exclusive Breastfeeding”. In 2009 after giving birth in Lebanon and starting to nurse her own daughter. Mrs.Nadiya developed a great passion in breastfeeding and decided to start on a new path as a breastfeeding activist spreading the knowledge about this beautiful way of mothering  to all the Lebanese women around. It started as a small informal gathering  with friends one winter evening and turned into a series of monthly seminars – intensive programs of several hours each intended for pregnant mothers and anyone interested in breastfeeding providing all the essentials tips and practical techniques to ensure that every mother in Lebanon can have a successful and enjoyable experience. In addition, Mrs. Nadiya also provides personal support and assistance to mothers who already gave birth and are facing challenges in breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding is simple and natural, but only if the mother knew how to do it and what to expect.
 
 * This post is published in Moms and to Be magazine - June, issue 42 [Republishing authorized by Nadiya Dragan El-Chiti]

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Nightmare Tamed: How to Exercise With Young Children


When it comes to exercise, most people start the summer with good intentions. Longer days and better weather mean jogging in the street is a more viable (and appealing) option, while the thought of putting on a swimsuit is more than enough encouragement to head to the gym to shed a few pounds! However, if you have a young child or children, you might find your good intentions fall by the wayside... buried beneath a mountain of diapers and wet wipes.

There’s no doubt about it; children are a full time job and then some. If you’re a stay at home parent you can’t simply clock off for the evening, and if you work, you’ll likely want to spend your free time with your little ones. Either way, if you’re able to get down to the gym three times a week, you’re actually one of the lucky ones.

If you’re feeling the urge to get active this summer, don’t let your children become your excuse. There are a variety of activities you can get involved in with your children by your side, helping you shed that baby weight, filling your body with endorphins and encouraging your kids to live a healthy life as well.
Here are a just a couple of ways you can exercise with your kids around, keeping them happy in the long holidays and preventing you from tearing your hair out – hair loss prevention being just another one of the many benefits of exercising with your children.

Walk
 

Ditch the car, it’s sunny outside and get those legs moving. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for America, published in 2008, the average adult needs to do 2 hours and 30 minutes of brisk walking every week, combined with muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days, just to stay healthy. In terms of walking that’s 30 minutes, five days a week.

Walking is good for the heart, lungs and bones, improving the cardiovascular system and boosting circulation too. It can have all the same benefits as jogging but without the potential for injury.
During the fine days of summer, it’s much easier to drum up the enthusiasm to get out there and start walking. So make it your mission, every morning or after work, to get outside and get moving – kids in tow. The beauty of walking is that it’s suitable for children of all ages. If you have a young baby, try using a carrier and think about the extra calories you’ll be burning off along the way; this is also an opportune time to bond with your baby. Toddlers can be pushed along in a stroller – either using the opportunity to see the world or have a little snooze. Older children can walk, skate or scoot alongside you, using up their own boundless energy. Try to vary your walks to give your kids something new and interesting to look at.

If you don’t have 30 minutes to spare, five days a week, you can break it up even further. If you have to go to the convenience store don’t jump into your car, get your walking shoes on and boost your health while saving fuel too. Three 10-minute bursts of exercise a day adds up to 30 minutes.

Dance

Kids love to dance, so put on their favorite CD and dance along to the tunes. Some of the best exercises can be done to nursery rhymes, which involve a lot of bending and stretching – ideal for toning up those muscles. If you don’t know the moves, simply make up your own; march, jump up and down, skip and hop – do whatever you please, just keep that heart rate up and those muscles moving.

Yoga

Yoga helps stressed out kids, more here.
[Photo credit]
Yoga is extremely beneficial for building strength, promoting good balance and improving posture, and kids can do it too. There are now a range of children’s yoga courses available where you can exercise alongside your child while picking up tips from the experts. If you can’t find a kids’ yoga venue near you, there are plenty of videos of simple poses available on YouTube to help you get started.

Key Note is to Stay Active

Even if you’re not into formal activities like those listed above, you can get healthy and active in the sunshine. Have a water-fight, skip around the garden, trampoline in the back yard and climb trees – just get out there, get moving and get healthy!

--------

Guest post by Lily Alberts

Lily Alberts is a writer and health fanatic who works with a licensed online pharmacy as well as a number of nutrition and fitness sites. She's written on everything from hair loss prevention to the sports physiotherapy, and tries to promote good health within her own family.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Traveling this Summer? Watch Out for the 'Economy Class Syndrome'

If you're traveling economy class this summer, you gotta know more about Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), also known as Economy Class Syndrome (ECS)! According to the WHO, 3 to 5 % of those who travel economy class for long hours increase their risk of developing DVT. 

So what is DVT? It's the formation of blood clots in the lower limbs - calves and thighs. DVT and clot formation risk are increased due to many factors such as genetics, advanced age, hormonal disturbances, obesity related factors, pregnancies and prolonged sitting such as bed rests. Clot formation may also increase during long flight hours -  it is largely affected by the fact that you're not moving as well as by airplanes' cabin pressure and oxygen state. The risk increases when you resume activity! The clot may break off, move through the circulation, reach the heart of lungs and obstruct their pathways, leading to death. This has actually happened back in 2000, when a passenger died due to DVT!

So to avoid leg, feet and thigh-swelling, bruising and numbness:

  • Make sure you are wearing very comfortable and loose clothes and shoes. The point is that when you are sitting for a long time, the effect of gravity restricts blood from flowing back from the legs' veins to the heart. Therefore, blood circulation slows down to your lower body and excess blood may accumulate forming clots. So wear loose clothes to decrease any circulation restriction.
  • It's OK [more like recommended] to take off your shoes during long hour flights, this will ensure normal blood flow into your lower limbs.
  • Do circular moves with your feet and ankles and flex both feet and knees at least every 15 to 20 minutes. You can also slide your feet forward and backwards
  • Don't just sit/sleep the whole flight, move around the plane at least every hour.
  • Stretch your whole body whenever you get the chance and don't cross over your legs while sitting, it will only impeded circulation more.
  • Hydrate yourself properly with water. People tend to forget to drink water during flights so have a small cup within reach at all times.
  • Now even though alcohol might be complimentary on the airplane, keep in mind that alcohol is a diuretic so it draws water from your body so limit its intake.
  • Caffeine is also considered a diuretic so limit large intake of any caffeinated beverages whether from coffee, energy drinks or soft drinks (like cokes).
  • You can also consider wearing compressing stockings, to aid proper circulation.

The risk of dangerous clotting is, in fact, minimal but it increases by 18 % for each 2-hour increase in your flight duration! So drink more, move as much as possible, and now after you have a 'healthy' flight, make sure you're in excellent shape to enjoy your vacation by reading Nadine Issa's "5 ways to stay fit while on vacation" article to make the best out of fun!

References:

Photo:

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fight Sugar, Know the Facts

Everyone is fighting sugar this summer, and it's about time!
More campaigns are targeting both parents and children to decrease their intake of sugar, especially those added sugars from sweetened beverages, cokes, candies, chocolate, ice tea, cookies, biscuits, jelly beans, cereals, pastries, doughnuts, croissants, cakes, flavored yogurts, milk shakes, ice creams, cereals, coffee drinks, canned foods, and we both know the list goes on!  Sugar is even found in condiments such as ketchup and salad dressings!

Two of the beautiful, smart campaigns again excess sugar intake are:

Cereal FACTS - Debunking all types of sweetened and unhealthy cereal and cereal products, especially those advertised for children. You can find top and bottom 10 lists of cereals by brands. Their information target both consumers and researchers with reports stating what is most advertised to children and which brands contain the most sugar content so let's hope they're not being lobbied by any side! You can heck their website here.

Photo from: Cerealfacts.org


Soda Free Summer  - Urges people to 'Rethink their drink' by fighting added sugars whether in carbonated beverages or other sweetened juices and drinks! Most people don't realize that they tend to gulp their calories in. In fact, half on the American population over the age of 2 consume sugary drinks everyday! Soda Free Summer explains how much calories and sugar various contain nowadays, how much exercise you need to burn them off, the unhealthy toxic effects of excess sugar intake as well as beneficial school tools. You can check their website, their twitter and their facebook page.

  
So why do we really care about added sugars?
  • Sugar increases tooth decay
  • Promotes weight gain
  • Acidifies your blood, such that your body will need to extract some minerals from your bones to buffer that acidity!
  • Increases triglycerides and therefore, increasing the risk of heart diseases and inflammation [Source]
  • Decreases your immune system by acting as a substrate for bacteria in your body
  • Increases the risk of skin aging, a much less famous crime
  • Increases the risk of cognitive impairment 
  • Some sugars like HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) have been linked to increased risk of abdominal fat, increased insulin resistance and diabetes type 2, increased metabolic syndrome, fatty liver and increased LDL cholesterol.
  • More research is finding association with increased risk of cancer and more cancer! well. For instance, pancreatic cancer's risk increase by 2 times with increased sugar intake!
  • People who consume large amounts of added sugars tend to eat less nutritious food, resulting in poor nutrition as well as vitamin/mineral deficiencies.
  • Last but not least, very recent research links high sugar (mainly high fructose corn syrup - HFCS) intake to stupidity! High HFCS intake may highly affect the mind's long term ability to learn and remember! 

But why do they even add sugar to food?
Sugar tend to preserve foods, increase fermentation, give pastries and baked goods texture, add a unique flavor to foods [especially that we tend to prefer sweet tastes innately], and yea, because it's addictive so you'll definitely come back for more!

So the whole point out of this article is for you to Cut Down on your Sugar Intake.

1- Know the different names of sugar!Sugar can be simply called sugar/brown sugar, or its gazillion alternative tricky names from dextran, fructose, glucose, lactose, galactose, molasses, invert sugar, sucrose, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, beet sugar, barley malt, maltose, maltodextrin, honey, agave nectar, cane, cane juice crystals, caramel, maple syrup, sorghum syrup, turbinado, treacle, muscovado, panocha - some of which I can't even recognize!
Photo from: RefreshKansas.org

2- Check what ONE serving is! What manufacturers tend to do is mention how much calories, nutrients, sugars, vitamins, etc. there are per serving. But what consumers tend to think is that a whole package is one serving - and it's almost always NOT.
So let's take a look at the photo on the right. First, check what one serving is, in green. 1 serving is referred to as 'Serving Size'. This serving has 26 g grams of sugar, as shown in pink. Now the actual package has 2.5 servings, not just one, so do the math!

3- Know the linguistics
  • Sugar-free: there must be less than 0.5 grams of sugar per serving.
  • No added sugars/ Without added sugar is used if no sugar was added during processing
  • Reduced/less sugar is used when there is at least 25% less than a similar reference food so it doesn't mean it is low in sugar!
Photo from: Thearrowsoftruth.com


4- Know the ingredients' order
So when you check your label, which I'm hoping you will from now on, know that ingredients are listed in descending order of weight. On the right, you can find a coke's label where you can see that the 2nd ingredient is HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup)!
  

Sugar can definitely harm you, just like tobacco and alcohol so it must be regulated! Why isn't it regulated, you ask? Well, because the industry is making huge profits from their 'suga-baby' and taxing it would lead to less profit! In fact, in a report by the USDA (pdf file), taxing sweetened beverages could end up in decreasing total caloric intake and an estimate of 2 kilograms of adult and child weight per year, aiding in decreasing the worldwide epidemic obesity.

And no, don't go saying that sugar will give you the energy you need! Excess sugar intake will definitely increase your blood sugar steeply, only to cause a quick drastic decrease causing hypoglycemia - characterized by fatigue, nervousness, sweating, hunger and trembling! So pledge to start decreasing your intake gradually - you will benefit greatly!