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14 Everyday Food Habits for Better Health

One of the more difficult habits for people to change seems to be what they eat. It’s also seems to be one of the most popular ones to try to change.

 Some of the habits that I´ve found to be the easiest to change are the ones where you just do adjustments rather than turning your life upside down.These everyday habits may not lead to drastic weight loss in record time. But I do believe that over time they can help you improve your health. Or in the case with #10, avoid serious accidents.

  1. Replace sodas with water. I found this to be a pretty easy transition actually. Some obvious advantages are that you consume less sugar, that you do less damage to your teeth plus you save a couple of bucks.
  2. Replace sweet snacks with vegetables, fruit and nuts. Instead of having cookies and candy stored in your cupboard replace them with alternatives that are a whole lot healthier. Some examples are tomatoes, apples, bananas, blueberries and in the nut-department cashews, almonds and peanuts. But eat just a handful or two of nuts, not big bowls. They pack a lot of fat.
  3. Eat more fiber. It can lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease. It can also help you with weight loss as high-fiber food often takes longer time to chew which gives your body time to register when you are full. Overeating thereby becomes less likely and the fiber also makes you feel full longer. You can find a good amount of fiber in, for instance, beans, fruit and raw vegetables. For a 7 step list on how to eat more fiber click here and if you want more general information go here.
  4. Eliminate temptations in your environment. Like with the first and second habit in this article you can use the same procedure of changing your environment to change yourself wherever you find the possibility. If you don´t have the unhealthy food at home, or in your cubicle, the temptations will be quite a bit smaller. And one of the best ways to change a habit is to replace it. Think about what you can throw out and what healthier alternative you can replace it with today.
  5. Cook and bring your own meals to work. This is of course generalized, but there is often a lot of extra sugar and fat added to preprocessed food and at least extra fat in a lot of the meals when you eat out. When you cook for yourself you have more information about and control over what you actually put into your body. Plus, you save a whole bundle of money.
  6. Avoid the buffet. You are likely to eat too much. Or if you eat at a buffet, be aware and a little careful of how much you eat.
  7. Be careful with your plate-size. You’ll probably habitually want to fill the plate. If you use a too big plate you run the risk of eating too big servings.
  8. Eat a healthy breakfast. Yep, it´s the most important meal of the day. Just don´t forget to keep it healthy too. That´s better than a big bowl of sugar-puffs. According to this article there is at least four benefits of eating a healthy breakfast: you are more likely to consume more vitamins and minerals and less fat and cholesterol, to have better concentration and be more productive during the morning, to control your weight better and to have lower cholesterol.
  9. Eat Slower. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register that you´re full. That´s because your stomach needs to begin streching before it starts to produce the hormones that tells your brain that you are full. By slowing down your eating your brain can stop you before you eat unnecessarily much. Eating slower can also help prevent digestion problems and generally makes you feel less stressed.
  10. Don´t eat and drive. Just like talking on the cell phone while driving it can be dangerous for both to you and your fellow motorists to eat and drink while driving. Sit down at a table while eating.
  11. Use a grocery list. Try to stick to buying just what you have written down. A written list can decrease the need for impulse buying (which often, in my experience, results in more unhealthy food in the grocery bags).
  12. Shop when you are full. Like using a written shopping list, this is useful for limiting impulse buying. When you are hungry you are likely to just shop for anything. I´ve also noticed that when you go shopping hungry it seems to increase the craving for junkfood .
  13. Get enough sleep. Or your hormonal signals may change and increase your appetite. In one study sleep was restricted to four hours for one night. The next day the results among the participants were a 24% increase in hunger and 23% in appetite. Read more about this research.
  14. Be conscious of what you eat. This is a big one. Try thinking before you eat instead of just going along with your normal routine. Think about what you should eat and plan at least a little instead of just wolfing down something unhealthy while thinking about everything else except what you are eating. Be aware of what you put into yourself. Do some research on what is more or less healthy. Take control of what you eat.

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Importance of Yoga and Meditation for a Healthy Life

The word ‘Yoga’ means union with the Supreme power or God. God is the creator of all the living beings in this earth and it is Him whom we merge with at the end of our lives. Thousands of years ago, the Vedic people had started a physical practice for controlling the mind, body and soul. This physical practice is known as yoga. Yoga is the ancient art, science and philosophy of maintaining a balance between these three most important elements of a human being by synchronizing them in a single chord. Yoga has various formssuch as Raja Yoga, Karma yoga, Bhakti yoga, Kriya yoga or Kundalini yoga which aim to connect the Atma with the Paramatma or the human soul with the Supreme soul. It helps to merge the individual identity with the universal identity by creating a union.

Meditation or ‘Dhyana’ was also a part of ancient yoga practice. Meditation is the way of connecting to the God by developing a deeper level of consciousness. By meditating, an individual can communicate with the Almighty on the intra-personal level. Apart from its spiritual significance, yoga and meditation are also widely practiced for a healthy life. Myriad physical and mental benefits of yoga, make it a boon to the mankind. Yoga helps to prevent as well as cure a number of ailing diseases. It makes the muscles and the muscular joints flexible, improves the musculoskeletal disorders like arthritis, back and knee problems. Yoga when practiced with yoga music ensures better result. As music has an effect on mind and mind has effect on body. One can also play a yoga DVD for learning the right yoga poses and postures which in yogic language are termed as ‘Asanas’.

Spirit Voyage is an online music company with an extensive collection of yoga and meditation music CDs, DVDs and yoga DVDs on various forms of yoga like Kundalini yoga, Ashtanga yoga etc. A huge collection of yoga books and yoga accessories like yoga rugs, yoga mats, yoga cushions have also enriched the collection of this company. There are a variety of yoga clothes like Bamboo Soy Yoga T-Shirt, Bamboo Yoga Tank Top, Shanti Skirt Yoga Pants available at the site. These yoga clothes are stitched in natural fibers and thus are good for the psyche, energy levels and for the nervous system of the practitioner. The yoga accessories, primarily the yoga mats and the yoga rugs offer non-slip performance with superior cushioning and resilience. Every yoga DVD offered at the site can guide the practitioner in this spiritual as well as physical journey. Regular practice of yoga promises a stress free life by improving the health condition. Practicing yoga provides strength to the spinal chord, improves digestion. Yoga is also the best solution to all heart related problems like improving the heart condition, maintaining proper blood circulation in the whole body as well as controlling the blood pressure level.

Yoga and meditation are also very much helpful in recovering the breathing disorder. Both help in boosting the immune system, decreasing cholesterol and increasing the stamina. Besides improving the health status, yoga also upholds the spiritual sense within a human being. It becomes much more easier to connect to the divine identity with a pure body and heart free from all illness. There are no greater happiness than to merge with that Omnipotent power. Reach that higher realm of consciousness by practicing yoga and meditation with the help of Spirit Voyage yoga CDs and DVDs. Renowned spiritual singers like Snatam Kaur, WAH!, Gurmukh, Donna De Lory, Satkirin Kaur Khalsa, Nirinjan Kaur, have lent their beautiful voices in these music albums. Incorporate soulful yoga music or meditation music in your sadhana and reach that pure and serene world of divine calmness.

How to Start Your Morning: 5 Tips to Create More Energy and Confidence

Does your morning routine feel more like a “mourning” routine? The first 30 minutes of your day has a powerful grip over the rest of your day — your morning behaviors and attitudes can influence how you feel and what you do for the rest of the day. Instead of smashing the alarm clock, kicking the cat, and cursing your life every morning, you can do five simple things that will start your day off on a better note and help you live your best life.

  1. Kill the kryptonite. You are no longer allowed to hit the snooze button. This is coming from a guy who had a bad habit of abusing the snooze button. I’d set my alarm an hour early (yes, an hour early!) just so I could hit the snooze button six times. I found that this little and seemingly innocuous button made me weaker and weaker every day. Every time I hit it, I was unconsciously reinforcing the belief that I was weak and that I couldn’t get out of bed when I was supposed to. Break this habit and replace it with a much better one. Set your alarm for when you want to get up, and when it goes off, make yourself stronger by doing the shocking thing — by getting up. Do this every day and you will grow in confidence.
  2. First five seconds. When it’s dark and cold out, you need a burst of inspiration to get your juices flowing. The first thing you should do is feed your mind. Look at your DreamBoard, read an inspirational quote or Bible passage, go over your goals, etc. Do this first — before you reach for your Blackberry, remote, or toothbrush.
  3. Get the blood flowing. While your mind has been active all night, your body has not. The best way to get the mind engaged and primed is to get the body moving. Immediately after you feed your mind, do a few minutes of light stretching or yoga to get the blood flowing to your muscles and to get your joints loosened. You don’t need to be Richard Simmons on crack — slow and steady is good.
  4. PowerJournal. For 15 or 20 minutes every day, I want you to write, brainstorm, and just think. One of the best ways to increase your happiness and sense of well-being is to express gratitude. A powerful and easy way to do this is by writing about those things for which you are grateful. You could also spend a few minutes daydreaming about your future. Instead of immediately getting sucked into the day’s pressures, responsibilities, and problems, a few minutes of quiet time focused on your perfect future can provide you with a sense of calm and peace that can last the whole day.
  5. Breakfast. I know. You’ve heard it before. But I’ll risk repeating it because studies show about 40% of us still skip breakfast. The benefits of eating a nutritious breakfast are well known. Avoid bacon, sausage, pastries, and processed cereals and go for something simple like a bowl of whole grain cereal with non-fat milk and add a banana and raisins.If you don’t have time for breakfast or want a little something extra, you can chug down a power shake. My shake takes about three minutes to make and about two minutes to drink. The cool thing is that you can load it up with just about everything and anything.

If you did all of these things, it would add maybe 20 or 30 minutes to your morning schedule. I know a half hour in the morning is huge, but look at this time as an investment in your day and in you. Doing these things will make you healthier, give you a more positive attitude, provide a much greater feeling of control, and grant you a sense of peace and calmness. Or at the least, you’ll have a better relationship with your cat.

Develop Good Habits Everyday

Track your progress building good habits in all aspects of your life.

It’s okay, you can finally admit it. It’s been two months since you’ve seen the inside of the gym. Getting sick, family crisis, overtime at work and school papers that needed to get finished all kept you for exercising. Now, the question is: how do you start again?

Once you have an exercise habit, it becomes automatic. You just go to the gym, there is no force involved. But after a month, two months or possibly a year off, it can be hard to get started again. Here are some tips to climb back on that treadmill after you’ve fallen off.

    1. Don’t Break the Habit – The easiest way to keep things going is simply not to stop. Avoid long breaks in exercising or rebuilding the habit will take some effort. This may be advice a little too late for some people. But if you have an exercise habit going, don’t drop it at the first sign of trouble.
    2. Reward Showing Up – Woody Allen once said that, “Half of life is showing up.” I’d argue that 90% of making a habit is just making the effort to get there. You can worry about your weight, amount of laps you run or the amount you can bench press later.
    3. Commit for Thirty Days – Make a commitment to go every day (even just for 20 minutes) for one month. This will solidify the exercise habit. By making a commitment you also take pressure off yourself in the first weeks back of deciding whether to go.
    4. Make it Fun – If you don’t enjoy yourself at the gym, it is going to be hard to keep it a habit. There are thousands of ways you can move your body and exercise, so don’t give up if you’ve decided lifting weights or doing crunches isn’t for you. Many large fitness centers will offer a range of programs that can suit your tastes.
    5. Schedule During Quiet Hours – Don’t put exercise time in a place where it will easily be pushed aside by something more important. Right after work or first thing in the morning are often good places to put it. Lunch-hour workouts might be too easy to skip if work demands start mounting.
    6. Get a Buddy – Grab a friend to join you. Having a social aspect to exercising can boost your commitment to the exercise habit.
    7. X Your Calendar – One person I know has the habit of drawing a red “X” through any day on the calendar he goes to the gym. The benefit of this is it quickly shows how long it has been since you’ve gone to the gym. Keeping a steady amount of X’s on your calendar is an easy way to motivate yourself.
    8. Enjoyment Before Effort - After you finish any work out, ask yourself what parts you enjoyed and what parts you did not. As a rule, the enjoyable aspects of your workout will get done and the rest will be avoided. By focusing on how you can make workouts more enjoyable, you can make sure you want to keep going to the gym.
    9. Create a Ritual - Your workout routine should become so ingrained that it becomes a ritual. This means that the time of day, place or cue automatically starts you towards grabbing your bag and heading out. If your workout times are completely random, it will be harder to benefit from the momentum of a ritual.
    10. Stress Relief - What do you do when your stressed? Chances are it isn’t running. But exercise can be a great way to relieve stress, releasing endorphin which will improve your mood. The next time you feel stressed or tired, try doing an exercise you enjoy. When stress relief is linked to exercise, it is easy to regain the habit even after a leave of absence.
    11. Measure Fitness - Weight isn’t always the best number to track. Increase in muscle can offset decreases in fat so the scale doesn’t change even if your body is. But fitness improvements are a great way to stay motivated. Recording simple numbers such as the number of push-ups, sit-ups or speed you can run can help you see that the exercise is making you stronger and faster.
    12. Habits First, Equipment Later – Fancy equipment doesn’t create a habit for exercise. Despite this, some people still believe that buying a thousand dollar machine will make up for their inactivity. It won’t. Start building the exercise habit first, only afterwards should you worry about having a personal gym.
  • Isolate Your Weakness - If falling off the exercise wagon is a common occurrence for you, find out why. Do you not enjoy exercising? Is it a lack of time? Is it feeling self-conscious at the gym? Is it a lack of fitness know-how? As soon as you can isolate your weakness, you can make steps to improve the situation.
  • Start Small - Trying to run fifteen miles your first workout isn’t a good way to build a habit. Work below your capacity for the first few weeks to build the habit. Otherwise you might scare yourself off after a brutal workout.
  • Go for Yourself, Not to Impress – Going to the gym with the only goal of looking great is like starting a business with only the goal to make money. The effort can’t justify the results. But if you go to the gym to push yourself, gain energy and have a good time, then you can keep going even when results are slow.
  • Helpful Hints for Healthy Teeth

    Don’t believe everything you hear about what is good or bad for your pearly whites.

    Remember how your mother used to tell you almost everything you did was “bad for your teeth?” You may have forgotten some of her warnings. And some things she said might not be as bad as you think. Read on.

    “The function of teeth is to chew food — and to some extent, help you talk and form words,” Richard H. Price, DMD, retired dentist and former faculty member of the Boston University School of Dentistry, tells WebMD. He is also a spokesman for the American Dental Association.

    Teeth, Price says, are not to be used for:

    • Pliers
    • Coat hangers
    • Ice crushers
    • Potato chip bag openers
    • Knot looseners
    • Fork tine straighteners
    • Chomping frozen candy bars full of caramel or frozen nut”Blenders have special blades to crush ice, for heaven’s sakes,” he laments.

      Whiteners: Good or Bad?

      Gregory L. Paskerian, DMD, a private dentist and former assistant professor at Tufts University, tells WebMD that the new whitening rage follows a continuum of products. “The strips and other over-the-counter whiteners do not damage teeth or burn gum tissue,” he says. “The trays (to hold the peroxide solution) you can buy may can contain an acidic, unbuffered solution, which could damage enamel.”

      The best tray-type lightening, he says, is provided by the dentist, who can control the solution and timing.

      “For the fastest and safest whitening,” Paskerian says, “you need to get the high-intensity light systems. This light changes the molecular structure of the enamel for a time, but it goes back to normal and at a lighter shade.”

      He adds, though that whitening is not really a color change, but a brightness or value change.

      Price says he wishes patients would concentrate more on keeping teeth healthy. “There are bleaching groupies,” he says, “People who can’t get enough. You can only get teeth so white.”

      Price also says these solutions can sometimes cause gum sensitivity, although it is usually short-lived.

      Don’t Overbrush Your Teeth

      Price says it’s hard to go wrong on paste or brush if you look for the American Dental Association (ADA) label of approval. “This means a brush is firm enough to remove plaque but not tear up gums,” he says. “Choose a brush like you would a piece of silverware — something that feels comfortable in your hand.” The designation of “Soft” is preferred by most dentists.

      “Don’t use a brush more than three months,” Price adds. “That is the limit.”

      If you use an electric brush, Paskerian recommends a rotary head type that you take from tooth to tooth rather than cruising across the teeth with it.

      Water picks, both dentists say, can drive bacteria back up into the gums, which can lead to it lodging in other parts of the body, such as the heart. “The picks do not remove plaque,” Paskerian says.