Posts Tagged ‘diet’

Your overall health is affected by both your eating habits and lifestyle. If you listen to the myths mentioned below, you may not be as healthy as you could be.

Myth 1 – Don’t Eat Before Working Out

Attempting to exercise when you haven’t eaten anything or properly hydrated is about the same as trying to run your car on low water and gas neither will function properly. You’ve probably experienced the overheating of car when it’s low on water and maybe even the sputtering and stalling of an engine without gas.

Your stomach often rumbles when it needs fuel. If you don’t feed it before working out, you risk a less than productive exercise session. A failure to properly hydrate before working out could lead to muscle cramps or worse.

Water and some fruit or another natural snack will do your body good.

Myth 2 – Energy Bars and Energy Drinks Replace Meals

These items are fine once in awhile but they don’t deliver all the vitamins, minerals, fiber, fluids and other nutrients you need for optimal health.

Myth 3 – Skipping Breakfast

Breakfast gives your body its wakeup call. Your metabolism wakes up which produces your energy and helps regulate your weight. Fail to eat this meal and you will probably notice a lack of energy most of the day, a tiredness that remains even after eating and the possibility of a hunger that can’t be satisfied.

Myth 4 – Low Carb Diets Are Good

Your body needs carbohydrates for your muscles and the storing of energy. Any diet that limits or completely excludes a group of nutrients that your body needs is going to harm your long term health.

Myth 5 – Eating Everything You Want

Your body needs certain nutrients to operate at its best even if you don’t exercise like you should. When you eat an unbalanced diet, even IF you exercise, you are failing to provide your body what it needs to maintain good health and naturally fight off illness and disease.

Myth 6 – Calorie Deprivation Is Good

Weight loss requires the reduction in the number of calories you consume each day but a reduction of more than 20% puts your body into starvation mode. In this mode, the food you eat is stored as fat rather than burned for energy AND your energy is derived by burning muscle. A gradual reduction in your food intake plus an increase in exercise is necessary for weight loss but rapid weight loss might mean you aren’t eating enough.

Myth 7 – Drinking Soda and Alcohol is Okay

Water and natural juices are the best beverages for you to drink. Sodas either offer calories with no nutritional value or artificial ingredients. There is conflicting data on the benefits of alcohol but it is widely accepted that alcohol can cause problems in many situations. Drink plenty of water at regular intervals and don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink. There are many situations where your body is already dehydrated by the time you are thirsty.

Making a conscious effort to eat healthy is always the first step towards feeling better and living a healthier life. A healthy diet and exercise regimen can do a lot in fighting the stress time and your lifestyle can place on your body.

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Your motivation for starting a weight loss or exercise program will determine the success or failure you experience. You will only stick with something if you are doing it for the right reasons. Losing weight to please someone else is a nice thought but you will not stick with it long term because it isn’t your goal. Exercising to please another is also going to end with you quitting after a period of time. Set yourself up for long term success by starting your weight loss or exercise programs for the right reasons.

  1. Set goals that you want to achieve.
  2. Write those goals down and place them where you can review them regularly.
  3. Make your goals clear and measurable. (I want to lose weight is not a good goal. I want to drop 2 pant sizes in 6 months is a clearly stated goal.)

  4. If fat (weight) loss is your goal, get a caliper so you can measure your body fat. Scales measure weight and not your body fat percentage. There are skinny people with high fat levels. You will only be able to judge your progress by measuring your fat. Measuring fat is especially important when you incorporate strength training into your exercise routine because muscle weighs more than fat. The scale might show you heavier but the caliper might show you’ve lost fat which means your diet and exercise program is working.

    The caliper is especially important if you aren’t seeing any changes over a two week period. Your body works to stabilize and as you enter a routine where your diet and exercise routines become the norm your body expects, you will level of or plateau. As soon as you see a plateau developing, you can adjust your diet and exercise routines so you continue towards your goal.

  5. Combine strength training and cardio training on alternating days so you don’t tire your muscles or get bored. When you include walking, jogging, swimming, weight lifting and other activities you enjoy into your exercise routine; you will be less likely to lose interest.

  6. Get a friend or family member to work with you as your moral support, workout partner, cheerleader and coach.

  7. Reward yourself when you reach your short term goals.

  8. Build flexibility into your diet and exercise programs so you don’t get bored. Eating the same thing repeatedly gets boring and we start looking at what we think we are missing. Don’t deprive yourself anything you really crave but acknowledge there will be more work required to compensate for straying. When starting your diet or exercise program focus on 80% compliance to it rather than 100%. Everyone will stray at some point. By acknowledging that to yourself and by keeping your goals in mind and where you can see them written, you’ll feel less stress when you do stray.

Staying motivated is easier when the reasons for your actions are ones you chose. Writing down your goals makes them easier to visualize, measuring your progress helps you stay focused on your goals, eating a variety of foods you enjoy and doing a variety of exercises help you stay on track towards your goals. Getting another person to support you and keep you honest gives you a little extra incentive to make your goals your reality. Building flexibility into your diet and exercise regime and rewarding yourself when you have small successes lets you acknowledge both slips and successes so you can easily get back on track towards your long term goal.

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Reuters recently had an article titled ‘Red meat unfriendly to cancer’ which was reporting on a study of colon cancer patients with stage III cancer and how their diets affected their survival and the recurrence of the disease after treatment. The study followed 1,009 colon cancer patients for 5.3 years and they found that those that ate a western diet were 3.3 times more likely to either die or have their colon cancer return.

A western diet was defined as a diet with high intakes of meat, refined grains and desserts. The prudent diet was the other variant and it is defined as a diet with high intakes of fruits, vegetables, fish and poultry.

The prudent diet is high in fiber, nutrients in forms the body can readily use and helps the body flush toxins out of the body. Whereas the western diet provides fewer natural nutrients or fiber and it adds toxins to the body.

Our Opinion

We’ve believed for a long time that your health is determined by your diet and activity level. When our society was mostly agricultural, people did a lot of physical labor and there was much less obesity and home gardens provided foods that were both good and good for you. The industrial age brought many people a more sedentary lifestyle and obesity started to appear in larger numbers. As our cities grew and the food supply was further removed from the consumer, preservatives were added to the food to extend the time it was still good to eat. Population growth has also put more pressure on the farmer to produce large crops on less land which has led to over farming the land. This over farming depletes the natural nutrients, the commercial fertilizers are geared at quantity and not quality.

The change in our lifestyle, added preservatives, fewer nutrients in our food supply because of a combination of factors and added stress have all conspired to make you less healthy than the generation before you.

Switching as much of your diet to locally grown organic fruits, vegetables and meat is best. Your budget, location and schedule may not always make this easy. Read the labels in the store and get foods with the fewest preservatives, whole grains instead of processed, reduce the fatty foods from fast food restaurants, etc. and you can add more nutrition to your life. Did you know most dietitians consider a serving of meat to be about 3 ounces instead of the 8 to 16 ounces many of us eat?

Green tea supplements have been shown to help protect against some cancer causing agents and liquid vitamin and mineral supplements made from whole food sources provide the nutrients your body craves and your diet may not be providing.

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If you are like most people I know, you grew up eating 3 meals a day. These meals were often large and you still ended up snacking between meals.

Your body is a living machine and the food you eat is its fuel. Only so much of the food you eat at any given time can be used immediately. The rest of that fuel is stored as fat or passed out of your body as waste. If this is true, then part of EVERY large meal you eat is stored as fat and part of the food passes through you without doing anything more than giving you the pleasure of eating it.

If you divided your 3 large meals into 5 smaller meals, you’d be eating every two or three hours but your body wouldn’t get hungry for a snack and you would waste less energy because your body couldn’t handle the input.

A whole grain cereal for breakfast is nutritious and gives your body fuel it needs. Eat some fruit and cheese or another side 2-3 hours later to add protein and a fruit. Add a complex carbohydrate like a baked potato at midday and maybe a vegetable and protein. For a small meal 2-3 hours later you could add more fruit or a vegetable. The evening meal could be a variety of things with another snack 2-3 hours later.

Depending on your activity level and your exercise routine, you may find you will actually eat more and be getting in better shape just by altering what you eat and when.

Calories are fuel that your body burns, stores as fat or wastes. You determine the quality of the fuel you feed your body, when you feed it and how much you feed it.

Think of your frequent mini meals as a pipeline with quality fuel that stokes your engine when it needs it so fuel isn’t wasted.

You can use these mini meals plus plenty of water and an exercise program as your fat loss plan because you will NOT be hungry. Your body will not go into starvation mode if you don’t start out by reducing your calorie intake by more than 20 percent.

Cut your intake back too drastically and your body thinks it is starving regardless of how much you are eating. Reduce the intake by no more than 20 percent and space the meals out to every 2-3 hours and your body never gets hungry. You may reduce the intake again in 2-3 weeks which is what it will take your metabolism to accept the new food level as the norm.

It is up to you to decide whether you think 3 big meals or several smaller meals spaced every few hours makes more sense.

If you liked this article, I suggest you get Eating For Excellent Health Now! and I Love Exercising Now! to put yourself in the proper mindset for a permanent lifestyle change and Tom Venuto’s Burn Fat Gain Muscle book to learn the proper exercises and eating habits to maximize your control of both your nutrition and weight.

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Lowering cholesterol with food is often possible but you need the right knowledge, diet and will to change your lifestyle to lower your cholesterol without drugs. You also need to understand what cholesterol is and that not all cholesterol is bad.

LDL Cholesterol is what is often referred to as the ‘bad’ cholesterol.

HDL is what has been termed the ‘good’ cholesterol.

Your total cholesterol score is determined from a fasting cholesterol test and this is a measurement of the combined LDL, HDL and triglycerides in your blood. A non-fasting cholesterol test is done to determine just the LDL and HDL cholesterol levels.

Your body needs a small amount of cholesterol to function properly and your liver usually makes all the cholesterol your body needs. Some families have naturally high levels of cholesterol and need to carefully manage their lifestyles to help prevent heart disease.

Other factors that can affect your blood cholesterol levels are:

  • diet
  • weight
  • exercise
  • age
  • gender
  • diabetes
  • heredity as mentioned earlier
  • certain medical conditions and medications

With the proper diet, you can work on lowering your LDL levels and raising your HDL levels which will help prevent heart disease. Most foods you eat that are made from animal products contain cholesterol as does the meat, fish and poultry that you eat.

Red meat and poultry are high in cholesterol and fresh fruits and vegetables are high in soluble fiber which helps lower cholesterol. Know just that will show you that lowering cholesterol with food is possible by adjusting your diet.

To really understand cholesterol and everything you can do to take control of it, you really need the guide Heart Friendly Foods & Recipes which has a partial table of contents listed below:

What You May Learn About Cholesterol

What Is Cholesterol?
Causes of High Cholesterol
Types of Cholesterol
Symptoms of High Cholesterol
Test Your Knowledge on Cholesterol
Cholesterol Screening
Preparation for Cholesterol Test
Cholesterol Levels
Summary of Risk Levels
How to Control Cholesterol
Diet to Lower Cholesterol or
Diet to Control Cholesterol
Heart Friendly Foods
Cholesterol Lower Supplements
Vitamin to Lower Cholesterol
Healthy Tips
Foods High in Fats
Cooking Oil
Cook Healthfully
Smart Shopping
Junk Foods are Empty Calories
Understand the Food Labels
Tips for Remaining Active
Tips for Eating Out
Heart Friendly Recipes (175)
(Cholesterol Lower Recipes)

Your actions plus your family heritage and more determines whether lowering cholesterol with food is going to be enough. You informing yourself then acting on that information is the first step in taking control of your cholesterol and health.

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