Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chocolate! To eat or not

The more forbidden, the more it is craved. Many have fallen under the spell of chocolate and it is a reason for their struggle with weight gain and obesity. Some may justify their craving for chocolate with the argument that chocolate is considered healthy and has many great health benefits as it diminishes pain and reduce blood pressure. Just like everything, eating too much chocolate can cause weight gain. With no specific study to prove the reasons for these forbidden desires, here are some reasons that may explain why you crave chocolate. 

It is delicious! Chocolate satisfy the sweet tooth in an instant. Its rich and creamy texture allows the eater to savor every moment of eating it, and, if something tastes good, people are prone to want more of it. 

It feels good! Chocolate has been shown to stimulate serotonin- the happy hormone and other hormones whose reactions creates feelings that are similar to feelings of love. During PMS, chocolate helps women ward-off bad moods. 

It is an exclusive bite! As far back as the Aztec society, chocolate was regarded as a “food of the gods”. Only those born into nobility, priests and warriors were allowed to partake of this tasty treat. This exclusiveness of chocolate caused those who were forbidden to have it to crave it. Ordinary people wanted the luxury of indulging in a piece of chocolate as a way to feel special and pampered. These feelings of indulgence and desire are still associated with chocolate today.

However, the responsibility of choosing a healthy lifestyle still lies in your hands no matter how well the above reasons apply to you. Knowing what triggers the urge can help control the craving, or at least reduce them to a manageable level.

Monday, November 29, 2010


This post is sequel to the post what are you eating. Having listed some of the benefits you will get when you add fiber to your diet, here are some tips to boost your fiber intake.
  • Eat whole fruits and dried fruits with skins (apples, pears, orange with roughage etc.) instead of juice or canned fruits that have been pealed and have less fiber.
  • Increase your consumption of vegetables of all types, including plenty of raw vegetable salads and vegetable cuts.
  • Eat whole wheat bread (with visible grain particles) instead of white bread.
  • Choose high fiber carbohydrates like corn, Lima beans and peas. Eat high fiber cereals often.
  • Eat legumes several times a week
  • Eat the edible skins and seeds of vegetables. For example, the seeds of a cucumber, the skin of a baked potato.
  • Think nuts and seeds if you can afford the calories and fat content.
  • Eat brown rice instead of white rice (over processed)
  • If you eat crackers, look for the fiber rich ones.
  • Popcorn is a terrific high fiber, low fat snack. Add popcorn to your to your snack list.
Remember to increase your fluids when you add fiber to your diet, start slow to avoid intestinal discomfort. Lose weight by adding fiber to your diet, you will feel full longer and be less tempted to snack between meals. When you do snack, take fruits, vegetable cuts or nuts.

Add your own tip!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


If you are asked what you ate in your last meal what would you say? I asked some friends over lunch, here are the answers I got; pasta, rice and muffin with cocoa drink. I imagined a world where everyone will probably answer this question based on the nutrient content of the foods and being very aware of the health gain or loss from the foods. What I consider appropriate is getting answers like protein, carbohydrates, trans fat, fiber etc. and with the respondent being fully aware of could be happening in their bodies as a result of what they ate. Did I just mention fiber?

Fiber is a Cinderella story in nutrition. About 30 years ago, fiber was ‘roughage’- a non essential part of the diet, an indigestible residue of carbohydrate. It was known that fiber aided elimination and relieved constipation. Scientists and people who worried about their bowels cared about fiber, but most people paid little attention to it.

Times have changed. Now fiber has been elevated in stature to one of the most important nutrients in the promotion of health and the prevention and treatment of diseases. Increasing fiber content in our diet is very beneficial , here are some of the benefits.

Aiding elimination. Emptying your bowel everyday is one of the first steps to a healthy life. What would you say?
In the digestive tract, insoluble fiber contributes bulk and absorbs water, making us feel full. This bulking action also has a laxative effect and aids elimination.

Weight Control- Most fiber you eat stay in the digestive tract and do not provide calories. Many low calory fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber and make us feel fuller than calorie dense foods.
Diabetic Control- Soluble fiber in the diet has been shown to reduce insulin requirements, thus, improving control of blood sugar. Simultaneously, it decreases serum cholesterol and blood pressure.

Lowering Blood Cholesterol Levels- Soluble fibers (pectin, gums,beans, locust beans, oat bran etc) are very effective in lowering blood cholesterol levels whose effect when high or in excess is deadly. Adding fiber to your diet is a sure way to prevent cardiovascular disease.

Preventing Colon Cancer- Insoluble fiber (e.g. of source include whole grain, vegetables such as green beans, dark green vegetables, whole wheat, fruit skins and root vegetable skins, seeds and nuts) adds bulk to the contents of the intestine and this speeds up the transit time of meal’s remnants through the small and large intestines. This decrease the time that cells in the colon’s lining are exposed to toxins, including carcinogens that could be present, thus reducing the chances of colon cancer.

Having discussed a bit on fiber, it is time to as the question again hoping that you will give an answer. What have you been eating, how much of fiber do you eat?

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

CRAVE FOR CARBOHYDRATE. Guilty or not guilty?

Carbohydrates breakdown into simple sugars in our digestive system and provide us with energy. Without carbohydrates our bodies and minds would not be able to function properly. No doubt, many crave for a carbohydrate which is a reason for their challenging weight problem.

Crave for carbohydrate in many people is a hint of a decline in energy levels which can result from lack of nutrition, low blood sugar and addiction. Lack of nutrition can cause a hormone imbalance which can cause you to crave carbohydrate. Ultimately, most food cravings are associated with low blood sugar levels which often hit at the same time of the day, usually in the late afternoon or early morning. They may also occur when you are dieting or after a skipped meal. 

There are two types of carbohydrates: simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. Examples of complex carbohydrates are whole grain foods, legumes and vegetables. These are not readily absorbed in the body, as they first need to be broken down into simple sugars. Examples of simple carbohydrates are chocolate, cookies and carbonated drinks. These are easily absorbed and can be used immediately as energy. Hence the reason many people crave simple carbohydrates rather than complex carbohydrates, because their bodies needs an immediate energy boost

Have you ever felt that your body is feeling down, and somehow it believes that food will lift you up? Can you remember what you craved for the last time you were depressed, stressed, unhappy or just bored? These feeling can come as a result of low serotonin levels, and may cause you to crave for carbohydrates. When serotonin levels are low, your body sends signal to the brain letting it know that it is hungry. As soon as you eat, your serotonin levels are restored along with your energy. 

Chances are that you could be addicted to certain carbohydrates, and that is why you continuously crave them. For example, if you are used to eating a bowl of cereal before bedtime or a pastry after meal, your body becomes accustomed to it to the point where you crave it, even though you are not hungry.

Guilty? Here is a solution for you– Eat a wide variety of nutrients, do not skip meals especially breakfast. Try not to opt for junk foods but rather munch on healthy snacks through out the day.

What food do you crave presently?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Junk Junk Junk! Why you crave for them.

Rubbish, trash, garbage or scrap. They all are junks. They are widely available, low in cost, heavily promoted and good tasting. These ingredients produce a predictable, understandable, and inevitable consequence- an epidemic of diet related diseases. While they are convenient, they also tend to be high in fat, sugar, and calories.
Imagine yourself feeding from a trash can each time you feed on those foods we call junks (wink!). This is one of the reasons why many people add weight. Have you ever felt like the donuts in your office restaurant are calling your name, even though they are 200 feet away?
A certain individual simply said that it’s just a craving that needs to be satisfied. No doubt there are certain foods that you crave at some certain times of the day, month, or just based on your nutritional deficiencies, some of these foods could be healthy. When these foods are junk, you may need to know the reasons why you crave for them to enable you stop. Here are the reasons why you crave for junks.
Nutritional Deficiencies- Although there is little scientific evidence to back it, many people attribute cravings to nutritional deficiency. The theory is that if you are low on calcium, you will crave ice cream.  If you are anemic, you will crave meat. This theory is still unfounded.

Fatigue- A long day at work typically makes you tired. It also makes you stop by the nearest fast/junk food center on your way home instead of preparing a healthy. When they hit, the most common craving is for something sweet like Ice cream, sweet cake or perhaps a bottle of carbonated drink.  Sugar provides a quick burst of energy, which is what your body really craves.

Emotional swings- The reason for your crave for junks may be to cure emotional issues like stress, sadness, depression, or just feeling a little under the weather. People tend to lean toward foods that provide comfort, which generally contain grease, fat, sugar or just tons of calories. You might also be inclined to eat junk food during happy times and social events. Certain foods become synonymous with comfort and happiness, triggering those cravings when you are looking to be in that mood. If you are involved in a short term diets characterized by quick weight loss cause, you will feel deprived and have a serious desire to satisfy it. Instead of indulging, try doing some activity that you enjoy. Dance, play hide and seek with your children or take a walk. Become a long time healthy eater. Transition to a balanced healthy diet to avoid those swings.

Raging Hormone- This is very visible in most pregnant women. Her cravings changes every other week and when she wants a bowl of ice cream with cake, she wants them now! Many women knows that their period is coming when they can’t keep their hands out of the cookie jar, and gets more exercise opening the fridge than from a trip to the gym. Hormones, especially fluctuating ones, will cause cravings to go overboard. This is probably the reason why women seem to have many more cravings than men, and seem to “need” to satisfy them more than men do. Deal with this by keeping a lot of fruits and vegetable cuts in the refrigerator to enable you respond to your hormones in a healthy way.

Skipping breakfast- contrary to what many think, skipping breakfast is not a good way to cut calories, it can make your body to start to crave for something sweet and you may end up eating more at lunch, or relieving your hunger with unhealthy and less nutritious snacks “quick fixes”. Imagine a busy morning at the office on a day that you skipped your breakfast, the most convenient food once the hunger pang comes calling is usually the doughnut or cheese burger from the staff restaurant or the closest ‘junk food’ vendor.
Psychological happenings- This could explain some of the reasons for your cravings. Smelling cookies baking or merely seeing a commercial for biscuits etc. can trigger a craving in you. Fight the cravings by satisfying them in more productive ways like grabbing a carrot!

Stay away from all kinds of junk foods and replace them with fruits for your sweet tooth, popcorn for your salty tooth, and all natural juice instead of carbonated beverages. Read your food labels and walk away from those containing Trans fats.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dieting, Eating Disorders, and Obesity in America

Follow link and read an interesting post.
Just Health: Dieting, Eating Disorders, and Obesity in America: "By Maria Rainier- Guest Blogger I received a note in my mail box this morning that my insurance company would be raising my premium because..."

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I believe in miracles, but not in “miracle weight loss”.  I do not believe that weight loss attempts can be successful without the individual making an effort in exercise, diet and entire lifestyle modification. 

Painful enough, there are many quick fix weight loss solutions with uncertain promises, yet individuals in need of weight solution patronize them. If you have tried and did not succeed, try these tips and be guaranteed of success.

  • Do not skip meals; develop a regular eating plan of 3 meals and 2 snacks per day.
  • Make a healthy snack choice.
  • Eat plenty fruit and vegetables.
  • Eat whole grains and get rid of white flour, white pasta, white rice and simple carbohydrates.
  • Eat plenty of lean protein
  • Study your body’s calorie need, and make sure that you burn off more calories than you are taking in.
  • Avoid sodas and other carbonated drinks, fresh fruit juices are a far healthier option.
  • Plan your meals, snacks and exercise ahead if you intend to be successful in your efforts.
  • Include exercise as part of your weight loss plan.
  • Remember that you can not eat your cake and have it, avoid the much publicized slimmer’s snacks and other allegedly ‘healthier’ alternatives to the foods we can’t resist. ‘low-fat’ and ‘reduced fat’ claims on most food labels simply means that the product has slightly fewer calories than another similar product, and research shows that we tend to eat more of the foods that we believe are lower in calories.
Add your own tip.