You are viewing diethack's blog MyFitnessPal is a 100% Free Calorie Counter and Diet Plan
Hey, I am a med student who likes to write. Each week I provide a handful of tips that will help you in your quest to become healthier.

How to Maintain A Balanced Sugar Level In Your Diet

Written: 10/29/2007 | Join the discussion (1)

Today I noticed a few girls eating during the break between two courses. Teasing them, I told them to get up early to be able enjoy a good breakfast. I was shocked when they told me they had their usual breakfast but they were already hungry by 10.

What makes us hungry is a decrease in the blood sugar level detected by the organism. We need a constant supply of glucose for a good performance of the brain. All carbohydrates when broken down by the digestive system result in the simple sugar called glucose which is the major fuel for the brain. But each molecule of glucose has a different spatial arrangement which determines the time of degradation of the particular carbohydrate it forms.

To keep a steady and long lasting flow of glucose to the brain, we need to consume the highly branched carbohydrates so as to avoid eating all day long. This good habit will helps us on the other hand from picking up weight and keep us away from diseases like diabetes. Diabetes is a situation where the body is unable to self-monitor its level of sugar, bringing disorder to the stable organism's environment. Complications of diabetes include renal dysfunctions which can lead to renal failure, eyes problems and brain damage.

Tips to keep a balanced blood sugar level

  • Your Breakfast
    • Avoid corn syrup or high fructose syrup sweetened cereals. They do not last long in the digestive tracks.

    • In exchange, for your breakfast, you can consume muesli and yogurt. Muesli is a mixture of wholegrain cereals, dry raisins, banana chips, almonds, sun flower seeds, chopped almonds, pear, apple and nuts which will provide you with the necessary energy till lunch.

    • Consume soy milk or tofu as they contain high quality proteins which keeps the digested carbohydrates for a longer time in the stomach.

  • Your Meal
    • For your meal, avoid foods made from refined flour. They are the less branched glucose molecules and are quickly assimilated by the body. Chips, white flour are perfect examples.

    • Instead, select slow digestive carbohydrates like pasta, brown rice and whole grain bread.

    • High quality proteins tend to last longer in the stomach and digestive tracks. So include meat, chicken, eggs, fish, seafood, cottage cheese, beans, lentils and tofu in your lunch and dinner.

    • Healthy fats help to reduce the consumption of sugar hence helping in having a balanced sugar level. Avocados and nuts are perfect examples.

    • Salads are one type of sugar that cannot be digested by the human body. Nevertheless they play an important role in preventing to us overeat as well as avoid constipation.

  • Your drink
    • Avoid soft drinks as far as possible. A can of soft drink can contain about 12 to 15 tablespoons of sugar.

    • As beverage, you can have fresh juice or simply a big glass of water.

  • Teatime and snacks
    • And finally for tea lovers who like to accompany their tea with a snack, wafers made from wholegrain rice and containing peanut butter are most welcome. Porridge too is a very good idea. To sweeten your tea, use raw sugar instead of the refined white sugar.
    A too high or too low level of sugar level refrains the body from functioning properly. So from now on develop the good habit of eating a well balanced diet while having a close look at the type of carbohydrates and fats you are including in your diet.

    - Harry

    Ways to Minimize The Effects of a Hangover

    Written: 10/29/2007 | Join the discussion (1)

    I woke up with a terrible headache this morning after drinking a lot yesterday at a friend's birthday party and I'm sure now after this, you won't ever catch me again with a pounding headache in the morning.

    Why Do You Have A Hangover?

    Headaches, Irritability, Stomach pains, Nausea, Vomit are well known symptoms of those who are accustomed to alcohol. The following hypotheses have been given to explain the symptoms of a hangover:
    • The headaches can be explained due to the release of a toxic substance during the degradation of the alcohol in the bloodstream, by the additives in certain alcoholic drinks or by the impurities present in some distilled alcohols.

    • Nausea and stomach pains can be due to the irritation of the inner lining of our stomach.

    • Alcohol is a dehydrating drink, which can amplify the symptoms linked to an over-consumption of alcohol.

    • Alcohol is a sedative and if consumed in excess, can cause a state of drowsiness similar to the effects produced by sleeping pills. And like in the case of sleeping pills, it is normal to feel a feeling of nervousness and irritability when you wake up after the tranquilizing effects of the pills have dissipated.

    • The consumption of alcohol increase the acidity in your body and destabilize your nervous system and decrease your reflexes.

    How to decrease the effects of alcohol

    There is no miracle product to get rid of hangover at will. The only true cure for hangovers is time... that the alcohol takes to degrade. However there are some means to decrease the effects of the alcohol.

    Change the wine.... into water!

    Drinking a lot of water is the most important way to avoid acute headache and to tolerate more the alcohol. Alcohol makes you urinate more and it will make you lose a lot of water, even more if you drink it "dry". If take down a few shots of whisky without diluting it with a juice or water, then you are a guaranteed an acute headache the other day. Note that coffee can help you clear your head during a hangover but it is "diuretic" and will decrease the amount of water in your body by making you urinate more.

    Eat good things

    Eating a lot of salted chips or other salted snacks during a drink is not a very good idea because they will make you feel more thirsty. You will tend to drink more to get rid of the feeling of thirst. (This is one of the technique employed by many bars and discotheques which give free salted nuts or other salted products to their clients. This is not a free service but a mean to entice you to drink more.) One thing you can do is to eat a lot of protein-rich foods like meat, etc... or starchy foods. They will take longer to digest and will have a damping effect on the absorption of the alcohol by your body.


    Take about 1000 mg to 3000 mg of ginseng before the party. You will be able to support the effect of alcohol better and your mind will be more focused without having to resort to a cup of coffee. Ginseng also helps the liver in its job to neutralize the toxic agents in alcohol. Ginseng accelerates the decomposition and the elimination of alcohol. But note that you must not take ginseng just before bed, else sleep will take a long time to arrive because the plant has a stimulating effect on the nervous system.

    Choose your drink carefully

    Certain types of alcohol are more incline to give you a headache.
    • Certain alcohol drinks contain impurities like rum, bourbon or cognac. The more an alcoholic drink's color is dark, the more impure it is; "vodka" is one of the purest alcoholic drink. Sake remains the choice though if you want to drink more than the usual.

    • Champagne and some wines loaded with sugars are the usual generators of headache.

    • Certain low quality drinks contain additives that can cause asthma crisis, migraines and other undesirable effects. So better invest more money in quality drinks and avoid painful tomorrows.
    Sex counts

    Women generally tolerate alcohol less than men. It is one of the reasons why women are asked to limit themselves to one or two drinks while men are usually limited to 2 or 3 drinks. When a woman drinks the same amount of alcohol as a man, the concentration of alcohol in her blood is higher. Intoxication comes more quickly. This vulnerability of some women to alcoholic drinks is due to 3 causes:
    • Volume of a woman's body compared to that of a man is less. Proportionally, the concentration of alcohol is more in women than men.

    • The body of a woman has more fat and less water than a man's body. As alcohol dissolves in water (blood in this case), it is more concentrated in women than in men.

    • Alcohol is degraded more rapidly by men than women.
    To AVOID
    • Avoid taking alcohol with medications.

    • Taking aspirin before drinking or before going to bed is not advised. If you have a headache, you must wait at least 4 hours before your last drink to take aspirins.

    • Combining several alcoholic drinks together. It is generally not advised because you may get ill and also the mixing of two or more alcohols like in a cocktail make it harder for the stomach to get rid of them.

    • Driving after more than two drinks!

    How to survive the hangover
    • Continue to drink a lot of water.

    • Avoid eating acidic foods to remove the load on your stomach. Foods rich in proteins and foods like chocolate, coffee (other drinks which contain caffeine like cola soda), orange juice, spicy sauces, meals based on tomatoes,etc...

    • Take natural fruit juices. (Avoid orange juice because of its high acidity.)

    • Even if you think this is beyond your capacity, try to eat a wholesome breakfast but which is easy to digest like toasts with honey.

    • Drink a vegetable or chicken soup.

    • Take an energy drink if you are feeling very tired out because it will replenish any loss of salts like sodium and potassium. Avoid drinks with caffeine content though.

    • Take more ginseng.

    The above methods will dampen the effects of a terrible hangover but the only efficient method to get rid of hangovers is to avoid drinking too much.

    7 Triggers of Acute Stress at Work and How to Overcome Them

    Written: 10/27/2007 | Join the discussion (0)

    I've written extensively on how to get rid of stress out of your life. Now let's take a look at the causes of stress at work and how to get rid of them both for the employees and employers.

    Mood down? Tired Out? Not motivated any more? All these reactions can be linked directly to an excess of stress at work. Over the long term, stress can affect your mind and form an explosive cocktail for your health.

    Here are the 7 major causes of stress at work and how employers and employees can work it out together:

    1. Too much work
      Overwork is the major cause of all the stress you accumulate at work. Having a job requires many hours of work, very little sleep, and can be very demanding both physically and physiologically.

      Employee: The first thing to do is to analyze the situation. You must determine whether you are really overtaxed with work or is it the way you are doing the work that is wrong. Some questions to ask yourself: Is my quality criteria too high? Do I have difficulty in refusing work given to me? Am I too hard on myself?

      Compare your output to your colleagues or other people in the same situation as yourself. Use objective measures like the number of sales done, number of patients treated, number of files completed.

      Visualize your work as steps instead of a mountain of work. Before embarking on an ambitious project, break it into smaller manageable parts. Also do not try to dramatize unnecessarily. Your company will not sack you if you have not reached the objective predicted.

      Employer: The solution is never to look for new recruits. You must always evaluate the amount of work with your employee. If the employee participates in the evaluation of the work, he will be more likely to accept the work given and commit to it.

    2. Not enough autonomy
      The more an employee has the upper hand on the work assigned to them, the less likely will they stress and prone to fatigue and heart problems. Having autonomy at work means the possibility to make decisions about the work given and how to get it done. Having the opportunity to make full use of one's potential and to develop new ones is another important factor.

      Employee: It is important for you to clarify your role with your boss and to fully understand your role and the limitations of your actions on a given task. If after this, you still do not have enough liberty to get the job done, you must have a sincere talk about this with your employer. Here is a way to approach the latter:

      "I appreciate working with you a lot, but I am sometimes under the impression that you desire the work be done in the way you like. This prevents me from doing the job well because I have a tendency to second guess my actions too much. I am sure I'll work better if you give me some liberty to do the work the way I want as long as the result hits the goal."

      Being constantly spied on can be detrimental to your working condition. With a boss who likes to keep an eye on everything, tell him about every step you are undertaking. This will help you develop a 'rapport' with your boss.

      Employer: Learn to trust your subordinates and to delegate not only your work, but a little of the power that comes with it. Micro-management is an outdated method. It is by fixing objectives with your employees and giving them enough resources to continue on their own that they become more productive.

    3. Not enough recognition (Praises)
      Everybody that gravitates around you - boss, colleagues, clients, patients, collaborators - contribute to building your motivation. The employer's recognition is the one which is of utmost importance. Recognition en globes every proof of appreciation (like respect, encouragements, promotions, participation in decision making, increase in salary, etc.) which reinforces the belief that the work in which you are doing and your presence are both appreciated. It is a very important fuel to combat stress.

      Employee: Since recognition comes from others, there is nothing you can do about it. It is important to realize that not everybody expresses their gratitude in the same fashion. Some employers are less demonstrative and this does not mean that they do not appreciate the efforts you are putting in your work.

      Employer: The annual evaluation and the increase in salary are important motivational factors but not important enough to boost the employees in their daily work. The first demand of employees is to receive a simple "Good morning" every morning and a simple thanks for their good work. Also take the time to make your praise on an individual basis rather than a group thing. Besides being present for the employees to help them and showing an interest in what they doing, this can only add to the elimination of the stress of the employees at work.

    4. Conflicts
      Closing your eyes on a conflict and adopting the ostrich method is the least recommended approach to solve a problem. Stress, anxiety and sometimes depression are the possible consequences of a persisting conflict. Communication between different members of a team or unit is the most important factor here.

      Employer: Avoid frustration by having an open discussion with the concerned person. Without openly criticizing the other person, if you feel that you are not being respected or listened to, it is important to talk about it. If for example, the music played by a colleague is affecting your concentration, it is important to talk about it with him without using an accusatory or menacing tone. Mutual adjustments are generally possible but certain personality types are less compatible. Sometimes you must realize that after all it is just professional relationships between colleagues and there is no need for 'love and intimacy' between colleagues to get the work done.

      Employer: Keep in mind that time does not arrange everything and that the sooner a conflict is solved, the better it will be for everybody. Sometimes employers are uncomfortable about this and tend to wait for "things to settle down" before attempting any reconciliation between the concerned parties. This will just delay the problem because the feeling of unease among colleagues will just increase as time goes by. If you are feel that you are incapable of handling this, do not hesitate to use the help of a mediator.

    5. A feeling of injustice
      An employee may find himself treated inferiorly in respect to his other colleagues if the latter's are benefiting from advantages he/she is not allowed to, albeit financial privileges, flexibility in work schedule or particular attention from the employer. This feeling of injustice at the workplace can create tremendous stress and generate conflicts among employees. A work medium which encourages competitively is a breeding ground for this kind of behavior.

      Employee: The best way to cope with this is to have a frank talk with your boss. It is most often due to a bad communication between employee and employer or lack of information on the subject. More there is transparency in the management, the better the employees will adjust their perceptions to reality.

      Employer: Without completely eliminating the privileges, use them with moderation. You must make a distinction between recognition and privilege. Like all privileges, if one employee is rewarded for his/her good work, the others will be waiting for the same. Also, let the employees participate in the decision making. Most of the time, employees resent the fact that they have not been consulted in a decision that concerns them.

    6. An imbalance between work and personal life
      If work overrides our personal life and we lack time for our personal or family activities, a chronic stress can affect us.

      Employee: Work addicts must learn how to take a distance from work. For example, using technologies that connect us 24/7 with our workplace is not a very good thing. Cellphones, laptops, smartphones, pagers, etc. are all gadgets which can become effective traps to tie you to your job. Many people feel the need to respond to a client 24/7 because of the fear of losing them. What employees do not understand is that most clients understand that they cannot and will not be attended to on a 24 hour basis. A general rule for a company to follow is to allow itself to lose a few clients so as not to endanger itself. There is no bad in doing supplemental hours as long as it is a personal choice and not something forced on you. Some employees do not take work home but their mind is always focused on their work, even at home. They may feel guilty of not devoting more time to work. If you are having these kinds of thoughts, remind yourself that you have already completed today's work and when you are home, spend time with and focus on your family. Like food, work also depends on you. You know that your health will suffer if you take another portion of this delicious but unhealthy food.

      Employer: Employers who take into account the life context of its employees by having a human resource management team, save a lot economically in the long term. If you invest in the well-being of your employees who have family duties, for example, by creating a nursery room and allowing flexibility in their schedule, the benefits will be enormous. Organizations which make these choices have employees who are more motivated, in better health, less stressed and more grateful to their employers. The rate of absenteeism in these organizations decrease considerably.

    7. Search for a sense of purpose
      Demotivation, boredom, devoid of emotions towards your work, feeling of emptiness inside: are you losing the desire to invest yourself in your work?

      You may feel at one time during your career that this is not the work that was meant for you. You may sometimes ask yourself the following questions: Does my work have the impact I want on society? Does it hurt my ideals? All will depend on the importance you give to your work.

      Employer: If you have the chance to choose a job which satisfies you on all levels, then all the best to you. Else, you can look for this satisfaction elsewhere in your sphere of life.

      Employee: Every little sign of recognition or praise help the employee finds a sense of purpose in his/her work. Tell your employee sincerely that you and many others are appreciating the great work he/she is doing. This can change everything in the attitude of your employee towards his/her job. But most important of all is to listen to them. Most of the solutions to the problems encountered by your employees can be solved just by actively listening to them.
    Stress at work sometimes can be very difficult to manage but with a little effort on both parts: employees and employers, the impact of stress at work can be significantly minimized.

    Why You Should Avoid Packed Juices

    Written: 10/25/2007 | Join the discussion (0)

    Everyone is aware of the 4 to 5 fresh fruits and vegetables intake
    recommended by the FDA to stay healthy. But at times I find it very difficult to reach the daily quota of fruits. That is until I discovered the virtues of home-made fruit and vegetable juices which is surely the most convenient and easiest way to meet that recommendation.

    Fresh home-made juices are important in a diet to maintain a good health. They are also very tasty and packed with natural vitamins, fibre, minerals and flavonoids (antioxidants).

    Health benefits of fruit based juices are:
    1. Protection against premature aging of body cells. This property is conferred by the presence of flavonoids which are excellent antioxidants and also by vitamin B, C and E. Flavonoids are also important due to their antiviral, anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor activities.

    2. They contain elements that act as barriers against sunlight or more precisely ultra-violet rays.

    3. They help in lowering risk of developing cancers.

    4. They contain chlorophyll which help in the synthesis of oxygen-carrying compounds (hemoglobin) in the blood.

    5. They contain fibre which enhance nutrient absorption and reduces the number of fat molecules reaching the blood stream.

    6. They contain vitamin C that prevents scurvy disease which is the bleeding of gums and dislodging of tooth from their cavities.

    7. They contain metals like iron which prevent deficiency disease like anemia which is a condition where the body cannot carry enough oxygen to all parts of the body.

    8. They prevent dehydration of cells as they contain 65% of clean and pure water.

    9. According to recent studies fruit juices can cut the risks of contracting Alzheimer's.

    10. Unlike certain rumors fresh fruit juices does not cause weight gain.


    Five reasons to choose homemade drinks over packed beverages.
    1. Most packed juices are stuffed with sugar which make these beverages more caloric than a fresh blended fruit.

    2. Natural fruits does not contain any artificial food colorings or additives which are often not very good to our body. Such fruits juices can be distinguished from a homemade juice through the light or strong coloration of the tongue upon consumption.

    3. The skin which contains much fibre are removed in packed juice. Skin of grapes and other fruits contains cancer preventing molecules.

    4. Many fruit juices are boiled before packing to kill bacteria but in the process important vitamins and natural elements, essential to the body are destroyed.

    5. The packed fruit juices are filtered from pulps before canned and boxed to maintain a good fluidity. These pulps contains most of the antioxidants. And those drinks labeled with added pulp are not very viable because there are no guarantee that it is the original natural pulp which is redded.

    Juices that provide health benefits:

  • Pomegranate juice. It is a rich source of antioxidants and has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol - the bad, artery-clogging cholesterol. It is said to start having effect on partially blocked coronary arteries, hence reducing the risk of having a heart attack. It also may slow the growth of prostate cancer.

  • Orange juice. This drink are the favorites of many for breakfast. It also helps people prevent recurrences of painful kidney stones. It is believed that a daily glass of orange juice can reduce the incidence of kidney stones better than other citrus drinks, such as lemonade. It is known for its ability to reduce cardiovascular diseases too.

  • Cranberry juice. It is an excellent remedy for urinary tract infections in sexually active women.

  • Grape juice. It is well known that red wine may be good for the heart. Similar benefits can be enjoyed by consuming grape juice.

  • Blueberry juice. Like cranberries this juice has the virtues of curing urinary tract infections and help maintain the brain in good working conditions especially in aged people.

  • I am in no way against those who consume packed juices but in my opinion they are just water stuffed with sugar and deprived of most of their nutritive contents. Having a fresh whole fruit or a blend of fresh fruits is much better than those juice.

    Reference: Raw Foods - Benefits of Juicing

    - Harry

    Optimize Your Diet For An Effective Workout

    Written: 10/25/2007 | Join the discussion (0)

    For many people the consequences of bad nutrition are numberous: lack of energy, a longer convalescent period, dizziness, high risks of illness, anemia, tendency to get fatigue easily, etc.

    You can enjoy physical activities more and prevent the consequences of poor nutrition if you better adapt to your energy needs. Energy needs for any physical activity depend on a balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat intake.

    • Rule 1: Focus first on the carbs
      Carbs are either complex or easy to digest. The complex carbs constitute the primary source of energy for humans. Without these complex carbs we wouldn't have been able to go far. As they are absorbed slowly into our system, they provide us with energy over a long period of time. This is contrary to the rapid carbs which can be easily metabolized to give us energy for a short period.

      30 to 60 minutes before a workout, privilege the consumption of rapidly-metabolized carbs like cereal bars or certain fruit juices. These carbs will provide you with instant energy for the duration of your exercise. However if these same foods are consumed 2 or 3 hours before your workout, they would have already been metabolized thus decreasing the sugar level in your blood (glycemia index).

      The day before and the day during your physical activity, you must get your daily calorie intake from foods with a high level of complex carbs.

      Best sources of complex carbs: Brown rice, pasta, whole-meal bread, cereals, beans and lentils.

    • Rule 2: Consume sufficient "lean" proteins
      Proteins are also an important part of your diet. Proteins promote the stability of energy distribution in your body. They also contribute to the build-up and repair of fragmented tissues and muscular fibers in your body. Many foods which contain proteins also contain fats. You must avoid these kind of foods.

      Best sources of "lean" proteins: skinned meat, fish, lean meat, eggs, fat-free cheese, fat-free yogurt, skimmed milk, tofu and soya milk.

    • Rule 3: Limit the fat
      Be it good or bad fat, it is better to limit the intake of fat before and after a workout. Avoiding them altogether is even better! Fats take a long time to digest - refer to the Calorie article for further details on the process. A very consuming digestive process coupled with an intense workout is the best recipe for acute abdominal pains (stomach ache). It is for the same reason that you must avoid spicy foods before a workout. However, a few hours after your exercises, you can consume good fats like olive oil, nuts and beans.

    • Rule 4: Drink a lot of water
      It is never enough to stress the importance of drinking water and even more when you are exercising. Two hours before the workout, it is essential to drink about 400 ml to 600 ml of water. This is the equivalent of two to three large glasses. Avoid drinks like coffee, soda, and some energy drinks because they hydrate your body very little.
    So to put this into action:
    • Before the Exercise
      Two to four hours before the activity: a sustainable meal


      • Skinned milk, brown rice, green beans, skimmed milk, an apple, cereal bars, brown almonds

      • Eggs, cottage cheese, wholewheat bread, fruit salad

      • Pasta, Spaghetti sauce (half meat, half lentil), lettuces, a little homemade vinegar (containing olive oil), yogurt

      • wholewheat bread, homemade fruit juice, chicken salad, soya pudding

      • Vegetarian sandwich (bread, veggies, cheese), fruit, yoghurt

      • Fish, broccoli, soya milk

      • Water

      NOT Recommended:
      • Cheese with lots of fat, meat with fats, bacon, sausage, chicken skin, butter, sauces, cream, cakes

      • Coffee, Soda

      • Energy drinks like Red Bull (because they have a high sugar and caffeine content.)

    • 30 to 60 minutes before the physical activity


      • Light yogurt with fruits

      • A small portion of rice

      • Cereal bars

      • Homemade fruit juice

      • Soya milk

      • Water

      NOT Recommended:
      • Cheese with lots of fat, meat with fats, bacon, sausage, chicken skin, butter, sauces, cream, cakes

      • Coffee, Soda

      • Energy drinks like Red Bull (because they have a high sugar and caffeine content.)

      • Vegetables and cereals with a lot fiber content

    • Just before the activity
      Recommended: A drink made of homemade fruit juices and water (half-half).

      NOT Recommended: Eating!

    • During the Exercise
      Drink small quantities of water (150 ml to 350 ml) every 15 to 20 minutes. The body does not absorb more than 1 litre of water in an hour. Therefore it is important to drink regularly during an exercise, even when you do not feel thirsty.

      • Activity less than one hour:

        • Drink natural water.

        • Activity between 1 to 3 hours: Drink a fruit juice or a drink which contains sugar (not more than 8 g of glucides for 100 ml).

        • Activity of more than 3 hours: Take a drink which contains both sugar and some salt. Please note that a rehydrating drink which contains sodium and potassium (both are salts) is not that important if the activity is less than 3 hours unless there is excessive sweating during the efforts.

        NOTE: Beware of Over-Hydrating! Too much drinking is unsafe for your health. Over-drinking, like more than 9.5 litres of water per day can lead to a condition known as hyponatremia (a decrease in the concentration of salt (sodium) in your body) which can lead to a brain damage, coma and even death. Over-drinking is more apt to occur to people who do marathons, triathlons and those who take part in activities which take a lot of time to do.

    • After the exercise
      Drink, drink and drink even more: With sufficient drinking, you can manage to compensate the loss of water due to sweating during the physical activity. Do not wait to be thirsty because the sensation of thirst is a sign that you are dehydrating right now.

      Take a recuperating drink: A recuperating drink is very important for hardcore or pro athletes to replenish the muscular reserve and repair any damaged tissues. A very straining exercise can deplete your muscular reserve very quickly. It is important to replenish this reserve in the 30 minutes following the exercise. Your muscles will have the necessary ingredients to rebuild their reserve. In these cases, the recuperating drinks must furnish you with minimum 50 g of glucides.

      NOTE: If you are doing moderate exercises, a recuperating drink is not needed for you. It will just replenish the amount of calories you have been losing during the exercise. A balanced meal is enough.
    Doing an exercise and eating correctly is the quickest and best way to shed off weight.

    7 Essential Points How Deep Breathing Can Have A Positive Impact On Your Life

    Written: 10/24/2007 | Join the discussion (0)

    Recently I have been feeling very tired during the day and was always falling asleep whenever I was reading some books or resting somewhere. I was very perplexed about it before realising that I had completely stopped my daily morning and night deep breathing exercise. Deep breathing is essential to everyone especially to those leading a sedentary life like students and people working in enclosed offices.

    We often don't realise that quick and shallow breathing just help to sustain the strict minimum but vital oxygenation of our body organs and cells. I am sure that the only moment you practise deep breathing is when your are short of breath after running to catch the bus or taxi to get to work or return home.

    So to avoid such tiredness and be more fit to tackle a hard day's work, here is a simple solution : DEEP BREATHING

    Always start your deep breathing exercises where there is a good air circulation; either in your balcony, garden or in front of your window in case you can't afford open spaces. Deep breathing brings a lot of benefits to all parts of your body and also to your physique.

    Here are the benefits of deep breathing:

    1. Boost your brain

      Despite having a good nutrient circulation towards the brain, it cannot function to its optimum level unless it is fed with a rich supply of oxygen. A brain deprived of a rich oxygen supply can be damaged irreversibly. So ensure a good supply of oxygen to your brain by practising deep breathing as often as you can. It will enhance your brain's performance.

    2. Lose weight

      Deep breathing also helps you to lose weight as they boost your metabolism. When you inhale longer you take in much more oxygen. It is then distributed to the cells which can practise more aerobic respiration (the most effective combustion of food which uses oxygen as a fuel. You get water and carbon dioxide as a by-product. The carbon dioxide is eliminated when you breathe out). However when you take in short, unregular, rapid breaths, a certain amount of cells is distributed with a smaller percentage of its usual oxygen consumption which leave the cells with no option than to use anaerobic respiration. (The nutrients in the food are only partially broken down and the by-products are either reused later or stocked as reserves in the form of fat most of the time.)

    3. Improve your circulatory system

      The blood circulation also benefits a lot from deep breathing. The more oxygen we inhale, the better it is for our circulatory system as far more wastes and toxins are dumped in the blood to be excreted. This implies your cells, tissues and organs in good health and better working conditions and you have a more stable body condition.

    4. Get rid of stress

      Deep breathing is also a good weapon to fight stress. It releases endorphins(secretions of well being) into the system. This can help relieve headaches, sleeplessness, backaches and other stress related aches and pains. This is why it is advised to take deep breaths before tackling stressful situations.

    5. Improve your digestive system

      Deep breathing helps toughen most of the abdominal muscles and organs. When taking in deep breath and exhaling long enough, one can feel his belly's muscles working in collaboration with the thorax. These contractions and relaxations keep them in good working conditions as well as the internal organs like the stomach and liver which are also massaged during the upward and downward mouvements of the abdominal cavity. Deep breathing is also linked to a better digestion and absorbtion of nutrients in the blood streams. Since the blood is richer in oxygen the cells are more efficient in their specific functions.

    6. Improve your heart

      Deep breathing also helps the heart in doing its job as the latter has to pump less frequently. A lower heart rate reduces excess pressure thus preventing hypertension(high blood pressure in th blood vessels) which is a case when the heart has to pump more vigourously to be able irrigate all organs with blood. Consequences of prolonged exposure to high blood pressure by organs leads to brain damage, renal failure and even heart failure due to overworking of the heart muscles.

    7. Improve your sleep and/or nap

      Deep breathing furthermore helps in having a good night sleep. This is the reason why it is said we should never cover our head with our blankets while sleeping. The brain cells are deprived of oxygen and cannot function properly and hence cannot give correct directives to the other organs working under its control.

    Note: It is also advised to take a small nap of 15-30 minutes a day during the afternoon to increase your own performance, creativity and productivity.

    - Harry

    Six Myths About Acne Most People Take For the Truth

    Written: 10/23/2007 | Join the discussion (0)

    Editor's note: This article is in response to a reader's question. Mitesh wanted to know if acne is linked in any way to diet. I answered his question in the first point. If you have any questions related to diet, health and fitness, please do not hesitate to contact me on or through the contact form.

    Namely a skin disease, acne appears most often during adolescence. Generally not that dangerous to health, sometimes it can require drastic treatments to get rid of acne. The most affecting part of acne though, are the scars left behind and the trauma suffered by adolescents in the eyes of their peers. Many people treat acne on hearsay without actually knowing that sometimes what seems to have worked for others may not work for you.

    Here are 6 of these so called "hearsays" or myths:
    1. Acne is due to your diet.

      The food plays virtually no role in the outbreak of acne. In reality, acne occurs as a result of the closure of your hair follicles (roots of your hairs in your skin). After an excessive production of sebum (oil), the pores in your skin become clogged and you start to see blackspots also known as blackheads which appear. Acne occurs also due to an inflammation inside of your hair follicles or infection due to a bacteria. Stress can also be a factor for the advent of acne due to inbalance hormone production in your body. If you have got acne, you can eat normally but healthily.

    2. Acne is a youth disease which disappears when you reach adulthood.
      This is not exactly false because the most severe cases of acne are found in adolescents and young adults. But like most people say, for some people acne doesn't disappear due to 'marriage'. Its high frequency among adolescents can be explained due to the fact that it is at this age that there is a surge in the level of sex hormones. This hormonal activity stimulates the release of sebum on your skin and it is this release, which ultimately causes acne. For people who continues to have a high hormonal activity, you will most of the time, see them plague with acne too. Also contrary to popular beliefs, acne sometimes occur before adolescence. Indeed it is between the age of 6 to 10 years that begins the production of the sex hormones. Sometimes you can see acne also on babies which are a few weeks old. This can be due to the mother which has had an increase in hormones during pregnancy.

    3. Acne is due to a bad hygiene.
      This is not true. Certainly hygiene plays a very important part in the well being of a person but acne doesn't sprout from a person not being that clean. Acne is due to an excess of sebum inside the hair follicles. On the contrary, certain adolescents tend to aggravate their situation by cleaning the acne too much which can spread the inflammation. Too much cleaning can trigger the formation of more sebum. If you have got acne, do not touch the infected parts and use a mild soap to wash your face.

    4. Acne is contagious.
      Although the lesions of acne contain small bacteria, this disease is not infectious. Indeed the proliferation of the bacteria occurs deep inside the skin, away from air and oxygen. Besides many people which do not have acne, have got this bacteria living on their skin.

    5. Acne heals with the sunlight.
      In fact, the sun is responsible for further inflammation of the deceased skin. During a first period, the sun will drain the lesions and dry the skin by increasing its thickness. You will think that the acne has disappeared. But once the sun has gone down, the inflammation will start again and will spread further across your skin. Be careful about this. If you are taking medications, read the label. Some medications specify not to go out in the sun when taking them. Better protect yourself and do not use oil to sunbathe because the application of oily products on a skin with acne is not recommended.

    6. Acne does not allow you to apply make-up.
      Make-up is possible if you take care to use products produced specifically for acne skin. Ask your pharmacist for these products and take care to read the label well to see if the products work with the type of acne you have because there exists various kind of acne. In all cases, clean your skin every day and take care to remove all the make-up. Apply a day or night cream only on a clean skin.

    The Truth About Eating Salad

    Written: 10/22/2007 | Join the discussion (0)

    Editor's note: This article is written by my buddy Harry who is also the world's greatest salad eater! ;)

    Everyone knows that salad is an important component in a diet. For that particular reason fast food outlets worldwide have salads on their meals so as to make it more nutritious. Nevertheless, salads need to be lightly dressed for us to benefit the most. This does not apply only to salads, but to every dish we eat as healthy fats, even in small portion, promotes the absorption of nutrients and important vitamins.

    6 Virtues of Salads are:
    1. They contain fibre which allows good absorption of nutrients during digestion.

    2. They consist of important vitamins like vitamin A (prevent night blindness), C, E, B6 and folic acid which help to improve the immune system, decrease obesity, heart disease and chronic illness.

    3. They possess the capacity to retain water in the undigested food, thus preventing constipation.

    4. They are bulky hence filling our stomach, helping us from overeating.

    5. They contain antioxidants which help us to maintain health and prevent diseases such as cancer and heart diseases.

    6. An excess of salad will in most case do you no harm concerning weight and health.
    So the best way to consume a salad is to prepare a dressing which contains a minimum of good fat.

    A good and healthy dressing consists of:
    • Oil : The healthiest oil include extra-virgin olive oil or flax seed oil as they contain the good fat known as HDL and in omega3 oils

    • Vinegar or fresh lemon juice(rich source of vitamin C)

    • Slices of fresh tomato

    • Thin slices of onion

    • Dijon mustard (optional)

    • Salt and black pepper to taste
    Tips to make the most of your salad
    1. Vitamins C are water soluble vitamins. Always wash your salad before cutting or shredding.

    2. Almost all vitamins are not heat resistant. Keep your salad in a cool place and never wash with warm water.

    3. Adding caspium to your salad is a good idea as they are very rich in vitamin C.

    4. Prepare your dressing separately as dressing the salad beforehand tend to dehydrate the salad because of the presence of salt.

    5. Never keep your salad for too long in the fridge because they tend to lose most of their nutrients.
    Easy, healthy and quick to prepare salads

    Chicken salad

    Ingredients (for 2-4 persons)
    • 1/4 of a medium size cabbage finely
    • 1 medium lettuce finely chopped
    • 2 onions chopped in small cubes
    • 1 chopped caspium
    • 250-300g roasted chicken shredded in small pieces
    • 2 tsp Olive oil
    • 1 tbs vinegar or lemon juice
    • Salt and black pepper to taste
    1. In a large bowl add the olive oil, vinegar and pepper and mix uniformly.

    2. Then add the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.

    3. Add the salt before serving.

    NOTE: Remember to wash the vegetables before cutting and not after as else they will lose a non-negligible portion of their water soluble vitamins.

    Tinned tuna salad

    Ingredients (for 2-4 persons)
    • 1 medium lettuce finely chopped
    • 1 small size chopped tomato
    • 2 onions chopped in small cubes
    • 1 chopped caspium
    • 1 small tin of whole maize
    • 200g tinned tuna (2 small tins)
    • 2 tsp olive oil
    • 1 tbs vinegar or lemon juice
    • Salt and black pepper to taste
    1. In a large bowl add the olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice and pepper and mix uniformly.

    2. Then add the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.

    3. Add the salt before serving.

    Just one salad a day can help increase your longevity and help you become robust and healthy. But eating salad is not enough as each and every ingredient of the dressing is as important as the other. Always keep in mind that a few more dollars for a good salad do your health more good and is worth much more than eating a raw or overdressed ready-made salad.

    23 Vital Tips to Survive Winter

    Written: 10/22/2007 | Join the discussion (0)

    You can feel winter starting to creep in. Runny nose, fever, recurring coughs... Winter illnesses are often bothersome. How to relieve these troublesome symptoms? I'm a native of a tropical country and I use the following tips to survive the winter in France where it can sometimes get below zero degrees celcius.


      The most important thing to consider in a very cold climate is your health. Without it, you won't be able to do other things. Remaining in a good health in a very cold weather is a very daunting task but if you take the following steps to stay away from the following diseases you will manage fine.

    1. Decrease fever: Fever is a defence mechanism of the human body. To decrease fever, take off excess clothing and try not to overheat your apartment. Drink a lot of water, more than the usual. Fever can cause dehydration. Sleep well and rest your body during a fever.

    2. Clear the nose: To cure a running nose, you can use the following grandmother tip. Heat a bowl of water with some tea in it. Place your face slightly above the bowl and cover your head with a towel. Inhale the vapour for about 5 minutes. Do this about 3 times a day and you will find yourself cured in a matter of time.

    3. Fatigue: You tend to get tired more easily during winter. To avoid this, eat a lot of food which contain vitamin C like fruits and vegetables.

    4. Cough: Coughs are uncomfortable, sometimes painful and keep you awake at night. Although some coughs help to clear your breathing system from phlegm, the dry cough can cause pain. Here is a tip to get rid of coughing. Breathe through your nose all the time, this will keep your lungs and mucus from drying up. Also there are cough sweets which when taken, can clear your respiratory system and relieve throat pains.

    5. Stuffy nose: Stuffy nose can be a pain, even more when we are sleeping because we are forced to breathe through our mouth and this can get tiring. You use the same tip as for the running nose but this time with some ginger in it. Heat a bowl of water with some ginger in it. Place your face slightly above the bowl and cover your head with a towel. Inhale the vapour for about 5 minutes through your nose. The ginger will loosen your nose tract. Do this about 3 times a day.

    6. Headache: The cold can have a serious impact on your brain. Sinus headache is a common issue to people living in cold countries. One common way to get rid of an acute headache due to cold is to have a nap and after that if the headache is still strong to have a head, neck and shoulder massage while listening to some soothing songs in the background.

    7. Medication: Always prepare a first aid kit and take some over-the-counter painkillers like aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen to fight headaches. See with your doctor what medication is best for you. Keep a thermometer at hand.

    8. Food

    9. Well-balanced meal: Eat a well-balanced meal, preferably warm meals because a well-balanced meal will provide you with natural insulation against the cold.

    10. Soup: Buy instant soup mixes. These are easy to prepare and may save you from hypothermia by warming you quickly and helping you stay hydrated.

    11. Food preparation: Choose foods that cook quickly and don't require long periods of simmering. You will need more fuel to bring water to a boil and keep food warm in a cold climate.

    12. Food store: Keep a lot of non-perishable food in your larder. Pack foods high in fat such as cheese, peanut butter or soy nuts. Dinners higher in fat will help keep you warm in your bed throughout the night, and keep you from waking up from hunger.

    13. House

    14. Insulation: Avoid spending too much money on a heater and insulate your house well to store internal energy. If you cannot do it yourself, do not hesitate to ask the advice of an expert.

    15. Heater: If you feel that you still need more warmth despite the insulation, invest in a low cost heater. A simple electric space heater can do the job quite well.

    16. Humidifier: Headaches, sore throats, sore eyes, skin irritation and contact-lens discomfort are all symptoms of a dry indoor environment. Using a humidifier will eliminate these problems.

    17. Energy: Always keep in mind that you will usually use more energy in winter than in summer, so better save as much energy as you can. Switch off the lights when you are not in the rooms, or shut down the tv when you are not watching it.

    18. Generator: Sometimes it can happen that there is a power cut in your area and during winter, that can easily turn to nitemare. Keep a generator handy in case such a scenario occurs.

    19. Outdoor Activity

    20. Health: Do not overexert yourself as you will feel tired more easily. Ask for the help of a close one or a friend whenever there is a heavy work to do.

    21. Shovelling your driveway: Always do this in the middle of the day when the sun is high so that you do not experience the mist of the morning or the freezing wind of the evening.

    22. Hypothermia: Avoid hypothermia which is a drop in the body temperature due to cold by putting on a lot of warm clothes. Do not forget to cover your head properly because the body loses three-quarters of its heat through the head.

    23. Emergency

    24. Emergency Services: Always have the telephone numbers of emergency services like the SAMU, the firemen, police,etc.

    25. Neighbours and Friends: Keep the number of your neighbours and friends handy so that you can alert them easily during an emergency.

    26. Mobile Phone: It may seem like much but investing in a cheap mobile can pay off during the winter.

    27. First Aid Kit: Always keep a first aid kit and a first aid manual in your house and in your car if you are going out. You may seem to think this is too much but it can actually save your life in an emergency.

    5 Fundamental Points To Avoid Unbalanced Eating Habits

    Written: 10/20/2007 | Join the discussion (0)

    The pace of life is increasing. And our food also: a cup of coffee for breakfast, a sandwich or a pizza for dinner in front of the television. However picking up good eating habits is the first rule of a healthy mode of life and a better control for your weight.

    Here are five fundamental habits you must cultivate in order to lead a healthy way of life:

  • Take your time for better digestion

    Eating doesn't mean to gulp down everything in sight in record time. Mastication is the first step of digestion. It allows us to break down the food in smaller pieces, to impregnate them with saliva so that the stomach doesn't have to make the extra effort. Also, taking the time to eat allows you to perceive the characteristics of certain food. Sight, smell and taste are all senses which will allow our brain to make note of the foods we are eating and to send signals to the stomach to release the necessary enzymes for a better break down of the food. So taking your time is the best way for a good digestion of your food, to prevent stomach pains and distension which is an expansion or bloating leading to abdominal pain or cramping of the stomach.

  • Enjoy your meal for a better satiety

    A great meal gives us a great sense of satiety. Satiety refers to the feeling of satisfaction or "fullness" produced by the consumption of food. A quickly eaten meal leaves an impression of lingering hunger. Indeed the human body needs time to create the impression of satiety of our body so that we do not feel the need to eat more. The first signs appear 20 minutes after the start of the meal: the brain detects the increase in glucose (sugar) level in our body and releases the signals which creates the sensation of satiety in our body. Imagine the number of food and calories we can eat if we are just gulping in 20 minutes! So the best way to control your weight is to eat slowly in a relaxed atmosphere and enjoy your meal...

  • Never skip a meal

    One of the key to a well balanced mode of life is never to skip a meal, so as to respect the rhythms of eating and hunger in your body. If you are deprived of a meal, your body will use up the reserve of nutrients inside it. This will lead to a sensation of fatigue and vulnerability and a decrease in your productivity. Skipping meals also mean that you will tend to eat more than required in your next meal which usually end up in you gaining more weight. This is usually known as the yo-yo effect in diet terminology. Indeed, your body which has been accustomed to fasting, will stock every bit of food you eat. So taking 3 meals a day is the ideal way to avoid the yo-yo effect and maintain an ideal weight. Breakfast is also important because this is what will boost up your nutrient needs after a period of fasting during sleep and will keep you pep up during the first part of the day until lunch. The lunch is the key meal of the day while dinner must be lighter to facilitate sleep. The dinner must be low in sugar and fat to prevent the body from undergoing excessive digestion of the food. It must be high in low-density food.

  • Eating at regular hours

    The habit of taking a meal at almost the same time is linked to the functioning rhythm of your body. On average, you experience hunger pangs every 4 or 5 hours, which relates to the time taken for the stomach to digest all food and to empty itself. During the night though, the body can sustain a fast for a period of 10 to 12 hours. You do not get hungry because the energy needs of the body has decreased a lot while it is resting. But most important of all, respecting a meal schedule is important to avoid unhealthy snacking in between meals.

  • Drink a lot of water

    The benefits of drinking water is an important factor in the proper health of the body systems. Drinking water has several health benefits. If you have high blood pressure or cancer, drink as much water as possible because water helps to stablized the blood pressure and promote the healing process of cancerous cells. Taking in adequate amounts of water if your are a diabetic is especially important because high blood sugar actually dehydrate the blood cells and causes the blood sugar levels to rise even higher. Often, people forget to drink water unless they feel very thirsty. It is better to drink smaller quantities of water more frequently than to drink a lot of water at one time. It is recommended to drink about 2 litres of water a day and if you have not been drinking water regularly, you should double the recommended amount because your cells are already dehydrated. Water is necessary for proper digestion and absorption of essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, etc. that our body gets from the food we eat. Also, detoxification of the kidneys and liver along with the removal of toxins and wastes from the body happen to be major benefits of drinking water. You should not wait until you are dehydrated to drink water. Drinking water regularly is imperative because dehydration can result in serious illness. The diverse benefits of drinking water include sustaining energy levels, being mentally and physically alert, removing toxins and wastes from the body and maintaining healthy skin. Drinking water also helps in reducing weight. Since water is a natural appetite suppressant, it helps to cut down overeating and that helps to maintain your proper weight.

    Never skipping a meal, eating at regular hours, taking your time to eat, drinking water and enjoying your meal are all vital points to a better life pattern.