Monthly Archives: March 2016

How to Cultivate Happiness

happiness

Cultivating Happiness

Five Tips to Get More Satisfaction and Joy Out of Life

 

We all want to be happy. The right to pursue happiness is even written into our country’s bill of rights. But how does one do that? Is it even possible to become a happier person? And if so, what’s the best way to go about it? Researchers in the field of positive psychology have been studying these questions and the answers are encouraging. Turns out you can genuinely increase your happiness and overall satisfaction with life—and it doesn’t require a winning lottery ticket or some other drastic change of circumstances. What it takes is an inner change of perspective and attitude. And that’s truly good news, because it’s something that anyone can do.

 

What won’t make you happy

 

Do you, like many people, have a mental list of things you think you need in order to be truly happy? There are many externals our society teaches us to chase: success, wealth, fame, power, good looks, romantic love. But are they really the key to happiness?

 

The research says no, at least when it comes to long-term happiness. A prestigious award, a big raise, an exciting new relationship, a fancy new car, losing weight. These things can make us feel great at first, but the thrill doesn’t last very long. Human beings are quick to adapt to new circumstances—a quality that has helped us survive and thrive. But it also means that the good things that initially make us happier soon become our new normal and we return to our old happiness baseline.

 

Myths and facts about happiness

 

There are a lot of myths out there about what will make you happy. So before we embark on a tour of the strategies that do work for boosting happiness, let’s dispense with the things that don’t.

 

Myth: Money will make you happy.

 

Fact: It’s stressful when you’re worried about money. In order to be happy, you do need enough of it to cover your basic needs: things like food, shelter, and clothing. But once you have enough money to be comfortable, getting more money isn’t going to make much of a difference in how happy you are. For example, studies of lottery winners show that after a relatively short period of time, they are no more happy than they were before their win.

 

Myth: You need a relationship in order to be happy.

 

Fact: Being in a healthy, supportive love relationship does contribute to happiness, but it’s not true that you can’t be happy and fulfilled if you’re single. Indeed, singles who have meaningful friendships and pursuits are happier than people in mismatched romantic relationships. It’s also important to note that even a good marriage or romantic partnership doesn’t lead to a permanent, intense happiness boost. Expecting your partner to deliver your happily-ever-after may actually harm the relationship in the long-run. You—not your partner or your family members—are responsible for your own happiness.

 

Myth: Happiness declines with age.

 

Fact: Contrary to popular belief, people tend to get happier with age. Study after study confirms that seniors experience more positive emotions and fewer (and less intense) negative emotions than young people and middle-aged adults. As a whole, older adults are also more satisfied with their lives, less sensitive to stress, and more emotionally stable. Even with the losses that come with age, it is the happiest time of life for many people.

 

Myth: Some people are just happier than others and there’s nothing you can do to change that.

 

Fact: Genetics do play a role in happiness. Current research suggests that people are born with a certain happiness “set point.” But that only accounts for about half of our happiness level. Another 10% is due to life circumstances. That leaves 40% that is determined by your actions and choices. That’s a lot of control!

 

Tip 1: Train your brain to be more positive

 

Our brains are wired to notice and remember the things that are wrong. It’s a survival mechanism that helped keep our cave-dwelling ancestors safe in a world where there were many physical threats. But in today’s comparatively safe world, this biological predisposition to focus on the negative contributes to stress and unhappiness.

 

While we can’t change our nature, we can train our brains to be more positive. This doesn’t mean putting on a smiley face and whistling a happy tune no matter what’s going on. You don’t have to ignore reality or pretend things are wonderful even when they’re not. But just as dwelling on negative things fuels unhappiness (and plays a big role in depression and anxiety), choosing to notice, appreciate, and anticipate goodness is a powerful happiness booster.

 

Express gratitude

 

Teaching yourself to become more grateful can make a huge difference in your overall happiness. The research shows that gratitude helps you experience more positive emotions, decrease depression, feel better about yourself, improve your relationships, and strengthen your immune system. A recent study revealed that gratitude even makes you smarter about how you spend your money.

 

There are a number of simple exercises you can take advantage of to increase and cultivate an attitude of gratitude.

 

Give sincere thanks to others. When someone goes above and beyond or does something to make your day easier, be quick to verbalize your thanks and appreciation. Not only will it make the person feel good, it will give you a happiness lift, too. It’s an instant reward to see how expressing gratitude makes a positive difference in someone else’s day. It makes you realize that we’re all connected and that what you do matters.

Keep a gratitude journal. It may sound cheesy, but writing down the good things that happened to you during the day really works. Research shows that keeping a gratitude journals is a powerful technique that instantly makes you feel happier, more connected to others, and genuinely appreciative.

Count your blessings. Make it a habit to regularly reflect on the things you have to be thankful for. Bring to mind all the good people, experiences, and things in your life, both now and in the past. Focus on the blessings both big and small, from the people who love you to the roof over your head and the food on your table. You will soon see it’s a pretty long list.

Write a letter of gratitude. Think of someone who did something that changed your life for the better who you never properly thanked. Write a thoughtful letter of gratitude expressing what the person did, how it affected you, and what it still means to you. Then deliver the letter. Positive psychology expert Martin Seligman recommends reading the letter in person for the most dramatic increase in happiness.

Find the positive in a negative event from your past. Even the most painful circumstances can teach us positive lessons. Reevaluate a negative event from your past with an eye for what you learned or how you became stronger, wiser, or more compassionate. When you can find meaning in even the bad things you’ve experienced, you will be happier and more grateful.

 

Tip 2: Nurture and enjoy your relationships

 

Relationships are one of the biggest sources of happiness in our lives. Studies that look at happy people bear this out. The happier the person, the more likely that he or she has a large, supportive circle of family and friends, a fulfilling marriage, and a thriving social life.

 

That’s why nurturing your relationships is one of the best emotional investments you can make. If you make an effort to cultivate and build your connections with others, you will soon reap the rewards of more positive emotions. And as you become happier, you will attract more people and higher-quality relationships, leading to even greater positivity and enjoyment. It’s the happiness gift that keeps on giving.

 

Make a conscious effort to stay connected. In our busy society, it’s easy to get caught up in our responsibilities and neglect our relationships. But losing touch with friends is one of the most common end-of-life regrets. Don’t let it happen to you. Make an effort to stay connected to the people who make your life brighter. Take the time to call, write, or see each other in person. You’ll be happier for it.

Invest in quality time with the people you care about. It’s not just the time spent with friends and family that matters; it’s how you spend it. Mindlessly vegging out together in front of the TV isn’t going to make you closer. People who are in happy relationships talk a lot. They share what’s going on in their lives and how they feel. Follow their example and carve out time to talk and enjoy each other’s company.

Offer sincere compliments. Think of the things you admire and appreciate about the other person and then tell them. This will not only make the other person happier, it will encourage him or her to be an even better friend or partner. As a practice of gratitude, it will also make you value the relationship more and feel happier.

Seek out happy people. Research shows that happiness is contagious. You can literally catch a good mood (you can also catch a bad mood, but thankfully, sadness is less contagious than happiness). So make an effort to seek out and spend time with happy people. Before you know it, you’ll be feeling the happiness, too.

Take delight in the good fortune of others. One of the things that truly separate healthy, fulfilling relationships from the rest are how the partners respond to each other’s good fortune and success. Do you show genuine enthusiasm and interest when your friend or family member experiences something good? Or do you ignore, criticize, or downplay the achievement, feel envious or threatened, or say a quick, “That’s great,” and then move on? If you’d like closer relationships, pay attention when the other person is excited. Ask questions, relive the experience with the other person, and express your excitement for him or her. Remember, happiness is contagious, so as you share the experience, their joy will become yours.

 

Tip 3: Live in the moment and savor life’s pleasures

 

Think about a time when you were depressed or anxious. Chances are, you were either dwelling on something negative from the past or worrying about something in the future. In contrast, when you focus on the present moment, you are much more likely to feel centered, happy, and at peace. You’re also much more likely to notice the good things that are happening, rather than letting them pass by unappreciated or unobserved. So how do you start to live more in the moment and savor the good things life has to offer?

 

Meditate

 

Mindfulness meditation is a powerful technique for learning to live in and enjoy the moment. And you don’t have to be religious or even spiritual to reap its benefits. No pan flutes, chanting, or yoga pants required.

 

Simply speaking, meditation is exercise for your brain. When practiced regularly, meditation appears to decrease activity in the areas of the brain associated with negative thoughts, anxiety, and depression. At the same time, it increases activity in the areas associated with joy, contentment, and peace. It also strengthens areas of the brain in charge of managing emotions and controlling attention. What’s more, being mindful makes you more fully engaged in the here-and-now and more aware and appreciate of good things.

 

Here are a few mindfulness exercises that can help you get started:

 

Body scan – Body scanning cultivates mindfulness by focusing your attention on various parts of your body. Like progressive muscle relaxation, you start with your feet and work your way up. However, instead of tensing and relaxing your muscles, you simply focus on the way each part of your body feels without labeling the sensations as either “good” or “bad”.

Walking meditation – You don’t have to be seated or still to meditate. In walking meditation, mindfulness involves being focused on the physicality of each step — the sensation of your feet touching the ground, the rhythm of your breath while moving, and feeling the wind against your face.

Mindful eating – If you reach for food when you’re under stress or gulp your meals down in a rush, try eating mindfully. Sit down at the table and focus your full attention on the meal (no TV, newspapers, or eating on the run). Eat slowly, taking the time to fully enjoy and concentrate on each bite.

Notice and savor small pleasures

 

If you adopt a mindfulness meditation practice, you will automatically begin to notice and savor life’s pleasures more. But there are other things you can do to increase your awareness and enjoyment.

 

Adopt enjoyable daily rituals. Build moments of enjoyment into your day with pleasurable rituals. These can be very simple things like lingering over a cup of coffee in the morning, taking a short stroll in the sunshine during your lunch hour, or playing with your dog when you get home. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you enjoy and appreciate it.

Minimize multi-tasking. Savoring requires your full attention, which is impossible when you’re trying to do multiple things. For example, if you’re eating a delicious meal while distractedly surfing the Internet, you’re not going to get as much pleasure out of the food as you could have. Focus on one thing at a time in order to truly maximize your enjoyment.

Stop to smell the roses. It may be an old cliché, but it’s good advice. You’ll appreciate good things more if you stop whatever you’re doing for a moment to appreciate and luxuriate in them. It will enhance your pleasure, even if you can only spare a few seconds. And if you can share the moment with others, even better. Shared pleasure is powerful.

Replay happy memories. You don’t have to limit your savoring to things that are happening now. Remembering and reminiscing about happy memories and experiences from your past leads to more positive emotions in the present.

 

Tip 4: Focus on helping others and living with meaning

 

There is something truly fulfilling in helping others and feeling like your actions are making a difference for the better in the world. That’s why people who assist those in need and give back to others and their communities tend to be happier. In addition, they also tend to have higher self-esteem and general psychological well-being.

 

Here are some ways to live a more altruistic, meaningful life:

 

Volunteer. Happiness is just one of the many benefits of volunteering. You’ll get the most out of the experience by volunteering for an organization that you believe in and that allows you to contribute in a meaningful way.

 

Practice kindness. Look for ways to be more kind, compassionate, and giving in your daily life. This can be something as small as brightening a stranger’s day with a smile or going out of your way to do a favor for a friend.

 

Play to your strengths. The happiest people know what their unique strengths are and build their lives around activities that allow them to use those strengths for the greater good. There are many different kinds of strengths, including kindness, curiosity, honesty, creativity, love of learning, perseverance, loyalty, optimism, and humor.

 

Go for the flow. Research shows that flow, a state of complete immersion and engagement in an activity, is closely associated with happiness. Flow happens when you’re actively engaged in something that is intrinsically rewarding and challenging yet still attainable. Anything that completely captivates you and engages your full attention can be a flow activity.

 

 

Tip 5: Take better care of your health

 

You can be happy even when you’re suffering from illness or bad health, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the aspects of your health that are in your control. Exercise and sleep are particularly important when it comes to happiness.

 

Make exercise a regular habit

 

Exercise isn’t just good for the body. It also has a powerful effect on mental well-being. People who exercise regularly are happier across the board. Plus, they’re also less stressed, angry, anxious, and depressed.

 

It doesn’t really matter what kind of exercise you do, so long as you do it regularly. For best results, aim for an hour of exercise at least five days a week. If you find something you enjoy, you’ll be more likely to stick to it. So don’t think you’re limited to going to the gym or strapping on jogging shoes. Find something that suits your lifestyle and preferences. It could be taking a dance class, shooting hoops, walking in nature, joining a community sports league, playing tennis, running with your dog, swimming laps at the pool, hiking, biking, or doing yoga in the park. If you’re having trouble thinking of activities you enjoy, think back to when you were a kid. What sports or games did you like to play?

 

Get the sleep you need

 

Getting quality sleep every night directly affects your happiness, vitality, and emotional stability during the day. When you’re sleep deprived, you’re much more susceptible to stress. It’s harder to be productive, think creatively, and make wise decisions. How much sleep do you need? According to sleep scientists, the average person needs at least 7.5 – 9 hours each night.

 

If you think you are having problems or have any questions please call us for help.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

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312-972-Well

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Risk Factors for Emotional and Mental Health Problems

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Risk factors for mental and emotional problems

 

Your mental and emotional health has been and will continue to be shaped by your experiences. Early childhood experiences are especially significant. Genetic and biological factors can also play a role, but these too can be changed by experience.

 

Risk factors that can compromise mental and emotional health:

 

Poor connection or attachment to your primary caretaker early in life. Feeling lonely, isolated, unsafe, confused, or abused as an infant or young child.

Traumas or serious losses, especially early in life. Death of a parent or other traumatic experiences such as war or hospitalization.

Learned helplessness. Negative experiences that lead to a belief that you’re helpless and that you have little control over the situations in your life.

Illness, especially when it’s chronic, disabling, or isolates you from others.

Side effects of medications, especially in older people who may be taking a variety of medications.

Substance abuse. Alcohol and drug abuse can both cause mental health problems and make preexisting mental or emotional problems worse.

Whatever internal or external factors have shaped your mental and emotional health, it’s never too late to make changes that will improve your psychological well-being. Risk factors can be counteracted with protective factors, like strong relationships, a healthy lifestyle, and coping strategies for managing stress and negative emotions.

 

When to seek professional help for emotional problems

 

If you’ve made consistent efforts to improve your mental and emotional health and you still don’t feel good—then it’s time to seek professional help. Because we are so socially attuned, input from a knowledgeable, caring professional can motivate us to do things for ourselves that we were not able to do on our own.

 

Red flag feelings and behaviors that may require immediate attention

 

Inability to sleep

Feeling down, hopeless, or helpless most of the time

Concentration problems that are interfering with your work or home life

Using nicotine, food, drugs, or alcohol to cope with difficult emotions

Negative or self-destructive thoughts or fears that you can’t control

Thoughts of death or suicide

If you identify with any of these red flag symptoms, consider making an appointment with a mental health professional.

 

 

 

Health and Wellness Associates

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Could Broccoli Prevent Prostate and Other Cancers

broccoli-prevent-prostate-cancer-IG

 

Could Broccoli Prevent Prostate Cancer?

 

 

Using food to prevent prostate cancer sounds too easy, doesn’t it?  Research published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute confirmed that it really can be as simple as that.

 

Broccoli, cauliflower, rutabaga, arugula, radish, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, greens, watercress, turnips, and kale are members of the cruciferous vegetable family.  Scientifically, they are called Brassicaceae, which translates to “cabbage.”  They are readily available in most markets, inexpensive, and offer a fantastic array of health benefits.

 

Researchers with Cancer Care Ontario evaluated more than 1,300 male patients based on diet and found that cruciferous vegetables in particular lowered risk for an aggressive form of prostate cancer.

 

Of 137 foods on the questionnaire, broccoli and cauliflower seemed to have the greatest impact on overall risk but all the leafy greens showed significant ability to prevent prostate cancer.

 

Authors with the study stated, “Aggressive prostate cancer is biologically virulent and associated with poor prognosis.  Therefore, if the association that we observed is ultimately found to be causal, a possible means to reduce the burden of this disease may be primary prevention through increased consumption of broccoli, cauliflower, and possibly spinach.”

 

Incredible Health Benefits of Cruciferous Vegetables

 

This vegetable family has even more to offer!  They are excellent raw or cooked, useful in all manner of meals, and easy to prepare.

 

5 Benefits of Leafy Greens

 

  1. Weight Control: They are packed with powerful nutrients such as vitamins A, Bs, and C, folic acid, and fiber. They are low in calories so they are an ideal nutrient-dense food if you’re looking to lose weight or maintain a healthy body weight.

 

  1. Antioxidant Bioavailability: Your body loves these veggies and absorbs most of the nutrients they offer. This is especially important in regards to their vitamin C, manganese, beta-carotene, and lutein.  Your digestive tract uses it all so you get the full impact.

 

  1. Cancer Fighter: Aside from preventing prostate cancer, there are many studies linking cruciferous veggies with a lower risk of breast, uterine, lung, liver, colorectal, and cervix cancer. In fact, 70% of the scientific community’s research on cruciferous veggies mention the link to lower cancer risk.

 

broccoli prevent prostate cancer IG

 

  1. Obliterates Oxidation: With the amount of nutrients found in this vegetable family, it is no surprise that 1-2 cups per day drastically reduced patient oxidation by 22% overall. In a comparison to multivitamin impact on oxidation, researchers saw less than one-half of 1% reduction in oxidation for those taking a supplement.  These vegetables are better than any vitamin.

 

  1. Heart Health: If you want to steadily lower the heat of body wide inflammation, the vitamin K and omega-3s in cruciferous vegetables is definitely the way to go. Chronic inflammation due to diet, stress, and poor lifestyle habits is a major bio-marker for heart disease and every other major condition.  These foods can help to cool down inflammation and fight the free radicals that lead to heart attack and stroke.

 

There are so many other great benefits of cruciferous vegetables such as the fiber that helps keep your digestive system healthy and moving properly.  They are abundant in vitamin A which is excellent news for preserving your vision as you age.  The heavy nutrient content in general is a good way to boost your immune system to help you fight illness from the inside out.

 

If you are looking for foods that taste great, don’t cost a small fortune, and are available just about everywhere, look no further than broccoli and the rest of the cousins in the cruciferous veggie family.

 

Their ability to prevent prostate cancer is just the beginning.

 

Please feel free to share with family and loved ones.  Please call us with any questions.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

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Apple Ambrosia

appleambrosia

 

Betty’s Apple Ambrosia

 

You might remember ambrosia with the sugars and mini marshmallows.  Here is a much better version for you.

 

Ingredients

1 cup orange juice with lots of pulp, or more as needed

3 ripe, sweet apples, such as Red Delicious

One 8-ounce can crushed pineapple

1/2 cup frozen grated coconut, thawed

1/4 cup sugar

 

Pour the orange juice into a medium bowl. Peel and core the apples, and then grate them into the orange juice using the large-hole side of the grater. Add the pineapple, coconut and sugar. Mix well, adding more orange juice if the mixture is not juicy enough. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. The apples will continue to absorb juice, and orange juice can be added as needed to keep it as juicy as you like.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

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Strawberry Bellini

strawberrybellini

 

Fresh Strawberry Bellini

 

Ingredients

1 bottle prosecco*

2 cups pureed and strained fresh strawberries

Special equipment: Blender, strainer, iced champagne flutes, pitcher and tall “swizzle stirrer” (for the pitcher)

 

Directions

Place 8 Champagne flutes in the freezer for 20 minutes. Open the prosecco and let it stand in an ice bucket for 5 minutes.

 

Into a pitcher, pour the 2 cups pureed strawberries. Gently pour in the bottle of prosecco and stir gently to combine. Divide among Champagne flutes and serve.

 

*For Kid Bellinis, substitute sparkling water for the prosecco.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

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Easter Pie

easterpie

Easter Pie

 

Ingredients

3/4 cup powdered sugar, plus extra for garnish

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon orange zest

1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese

1/2 cup cooked short-grained rice

1/3 cup toasted pine nuts

6 sheets fresh phyllo sheets or frozen, thawed

3/4 stick (3 ounces) unsalted butter, melted

 

Directions:

 

Blend 3/4 cup of powdered sugar, eggs, vanilla, orange zest and ricotta in a food processor until smooth. Stir in the rice and pine nuts. Set the ricotta mixture aside.

 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

 

Lightly butter a 9-inch glass pie dish. Lay 1 phyllo sheet over the bottom and up the sides of the dish, allowing the phyllo to hang over the sides. Brush the phyllo with the melted butter. Top with a second sheet of phyllo dough, laying it in the opposite direction as the first phyllo sheet. Continue layering the remaining sheets of phyllo sheets, alternating after each layer and buttering each sheet. Spoon the ricotta mixture into the dish. Fold the overhanging phyllo dough over the top of the filling to enclose it completely. Brush completely with melted butter.

 

Bake the pie until the phyllo is golden brown and the filling is set, about 35 minutes. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool completely. Sift powdered sugar over the pie and serve.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

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What Alcohol Does To Your Body

womandrinnking

 

I wish I had learned the following information years ago, or had at least been more mindful of it. While I do believe it is common knowledge that alcohol is not particularly good for us, I don’t believe very many of us know just how bad it is. I myself was shocked to learn that it is a known carcinogen, and was further surprised to discover that regular alcohol consumption actually inhibits the body’s natural ability to produce crucial vitamins.

 

Considering alcohol is a depressant, this information makes clear how negatively it can impact both mental and physical health, often leading to a vicious cycle of self medication. Let’s take a look at some of the long term negative effects of alcohol on the body.

 

 

Known Carcinogen

 

Many studies clearly correlate alcohol consumption and cancer development, linking moderate to regular alcohol consumption to the following types of cancer: Head and neck cancer, Esophageal Cancer, Liver Cancer, Breast Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, and more.

 

“Based on extensive reviews of research studies, there is a strong scientific consensus of an association between alcohol drinking and several types of cancer.” National Cancer Institute

 

 

Decreased Vitamin B12 Production

 

Studies have shown that drinking alcohol in excess compromises your vitamin B12 levels; if you are already or become deficient in this crucial vitamin, your health may suffer greatly. Recent studies have also concluded that even regular, moderate use of alcohol can impact your B12 levels.

 

 

Decreased Vitamin D & Calcium Absorption

 

Alcohol interferes with the pancreas and its ability to absorb calcium and vitamin D. Alcohol also affects the liver, which is important for activating vitamin D, necessary for proper calcium absorption. This cascade of effects can lead to difficulties with bone regeneration.

Liver Damage (Cirrhosis)

 

Liver cirrhosis occurs when the liver becomes scarred, and while a number of things can cause this, a common cause of this is alcohol abuse. Cirrhosis of the liver can be very serious, even fatal, and often the only way to reverse it is through surgery.

 

 

Depressant

 

As appealing and even empowering as the feeling of lowered inhibitions and increased confidence can be, alcohol is a depressant which lowers serotonin levels in the brain. Many people turn to alcohol to alleviate depression, but many actually develop it because of alcohol, hence why this can become a very vicious cycle for some people.

 

 

 

Memory Loss

 

Consuming alcohol slows down processes in the brain, often resulting in memory loss.  Excessive drinking, moreover, can result in complete “black-outs,” causing you to forget where you were, what you did, and even who you did it with. Over time, this can make it difficult to remember events that happen even while sober.

 

What Happens To The Body Right Away And Especially The Next Day?

 

Alcohol irritates the stomach and intestines, which causes an inflamed stomach lining and delayed stomach emptying.

 

You are becoming dehydrated; the consumption of 50 g of alcohol in 250 milliliters (ml) of water (i.e. approximately 4 drinks) causes the elimination of 600 to 1,000 ml (or up to 1 quart) of water over several hours.

 

Alcohol inhibits glutamate production; glutamate is a stimulant whose job is to keep us awake. However, when our alcohol blood-levels reach zero (i.e., hangover time), our body reacts by overproducing this stimulant, which results in broken sleeps

 

According to this research, a possible explanation for alcohol induced hangovers is that alcohol effects the neurotransmitters, histamine, serotonin and prostaglandins.

How Much Is Too Much?

 

According to the Canadian Centre For Addiction and Mental Health, women should drink no more than 10 drinks per week with no more than 2 drinks a day. Men should drink no more than 15 drinks a week, with no more than 3 on one day. And you are not supposed to drink daily. I don’t know about you, but on a day that I go out and plan to drink it’s very rare that I would consume only 2 drinks. For instance, in the U.S. one out of ever six adults binge drinks 4 times a month with an average of 8 drinks per binge.

Some Personal Thoughts On The Matter

 

Learning how detrimental alcohol truly is for our health really made the “truth seeker” in me wonder why it is promoted so heavily in mainstream media. It’s not often you see a TV show or a movie where the characters aren’t regularly consuming copious amounts of alcohol, and both these characters or those in alcohol advertisements are portrayed, to varying degrees, as sexy, cool, spontaneous, and fun. In fact the promotion of alcohol in mainstream commercialism was reported to have spent 8 billion on advertising between 2002-2009. While knowledge of alcohol’s dangers is nowhere near as common as that of, say, smoking, that still leaves the question, why is it kept in the dark? A lot of information is coming forward these days about how sugar is the tobacco of the 21st century and so on, but it seems the truth about alcohol’s dangers are largely being ignored.

 

Even many popular alternative health blogs don’t seem to pay too much attention to the idea. Is this because so many people enjoy alcohol and the way it makes them feel and would rather turn a blind eye? Or is there a vested interest in keeping this information quiet? Not to be a total Negative Nancy, but this all reminds me of George Orwell’s 1984 and how the deprived characters of the story were just given alcohol as a way to keep them happy and help them escape their otherwise miserable existence.

 

Please don’t get me wrong — I enjoy alcohol as much as the next person, or maybe even more, as it can be a great way to let loose, have fun, or even just relax, but this information has really got me thinking lately. Especially after abstaining from alcohol for the month of February, realizing how much better I felt on a day-to-day basis and seeing how much more I was able to accomplish, I think this is something we could all benefit from examining more closely.

 

What Do You Think?

 

If you are someone who enjoys the occasional glass of wine or a couple of beers every now and then, you can pretty much disregard this article. It is likely that if you are living an otherwise healthy lifestyle, these negative effects won’t have much of an impact on you. But if you are someone who drinks regularly, or who uses alcohol as an escape, this information is really worth taking into consideration. Why not take a break from alcohol and see if your mood improves? If you find you are using alcohol as a means to deal with stress, consider an alternative, like going for a run or walk, spending a few minutes in the sauna, or even meditating. Try doing something positive to deal with the stress rather than escaping it with alcohol.

Some Benefits Of Cutting Back Or Quitting Alcohol

 

Increased mood

More savings

Less or no hangovers

More time to get things done

Not having regrets from something stupid you may have done

Better memory

Healthier lifestyle

 

Please share to help someone else out.  Call us if you need help looking into what supplement you will need, and always calculate the other medications and supplements you are on.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

312-972- WELL

Bell Pepper Nacho Boats

bellpeppernachoboats

Bell Pepper Nacho Boats

 

Ingredients

 

1 pound lean ground turkey

1 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

3/4 cup salsa, no sugar added

1 cup grated cheddar cheese, reduced-fat

3 bell peppers

Directions

 

Remove seeds, core, and membrane from bell peppers then slice each one into 6 verticle pieces where they dip down. Set sliced bell peppers aside.

 

Cook ground turkey over medium-high heat, breaking up as it cooks. Cook until the turkey loses it’s pink color and is cooked through. Drain off any fat.

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

 

Combine cooked turkey with spices and salsa. Evenly distribute mixture into the bell pepper boats, top with cheese. Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and peppers are hot.

 

Remove from the oven and add additional toppings, If desired.

 

Optional ingredients: Sliced Jalepeno peppers, diced avocado, fat-free Greek yogurt or sour cream, or sliced green onions

 

Yields: 18 boats | Serving: 2 boats | Calories: 145 | Total Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 50mg | Sodium: 293mg | Carbohydrates: 4g | Fiber: 1g | Sugars: 2g | Protein: 13g

 

 

Bacon Jalapeno Popper Quiche

baconhalapena

 

BACON JALAPENO POPPER QUICHE

 

 

Bacon Jalapeno Popper Quiche is an amazing recipe combining incredible ingredients of bacon, jalapenos, cream cheese, and cheddar cheese, for a perfect brunch!

 

 

INGREDIENTS

9 inch frozen pie crust

1/2 cup cream cheese, room temperature

2 jalapenos, diced (deseed for less heat)

1 jalapeno, sliced into rounds (for top) (I mostly deseeded these as well)

3 slices bacon, cooked crisp and coarsely chopped

1/2 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup half-and-half

5 large eggs

1 teaspoon paprika

salt

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

optional-light sour cream

 

 

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Thaw the frozen crust for 10 minutes, then prick the crust all over the bottom and sides with a fork to make tiny holes

Bake it for 10 minutes

Remove the crust and lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees

While the crust is hot, spread the cream cheese all over the bottom as evenly as possible

Sprinkle the diced jalapenos over the cream cheese (the rounds are for garnish later on)

Put the cream and half-and-half into a small pot and put it over medium heat about 5 minutes or until tiny bubbles appear around the edges. Scald (where you bring it to just under the boiling point) until very hot, but not boiling

Beat the eggs together in a bowl

Add the hot cream mixture to the eggs, whisking constantly to combine

Add the paprika, salt and bacon

Pour into the crust and bake for 30 minutes

Remove from oven, arrange the jalapeno slices on top, sprinkle with cheese and bake until the cheese has melted and turned golden brown, about 15-20 minutes (the original recipe said 12-15 minutes, but I did closer to 20. Check at 12 minutes, every couple of minutes)

Cool slightly before serving

Optional-serve with light sour cream

U.S. Dairy Industry Petitions FDA to Approve Aspartame unlabeled

milk

U.S. dairy industry petitions FDA to approve aspartame as hidden, unlabeled additive in milk, yogurt, eggnog and cream

 

To anyone who we have worked with this is no surprise. Milk is worse than cigarettes! Many good pediatricians have stopped their moms from giving children cows milk years ago. We have posted other articles on this sad state of affairs, but please share this article with people who may not know this information, and who are too busy to read because they are raising their children.

 

You probably already know that the FDA has declared war on raw milk and even helped fund and coordinate armed government raids against raw milk farmers and distributors. Yes, it’s insane. This brand of tyranny is unique to the USA and isn’t even conducted in China, North Kora or Cuba. Only in the USA are raw milk farmers treated like terrorists.

 

But now the situation is getting even more insane than you could have imagined: the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) have filed a petition with the FDA asking the FDA to alter the definition of “milk” to secretly include chemical sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose.

 

Importantly, none of these additives need to be listed on the label. They will simply be swept under the definition of “milk,” so that when a company lists “milk” on the label, it automatically includes aspartame or sucralose. And if you’re trying to avoid aspartame, you’ll have no way of doing so because it won’t be listed on the label.

 

This isn’t only for milk, either: It’s also for yogurt, cream, sour cream, eggnog, whipping cream and a total of 17 products, all of which are listed in the petition at FDA.gov.

 

As the petition states:

 

IDFA and NMPF request their proposed amendments to the milk standard of identity to allow optional characterizing flavoring ingredients used in milk (e.g., chocolate flavoring added to milk) to be sweetened with any safe and suitable sweetener — including non-nutritive sweeteners such as aspartame.

 

This is all being done to “save the children,” we’re told, because the use of aspartame in milk products would reduce calories.

 

Milk industry specifically asks to HIDE aspartame from consumers

Astonishingly, the dairy industry is engaged in extreme doublespeak logic and actually arguing that aspartame should be hidden from consumers by not listing it on the label. Here’s what the petition says:

 

IDFA and NMPF argue that nutrient content claims such as “reduced calorie” are not attractive to children, and maintain that consumers can more easily identify the overall nutritional value of milk products that are flavored with non-nutritive sweeteners if the labels do not include such claims. Further, the petitioners assert that consumers do not recognize milk — including flavored milk — as necessarily containing sugar. Accordingly, the petitioners state that milk flavored with non-nutritive sweeteners should be labeled as milk without further claims so that consumers can “more easily identify its overall nutritional value.”

 

In other words, hiding aspartame from consumers by not including it on the label actually helps consumers, according to the IDFA and NMPF!

 

Yep, consumers are best served by keeping them ignorant. If this logic smacks of the same kind of twisted deception practiced by Monsanto, that’s because it’s identical: the less consumers know, the more they are helped, according to industry. And it’s for the children, too, because children are also best served by keeping them poisoned with aspartame.

 

Consumers have always been kept in the dark about pink slime, meat glue, rBGH and GMOs in their food. And now, if the IDFA gets its way, you’ll be able to drink hormone-contaminated milk from an antibiotics-inundated cow fed genetically modified crops and producing milk containing hidden aspartame. And you won’t have the right to know about any of this!

 

The FDA confirms this “secret” status of aspartame, stating, “If the standard of identity for milk is amended as requested by petitioners, milk manufacturers could use non-nutritive sweeteners in flavored milk without a nutrient content claim in its labeling.”

 

FDA requests comments

The FDA is requesting comments on this petition. You have until May 21st, 2013 .

 

This is a clue to stop drinking processed milk and milk products altogether

There’s a bigger story here than just the industry hoping to get FDA approval to secretly put aspartame in milk products while not listing aspartame on the label.

 

The bigger question is this: If an industry is pushing to hide aspartame in its products, what else is it already hiding?

 

How about the pus content of its dairy products? How about its inhumane treatment of animals who are subjected to torture conditions and pumped full of genetically engineered hormones? How about the fact that homogenization and pasteurization turn a whole food into a dietary nightmare that promotes obesity, autoimmune disorders and cardiovascular disease?

 

There are lots of dirty little secrets in the dairy industry of course, and that doesn’t even get into the secret closed-door conversations to encourage the FDA to destroy the competition of raw milk.

 

The only rational answer to all this is to stop buying and consuming processed dairy products, period!

 

I gave up ALL milk products many years ago and have never looked back. I drink almond milk, not pus-filled pasteurized cow’s milk. (Click here for a recipe to make your own almond milk at home.) I don’t eat yogurt. If I want probiotics, I get them from tasty chewable probiotics supplements such as Sunbiotics. I parted ways with processed dairy products many years ago, and as a result, my cardiovascular health, skin health, digestive health and stamina have all remained in outstanding shape.

 

There’s also a philosophical issue here: Don’t buy products from an industry that habitually LIES about everything. The dairy industry is like a mafia. They actively seek to destroy the competition, keep consumers ignorant and monopolize the market. They run highly deceptive ads with ridiculous claims like, “drinking milk helps you lose weight” and other nonsense.

 

The U.S. dairy industry is steeped in deception at every level, and now they want you and your children to unknowingly drink aspartame that’s secretly blended into the product.

 

The dairy industry is to food as Lance Armstrong is to sports. It’s all a big lie, laced with secret chemicals and false claims.

 

Stop drinking milk.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

P. Carrothers

312-972-Well

 

 

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