Top ten best Summer cocktails

1- Spicy Gin Cucumber Lemonade

1

2- Grapefruit Mint Vodka Cocktail

2

3- Blueberry Lime Margarita

3

4- The Spicy Watermelon Bomb

4

5- Vodka Strawberry Lemonade

5

6- Cherry Lavender Beer Margarita

6

7- Mango Coconut and Orange Vodka Crush

7

8- Apricot Lime Mojito

8

9- Salted Watermelon Margarita

9

10- Bourbon Cherry Coke

10

For the full recipes and details, check the original article here:

http://heatherchristo.com/cooks/2014/07/21/top-ten-best-summer-cocktails/

Thank you.

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Not achieving your goal is a sign

 

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There is no reason to give up on what you want, if you are sure that this what you want. If you do not get it, take a moment or two, to realize what is actually stopping you for achieving it. Usually, the answer is yourself. This makes it much easier to find a solution.

How can our ancestors’ diet help us fight obesity?

Our ancestors lived in a world where food was scarce and they relied on hunting and gathering to survive. The human body developed mechanisms that were shaped by natural selection over long periods of time to solve the recurrent problems they faced. Now, with the abundance of food, these instincts no longer serve a purpose, yet contribute to the counter-productive process of obesity.

In our ancestors’ time, obtaining sufficient food and nutrition was a daily trial because life was physically rigorous. The human body evolved so to become highly efficient at storing excess energy from excess food intake. This excess food could be used at later intervals when food was not available such as during droughts or harsh winter weather. Nowadays, life is no longer the same and has dramatically changed, faster than any biological adaptive behavior. With copious amounts of food readily available, it has made physical daily demands very low for people in the Western culture.

Another lifestyle change that has evolved and affects eating behavior is the context in which a person eats. Originally, humans were solitary eaters and would eat upon finding prey or food such as berries or nuts. As humans evolved and civilizations developed, they no longer ate on the run without companions. Think about all the eating rituals and traditions that exist today that are associated with eating. Eating with utensils, organizing foods on the plate, mixing foods on the plate and conversations are just a few of these rituals. All of these distract the eater from their main purpose of eating. Due to these distractions, a person is less sensitive to the cues that the brain and stomach send for satiation. When you miss those signals, overeating can occur. Research indicates that the longer the meal, the more people tend to eat at that meal. Food consumption was found to increase by 28% when one other person is present at the meal and increases steadily to 71% when the number of companions is six or more.

xmas-essen

From the same perspective, obesity can also be explained with regard to evolved taste preferences. There is a strong preference among many people for sweet-tasting foods. These foods were in short supply in our ancestral habitats, thus causing our ancestors to develop a predisposition to eat foods with these qualities whenever they were present to maximize their fitness. Researchers believe that we have inherited these predispositions to eat these foods when they are available and that is why we are easy prey for restaurants that offer sweet-tasting foods on their menus.

Looking at Cakes

One way to counteract these evolutionary biological behaviors is to increase physical activity of course. My recommendation would be to purchase and wear a pedometer. Track how many steps you take on average over a 1-week frame. Take that number and multiply it by 1.2. This would then be the goal number of steps that you would want to work on achieving over that same time frame. Studies have shown that to maintain a healthy body weight, 10,000 steps per day should be your goal. To lose weight, 12,000-15,000 steps per day are recommended.

The other strategy is to minimize all potential distractions at the eating table so to not miss satiety signals that the brain and stomach emit. Of course, eliminating family members and friends from the eating table is not advisable, but ensure that the conversation stays light and does not become emotionally charged. Turn off the television and dine at the table. Serve your dining companions’ meals directly from the stove and not family style from the table. When plates of food are left on the table, it is easy to mindlessly serve second and third portions. With the extra food remaining on the stove, one is less likely to get up during the meal, at least without a great deal of conscious thought, for another serving. Practice eating slowly and putting your utensils down in between bites.

Man eating salad

Understanding the origins of these instincts is the key to combating them and adhering to a balanced nutritional eating plan. Taking control of your environment and not letting your environment control you is of the utmost importance.

12 surprising health benefits of Chia Seeds

1-      Chia Seeds are gluten free.

2-      Chia Seeds help regulate appetite, sleep and improve mood because they are rich in the amino acid Tryptophan.

3-      Chia Seeds are rich in antioxidants which helps protect from cancer and aging.

4-      Chia Seeds are a great source of protein for vegetarian without any cholesterol.

5-      Chia Seeds are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, eight times richer than salmon.

6-      Chia Seeds are rich in fiber: 28 grams of Chia Seeds have 11 grams of dietary fiber.

7-      Chia Seeds slows down digestion and prevents blood sugar spikes. That is why it is being studies as a natural treatment for type-2 diabetes.

8-      Two tablespoons of Chia Seeds contain 139 calories, 4 grams of protein.

9-      Chia seeds have five times more calcium than milk.

10-   Chia Seeds contain seven times more Vitamin C than oranges.

11-   Chia Seeds have three times more iron than spinach.

12-   Chia Seeds contain twice the potassium content of banana.

The outer layer of Chia Seeds forms a gel when mixed with liquids. That means you can use these seeds to replace eggs to lower cholesterol and increase the nutrient content of foods and baked goods. To use it, mix one tablespoon of seeds with 3 tablespoons of water and let it sit for 15 minutes.

You can have your Chia Seeds either in a smoothie, or in a fruit juice or you can even add them to your salads. Whatever works for you! I have been taken them in the morning with a big glass of water.

Chia Seeds

You can find your seeds at any health store. I got mine from A New Earth organic and eco-living store. They are a bit expensive: 200g of Chia Seeds cost 22,500 LL but it is well worth the price.

How does your sleep affect your diet?

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Scientists believe that getting enough sleep is a critical aspect of weight management. That is why recent recommendations mention adequate diet, exercise, water and sleep. They found that sleep deprivation increases the levels of a hunger hormone and decreases the levels of a hormone that makes you feel full. This process may lead to overeating and weight gain. This would explain why new parents and night shift workers who are sleep deprived, gain a great deal of weight.

A typical inaccurate understanding is that every person needs 8 hours of sleep per day. However, the amount of sleep needed is different for every person and is individually and biologically determined. As a rule of thumb, 8 hours of sleep is suggested. Interestingly, sleep scientists tell us that we cannot ‘store up’ on our sleep by sleeping more on the weekend in preparation for the normal work week or vice versa.  Another commonly held view is that the amount of sleep one requires decreases as one ages, but this is not generally the case.

Dr Eve Van Cauter, the director of the research laboratory on sleep, Chronobiology and Neuroendocrinology at the University Of Chicago School Of Medicine extensively investigated the association between sleep deprivation and appetite stimulation. Her research revealed that sleep deprivation activates a small part of the hypothalamus, the region of the brain that is also involved in appetite regulation. She looked at two critical hormones in particular, both involved in regulating food intake: Ghrelin and Leptin.

Ghrelin is an appetite-stimulating hormone released generally by the stomach. When ghrelin levels are high, people feel hungry. In comparison, leptin, considered a satiety of fullness hormone, is released by the fat cells and signals the brain with regard to the current energy balance of the body. When leptin levels are high, a signal is sent to the brain that the body has enough food and the person feels full. While low levels of leptin indicate starvation and increase appetite. Van Cauter says: “One is the accelerator for eating (ghrelin) and the other the brake (leptin)”.

eat-more-sandwich

Her research showed that the participants who slept for 4 hours a day had 18% lower leptin (brake) levels and 28% higher ghrelin (accelerator) levels. On top of this, the sleep-deprived participants who had the biggest hormonal changes said that they felt most hunger and craved carbohydrates-rich foods such as cake, candy, ice cream and bread; whereas the participants who had the smallest hormonal changes reported being the least hungry.

Similar results were found by sleep scientists at the universities of Wisconsin and Stanford as well as at Columbia University. These studies tracked 1024 and 6115 people respectively.

What is interesting about these findings is that we used to think that sleep-deprived individuals used food to elevate themselves energetically from their state of tiredness but the data now indicates that these individuals are indeed truly hungry due to a hormonal state.

With the understanding of the crucial link between lack of sleep and hunger, we can see how difficult it would be in a sleep-deprived state to adhere to one’s eating plan. Here are several strategies that you can use:

–          Decrease the light level in your sleeping environment. Studies have shown that your brain can detect whether it’s day or night even if your eyes are closed.

–          Classically condition your body to feel drowsy. Develop a bedtime routine 30 minutes before the time you would like to sleep. This routine should be calm and quiet so as to slow down your metabolic rate. Avoid stimulating activities such as using the computer, watching TV, playing video games, doing office work or house work. However reading should be fine. Try to ensure that the same 30 minutes routine is the same each night so that this conditions your body to become drowsy.

–  Ensure your sleeping position is comfortable and gives you enough support.

–   You can listen to quiet, slow-paced music to facilitate sleep inducement.

–  Do not use your bed for activities such as watching TV, doing your homework or working on your laptop. It is important that both your body and your mind maintain an association between getting into bed and sleeping.

–  Of course, avoid drinking beverages containing caffeine before bedtime (i.e.: coffee, tea, soft drinks and energy drinks)

–  Studies have shown that sleep inducement is increased when body temperature is lowered. Open a window or turn on a fan to cool down your bedroom.

–  Try to avoid eating a large evening meal within 4 hours of bedtime. Large meals  can cause discomfort and might interrupt sleep.

Sleep well!

How can a lack of water make you eat more?

Water is your body’s primary chemical component and make up on average 60% of your body weight. Every bodily system is dependent on water to function. For example, water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and gives you a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues. A lack of water in the body, can lead to dehydration. Even a mild dehydration – fluid loss equal to less than 5% of body weight- can drain your energy and make you feel tired. Its physical symptoms include thirst, dry skin, mouth and throat, rapid pulse, weakness, reduced quantity of urine, decreased mental and muscle function and fainting. Fluid loss greater than 5% percent of body weight leads to a pale skin, confused state, rapid and shallow breathing and a weak irregular pulse. If immediate action is not sought, it might result in coma and death.

woman-drinking-water

Each day, we lose water through breathing, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. To make your body function properly you need to replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water. As a general guideline, the Dietary Reference Intake or DRI recommendation is 9 cups of water per day for adult women and 13 cups for adult men.

If you exercise or do any activity that makes you sweat, you need to drink extra water to compensate for the fluid loss. About 1.5 to 2.5 cups should be adequate for short periods of exercise. However, for intense activities lasting more than an hour, fluids containing electrolytes are usually recommended. You could refer to your coach for more information regarding this matter. The environment that you are in, whether it is hot or humid, can make you sweat and requires additional intake of fluids. Also, keep in mind that heated indoor air can cause your skin to lose moisture during the winter season. High altitudes may also trigger increased urination and more rapid breathing, which use up more of your body fluid. Illness is another factor to be aware of because fever, vomiting and diarrhea cause your body to lose additional fluids. In these conditions, you should also increase your water intake.

So, how can a lack of water be making you eat more?

According to the American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, thirst can be commonly mistaken for hunger, even though the body senses these states through separate mechanisms. One explanation for misinterpretation of signals is that eating can bring a sense of solace to thirst because some foods contain water. A second reason is that both thirst and hunger cravings usually come at the same time: during meal times. Another reason is that with dehydration comes a feeling of fatigue. Many times we interpret this feeling of lethargy as being due to a lack of energy fuel (sugar) and this produces a false sense of hunger. Then, if we do “mistakenly” consume food, our body needs additional water to manufacture digestive juices to digest the food. This produces a vicious cycle due to a misinterpretation of thirst signal for hunger. If one consistently mistakes thirst for hunger, it can definitely affect his eating plan. A lack of water can stimulate the appetite, making adhering to your eating plan very difficult. Therefore, it is crucial to stay adequately hydrated throughout the day. Here are some tips to help you avoid this:

–          It is typically not good to use thirst alone as a signal for when to drink. It is possible that by the time you become thirsty, you already may be slightly dehydrated.

–          Remember that as people get older, their body is less able to detect dehydration and send the brain signals of thirst.

–          Hydrate yourself before, during and exercise.

–          If you are having an alcoholic beverage, have with every drink a glass of water for hydration. The same goes with your cup of coffee and tea.

–          Reduce your consumption of packaged or prepared foods to a minimum. These foods consist of high levels of salt. This results in quick weight gain because of water retention in the body.

–          Measure out your intended water intake at the beginning of each day. Place the glasses or bottles of water throughout the house or office in areas that you are likely to frequent. The more you see the water containers, the more you will be likely to drink during the day.

–          When feeling hungry, drink a glass of water and wait 10 minutes to see if thirst was stimulating your appetite instead of true hunger.

–          Consume foods that contain a larger percentage of water such as lettuce (95%), watermelon (92%), broccoli (91%), grapefruit (91%), milk (89%), orange juice (88%), carrot (87%), and apple (84%).

Raw Vegan Hot Chocolate Recipe and Benefits

woman-drinking-hot-chocolate-christmas-tree

 

As I was browsing trying to find the healthiest and most natural recipe for hot chocolate, I came across this raw and vegan version with many nutritional benefits. Here’s the recipe:

Serving Size: 2

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

  • 4 Tbsp Raw Cacao Powder
  • 4 tsp Maca Powder
  • 2 Tbsp Raw Honey (or vegan: Coconut Sugar, Agave Nectar, Maple Syrup)
  • 1/8 – ¼ tsp Sea Salt
  • ¼ Cinnamon Powder
  • 1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • ¼ tsp Ginger Powder
  • Half of a Vanilla Bean, scraped (or 1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract)
  • 3 Cups Almond, Hemp, or Coconut Milk (or other plant-based milk)

Directions:

  1. In a small-medium sauce pan, warm your milk and let cool. If using raw nut milk, do not heat above 42 degrees Celsius.

  2. In a blender, combine all remaining ingredients and blend on high until smooth and creamy.

  3. Garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon, and consume immediately!

All of these medicinal spices and powders can be found at your local health food store. Enjoy the holidays in style and boost your health at the same time!

Check out the link for the many health benefits of: Raw Cacao, Ginger, Cayenne, Maca and Raw Honey. http://bit.ly/1ihqE1W

Let me know what you think of it!

Visualizing satiety and achieving weight loss.

Beauty

 

Visualization is being increasingly used in many fields and especially in sports. Sports psychologists rely heavily on the process on visualization when coaching their clients to achieve success. Athletes use this technique to train their mind in a way so that the body automatically behaves as asked, to achieve success without effort. It is similar to when you are so used to driving to work in the morning that you actually get there without a conscious effort. Visualization is also used by highly successful people and recommended by every self-help book in the 21st century.

So what is visualization?

When you close your eyes and think of something, let’s say your car or your house, although you are only thinking, you can actually visualize the car or the house. Visualization is the use of a positive suggestion through mental imagery to change a mental and/or physiological state. When you create a mental picture, because your subconscious is unable to differentiate between fantasy and reality, your body can actually respond to the visualization as if it was a real experience. It believes whatever pictures you create in your mind. You can trick your subconscious into believing this ‘reality’ and elicit specific emotions and feelings just like it was actually true. Visualization can help bring about desired changes in your behavior because your subconscious tries to make your behavior consistent with your mental images and thoughts.

So how can you visualize satiety?

If you want to use visualization to achieve satiety you have to focus on the concept of bypass surgery for a minute. During normal digestion, food passes from the stomach to the small intestine where most of the nutrients and calories are absorbed. Then food goes through to the large intestine or the colon and the remaining waste is later excreted. In gastric bypass surgery, surgeons make the stomach smaller by creating a small pouch at the top of the stomach with surgical staples. This pouch which is able to hold 2 to 3 ounces of volume is then connected directly to the middle portion of the small intestine and bypasses the rest of the larger original stomach and part of the small intestine. The goal of this procedure is to allow the person to feel full more quickly than when the stomach is at its full size. This results in reducing the amount of consumed food leading to a decrease in the number of calories consumed and initiating weight loss. Food also bypasses part of the small intestine causing fewer calories to be absorbed.

So why not apply the process of visualization to your stomach in the form of a mental gastric bypass to feel satiated with less food consumption? What you need to do is visualize your stomach, not at its full size of 10 inches and not at its full capacity to hold a gallon of food and water, but at capacity of 1 to 1.5 cups. Since this is all imaginary, you can choose the new measurement of your stomach. Ideally, you should do this visualization every day, in a calm and relaxing place. I suggest you take 15 minutes every day before you get up of bed to visualize your new stomach. Or what you can do is that, throughout each day and especially during meal time, visualize your stomach cavity as only able to hold the amount of food you want. The more often you engage in the process of visualization, the more your brain can help keep your eating behavior consistent with your mental image.

As Albert Einstein said, “Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions.”  Your conscious mind can be the gateway to any reality you wish to have. It can hold one thought at a time and you get to choose what that thought it is. Whether you use this technique to calm your mind or eat less food, if you do it repeatedly and with enough determination, these thoughts will eventually attract this reality into your life.