Category Archives: Uncategorized

How to Break the Cycle of Hunger and Insulin Resistance?

Have you ever felt trapped in a cycle of continuous hunger and food cravings and never feeling satiated? Many of us live through this feeling every day when the more nutrients we consume, the more we crave and never feel quite satisfied. What are the underlying mechanisms and implications of this state of the metabolic system? Well this might seem like a detour but stay tuned with me! I am going to bring it around full circle and try to simplify the complex scenario involving insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance itself is quite simple to understand. It is the condition where our body cells are not responding to the insulin produced by our pancreas. The underlying biological mechanism leading to the condition of insulin resistance appears to be inflammation which can be modulated by the fatty acid composition of the diet. The human body has numerous checks and balances in place to provide optimal blood glucose levels and avoid unnecessary upheavals. These days we have excess nutrients and insulin has the difficult task of defending the body against potential damage from excessive nutrient intake. All nutrients are however naturally inflammatory since their metabolism into other compounds can lead to increased inflammation. Cellular inflammation can disrupt and deactivate insulin’s action by disturbing signaling mechanisms within the cell.

Insulin resistance can be modulated by the fatty acid composition in our food. Omega-6 and saturated fatty acids (such as palmitic acid) are the pro-inflammatory molecules, whereas omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory molecules. Consuming omega-3 fatty acids can decrease and even reverse inflammation within the hypothalamus. Saturated fats can cause inflammation in the hypothalamus of the brain disrupting the signaling pathways mediated by the hormones insulin and leptin that make us feel ‘full and satisfied’. As a result, our brain continues to send hunger signals to our stomach and unfortunately the vicious cycle of inflammation and insulin resistance continues. As a result, there is accumulation of excess calories which are stored as fat in the adipose tissue.

Excess weight however, is not the cause of insulin resistance. The origin of insulin resistance may start with inflammation in the hypothalamus that disrupt satiety signals, increase hunger and food intake starting an orchestra of events that go downhill. When there is excess fat in the body, that is not necessarily a problem if the fat can be safely stored in healthy fat cells that are responsive to insulin. However, fat cells do not have an unlimited capacity to expand. When they expand uncontrollably, it results in inflammation of the fat cell. With ongoing inflammation in the fat cell, high levels of free fatty acids can leave the fat cell to enter the general circulation where they can be taken up by other organs, such as liver and skeletal muscles. These organs also eventually develop insulin resistance. The liver in fact, cannot safely store large amounts of fat which can lead to fatty liver disease.

Skeletal muscle is a very important tissue for uptake of glucose and for storing energy. Physical activity can reduce insulin resistance in skeletal muscles and also increases the uptake of glucose without requiring insulin. The amount and composition of fatty acids in the diet can have a significant role in the modulation of insulin resistance. Last but not the least, monitoring thyroid function can optimize metabolism and prevent the development of insulin resistance.

What are the Costs of Aging Muscles?

Sarcopenia is the exponential loss of skeletal muscle mass with aging and typically onsets after the third decade of life. The loss of strength and force steadiness are some of the main behavioral complications of the aging neuromuscular system. There is a significant correlation between a sedentary lifestyle and the progression of muscle loss. The main effects of sarcopenia are:

1. Decreased muscle strength
2. Limited functional mobility
3. Loss of functional independence
4. Frailty and general weakness
5. Falls and fractures
6. Osteoperosis
7. Weight Gain
8. Diabetes

The over 65 population will approximately double from 36 million in year 2008 to approximately 72 million by year 2030! The risk of disability is 2-5 times greater in older persons with sarcopenia than an older person with normal muscle function. Sarcopenia exponentially increases the risks of major falls and fractures among the elderly and a significant proportion of the elderly who fall are unable to function independently in the community.

What are the healthcare costs associated with sarcopenia? In USA, the costs of direct health care visits as a result of sarcopenia amounted to $18.5 billion in the year 2000. Additional costs for those who were no longer able to live independently in the community amounted to $26.5 billion. There is typically a strong association of sarcopenia with diabetes and costs associated with diabetes was approximately $156 billion in year 2010!

So what can be done to decelerate the loss of skeletal muscle and onset of sarcopenia? Exercise interventions and strength training among the elderly can decelerate the loss of muscle strength and improve force steadiness. Walking frequently whenever possible or light weight-lifting or moderate strength training can help to keep the muscles engaged and slow down the progressive loss of muscle mass.

 

Blogger Recognition Award!

My fellow blogger The Happiest Pixel has nominated me for the ‘Blogger Recognition Award’. Thank you so much Happiest Pixel! You made me so happy! I am so excited. Thank You!!!

HERE ARE THE RULES:

1.Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
2.Write a post to show your award.
3.Give a brief story of how your blog started.
4.Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
5.Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
6.Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated and provide the link to the post you created

STORY OF HOW MY BLOG STARTED

I started my blogging journey in December 2015 to journal my numerous thoughts on health related topics and to create a diary of the words of wisdom I gathered from my health science colleagues and seniors about life in general. My blog is a place to share ideas on the wise and healthy lifestyle – to exchange ideas and stories related to the wisdom of peace, joy, health awareness and innovations and in general all things that are inspirational towards a lifestyle that is more meaningful. The objective is to make a healthier community one post at a time! I have not looked back since then and plan to spread more awareness on health and wellness. Thanks for stopping by and following my blog.

TWO PIECES OF ADVICE TO NEW BLOGGERS

These are two pieces I picked up along the way but hope that a new blogger can implement sooner to reap the benefits faster:

1. Connecting to fellow bloggers cannot be over-emphasized. The blogging community grows stronger with nurturing and supporting one another. Take a moment to connect with your fellow bloggers and to make helpful comments on their posts and to support them in their blogging journey.

2. There is no such thing as a vacation from writing! Whenever there is any idea or topic related to your theme, try to write about it and keep your audience engaged. In regards to this, it helps to actively create posts in advance to be prepared for those moments when life gets in the way of work.

MY NOMINEES – You are all amazing and I have learnt from each one of you. Thank you all!!

1.Cook Slow Run Fast
2.Polished Devil
3.Begel Therapy
4.Simple Beautiful Un Me
5.All Things Heart
6.One Roof Publish
7.Evelyn Maxwell
8.Carolyns Healthings
9.Inese Poga Art Plus Life
10.Showers of Blessing
11.Kelly Kinetics
12.Maggie Simple Life
13.Lipstick and Freckles
14.Amber the Inquirer
15.The Itinerant Introvert

Congratulations to you all!! Your blogs are really beautiful and wonderful!!

-Aiming Flamingo

Ditch and Switch

Most of us are naturally comfort loving and we enjoy the comfort foods, especially when we have stressful days at work. We have regular cravings for our favorite dishes and delicacies. However, most of these dishes are too heavy on calorie intake and due to their richness can have a major impact on the waistline. It is difficult to ignore those hunger cravings, especially when we are pressed for time and energy. It is even more difficult to stop devouring these rich foods when they are close by at hand. Therefore I had always wanted to be able to quickly ditch the comfort food craving and switch over to a healthier alternative option.

Please check out our app “DitchSwitch” from the apple app store (FREE download):

https://itunes.apple.com/de/app/ditchswitch/id1190413387?mt=8

DitchSwitch is a healthy lifestyle app that allow users to improve their eating habits. For all meals throughout a day, the user can ditch common comfort foods and switch to healthier and lighter alternatives. Each healthy alternative suggestion also includes an easy recipe when it is selected.

We have identified some of the more common comfort foods and have organized them into four broad categories to help you tackle your cravings as they change through the day. When you are craving cinnamon buns, “Ditch” and instead “Switch” to a cinnamon honey drizzled toast! And there is many more! We will expand the items and possibly add a search feature in the next version release.

Please share “DitchSwitch” app link with your friends and your networks. It is completely free . There are 30 light and simple recipes to try and encourage healthy lifestyle and living in our community. Thank you for downloading and sharing !

Thankful for the Perfect Healthy Bite!!

It is that time again with lots of beauty boxes to lust after during the holiday season. Every time I would pass by some of the bite beauty lipsticks, I would get all heart-eyed. Well there is more to these bite beauty lipsticks besides their beautiful and opaque pigmentation. They are absolutely healthy and as the name suggests can be bitten into –  hence their clever logo with the “B” partially eaten off! I am so thankful for the Perfect Bite red mint box I just purchased!

The box has four deluxe sized amuse bouche lipsticks in fig, pepper, honeycomb and nori shades. I have a picture of each swatch from the box below. They are beautifully rich and opaque when applied over the lips. They are creamy and provide much needed moisture and hydration. Each lip shade belongs to the Bite lipstick permanent range as well. Have I mentioned these lipsticks consist of 12 edible oils? Next time you are eating with your lipstick on, there is no health hazard to be worried of.

This is a great set for exploring Bite lipstick products as there are 4 beautiful shades for the price of just one of their lipsticks! My favorite from this box is the pepper shade – really a lush nude!

 

 

Hosting an all Ladies Lunch

A ladylike hosting!

I had been wanting to host this for a while : “A lovely ladies luncheon”. I had envisioned a gathering of several girlfriends to enjoy a wonderful spring lunch just chatting about our favorite lipsticks or our new shoes! Doesn’t get more feminine and exciting than that for us lovely ladies!

I wanted  my friends to be able to enjoy the whole experience from start to finish. I knew I had numerous small undertakings to accomplish that would culminate in the final lovely luncheon! I prepared pretty handwritten cards to send out the invitations. Of course there were miniature diamond stickers (small and sophisticated yet noticeable) to seal my envelopes! The cards had been mailed to 14 recipients of my invitation. Everyone initially showed much enthusiasm to join, however, busy as our lives are several declined. Eventually there were 9 confirmed guests for my luncheon!

I also wanted to have little favors for all my guests who were taking the  trouble to drive over to my house. I wanted to give them something small yet feminine. I bought mason jars, decorated them and filled with little nail polishes and hand lotion.

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Several days ahead of the event, I started making a rough plan for what my appetizers would be, the main luncheon menu and what I could serve as dessert. I even researched online for cute but light delectables that could become my appetizers. I wanted to make something light yet very lovely as my dessert! I researched quite a lot and at last decided on vegetarian red velvet cupcakes made with fresh beets. I wanted my health conscious friends to enjoy the light dessert with natural red color from the beet vegetable as opposed to red food color. I finalized the lunch menu knowing that some of my guests also have dietary restrictions. I would need to have several vegetable dishes as one of my friends was vegetarian. I finally went with some roasted peppers, roasted red potatoes, and greek spanakopita. I also made flavored rice and stir-fry chicken.

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Finally the lovely day arrived.  I tried my best to ensure it would go as beautifully as planned. I woke up very early and made sure that all my hallways, living room and kitchen counters were neat and tidy. I set the lunch table with fine silverware and decorative china. The favors were labeled with each of the guests’ name  and served as the place holders.

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At the very last minute through my online research, I had learned a very quick way to turn my cupcakes into beautiful high heels. My friends absolutely enjoyed the gathering and the little simple ways that I tried to make them all happy!

 

 

 

Tiramisu

I had learnt this Italian dessert Tiramisu (“lift me up”) from an Italian friend back in school. She would always say it was the easiest and one of the lightest desserts to make but the trickiest part was how much the lady fingers were soaked in the coffee. While that is absolutely true, I still find it to be my go-to dessert. It almost always  turns out delicious and if you are in a hurry to prepare a quick  dessert without too much headache, this one never will fail you. I have had lady fingers soaked anywhere from ‘too much’ to ‘too little’ and every time it was delectable!

Ingredients:

  1. 4 eggs, yolks and whites separated
  2. 2 packets of lady fingers
  3. 16 ounces of mascarpone cheese
  4. Sugar (3 TBs/egg)
  5. Hot liquid coffee
  6. Whipped cream for topping
  7. Some cocoa for decoration

Method:

  1. Beat egg whites until foamy peaks form
  2. Beat egg yolks and sugar until the color is pale yellow
  3. Add mascarpone cheese to the yolk. Mix well into a cream.
  4. Fold in egg whites to this cream. Mix well.
  5. Prepare hot liquid coffee

Cake Assembly:

  1. Use 9-13 inch rectangular pan
  2. Make 1 layer with lady fingers (lady fingers should be soaked into hot coffee for 1-2 seconds on all sides using forks for guidance)
  3. Spread half of the cream over the lady finger layer
  4. Repeat step 2 with another layer of lady fingers
  5. Finish with remainder of cream
  6. Add whipped cream on top and spread evenly
  7. Sprinkle some cocoa for decoration