In Search of a Habit of Activity

Nowadays, with the explosion of advanced technology, there are numerous #fitness apps and #activity #trackers to chose from. Undoubtedly, these work well for all those who are already into fitness and #training. Needless to say, these active individuals are into regular #exercise training and have formed the healthy habit of working out. They are invested into being healthy by training themselves physcically and require little to no extra motivation to get them moving.

My concern is for those who are on the more #inactive end of the spectrum and therefore do not benefit from these fitness apps or activity trackers. The missing link is still the motivation and desire to move – a key factor without which the #sedentary people remain inactively so – we are in crucial need of a habit of activity. For the benefit of the sedentary people, there should be other innovative solutions geared towards motivating or resetting their will to become more physically active over time. Perhaps an innovative and creative way to engage these individuals gradually towards developing an inevitable habitual level of activity is warranted.

Easier said than done of course – what would be some of these innovative methods that would help the inactive person to form a healthy habit of frequent activity? One idea that has been implemented in some fashion is the reward based mechanism. There are some merits in this type of reward mechanism such as providing health coupons to those tracking enough activity points. However, if the rewards are mainly for healthy products, it is still a challenge to attract the not-so-health concerned individual. We may need to explore other novel ways that appeal to the fundamental desire of habitual activity. If you have other ideas please free to share.

How to Prevent and Stay on Top of Diabetes?

Diabetes is becoming one of the most widespread chronic diseases affecting millions of people worldwide with healthcare costs soaring to billions of dollars. The question in our minds is how to prevent this adult onset type II diabetes? And once we do get it, how can we manage it effectively?

Greasy and sugary carbohydrates along with long hours of sitting at work or in front of the TV result in a pattern of continuous weight gain. An unhealthy weight and sedentary lifestyle is the main culprit leading to diabetes. Research has shown that people with a higher BMI and those who experience muscle loss or sarcopenia from inactivity are more susceptible to developing diabetes with advancing age. The risk of diabetes is much greater for people over 65 years of age than those below 40. (Reference: American Diabetes Association at http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/medication/)

Food that we eat is metabolized into sugar molecules known as glucose that can be easily absorbed by the cells of our body. These glucose molecules require another compound, insulin, to gain entrance inside the cells. The insulin binds to the glucose molecules and acts as a key that unlocks the door to the cells. In Type II diabetes either the body does not produce enough of insulin molecules or the insulin that is being produced is unable to bind with the glucose. This is also known as insulin-resistant diabetes. As a result, there is too much sugar in our blood, known as blood glucose concentration, which can damage the liver, kidneys, eye and nerves. Also a very common symptom of diabetes is dehydration, fatigue and frequent urination. Since the cells of our body do not have enough sugar they become more fatigued and also dehydrated.

It is therefore crucial to maintain a healthy lifestyle and BMI to prevent the onset of diabetes. In order to maintain a healthy weight or to lose excessive weight, one can make a habit of eating balanced meals that have the right proportions of vegetables, fruits, starch and proteins. A visual guidance is to fill up half of the plate with non-starchy greens, a quarter with lean proteins and another quarter with starchy foods. Additionally, participating in light to moderate activity and doing aerobic exercises ensures a positive energy flow through our system and prevents muscle loss.

Once a person is diagnosed with diabetes, it is important to regularly measure and monitor blood sugar levels. A daily routine of balanced and frequent meals with lean proteins, lots of fibers and complex carbohydrates is recommended. The meal plate should be ¼ protein,  ¼ starch and ½ of non-starchy veggies and some fruits. Substituting sweet cravings with naturally occurring sugars such as dates, honey and those found naturally in fruits can reduce blood sugar spiking. Additionally, maintaining light to moderate daily exercises that is not too strenuous is also recommended. 7-8 hours of sleep in diabetic patients cannot be over emphasized. Some people with type 2 diabetes can manage their diabetes naturally with healthy eating and regular exercise.

If sugar cannot be controlled naturally, however, the doctor may prescribe oral medications. It is important to take these meds regularly as indicated. Pill boxes are a great way to organize them so we can stay on top of our meds. In more advanced diabetes, the doctor will prescribe regular insulin shots to help maintain blood sugar levels. The injected medication acts rapidly in our bodies and therefore it is necessary to coordinate the insulin shots with timely intake of food.

Besides frequently checking our weight, blood sugar and blood pressure levels, it is important for diabetic patients to have several annual checkups. Urine and blood tests should be done for monitoring heart, kidney and liver functioning. Also, a dilated eye exam, a dental exam and a complete foot exam every year is highly recommended.

How to Break the Cycle of Low Metabolism?

Have you felt trapped in a vicious cycle of low #metabolism and low #energy? We get stuck into the never-ending pattern of lack of #physical energy and never seem to be able to break out from its tight grip.

It really is a cycle and unfortunately there is no way to come out of it without a purposeful intent and desire to make that happen. If you are reading this article, that is definitely a step in the right direction. Here we have summarized some helpful steps to break out of the vicious cycle of continuous low energy and boost our metabolism.

There are various mechanisms to jumpstart our metabolic system -one of the easiest being food intake since there is a thermic effect from the digestion of food itself. However, all #calories are not created equal – a donut and a piece of lean chicken breast with the same calorie content does not translate to the same net energy in our body. Thermogenic foods are those smart foods that actually scorch significant calories during their digestion process. 30% of the calories in a piece of chicken is required in the process of its own digestion- thus the net calories are less than total consumed! Some examples of #thermogenic foods are chicken, turkey breasts, lean red meat, such as veal and almost all types of fish and shellfish. Celery is also a great example with net negative calories! These lean proteins, some brown starch and fibrous vegetables make a highly effective combination also for burning fat in our bodies. (Check our links on aging well physically :
http://wiserlady.com/2017/02/26/do-you-have-what-it-takes-to-age-well/ )

Besides choosing the right combination of thermogenic and smart calorie foods, we can #energize our system with light weight-lifting and aerobic exercises. Gradually increasing our #activity levels from light to moderate can eventually reverse the vicious negative cycle into a cycle of positive energy! The energy released from working out in turn helps us to be more active in general.

In order to maintain a healthy activity level at all times, we can also hack our system with incidental workouts. Sometimes despite our desire to remain active, we find ourselves sitting long hours at work and at home. How can we move away from this #sedentary #lifestyle? Finding opportunities to flex our muscles or doing incidental workouts is the answer. We can train our brains and form #healthy habits to choose the stairs over elevator, park a little farther from the entrance, walk the longer route to the coffee machine or carry the heavy grocery bags!

How to Age Well Emotionally and Spiritually?

We take constant care of ourselves physically but what about our souls and our spirits? We should also take care of ourselves spiritually. Why is it extremely important to age well spiritually and emotionally? If you haven’t already done so, take a moment now to think about how we want to be remembered as when we leave this earth and what kind of legacy we want to leave behind?

Do we want to be remembered as someone who was always stressed out, selfish, lacked self-control and discipline, was helpless and blamed others constantly or was always angry and ill-tempered? Or do we rather want to be remembered as the hero of our own life’s story? – someone who was helpful and supportive to others in need, kind, generous and big-hearted and who was a significant contributor to their community? Deep in our hearts we almost all wish to be the latter person but do we always practice the daily routine that ensure we will age well spiritually?

What are some of the main emotional obstacles or mental stressors that we potentially face in our lives that cause us to lose our inner peace and control of our minds?

– Abuse in any shape or form
– Recent death or loss
– Legal problems
– Financial problems
– Changes in living situation
– Unstable living situation
– Work or school problems
– Relationship problems with parents, children, spouse, siblings or close friends

There must be infinitely more obstacles and also many other problems that are specific to different individuals but we get the general idea. Humans are multi-dimensional and multi-faceted complex beings and are constantly faced with many challenges of life and living! But how can we adequately defend ourselves against these mental stressors?

This article is a brief walkthrough of some helpful tips for us to meditate so that our true inner spirit can flourish and age with us peacefully and gracefully. #MindValley# experts (#Vishel Lakhiani#) have created amazing videos and concepts on meditation:
1.http://www.mindvalley.com
2.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaRu14P9H84

They have coined some inspirational and out-of-the-box ideas in describing these meditation concepts – such as ‘Blissipline’ – a feeling of bliss, gratefulness in the present while being disciplined in the journey towards our awesome future! When we take control of our own lives and are accountable in our present actions, when we create the self-discipline to work gradually towards our envisioned future, while being truly grateful and happy in the present moment is the idea captured in ‘Blissipline’! Truly inspirational work from MindValley and a great place for help with meditation and spiritual healing. We should take some time to meditate before we start our day every morning – and connect with our souls and spirit, feel gratitude for what we have now and nurture a vision for our future path.

We take the broad concepts of MindValley and summarize a few important pieces of meditation:

– Gratitude – Being grateful for all of our blessings in life such as family, intelligence, potential and inner strength and realizing the love and support that surrounds us.
– Forgiveness – Letting go of any negative thoughts and truly bringing out our inner peace.
– Daily Purposefulness – Starting each day with purposefulness and with the knowledge that we have the inner strength to make each day and every day amazing. This also incorporates being contented and happy in the present moment.
– Vision for the future – Nurturing a vision for the future and imagining all the amazing things we want to manifest in our future. We can realize that awesome vision by the theory of manifestation.

In addition to starting each day with meditation, we must constantly remind ourselves to relax conscientiously in order to enjoy all the blessings in our lives. When we are stressed out, we fail to notice the bountiful gifts of life even if they are right in front of us. We also perceive the same situation in different ways when we are anxious and when we are relaxed. Pursuing activities or hobbies or nurturing relationships with our loved ones can also help us to relax. We can implement this type of relaxation and self-control with one small step at a time. Eventually we will generate a cycle of positive events – and reap the benefits of the Domino effect – where we perpetuate the feeling of relaxation, peacefulness and inner control.

Do You Have What It Takes to Age Well Physically?

Free radicals are everywhere and they accelerate the process of aging. However, with appropriate defense we can prevent against many chronic diseases of aging. (Check out our new video “Aging Well Physically” on youtube channel ‘Healthy Flamingo’!)

Free radicals are highly unstable and reactive molecules that can invade our cells and tissues resulting in the occurrence of chronic diseases of aging – such as cancer, diabetes, heart diseases and chronic inflammations, such as, arthritis. Free radicals cause oxidative stress and damage on our bodies– they are naturally produced as a result of metabolic processes or maybe contained in unhealthy and oily foods.  These free radicals can be oxidized by some catalytic agents resulting in oxidative stress and cell damage. Some of these catalysts are:

  • Metals, such as copper, mercury, zinc
  • Toxic chemical agents, such as pesticides, cigarettes, air pollutants
  • Physical stressors, such as sleep deprivation and inactivity.
  • Greasy foods containing fatty acids, and cholesterol that undergo oxidation into secondary toxic substances.

Free radical oxidation damage our cell’s protein enzymes, thus hindering normal functioning of cells and accelerate the process of aging and disease pathogenesis. Such cell damages provoked by free radicals are much more common in aging. Increased oxidative protein damages were found in the livers and kidneys of aged animals. What are those functional superfoods we can eat to fight against free radicals and age well physically? There are functional foods with antioxidant, antiviral and medicinal properties containing lots of phyto-chemicals that we can eat to fight against free radicals.

We have grouped the superfoods into those that are beneficial for cardiovascular health, those that prevent against diabetes, cancer, arthritis, increase our body’s metabolism and prevent skin’s aging.

  1. Cardiovascular Health – Foods that are rich in Flavonols such as green tea, apple, onion, nuts, broccoli, strawberries and whole grains promote better cholesterol and blood pressure regulation – thus preventing against coronary heart diseases. Foods that are rich in vitamin E also fall into this category. Curcumin, a compound found in turmeric is also very good for blood cholesterol regulation.
  2. Prevention against Cancer – Foods rich in anti-oxidants can decrease the risks of many forms of cancer – prostrate, colon, breast and lung cancer. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and brussel sprouts reduce the risks of breast cancer, for example. Additionally, consuming plentiful green tea, garlic, soy products, and foods rich in vitamin A promote the apoptosis and death of tumor cells. Vegetables, such as beets and carrots that are rich in calcium and fibers are particularly good for prevention against intestinal cancers. These vegetables also protect the body against chronic inflammations, such as arthritis.
  3. Diabetes – Unprocessed whole foods, such as, whole grains, fatty fish rich in omega-3 acids, such as salmon/sardines, mixed nuts and non-sugary drinks, such as green tea and water are great foods for prevention of type 2 diabetes that typically occur with aging.
  4. Foods that boost metabolism –Not all calories that we consume are created equal – some foods exhaust more of our body’s energy than others. Thermogenic foods are those that have a higher chance of burning up more calories during the process of digestion itself. Therefore, we should consume lots of complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, and fruits such as mixed berries, green leafy vegetables such as spinach, and celery all of which boost the body’s metabolism. Lean meat, such as turkey and chicken are also highly thermogenic foods. Additionally, some spices such as turmeric powder and cinnamon also increase the rate of metabolism.
  5. Foods that prevent skin’s aging – Foods that are rich in phytochemical, Quercetin, such as apples, mixed berries, leafy green and cruciferous vegetables, citrusy fruits, such as oranges, lemons and tomatoes, provide rich sources of anti-oxidants and also have anti-inflammatory properties. Also, foods that contain the phytochemical, Resveratrol, such as grapes and peanuts have been found to protect the skin against premature aging.

Another important factor in aging well physically is to maintain a moderately active lifestyle in order to preserve our muscle function. Incorporating daily activities into our routine such as light weight lifting couple of times a week and taking frequent breaks to walk whenever possible goes a long way to prevent muscle loss with aging. Incidental workouts, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator or carrying the grocery bag, help us to maintain and preserve muscle mass with age. Last but not the least, our body’s normal functioning and metabolism benefit tremendously from regular sleep to recharge our batteries.

What can superfoods do to our brain? – Aging well mentally

Please check out our new video “Aging Well- Mentally” on youtube channel ‘Healthy Flamingo’

Age is just a number and we are as old or as young as we feel! This is often easier said than implemented in our daily lives. In fact, often there are two groups of people – those who feel and act younger than their numerical age and those who are the opposite. Therefore, it is not surprising that these two groups will also have different perspectives and have completely different stories to retell about their intricate journey throughout life. In fact, there is now scientific research to support the notion that feeling younger can actually make us live longer  :

Feeling young at heart may help you live longer

When we feel younger, we are more likely to keep ourselves mentally and physically heightened with pursuing all those activities that promote health and fitness. In fact, our brains are very plastic and have a natural capacity to transform throughout life – not much different from a putty dough. We can truly shape it as we like! Also neuronal connections in our brain are constantly evolving and we would lose them if we did not use them or vice versa! We can always train our brains by trying new ideas, learning new skills, picking new hobbies, new languages and challenging ourselves with new activities. There are softwares and apps now available easily for such brain teasing exercises.

Additionally, to fuel our brain and promote its maximum functionality, we can consume superfoods! We constantly read so many articles on these superfoods and it can be difficult to summarize their benefits. We attempted to group the superfoods into three categories of improved brain blood flow, improved cognitive function and those that prevent against brain diseases:

  1. Increasing blood flow through the brain – All kinds of nuts, especially walnuts and avocados are rich in mono saturated fats and promote improved blood pressure and cholesterol regulation. Beets, a great source of nitrates and dark chocolates with their healthy dose of antioxidants – promote really good flow of blood through our brains, thus improving its function.
  2. Improving cognitive function – The first superfood in this category is water and it is a no-brainer because dehydration causes the brain to shrink and inevitably affects cognitive function. Olive oil is a great source of mono-saturated fats and has been found to slow down the brain’s process of aging. The super powers of mixed berries and fatty fish, rich in omega-3 acids, such as salmon and sardines, as well as green and leafy vegetables, such as spinach all improve cognitive function – namely, memory, focus and attention. Wheat germs and eggs, being an excellent source of the nutrient choline, also enhances memory. Choline is important for the body’s production of the brain’s neurotransmitter chemical, acetylcholine.
  3. Preventing brain diseases – Regularly drinking coffee has been linked to lower rates of depression. Also, fatty fish, rich in their omega-3 acids, has been shown to significantly reduce the risks of depression, especially, among women. Fatty fish, such as salmon and sardines, also reduce the risks for dementia. Additionally, cancer research has shown that consuming garlic regularly can prevent against brain cancer.

 

Want Guilt-Free Comfort Foods for Every Meal?

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 new 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 gradually 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 and manage your cravings as they change through the day. When you are craving cinnamon buns, “Ditch” and instead “Switch” to a ‘healthilicious’ cinnamon honey drizzled toast! And there is many more! We will expand the items list and add a search feature in our next version release.

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

Medical Cost Mystery

As we near the end of 2016 and turn into yet another year of massive healthcare spending, more and more consumers are demanding transparency in medical bills and healthcare costs. Despite our increasing collective knowledge and technological advancements , 0ne of the profound mysteries of the 21st century are the accelerating and mysterious medical bills. More consumers are now demanding improved transparency and financial solutions within the healthcare billing system. The healthcare industry will need to change from their traditional billing system based on an age old hospital’s master book to a price-matched one. Consumers are demanding more value for every dollar spent and are open to reviewing various options and procedures to manage the rising costs.

With the widespread use of smartphones, apps and wearable technology, we will see an increase in patientless hospitals where care is provided virtually. Video physician consults and real time physiological monitoring are a few of the ways that increasing health value can be obtained for every medical dollar spent. Additionally more and more middle-aged consumers are open to exploring alternative ways to finance their medical bills. This is now the time for the healthcare industry to model novel financial solutions using examples from other industries.

Shifting Focus from Illness to Health

Running to the emergency room when a chronic condition blows up or reacting to an illness runs as a common theme in the American healthcare system. We are forced into this emergent care or reaction mode to manage the illness or chronic condition. This is at best an inefficient management model or commonly referred to as ‘treating the symptoms and not the causes’.

We are a smart nation and unfortunately the healthcare system that we have established does not reflect that. Smart people typically do not react to everything, they are proactive and prepared. If the healthcare system is to survive the impending growth of the aging population as baby boomers overwhelmingly turn to mid-sixties, it has to take on more wisdom.

Let’s move from a reactive to a proactive system. Let us be more concerned with our health rather than with illnesses. One of the first steps is to focus on our health. Many experts believe that the future of our healthcare lies in our patients. Patients could change their behavior and attitude towards health and become more proactively engaged instead of passively receiving vital stats. The best healthcare is indeed ‘self care’.Shifting Focus

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 !