Food

Swallowing Glass

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Have you ever swallowed glass?  On purpose or accidentally?  I can’t image.  But, then again I can.

How about being stabbed repeatedly by a knife, in the abdomen?  I can’t image.  But, then again I can.

This is how I must describe my bout with recently diagnosed diverticulitis.  There is just no closer resemblance to the pain when diverticulosis becomes an infection.

I never knew I had either of these conditions until last month.  I am pretty darn healthy and eat a vegetarian/pescatarian diet 99% of the time.  I occasionally will have chicken and turkey, but definitely get plenty of fiber, which is of high importance each day (and seems to be lacking in diets of those with this diagnosis) for someone with diverticulosis.  I still don’t know how I got this.  More tests are forthcoming.  (Including the dreaded colonoscopy, I have coined as the “butt scope”).

My doctor initially thought I had appendicitis and sent me to the emergency room, where I had a CT scan which discovered this lovely infection and condition.  I had a fever, as well.  I am so thankful I followed up, usually I grin and bear it, but I knew something serious was wrong, as this was not your normal tummy ache.

What is diverticulitis and diverticulosis?

I think I will refrain from going into all the disgusting, gross details here and point you here where you can read up about it if you wish: Diverticular disease.

Something I have discovered that has tremendously changed my symptoms and digestion is the Food Combining Diet.  I bought a little book and did plenty of research after hearing from a friend that it totally cured her symptoms and flare-ups from diverticular disease.

I added a simple little reminder chart here that I keep on my refrigerator as a reminder:

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Basically, eat fruit alone.  I have my fruit in the morning, before breakfast and after my morning cup of coffee.  Also, do not mix lean proteins with carbs.  Period.  I have lean protein (such as fish, chicken) with veggies and a salad for dinner.  You can mix carbs with veggies- those are the fun meals!  (Think pasta, bread and salad).

I have omitted tomatoes (high acid & seeds), hot things like peppers and jalapeños (which I love) and small seeds like sesame.

I am feeling good and losing some weight as well.  When we let our bodies digest foods in the best and easiest way possible, our bodies will thank us.

Getting older comes with many surprises concerning our health.

I am certainly missing my hot foods, but definitely never want to feel the pain of a diverticulitis recurrence.  I hope this was helpful to you.  I’ll let you all know how I survived my upcoming “butt scope.”  I’m more concerned with what I might blab during sedation (my doctor is a handsome devil!). Wish me luck!

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Medical Mystery Solved: GMO’s and Cat Barf

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My husband and I have been on a recent researching frenzy.  The topic?  GMO’s -AKA genetically modified organisms.  Of course we began this journey after watching, “Food, Inc.”  We are very healthy eaters as it is, but since watching that movie a few years ago we strive all the more for organics and grain-fed lean proteins (chicken, turkey, no beef or pork).  We are probably 98.5% Pescatarian (wild not farm-raised fish, vegetables).

So, what does this have to do with cat barf?  A lot, actually.  I am not talking about the occasional hair ball either, rather vomit.  Large amounts of vomit full of food, disgustingly yellowish in color and sometimes projectile in nature.

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I now will refer you to the movie, “Genetic Roulette.”  Trust me, you want to watch this.  I am going to present some evidence here with regards to my cats and allow you to do your own homework.  I really hope this inspires you to make changes in your life and in the life of your pets.  You will be amazed, trust me.

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Back to the cats.  We have five.  Yes, five- and they are all indoor.  For a long while I had them on a seemingly healthy diet based on advertisements and hype.  Gosh, we had them on a variety of foods.  We kept trying to find a food that would eliminate the piles of puke around our house and reduce weight gain.  (I won’t name all the brands here…)  Purina One Smart Blend sounds like a healthy and wholesome food, right?  The chicken and rice formula is what our cats ate.  Here is some of the promises they state:

  • Real chicken is the #1 ingredient, blended with other high-quality protein sources, to help support strong muscles, including a healthy heart.
  • Omega-6 helps give your cat a radiant coat and healthy skin.
  • Enriched with vitamins and minerals for strong bones and joints.
  • Highly digestible so more nutrition goes to work inside your cat.
  • Crunchy kibble helps reduce plaque build-up and whiten teeth.

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But…all these promises do not contain a “non-GMO” disclosure on their bag.  So, anyway…they ate a lot of Purina One Smart Blend.  Our oldest cat, Bageera, was becoming more and more obese, so I switched them all to the “lighter” version.  He became even more obese and all five of them vomited daily, multiple times a day.  (All the same texture and yellowish-bile color.)  They all also began to develop skin issues, dander knots and my oldest cat developed a large fatty mass under his left front leg/chest area.  I finally had enough of cleaning up cat vomit and running our carpet cleaner to remove the ugly yellow stains from our carpet.

Now, let me say that although Purina One Smart Blend (as well as other countless brands of pet foods) use chicken as their “main” ingredient, is this chicken grain-fed or corn-fed?  Is the chicken (or beef or fish) byproducts?  This literally means pieces, leftovers of the worst parts of the animal or fish.  As well, is the rice or corn or soy ingredients organic or are they actually from GMO products?  There IS a huge difference here.  Let me show you.

Once I switched my pets to organic and non-GMO pet food, guess what happened?  (It is truly quite amazing and a miracle!) They ALL stopped barfing.  It has been one year now, and all five of them completely, totally, utterly stopped hurling.  Once in a great while they will cough up a hair ball.  Cats do that, it’s normal.  Vomiting up yellowish-bile piles containing food repeatedly throughout the day is not.  Additionally, their coats shine.  No more mats in their fur.  They have all lost the weight they had gained on the GMO food.  The best part of all is that our oldest cat is now totally buff!  He runs around the house like a kitten and plays with twist ties from bread loaves.  Did I mention that he is almost 13 years old?  His fatty growth has now also almost completely resolved.

In saying all this, please read labels.  Look for the non-GMO label, organic ingredients and know your vendors.  Most corn and soy, as well as other fillers, are GMO grown.  Educate yourselves and be interested in your pet’s health in addition to your own.  There are organic foods available for your pets.  The extra cost is worth avoiding the vet costs, and your pets will forever thank you.  I know mine do.  Daily.  As well, I really love having carpets that are free of yellow barf stains and saving trees from all the paper towels I used for cleaning up the vomit mess.

With love on a Saturday,

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Wine goes with everything!

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First of all, I must apologize.  It has been forever since I have written.  I promise, I will be getting back to it.  Life has been very, very busy for me lately-I am writing plenty for work and school, and this blog has not taken priority.  I have missed being here. Plus, I realized many months ago I no longer wish to save the world.  Nope.  Not a job for me nor one I want. That is a job only God can handle.  Of course, I still love Shakeology and drink it every day  (I encourage everyone to use it too!), but I’m done preaching about it. Everyone is free to make their own healthy choices for their lives, however I am still going to share all about mine with you here.

Anyway, I’m back.  Yesterday I realized that wine goes with everything.  Really, it does.  I am kind of wine grieving this week. If you love wine like I consume it all the time do, then you KNOW it goes PERFECTLY with EVERY single meal, a good book or movie, fireplaces, homework, holidays, family & friend gatherings, chocolate and cheese, every possible food combination, etc.  It is beautiful in a glass, smells and swirls divinely, and tastes better than anything grapes. I was also realizing (once again) how much wine has become an idol in my life.  I am not an alcoholic, but I believe I have been a wine-o-holic for the past several years.  I can stop. At any time.  I do stop.  But I sure miss it when I do.  It’s just that once I pour one glass, I continue pouring.  That is my problem.  Remember my previous blog about my love for wine?  You can read it here to catch up:  http://wp.me/p35YUS-wT

Well, per doctor’s order I am off wine for the next two months.  Sucks to be me, right?  Especially when wine goes with everything in my life. After these two months are up, may be I will continue going without?  I can’t say right now.  However, I do know that if I go back, it will only be occasionally, because my little body is not happy right now.

I am feeling good, day three without wine.  I have more energy, am sleeping sound and have lost 2.5 pounds.  Just in three days, 2.5 pounds!  That speaks volumes and I feel safe to share about that here.  I am choosing to listen to my doctor and to stay consistent for my tummy’s sake and health.  But, trust me, I am missing crying about wine right now.  I have prayed that every place in my life that wine has filled would be replaced by the touch and presence of God.

Do you struggle with something such as this?  I’m interested…

Have a lovely weekend,

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Open Your Hand

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This morning I have been thinking about how it is impossible to receive something with a clenched fist. The image that keeps coming to mind is that from “The Monkey and The Juggler.” The monkey was unable to receive one or retrieve all the peanuts he held after reaching his hand into a jar because he refused to unclench his fist. He wouldn’t open his hand to let go of one peanut, therefore his hand remained stuck. Ever feel like that? May be you aren’t even aware this is where you are at. I’m reminded this morning to share with you: open your hand. Whatever has been holding you back from the healthy lifestyle and goals you are not meeting, unclench your fist. In order to receive something new we must open our hands and let something go.

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For example, a few years ago I decided I wanted to complete my schooling to obtain my degree. In order to do this, I had to give some things up to allow for more time for homework and studying. Yes, it was a stretch. Sometimes a painful one. However, I had to choose to unclench my fist, open my hand to let some things go in order to receive more time.

Do you struggle with eating the right foods? Is temptation too great? Unclench your fist and pick differently. There is such a variety to choose from, beautiful and delicious healthy, clean foods. Does eating clean get boring? Try some new recipes. There are hundreds of creative recipes free for the choosing on the Internet, free cookbooks can be downloaded for your Kindle or Nook, and recipe books are a dime to a dozen at thrift stores or garage sales. Load up half your dinner plate with vegetables and fruits. The more healthy foods you give your body, the more your body will crave those foods. Consider trying Shakeology®, which eliminates unhealthy cravings and increases your cravings for healthy foods.

Is exercise nearly impossible because you smoke? Do you want to quit smoking, and continually fail? Don’t stop trying, try again! Unclench your fist and replace your cigarettes with patches, the electronic cigarette or even medication. Talk to your doctor. Join a support group. Start walking. Drink a lot of water. Rebuild your lungs one day at a time. You can do this! How do I know? Because I HAVE DONE IT! I smoked for years and never thought I could live my life without cigarettes being part of it. I unclenched my fist and let cigarettes go and replaced them with health. I am free, and free to exercise with the full capacity of my lungs. Nothing is impossible with faith and persistent efforts.

Don’t have time for exercise? This can be coined with our kids saying they don’t have time to get their homework done. No more excuses! Set your alarm 30 minutes early, break up your exercise in increments, do whatever it takes and manipulate your schedule to allow for this “me” time for your overall health and well-being. As much as exercise may feel or seem like a chore, IT IS NOT! Exercise and movement are as important as eating, sleeping and praying.

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Most of us know exactly what we are holding in our clenched fist, and it is usually more than one thing. Take some time to quietly reflect on what you are holding on to that is preventing you from opening your hand to receive something else, something better, which is blessed good health.

I thought I would share the story with you also. Think about these things, will you?

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The Monkey and The Juggler

In a mango orchard outside a village there lived a mischievous monkey. The whole day, he would jump from one tree to another. Thus the monkey kept on eating the ripe mangoes. The orchard-keeper tried to trap the monkey. But every time the monkey escaped the trap.

One day, the monkey wandered out to the nearby town. “The town people are so busy. There is so much crowd here,” the monkey thought. Soon the monkey was sneaking into houses and running away with eatables. By evening, he had made life difficult for the town people. “The town is more fun than the orchard. I will live here,” he thought.

Days went by and the monkey was looked upon by the town people with terror. “Here he comes again,” they screamed when they saw the monkey.

One day, a juggler came to the town. The people of the town approached him. “We want you to help us get rid of that mischievous monkey,” they said to the juggler. The juggler said in return, “Do not worry. Get me some jars with narrow necks,”

When the jars of the size were brought to him, he put peanuts into the jars and placed them out on a field.

The monkey became curious when he saw the jars. When he went and peeped inside the jars, he saw peanuts. “Yummy! Let me quickly grab the peanuts and run,” he thought. He put his hand inside the jar and grabbed a big handful.

But he could not pull out his clenched fist, as the neck of the jar was so narrow. If the monkey dropped some peanuts back into the jar, he could have pulled his hand out. But he was greedy. So he did not drop some peanuts into the jar.

The town people trapped the monkey with his hand inside the jar. They got hold of the rope and tied him in a post. Then the monkey was sold to a zoo. That was the end of the greedy monkey.

Whining for wine

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I love wine.  I love to go wine tasting.  I love wine with any meal.  I love wine in between meals.  I love both red and white wine, and I cannot really say which I prefer most.  I do not like real sweet wine, but I love champagne and sparkling wines too.  I love just everything to do with wine, except for the extra weight I have put on as a result of this “love” and the lack of self-control to stop at only one glass.

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My husband and I have been members of many wine clubs over the years including Laetitia, Summerland and Firestone, as well as a few smaller, organic wineries.

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There is such an absolute carefree pleasure you receive in visiting a winery-we usually make it a picnic day-and then delight in receiving a subsequent wine shipment in the mail.  Our favorite wines on our porch step kindle the great memories of each winery we have visited.  We actually canceled all of our wine memberships some time back because of the growing cost.  We also finished our bottles too quickly.  More like me.  I take the blame.  My love for wine, specialty wine shipments and the fact that I work from home made it far too easy to “sip” throughout my day.  This was the beginning of my weight problem.  (Honestly, my mouth is watering as I write this, thinking back!)   Wikipedia describes a “wino” perfectly: Wino is a slang term for a person who drinks excessive amounts of wine.  I am ashamed to say this describes me.

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We also have thousands of wine corks we have collected over the years for various crafts (wine cork boards are so awesome!).  It amazes me that we literally drank every bottle matching the endless supply of corks we have!  Actually, it’s kind of scary.

Over the years I have fallen hard in love with everything to do with wine (in addition to drinking) from wine movies, history about wine, books about wine, wine Christmas decorations, wine place mats for our dining room table, a variety of wine glasses, wine towels, wine picnic sets, electric wine openers and even a wine aerator, which perfectly aerates red wine and brings out the very best taste.

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I also love to cook and can easily pair the perfect foods with the perfect wine.  Of course, cheese, crackers and chocolate go very well, another source of additional weight gain.

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I can find a million excuses not to give up wine.  I especially love to blame my French heritage.  But the fact is, I know this has become a problem for me and an obstacle preventing me from reaching my healthy goals.  In all honesty, I have grieved letting wine go.  It feels like I have let a part of me go, it has felt a bit like mourning a best friend.  But, this best friend has really been a foe.  An occasional glass is just fine, but a few glasses to a bottle?  Every day?  Sometimes more?  Not a healthy habit.  And a habit it became.

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The greatest benefit I have gained in curbing my intake of wine is my sleep quality.  One would think wine would be the perfect sleeping aid.  Not so for me.  I find I sleep deeper and wake refreshed without wine.  I am losing weight and keeping it off.  I am exercising daily and eating a balanced diet.  I hydrate more with water and green tea, not wine.  I used to reduce what I ate during the day to allow for wine calories.  This type of diet DOES NOT WORK!  I obviously do not do this anymore.

Some of my most important reasons I have reduced wine from my life, besides my desire to get my body and my life back, are:

People drinking wine or any type of alcoholic beverage in moderation tend not to be aware that alcohol creates a chemical dependency.  Our body’s chemistry gets accustomed to the effects of the drug.  Naturally occurring neurotransmitters in the brain are released in response to the ingestion of alcohol.

A common effect of regular alcohol use is a buildup of fat and scar tissue in the liver that ends up seriously compromising its function.

Alcohol depresses the central nervous system. In small concentrations, alcohol reduces inhibition, prompting a mild euphoria, sociability or self-confidence but at the same time, it rapidly impairs attention, judgment and control.

Over time a person who consumes alcohol regularly develops metabolic tolerance: alcohol will be metabolized faster and a higher amount is needed in order to experience the same effects. This leads to alcohol dependence.

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I have chosen to go weeks without wine.  I started with the goal of no wine Monday-Thursday, allowing for the weekends.  Presently, I am just not having any.   I feel better, although I still love wine and have such fond memories associated with it.  I am choosing to govern my life, not allow a glass of wine to dictate.  When and if I do have a glass, it will be just that: one glass, preferably with a meal.  Having a glass of wine each day is actually good for our health, but no more than that.

I am wondering if anyone else struggles or loves wine as much as me?  It is all about choices isn’t it, and staying consistent.

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Cravings

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Recently, I have been craving fish.  My cravings have been daily and even in the mornings I think of fish tacos!  (No, I am not pregnant!)  I decided to do some research this morning to see if there are any reasons behind this that I need to be concerned about, and lo and behold, I certainly did see that may be I need to add some more calcium to my diet.  I love fish, but these cravings have been a little more than normal for me.  (For example I had salmon for dinner last night and this morning I am once again craving a nice tilapia filet for breakfast!)

Do you have certain cravings for particular foods or other strange things like dirt?  Here are the reasons behind 10 foods you may be craving:

1. When you crave dirt you need to detox

Either that or you’re pregnant. Pregnant women have been known to crave dirt. Some say that it’s because they need calcium. As late as the nineties, some markets actually sold dirt for this kind of human consumption. And gaining calcium might still be the case for those currently knocked-up, but dirt also seems to be a good way to detox internally. It was once thought that only humans and macaws ate clay, but recently researchers have observed more and more species doing it. They notice, especially, that animals do it in seasons when fruits aren’t yet ripe. Unripe fruits and berries contain alkaloids. They have been found to be toxic to humans and animals alike. Certain people today smear clay on unripe potatoes, which contain solanine, a bitter and toxic alkaloid. Clay contains kaolin, which neutralizes the bitter taste, and takes out the alkaloids, making the food safe and tasty. When people get a craving to eat clay, they’re acting on ancient, and correct, instincts that tell them they’ve been poisoned.

2. When you crave rice and beans you need protein

Lysine is an amino acid that everyone’s body needs, but can’t manufacture. Methionine is another. Beans have lysine. Corn, wheat, and rice, have methionine. If you’ve thought of, and are now craving, a meal that contains all of these things, it shows that you live somewhere on Earth within walking distance of a burrito. To be fair, there are plenty of less popular cuisines that blend those same foods together. They do this because the taste combination is incredible. They also do this because the combo of foods substitute for meat pretty much perfectly. The flavor and nutrition complement each other so well that, for a long time, it was thought that unless some combination of rice and beans were eaten at the same meal, the body couldn’t absorb the amino acids properly. Since then it’s been shown that it’s not necessary to combine the two in the same meal, but both are needed and the body craves them both the same way it might crave, say, a nice juicy steak. This means that our body makes us crave not only certain food, but suggests certain food combinations that give us complete nutrition. Our cooking isn’t as inventive as we think.

3. When you crave spice you need to cool down

There are quite a few reasons why spicy foods and hot climates go together. Spicy food, especially of red peppers, triggers immediate sweating. Generally, when you sweat, you don’t feel cool. The body sweats only enough so that it doesn’t overheat. A sweating person is still warm and uncomfortable. They’re just not dying. Eating food with capsaicin, though, triggers sweating above and beyond what is needed to keep the body from overheating. Capsaicin stimulates receptors that sense heat in the mouth and along the mucus membranes of the nose. The body sweats everywhere, trying to respond to the heat and flush away the irritant, and the person eating the food finally feels cool when they sweat, instead of just sticky.

4. When you crave licorice you need hormones

Addison’s disease is a disease of the adrenal system, often brought on by an attack from a person’s own immune system, that causes the adrenal glands to produce too few steroid hormones. This can cause weakness, abdominal pain, and can even cause blood-pressure crashes that end in coma. One of the hormones regulates salt excretion, which causes people with the disease to get rid of too much salt, and have extreme cravings for it. That’s pretty straightforward. Stranger, though, is their craving for licorice. Doctors couldn’t account for it, until they saw that licorice contained glasorisic acid, which causes salt retention. Without having any idea as to why they might want licorice, patients gravitated toward a food that had substance that relieved their symptoms.

5. When you crave milk in your tea you need protection with your morning beverage

Tea is not the bland, inoffensive leaf stew that day-time TV commercials make it out to be. It is out to get you — with tannins. These are a kind of astringent that scours everything from one opening in your body to the other. They’re also found in coffee, just waiting to scrub you out until you get sick with a digestive disorder. They have a dry, bitter quality that the body is supposed to interpret as, “Don’t drink this, dummy!” Sadly, people overcome that. Happily, they instinctively know how to cope with it. Milk protects the throat from tannin, and consequently cuts the bitter taste. The fact that we can tolerate milk at all, as adults, is its own kind of nutritional adaptation. Feeding milk to adult animals often makes them sick. Lactose intolerance is still a problem in a lot of humans. Milk drinking in adult humans has happened relatively recently, so it’s doubly impressive that, as soon as we developed the ability to tolerate milk, our taste buds lead us to ways that it can protect us from other dumb stuff we swallow.

10 Foods You Crave — And Why You Crave Them

6. When you crave ice you need iron

When I was pregnant with my second child, I craved ice daily!  For some reason, people who are anemic tend to have a voracious craving for ice. Whenever the iron levels in their body increase, the craving goes away. This is one of the cravings that isn’t quite explainable, since chewing ice doesn’t increase a person’s iron level. It could be, though, that patients are seeking to relieve their symptoms and not their core deficiency. With iron deficiency comes inflammation, and with inflammation comes soreness. Anemic patients especially tend to get inflammation in their tongue and mouth area. Chewing ice can relieve the pain before they even know that they have it.

7. When you crave fish cooked in greens you need calcium

My cravings particularly have been for fish covered in cilantro, cabbage, lettuce, in a corn tortilla, or with spinach.  Two different culinary traditions cook fish wrapped in certain green leaves. West Africans often wrap fish in banana leaves before cooking. French cooks wrap fish in sorrel leaves. Both have a practical convenience – the bones of the fish dissolve, making for less picking and choking. More importantly, though, it gives the fish a richer flavor that people come to crave. This is because the bones don’t disappear, or drip away. The calcium from the bones dissolves into the flesh of the fish, causing a huge boost in calcium received by the body. (A vegetarian alternative to this was found in Mexico, where people soaked corn for tortillas in water in which they had dissolved limestone. Limestone is calcium carbonate, and the tortillas delivered a huge amount of calcium to the diners.)

8. When you crave ginger you need to heal your heart (literally)

Ginger is one of those herbal medicines that make the rest of herbal medicine look good. It suppresses nausea, reduces pain, quiets the need to cough, clears head aches, and flavors food enough to make it tolerable to the queasy. Doctors found, though, that even when they weren’t sick in any measurable way, some people craved ginger. Studies revealed, though, that ginger reduced clotting that might lead to heart attacks, that it lowered cholesterol, and that it strengthened heart muscles. Considering how much damage it might have done to people who see results from ginger and then put their faith in unregulated herbal supplements, though, and it would have to do heart surgery itself to break even, socially.

9. When you crave caffeine you need a painkiller

Let’s say you’ve exhausted the painkilling power of ginger and moved on to manufactured painkillers. If one of them doesn’t get the job done, reach for a cup of coffee. Caffeine doesn’t just cause headaches via withdrawal. It’s been shown to boost the power of painkillers, and stop migraines from setting in. In fact, while some health professionals warn people away from coffee, others say about two cups a day are good. The stuff can decrease both physical and emotional pain, since it’s a mild stimulant that can decrease mild depression. Some studies show that it can actually help people sleep better, and get them on a better sleep cycle, since it’s generally a regulated habit that can get someone up at a certain time every day. Basically, this isn’t the devil-brew that many doctors make it out to be, which is why so many people crave the kick.

10. When you crave chocolate you need to get high

Chocolate took most Western nations by storm, and looking at it today, it’s easy to think you know why. It has all the necessary components. It’s sweet and fatty and the perfect dessert. Of course, the cocoa beans that first became popular weren’t any of those things. Although they were dressed up different ways, for a long time chocolate was relatively coarse and bitter. Originally it was mostly served with spices as a drink, or over snow. While early Americans did occasionally sweeten it, it took a while before Europeans thought to add sugar to chocolate, and even longer before they added milk. It was often served over meat as a savory substance. So why was this flavor so very, very popular?

Some people point to phenylethylamine (PEA), the so-called “love chemical” that people produce when they’re in love or feeling especially happy and excited. Researchers point out that PEA breaks down to quickly in the body to actually affect the way that people act, and that other food, like cheese, contains more PEA anyway. A more likely story is the cannabinoids that chocolate contains. These chemicals, related to the THC found in marijuana, trigger anandamide, known as the “bliss molecule.” This triggers a high of happiness and well-being that a lot of people feel after eating chocolate. Researchers point out that most people would have to eat pounds of chocolate to get the same high as they would from pot. Chocolate also contains theobromine, a compound similar to the caffeine that gets people addicted to coffee. Chocolate, as it turns out, is a bubbling brew of 380 chemicals, a bunch of which are known to have an effect on mood. It’s a darling little meth lab of feel-good chemicals in a heart-shaped box. Forget alcohol or tobacco, this is the drug of choice for pretty much everyone.

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So, with that I am going to take some extra calcium each day and enjoy my fish as well! I hope this information was beneficial to you!

Have a wonderful Monday,

Wendy

Craving salt?

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I have to admit, salt is my weakness.  I love salt and extra-extra salt!  I have found the older I have gotten the more salt and spicy foods I crave.  This led me to do some research.  There is indeed a valid reason behind this: as we age, like all the other cells in the body, those special sensory cells that make up the taste buds eventually wear out. As we get older, the taste buds begin to disappear from the sides and roof of the mouth, leaving taste buds mostly on our tongue.  To avoid excessive use of salt, I have added a few more spices into my diet, cooking and as toppings.

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Here are some great salty healthy snacks I am sharing with you salt lovers to start your week:

Tip:  Remember to drink an 8-ounce glass of water with your salty snacks to reduce water retention and bloating salt can trigger.

1.  How about a handful of low-sodium pretzels?  Pretzels are every dieter’s best friend, a light and crunchy snack food.

2. Nuts.  Most nuts are high in fat, but eating just a small serving of walnuts, peanuts and almonds can keep your cravings under control and even serves as a source of healthy fat. They are also high in protein.

3. With movie or without popcorn! Instead of buying microwavable popcorn, why not try making your own with coconut oil?  Add a variety of toppings for fun.  Popcorn is a great way to steer clear of unhealthy foods and get your salty-food fix. Snacking on popcorn is a great replacement for potato chips or other unhealthy food and is a good source of fiber.

4. Soy crisps/crackers.  Soy crisps are very low in calories and available in a variety of flavors. You can eat these just like regular potato chips and do it without the guilt!  My husband and I especially like the Trader Joe’s thin soy crisps.

5.  Low-fat crackers.  Enjoy a handful of Triscuits, Wheat Thins or other low-fat crackers that contain less than 150 calories per serving. These crackers are also great with salsa and other fat-free dips if you want to further satisfy your craving.

6.  Cheese!  My favorite snack in the world, but requires self-control!  How about reaching for a low-fat string cheese when you’re having strong cravings for cheese. String cheese is packed with protein and can take care of almost any salty craving; plus, most types of low-fat string cheese contain less than 100 calories per serving.

7.  My next favorite salty snack: roasted pumpkin seeds!  Pumpkins seeds are a great source of fiber, and also contain a significant amount of iron, magnesium and protein. Add these to your daily menu to enjoy a low-calorie, guilt-free snack and get through any diet day with ease.  Stick to the “small handful rule” and put that bag of seeds away!  These are very easy to consume by the bowl-full!

8.  How about edamame?  Edamame are whole green soybeans that are rich in fiber, potassium and other essential vitamins and minerals. These are a great low-calorie snack food that can take care of those salty cravings in a jiffy.

9. Veggie sticks and hummus.  Hummus comes in a variety of flavors, or even try making your own.  Hummus is a spread or dip that’s made with a base of chickpeas and some olive oil, high in fiber, vitamins and minerals, as well as healthy fats.  Pickles and olives are also wonderful salty dip tools!

10. Chips and salsa.  Try baked chips, blue tortilla chips, or pita chips.

Bonus: Have an avocado!  Just add some sea salt, pepper and other spices if you wish.

Have a great Monday!

Wendy