How to Sleep Better

At some point in our lives almost all of us will suffer with insomnia or other sleep disorders. Some people go through their lives never getting enough sleep, feeling tired most of their waking day. People frequently ask “How can I get the sleep I need?” or “Why do I have trouble sleeping?” or “How much sleep do I need?” and “What’s the best way to get to sleep?” Well hopefully we can answer all of those questions for you with the best tool you can arm yourself in the fight for good sleep, knowledge.

How much sleep do I need?

This is a difficult one to answer because it really does vary from person to person and we will be discussing many factors that effect how much sleep you need here. Sleep requirements are dependent your circadian rhythm, commonly known as your body clock, but are considered to be met when you have the maximum concentration of the hormone melatonin, and the minimum core body temperature.

Sleep requirements vary greatly during our lifetime, but as a rough guideline and I know that is what you want, the following hours will suit most people.

How can I get the sleep I need?

This requires a multifaceted answer

1. Get into a regular routine. Try to stick to a regular time for going to bed and waking up. Avoid napping after your evening meal and nap in the early afternoon, if you really need it.
2. Regulate your cycle with natural light exposure. Get plenty of sunlight during the day and limit your access to bright lights at night, this includes TV and Computer screens. When you go to bed make sure it is dark, there are added benefits to sleeping in total darkness, see our article Lose weight in the dark.
3. Make sure your routine is relaxed at bedtime. It needs to be quiet. If you can not completely eliminate the sound of noisy neighbours, barking dogs, traffic or other people in your house, you could try earplugs or masking the noise with soothing sounds.

Brain Entrainment and Sublinal Messaging CDs and MP3s can naturally provide the soothing sounds you need for quality sleep Click below for more information

How can I get the sleep I need?

This requires a multifaceted answer

1. Get into a regular routine. Try to stick to a regular time for going to bed and waking up. Avoid napping after your evening meal and nap in the early afternoon, if you really need it.
2. Regulate your cycle with natural light exposure. Get plenty of sunlight during the day and limit your access to bright lights at night, this includes TV and Computer screens. When you go to bed make sure it is dark, there are added benefits to sleeping in total darkness, see our article Lose weight in the dark.
3. Make sure your routine is relaxed at bedtime. It needs to be quiet. If you can not completely eliminate the sound of noisy neighbours, barking dogs, traffic or other people in your house, you could try earplugs or masking the noise with soothing sounds.

Brain Entrainment and Sublinal Messaging CDs and MP3s can naturally provide the soothing sounds you need for quality sleep Click below for more information

Why do I have trouble sleeping?

This is pretty much covered in the section above. If you have covered all of those options and still have not found an answer, I would you suggest you look again at the stress in your life, there may be some underlying anxiety that is bothering you. It may be time to consult your doctor or other medical professional.

What’s the best way to get to sleep?

Once again all options are pretty much covered in the section How can I get the sleep I need? So if you are having trouble dropping off, I am sure you will find your answers there. Those people that do not should also look at their stress and anxiety levels, as this is a factor that many people are in denial about. But keeping you awake is your body’s way of telling you to deal with it.

Drink This to Sleep Better

Tart cherries or Tart Cherry Juice

 

Tart cherries include an elemental kind of melatonin that can help you naturally fall asleep more easily. Frozen tart cherries can be used for a late night smoothie.

Tart cherry concentrate can be added to a drink or caffeine-free tea at night to help get you that low dose of natural melatonin. One spoonful of tart cherry concentrate in a cup of chamomile or mint tea late at night helps immensely in calming down and falling asleep at night.

The additional benefit of tart cherries is that they contain powerful antioxidants that fight joint pain, gout and other inflammation related problems.

Night Time Teas

 

Chamomile tea, mint tea and lemongrass tea are great “night time teas” that have relaxing qualities, that will help you slide into sleep more easily. You can also buy combination teas that contain all three.

Another benefit of chamomile tea and another great reason to try to include it in your weekly night time ritual, is that chamomile tea contains unique phytonutrients that help fight estrogenic overload from all of the xenoestrogens that we are exposed to, from chemicals, pesticides, etc in today’s chemical laden world.

Don’t forget that you can add a spoonful of that tart cherry concentrate and you’ll get a double-whammy of sleep aid! This works best about one to two hours before your bedtime, to promote body and mind relaxation.

7 Tips to Boost Your Energy, Naturally

We all know that there are lots of artificial stimulants to boost your energy when you are feeling tired, or you do not have the energy to get through your day. But as we probably also know, those artificial stimulants have either short or long term negative effects on your body and your health. So we have listed 7 natural things that you can do every day to boost your energy and your health.

1. Morning Light – The dawn signal activates the cells in your eyes that send a wake-up call to your brain’s internal clock. So first thing in the morning get a look at the sun, or the sky if it is shady. Open up your curtains or blinds and take a look outside. Even better, get straight out there if you can. Just to be clear, I am not suggesting looking directly at the sun. That will damage your eyes.

2. Midday Sun – You really can not get enough sunlight when it comes to boosting energy. Sit beside a sunny window for 30 minutes at lunch and you will feel more wide awake. Once again, get out in the sun if you can, it will also boost your vitamin D levels.

3. Cut out fat at lunch – try a salad and grilled chicken, not pizza, burger or chips. High-fat foods are most likely to make you moodier and more tired in the afternoon than lower-fat fare. Digesting fat releases a hormone called cholecystokinin, which promotes brain drain.

 

4. Stay Hydrated – If you start to feel thirsty, your hydration level has dropped by around 2.6% and that alone can double your feelings of fatigue. Stay hydrated, preferably with regular drinking of water. But remember fruits and vegetables will also boost your hydration levels, so get plenty of them everyday.

5. Take a tea break. Black, green, and white teas all contain the energizing amino acid L-theanine. There is no L-theanine in coffee. Avoid ‘energy drinks’ the boost you get from them comes only from sugar and caffeine and they both have a fast come down too, which is why you will soon want another and some people develop addictions to ‘energy drinks’. All that caffeine is bad for your heart too and the sugar will make you pile on the pounds.

6. Tap your hand or Squeeze your head. I know that sounds crazy and it is, but do it yourself acupressure will boost your alertness as effectively as a small cup of coffee. Roll your knuckles a few times on the top of your head, squeeze the fleshy pad between your thumb and first finger, or massage the base of your skull and the front of your shins.

7. Take a cat nap. Grab a nap in the afternoon, close your office door, or slip out to your car if you have to. NASA-funded research showed that a siesta boosted the performance of long-haul airline pilots by 34%. Wouldn’t you want your pilot on peak performance? If your 20-minute nap leaves you groggy, splash some cool water on your face. Having coffee just before your nap and then splashing your face afterwards seems to be the perfect wake-up call.

7 Ways To Deal With Chronic Pain

1. Natural Pain Relief

Pain relief does not only come in a bottle of pills. When you have chronic pain you have to take care of yourself with natural pain relievers like ice, heat and warm baths, even a spa bath, Jacuzzi or hot tub, if you can get access to one. Mind and body techniques are also helpful like Meditation, Yoga, deep breathing and Tai Chi

2. Eliminate Bad Habits That Cause Pain

There are a whole lot of bad habits that can add to your pain. They include smoking, poor sleep quality, weight gain and stress.

I know smokers will hate to hear it, but smoking also affects chronic pain conditions, yet another reason to stop smoking now.

Poor sleep is both a cause and effect of chronic pain. So do everything you can to get a good nights sleep, use natural pain relief and medications if you have to. Avoid working late and staying up for late night TV

Check out our article on weight loss if that is an area of concern for you.

Learn to deal with stress, as it will take a physical toll as well as an emotional one. Once again natural stress relievers like massage, Meditation, Yoga, deep breathing and Tai Chi can help. Do not turn to artificial relaxers like alcohol and cigarettes as they will only make things worse in the long run.

3. Eat Foods That Help

 

Many foods will help reduce pain, they can also help build muscle, protect cartilage increase bone density and avoid weight gain. Concentrate on foods that are high in fibre, contain omega-3 fatty acids and are high in vitamins C and D and Polyphenols, which are found in green vegetables and have an antioxidant effect.

Foods that you should concentrate on include whole grains in bread and other baked goods, as well as cereals, rice and pasta. Fatty fish like salmon, olive oil, the spices ginger and turmeric, berries, green leafy vegetables and dairy goods for increasing that bone density. But try to stick to the low fat dairy foods, to avoid piling on the calories. The good news is that a glass of red wine really can help, but only one per day for women and two for men. If you are tee total then you can get the same effect from grape juice.

4. Improve Your Posture

This is vital; a great deal of chronic pain is the result of poor posture or poor technique when doing things like lifting. Make sure that you stand, walk and sit straight. Do not slouch over your computer screen. When lifting use your legs and keep your back straight, seek help if you need it, do not struggle and cause yourself further pain.

There are more posture tips for back pain sufferers here 7 Tips to Stop Back Pain Before it Starts

5. Get Hands on Therapy

There are a wide variety of direct therapies that many people have found aid pain relief and can even eliminate chronic pain. The first and most obvious is massage, but you can also try acupuncture, physical therapy or visiting a chiropractor.

6. Frequent Your Doctors Surgery

When you suffer with chronic pain it is no use visiting your doctor once and giving up if his first treatment option does not work for you. You need to work together to monitor your symptoms and note if there are any medication side effects. From there you can tailor a pain treatment plan to deal with your condition more successfully.

7. Exercise

Most people suffering with chronic pain will feel that exercise is the last thing that they need. It feels much better to relax and try to avoid any further aggravation. But movement will loosen stiff and aching muscles and joints. Exercise will release endorphins which improves your mood and are natural pain killers. Of course exercise is all part of a regular weight control programme, which is needed to avoid increasing chronic pain. Now I am not suggesting you go out and play Rugby, but the slower, more gentle forms of exercise are ideal for relieving chronic pain, things like Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi are best.

You may also find some of the information and products available below are helpful.

Many back pain and Knee pain sufferers find a recumbant bike is the best way to exercise. It has all the benefits of cycling without having to lean forward over the handlebars and no gravity putting a heavy load on the joints.

Bladez Fitness Synpase R3i i.Concept Recumbent Bike
This Recumbent bike Features: -Apple interactive console.-26-Pre-Set programs.-24-Levels of resistance.-Heavy weight flywheel.-Adjustable seat.-Heart rate sensors.-Transport wheels. Dimensions: -Dimensions: 52 H x 25 W x 67 D. Collection: -Synapse iConcept collection. Warranty: -Warranty: Lifetime Frame, 1-Year Parts, 1-Year Labor.

7 Ways to Improve Junk Food for Better Health

1: Fast Food

Fast foods such as burgers, fried chicken, chips etc. are loaded with saturated fat and sodium (salt). Both of which are major contributors to heart disease.

They also contain Trans fat, which is even worse: It will raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol and lower your useful HDL cholesterol. Food manufacturers include it because it has a long shelf life and will not break down. That is still true inside your body, so it does an extra good job of obstructing your arteries.

Some doctors say there is no real safe amount of Trans fats. So when you next hit the drive-thru, choose a grilled chicken sandwich and hold the fries, replace them with fruit and yogurt instead.

2: Fizzy Drinks

When thinking of quenching your thirst at the drive–thru, remember that soda anddiet soda are linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.

Many believe that soft drinks are the biggest source of sugar in our diet. Most people forget about their liquid intake when revising their diet. Large quantities of sweet fizzy drinks can cause a jump in your blood sugar and lead to insulin resistance, inflammation, and hardening of the arteries.

Better drink choices are unsweetened iced tea or coffee. But I would also advise avoiding the caffeine too and go with water or fruit juice, but don’t forget the calories in fruit juice, even though it has plenty of nutrients and other benefits.

3: Pizza

Pizza has often been promoted as a healthier choice of fast food, but believe it or not, one slice of extra-cheesy pizza can contain as much as two-thirds of your daily saturated fat allowance. Pizza can be healthy if you top it with veggies instead of pepperoni and sausage and keep the cheese either low fat or much less of it. Include a side salad, and you’re on the way to helping prevent heart disease and strokes.

4: Pasta Alfredo

While we a re talking about Italian food lets have a look at Pasta Alfredo. Huge piles Pasta are bad enough for the waistline, but the Alfredo sauce is much worse. It has only three ingredients, cream, butter, and cheese and can contain 50 grams of saturated fat, which once again raises LDL (bad) cholesterol.

If you love pasta, choose the whole-grain type and keep the serving size down to 1 cup. Use fresh, chopped herbs; vegetables sautéed in olive oil; and lean protein, such as beans or chicken instead of creamy sauces.

5: Submarine Sandwiches

Now Jared may have lost a stack of weight on Subway sandwiches, but if he did, you can bet there were a lot of the ingredients that he was avoiding. The monster sandwich can include up to 6 servings of white bread, a quarter-pound, or more, of cured meats and don’t forget the creamy or sugary sauces.

Researchers have found that eating just one serving of processed meat daily, that’s just one to two slices of deli meat, is associated with a 42% higher risk of heart disease and a 19% higher risk of type 2 diabetes.

To make your sandwich healthy, you need to use whole-grain bread, replace processed meats with roasted turkey or chicken breast and use only low fat, low sugar dressings.

6: Burritos and Nachos

Not all Mexican food is bad for you, but cheese-laden nachos and huge burritos filled with steak, rice, sour cream, and cheese most definitely are.

Once again, choose chicken over steak. Black beans are much better than lard-filled refried beans. Go for brown rice instead of white for more fibre and vegetable condiments, such as salsa and guacamole, in place of sour cream and cheese.

At home, you can replace sour cream with plain, low-fat Greek yogurt. If you don’t trust yourself to make healthy substitutions when eating out, order the sizzling chicken or shrimp fajitas instead.

7: Pancake Breakfast

 

OK this is probably more of an American staple than Australian, but it is served in a number of restaurants and hotels here, so I guess some people are eating pancakes for breakfast at home.

A large stack of pancakes with syrup is just a plateful of refined carbohydrates that will rapidly increase your blood sugar and fill you with harmful triglycerides, which increases your risk of heart disease.

If you binge on white-flour goods you have a greater chance of sudden death from heart attack.

Better breakfast options are a whole-grain muffin with ham and eggs or anything with whole grains and fruit. No artificial sugar or sweeteners and keep your eye on how much of the natural ones that you include.

9 Benefits of Eating Bananas

1. Bananas Increase Your Brain Power.

The potassium in bananas helps your circulatory system deliver oxygen to your brain. It was proven in a British school that students who ate a banana with breakfast, lunch and dinner were more receptive, alert and performed better in exams.

2. Bananas reduce the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.

Once again the potassium in bananas is responsible for lowering the blood pressure and improving muscle function and contraction. This in turn improves the function of the heart and nervous system.

 

3. Bananas reduce depression and improve your mood.

This is a result of the Tryptophan acids in bananas. They also help in reducing stress levels. If you would like more information on helping with stress, depression and other mental health issues, check out our article 7 Tips for Good Mental Health.

4. Bananas help to regulate your bowel system.

Bananas are rich in fiber and this ensures optimal operation of your bowel system. So to avoid constipation eat a banana a day.

5. Bananas Promote healthy bones.

We all know that we need calcium to build and maintain healthy bones. Well bananas contain probiotic bacteria that improve your digestive ability and aid the absorption of calcium.

6. Bananas Can Help Reduce Menstrual Pain.

The vitamin B6 in bananas helps regulate blood glucose levels. As well as balancing your moods, this helps reduce menstrual pain.

7. Bananas help alleviate anaemia.

Bananas are rich in iron which helps build haemoglobin. Good haemoglobin levels are exactly what you need to beat anaemic conditions.

8. Bananas can help you to stop smoking.

Smokers build up high levels of nicotine in their bodies. The minerals in bananas including potassium, iron and vitamins B6 and B12 can help reduce that nicotine. If you need more tips on quitting smoking please see our post 7 Tips to Help You Quit Smoking.

9. Bananas for energy.

Bananas are a favourite of athletes because they deliver fast energy; they are easy to digest and are very low in fat. This makes them a great snack pre-training and help eliminate fatigue post training. For the less athletic types they will alleviate any energy lulls during the day and you will not suffer the crashes that come with caffeine or sugary snacks that are often used for the same thing.

 

The average banana will contain 99 calories, 72 grams of water, 1.2 grams protein, 0.7 g fiber, 25.8 milligrams (mg) of carbohydrates, 8 mg calcium, 28 mg phosphorus, 0.5 mg iron, 44 RE vitamin A, and 0.08 mg of vitamin B, 3 mg vitamin C and 0.2 grams fat.

Some bonuses for you. Because bananas can help even when you do not eat them.

10. Banana skins can be used to treat warts.

The outside of the banana skin needs to be placed against the wart and maintained there, so it can be secured with tape or a bandage. With prolonged contact with the wart it will eventually go away.

11. Banana skins can reduce irritation from mosquito bites.

This time it is the inside of the banana skin that provides the relief. Rub it against the bite and itching and swelling will be reduced

11 Great Reasons To Eat Less Meat

There was a huge furore in the press and on social media recently, about an American dentist who paid a small fortune to hunt and kill a protected lion in Africa. Once he had killed the magnificent animal, he decapitated and skinned it for a trophy, presumably as a daily reminder his gallant bravery.

Cecil the lion, with a friend and his killer (inset)

Now I was as disgusted as everyone else with this excuse for a man. Anyone that hunts animals as a means of sport and fun is really no better than the psychopathic killers of other humans.

But it occurred to me, that many of the people who were outraged, were meat eaters and it is no secret that worse things happen to millions of cows, sheep, pigs and poultry every day, before they end up on our plates.

With those thoughts in mind, I took the decision to give up eating meat altogether. I had been cutting down on the amount of meat that I ate for quite some time, both for health and conscience reasons. But Cecil the lion was the final straw that broke the camel’s back.

Many, many people avoid eating meat for numerous reasons, including their health, conscience and religion. Here are 11 reasons that MBG (mindbodygreen) came up with which confirm that cutting out, or at least cutting down on, meat is good for both you and the planet.

1. You’re likely to reverse heart disease.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the west. Switching patients to a plant-based diet has been shown to not only treat heart disease, but reverse its progression.

 

2. You’ll stay slim.

Research has shown that eating meat has been linked to obesity.

3. You’ll save money.

Vegetarian and vegan meals tend to be less expensive than meat.

4. You’ll reduce greenhouse gases.

Animal agriculture is estimated to produce more greenhouse gases than the whole of the transportation industry combined. Lowering or eliminating your meat intake can have huge implications on climate change.

5. You’ll reduce animal cruelty.

Millions of cattle and poultry are killed each year for meat, with a huge number of these being raised in factory farms. Switching to a less meat or no meat diet is voting to end the cruel treatment of animals.

 

6. You’ll be in good company.

Join the likes of the Natalie Portman, Ellen DeGeneres, Olivia Wilde, Paul McCartney, Carrie Underwood and Betty White.

7. You’ll be aligning with some of the greatest minds in history.

Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, Gandhi, Charles Darwin and George Bernard Shaw all thought it was a smart idea to follow a plant-based diet.

8. You’ll join many ultra-endurance athletes in following a plant-based diet.

What do marathon-runner Bart Yasso, triathlete Rich Roll and ironman Brendan Brazier all have in common? No meat in their diets!

9. You’ll help save the Amazon from destruction.

The Amazon is being destroyed to grow feed crops for cattle and make space for grazing. The situation is severe — the majority of Amazon deforestation can be contributed to animal agriculture. Switching to a no-meat or less-meat diet can help save the Amazon, the earth’s lungs.

10. You’ll discover more delicious recipes.

Chicken for dinner again? Reducing the meat in your life allows you to expand your food horizons and discover exciting new main dishes.

11. You’ll be making a choice already embraced by religions around the world.

Whether you’re non-religious, spiritual or a God-fearing person, it says something that many world religions endorse a meatless diet in some form. For example, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism all encourage followers to adopt a plant-based diet.

Reducing or eliminating your meat intake has so many benefits: look better, feel better and save the planet. Eliminating meat from your life is one of the more significant things you can do for your health and especially the planet.

If you’re still on the journey of decreasing or eliminating meat from your diet, start taking baby steps today. Improve your health and the planet, one meatless meal at a time.

10 Reasons Why You Should NEVER Drink Soda

A soft drink goes by many names, soda, pop, soda pop, coke, fizzy drink, seltzer, mineral, lolly water, carbonated beverage… not to mention a vast range of proprietary brand names.

It is a beverage that typically contains carbonated water, a sweetener and a flavouring. The sweetener may be sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, fruit juice, sugar substitutes (in the case of diet drinks) or some combination of these. Soft drinks may also contain caffeine, colourings, preservatives and other ingredients.

You will not be surprised to learn that they are very bad for your health and especially for the health of growing children.

Because they are known by so many different names, in this article we are going to use the generic term soda, which is most popular in America, but I think is understood in most English speaking countries.

First of all we will explain some of the horrendous ways that soda damages your health, but we will not leave you hanging there, we will offer you some alternatives and discuss their benefits and pitfalls.

1. Soda has no nutritional value

Although this may seem obvious, soda is not providing any of the nutrition needed by our bodies. It does, however, provide empty calories and can suppress the appetite. Consuming soda may cause you to eat less of the foods that you need to fuel your body. Those who drink soda regularly are also more likely to get less than the recommended amount of vitamin A, calcium, and magnesium, an important mineral to overall health.

2. Soda is harming children’s brains

A child’s brain is developing throughout adolescence. When they drink soda, they are consuming chemicals that are altering their brain. MSG can be hiding in the citric acid of soda, as well as in the artificial flavors. This excitotoxin has been shown to damage the neurons in the brain of mice. In addition, high levels of excitotoxins have been linked to brain tumours, diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, brain damage, learning disorders and behavioral problems.

Aspartame, found in diet soda, is causing the same effect. Long-term consumption of aspartame led to an imbalance in the brain. Aspartame’s methanol content is also concerning for brain health, as it converts to formaldehyde, a known neurotoxin.

3. Drinking Soda weakens bones

Drinking soda can actually deplete bones of much needed calcium. Phosphorus, a common ingredient in soda, leads to bone loss when in disproportionate levels to calcium. Caffeine is also a culprit here, as it is known to interfere with the absorption of calcium and bone density. Kids who drink soda are not likely to consume the necessary amount of milk or other calcium rich beverages.

4. Soda is causing bad behavior

The possible reasons for behavior issues from children who drink soda are many. It could be from the caffeine, sugar, artificial colors, or blood sugar spikes and drops. According to a survey of more than 3000 mothers, children who drank soda were more aggressive, withdrawn, and had trouble paying attention.

5. Soda destroys teeth

Sugar isn’t good for teeth, and neither are the acids within soda. Both the citric acid and phosphorus can wear away tooth enamel and lead to decay. Combined with the addictive nature of soda, teeth can be frequently exposed to this harmful beverage and be at risk for tooth erosion.

6. Soda is contributing to childhood diabetes

 

Mice fed artificial sweeteners, like aspartame found in diet sodas, developed glucose intolerance, which can be an early sign of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. What’s more frightening, is simply drinking soda in moderation may not reduce the risk. As little as one single 12 ounce (354 ml) can of soda a day can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 22%.

7. Kids who like the sweetness of soda are more likely to be overweight

One two year study of 3-5 year olds determined that the consumption of sugary beverages significantly increased the likelihood of childhood obesity. In addition, children who developed a preference for fatty or sweet foods were more inclined to be overweight. Even choosing diet soda to avoid sugar won’t prevent this, because aspartame increases sugar cravings by telling the brain to consume more.

8. Soda can lead to heart disease

One soda a day can increase the risk of a cardiovascular event by 61%. That same amount of soda is also linked to a 19% increase in heart disease. Considering the risk of soda dependence, children who begin drinking soda are more likely to consume it regularly. Over the span of their lifetime they will consume far more soda than someone who began drinking it in adulthood, which infinitely increases their risks.

9. Soda can inhibit digestion

Soda and caffeine are diuretics and can lead to dehydration, especially if soda is replacing water. Sugar and caffeine can increase the level of acids in the stomach leading to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Carbonation is also a common IBS trigger, as it results in more gas.

10. Soda is addictive

To make all of those matters worse, it is very easy to become addicted to soda. The addictive properties of soda come from a number of its ingredients. First, the caffeine. Caffeine is the the most commonly used mood-altering drug in the world, says a report from Johns Hopkins. The report goes on to say caffeine produces a physical dependence. Those experiencing this admit to altered moods and not being able to quit caffeine, despite wanting to. Children are not immune to this dependence, and some might even say they are more susceptible to caffeine’s effects due to their smaller body weight. Very few people will give their children coffee, but many ignore the caffeine content on soft drinks.

Studies on sugar have had similar findings. Sugar leads to a dependance complete with cravings and withdrawals. Choosing a diet soda without the sugar is no better option though. Artificial sweeteners actually trick the brain into wanting more, leading to dependence. Drinking soda may be more than just a bad habit, but an actual dependence that is tough to quit.

What are the alternatives to soda?

When it comes to kids, water and milk are simply the best options. Fruit juices are certainly a better choice than soda, but be wary of sugar content, too much juice can also cause weight gain. Consuming whole fruits not only provides much needed fibre to the diet, but can also quench a thirst.

If you are in need of something more than just these options, there are a number of healthier beverage alternatives.

Spruce Up Water

Flavored waters have been popping up all over the place, but many still contain sugar or artificial sweeteners. A healthier choice is natural flavoring: Just add slices of your favorite fruits and veggies — lemons, oranges, watermelon, cucumber, mint, or limes — to a pitcher of ice-cold water for a refreshing and flavorful drink. Another great option is to put chopped-up fruit in an ice cube tray, add water, and freeze. Place these colorful fruit cubes in your beverage for instant flavor and color

Go Natural With Green Tea

Studies of green tea have shown that it may help reduce the risk of several types of cancer, heart disease, hypertension, kidney stones, and possibly even cavities. In addition to this, green tea is calorie-free (if you have it without milk or sugar) and naturally high in antioxidants. You can pick any flavor you enjoy, because green tea is available in many varieties. It can be drunk hot or iced, and if you want a little sweetening, a few drops of honey will serve you well — though most people enjoy it au naturel.

Juice + Seltzer = Jeltzer!

There’s no need to purchase sugary sodas or pricey vitamin-enhanced waters, which also pack calories. Mixing 100 percent juice with seltzer yields a tastier, healthier, and less expensive drink. A thick, tart juice, such as cranberry, pomegranate, or grape, makes for a great jeltzer base in addition to supplying health benefits. Studies have shown that cranberry juice might protect against urinary tract infections and kidney stones; pomegranate juice is a great source of vitamins C and B; and grape juice has antioxidants that may help protect your brain and blood vessels. Mix one part juice with three parts seltzer to create this light and bubbly concoction.

Fake a Lemon-Lime Soda

Can’t give up your favorite citrus-flavored soda? Indulge in an occasional treat with a healthier version made with lemon or lime and a small amount of sweetener. Start with a glass of sparkling or seltzer water, add a few slices of lemon or lime (or both), and a dash of stevia*-based sweetener, which is calorie-free and low in carbs. A little goes a long way so use it sparingly.*We have looked into stevia as an alternative healthy sweetner and the jury seems to be out. We found no strong evidence that it is unhealthy, but some say more research is required.

Ovela Fruit Infuser Bottle

 

Add refreshing flavour to every drink with the Ovela Fruit Infuser Bottle. The healthy and natural alternative to cordials, the infuser bottle lets you combine fresh fruit with water, tea or soft drink.

Red Wine Is Fine (not for kids or pregnant women obviously)

If your drink of choice is a spirit mixed with cola, you’re better off ordering a glass of wine. Specifically red wine, which when consumed in moderation, has been widely reported to reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease. Research on the benefits of this fermented fruit doesn’t stop there — red wine may also lower your risk of a heart attack, Alzheimer’s disease, and even cancer. The National Institutes of Health recommends that women limit consumption to one drink per day (4 ounces or 118 ml of wine), and men to two drinks per day, in order to reap the benefits. Look for wine without additives, such as sulfites, which can cause headaches and other allergic reactions.

Drink your vegetables

Drink Your Vegetables!

Vegetable juice offers a quick, low-calorie way to get all the benefits of veggies. It also contains much less natural sugar than fruit juices. But vegetable juice can be high in sodium, so opt for a low-sodium version whenever possible. Better yet, make your own fresh juice easily at home with a juicer. Simply add your favorite veggies, and even a few slices of fruit if you want to sweeten your drink, to the juicer — no chopping required! If you prefer a little kick, add some black pepper and a drop of hot sauce.

Move Over, Milk — Time for Soy

Soy beverages are naturally sweet and are now offered in a variety of flavors, including almond and vanilla. They are a great alternative to milk for those who are lactose intolerant or those who don’t consume dairy. Studies on soy’s benefits show that soy milk may reduce your risk for heart disease and osteoporosis. Look for low-fat, unsweetened soy beverages to reduce calories while enjoying a healthy, great-tasting beverage! Also, pick soy milk that has been fortified with nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D, especially if you’re drinking it as a substitute for milk.

Let Loose With a Tea Infuser

Loose tea is a low-calorie option that allows you to get tea’s health benefits and flavor from the actual tea leaf, without any additives. Brewing loose tea in an infuser, a device that holds tea leaves in a mesh chamber that you submerge in water, works wonderfully to bring out the flavor of your tea of choice. Enjoying a hot cup of loose tea — such as white, green, oolong, or black — is a relaxing pleasure that’s also great for your health.

Indulge Your Coffee Habit

More and more evidence is showing that coffee in moderation can be a healthy part of your diet. Coffee drinkers may have a lower risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Women who drink a cup or more of coffee a day have up to a 25 percent lower stroke risk than non-drinkers. And — as if you didn’t know it already — coffee’s caffeine can help with mental alertness and physical performance, as long as you don’t overdo it. Too much caffeine can leave you jittery and anxious, so dietitians generally recommend that you drink no more than a few cups a day (depending on the way it’s prepared). That said, some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others. Pregnant women and those trying to become pregnant may want to avoid it, though research on this is mixed.

So why not ditch the soda right away and pick your healthy alternative, there are certainly plenty of options, with more ideas in the links below. Just click on them for more information.

Why You Really Should Sleep Naked

Good Housekeeping reports that there are six reasons why you should sleep naked, we think that they may have stopped counting a little too soon.

The article comes from America, but often in Australia sleeping naked is the only option.

Put down that flannel nightgown or oversized T-shirt. According to experts, wearing your birthday suit to bed is a good idea for your physical — and emotional — health. But only 12% of Americans sleep in the buff. Here’s why you should join them.

1. You’ll sleep better.

Because your body temperature naturally goes down when you sleep, studies link insomnia with being too hot. A cool room, around 65 degrees, makes for the best night’s rest, says the National Sleep Foundation. But that won’t matter if you’re too covered-up. Being naked helps you fall asleep faster — and stay asleep — by keeping your body cooler.

2. Your lady parts get to breathe.

While having some yeast and bacteria are completely normal, the U.S. Office on Women’s Health says that trapping body heat and moisture down there increases your risk of yeast infections. So, going commando is a great way to air things out.

3. You’ll look younger.

When your body gets to properly cool down, it releases anti-aging hormones — melatonin and growth hormone. But when your body temperature is too high, its regenerative power is blocked. Even worse: Overheating in bed can trigger pre-existing skin conditions. The takeaway? Sleeping nude = a beauty win.

4. You and your partner will bond more.

When both of you sleep nude, oxytocin is naturally released through the skin-to-skin contact. “This is the cuddle love hormone,” says sexual health expert and clinical psychologist Dr. Shannon Chavez. “It increases bonding and emotional closeness in relationships. It’s also been shown to improve relational satisfaction, self esteem, and confidence.”

More proof: Cotton USA surveyed couples in 2014 and found that those who slept in the nude were 9% more likely to be happy in their relationship than pajama-wearers. Need more reason to try it? Oxytocin also helps you sleep better.

5. Your immunity will get a boost.

Skin-on-skin contact also decreases the production of cortisol, which suppresses immune response. It also increases oxytocin, which aids in blood pressure and healing.

6. Trims your tummy without a trip to the gym.

When cortisol levels go down at night (thanks to a good night’s sleep and/or skin contact), your energy and hunger levels stay balanced during the day. Why? Because this tricky hormone triggers your appetite for sugar and carbs, increases anxiety, and packs on belly fat.

For more ways of trimming your tummy, check out 7 Ways to Lose Weight and Improve your Cholesterol Level

So, what more incentive do you need to dump your winceyettes and slide between the sheets?

We have more tips for getting the quality of sleep that you need at How to Sleep Better and a whole bunch of sleep aids below.

10 Healthy Benefits of using Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil has been getting some well deserved attention in numerous health articles, on TV and on other healthweb sites recently. So we thought it was time that we investigated further and brought you some of the major benefits of daily use of this wonderful oil.

1. Consuming Coconut Oil can improve your ratio of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) to low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and which can reduce your risk of heart disease.

2. Coconut Oil has a satisfying effect on your appetite. Although you eat more fat by adding coconut oil to your daily diet, you are less hungry later and therefore reduce your total caloric intake.

 

3. Consuming Coconut Oil Can Increase Your Energy Expenditure, which in turn, helps to Burn More Fat

4. The Lauric Acid in Coconut Oil helps fight infections and improves your immune system.

5. People that eat a significant amount of Coconut are among the Healthiest in the world.

6. Coconut Oil includes a distinctive mixture of Fatty Acids which have strong therapeutic properties.

7. The Fatty Acids in Coconut Oil increase ketones in the body. This can reduce the occurrence of seizuresand is also helpful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease.

8. The Fatty Acids in Coconut Oil enhance Brain Function in Healthy people and in Alzheimer’s sufferers.

9. Coconut Oil can aid fat loss by improving metabolic efficiency, especially the perilous visceral fat in your abdominal area.

10. Coconut Oil protects your hair against damage and moisturizes your skin.

20 Cleansing & Anti-Aging Ways to Use Coconut Oil…
a $10.00 value, Yours FREE!

11 Super-Delicious, Super-Healthy Coconut Oil Recipes…
a $10.00 value, Yours FREE!

There is no doubt that Coconut Oil can be totally miraculous for your health.

But you need to beware! Not all coconut oil is created equally. In truth, if the oil is produced the wrong way, most of the benefits can be destroyed.

You should look for virgin and organic Coconut Oil, because you should avoid the pesticides and other chemicals that are to be found in non-organic versions. You also need to stay away from the hexane residue (this is a petroleum chemical) that can be found in some non-organic types of coconut oil.

Thera Vita Paradise is a Virgin, Organic Coconut Oil and comes from a very “Green” manufacturing facility. They re-use the coconut husks, shells and old coconut trees to power the factory, the lighting, even the employee’s homes.

All parts of the coconut are utilised and no diesel fuel is used. This is an amazing company, because of the quality of the coconut oil and the fact that they recover and re-use all parts of the coconut for advantageous functions, which heavily reduces the burning fossil fuels.

A 50% off coupon code is available for 1st time buyers to try it out. The 50% discount code needs to be typed in at the check out.

The coupon code to use at check out is: COCO1234 (I’m not 100% sure that the coupon code has not expired yet, but it was still active the last time we checked)

Enjoy the great taste and great health benefits of Coconut Oil and we will bring you more information of this fantastic product when it becomes available.

15 Things That You Didn’t Know You Could Do With A Cucumber

Cucumbers Have Amazing Health Benefits and are Handy around the House too. Here are 15 things that you can use cucumbers for that you may not be aware of.

1. Reduce Puffiness, Cellulite and Wrinkles. Everyone knows that women have used cucumber to reduce puffiness around their eyes for years, but do you know why it works?

It’s because the photochemical in cucumbers makes the collagen in your skin tighten. It also works if you rub cucumber on problem cellulite spots and wrinkles. Instant skin care from your greengrocers

2. Headache and Hangover Cure. Cucumbers are high in B vitamins, sugar, and electrolytes and they can restock the nutrients lost from your body, which can help you avoid a hang over, or to beat a headache that has been threatening to take hold.

 

3. Breath Freshener. If you place a slice of cucumber on the roof of your mouth and hold it there with your tongue for 30 seconds, the same photochemical that reduces cellulite and puffiness will also kill the bacteria that causes bad breath.

4. Energy Boost. Cucumber can replace those dangerous energy drinks and excessive caffeine when you a re feeling a bit low on energy. There are enough carbohydrates and B vitamins to give you a longer-lasting and healthier boost of energy than any of those over processed drinks and man made stimulants.

5. Cure the Munchies. Again all the natural goodness in a cucumber is far better for you than any packaged snack you may try to beat the munchies. Did you know that cucumber is a negative calorie food? In other words, you burn more calories eating cucumber than there are in the cucumber itself. So not only are you beating the hunger pangs but reducing your calorie intake at the same time.

6. Cheap radiant and healthy skin. You can create an economical facial by boiling cucumber in water and leaning over the steam. Your skin will look great and you will feel relaxed and rejuvenated.

7. Sunburn Cure. Not quite as good as Aloe Vera, but pretty close. Rub some cucumber on any sunburnt spot for relief. Doctors often use cucumber to treat patients with irritated skin and sunburns.

8. Reduce your blood pressure. Cucumber has been used for many years to treat high blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure make sure that you include cucumbers in your daily diet. There is also ongoing research into the use of cucumbers for lowering cholesterol. If you want to know more about reducing your cholesterol see our article 7 Ways to lose weight and improve your Cholesterol Level

9. Relieve Constipation. Cucumber seeds are a natural diuretic. So if you are constipated, try eating a cucumber. If you suffer from chronic constipation, try adding cucumber to your daily diet.

Not only are cucumbers good for you and your body, they can be used for a wide range of cleaning and household tasks.

10. Defog your mirrors. Fogged up mirrors can be irritating when you get out if the shower and want to use them. You can avoid that fog by rubbing a slice of cucumber on the mirror before you get into the shower. The mirror will be clear and the bathroom will smell fresh.

 

11. Stop the squeaks. If you have any noisy squeaking hinges, you can get rid of the problem by rubbing a slice of cucumber on the hinge.

12. Get rid of crayon on walls. Use unpeeled cucumber to rub off any artwork your kids may leave on your walls.

13. Remove tarnish. Yes rubbing with cucumber will also remove tarnish from stainless steel taps and appliances in your kitchen. It leaves your surfaces streak free, is kinder to your hands and does not introduce any dangerous chemicals to your home.

14. One, two polish your shoe. A rub with cucumber will not only polish your shoes, it will make them water resistant too.

15. Get rid of garden pests. A few slices of cucumber in a tin of water in the garden will drive pests away. Place the tins strategically around your garden, the pests will hate it and leave and you will not even smell the deterrent that is driving them away. Don’t forget to replace the cucumber slices from time to time.

LATEST CANCER INFORMATION is Not from Johns Hopkins

The following information has apparently been circulating on the Internet professing to be the latest information from Johns Hopkins Medicine. Johns Hopkins has denied that this information has been released by them and would like it to be known that it is an Internet Hoax.

 

However much of the information that is detailed in the publication has been promoted by natural healers and alternative medicine practioners in the past, as a means of preventing and controlling or curing cancer. I believe that much of this is solid and valid information and for that reason we replicate the document here.

A prominent cancer survivor and a pioneer in Mind-Body Medicine, Dr Ian Gawler from Australia, has promoted many of these ideas for many years. Ian Gawler contracted cancer in 1974. He had a leg amputated and at one stage was told he had only two weeks to live. He is still alive today and produces self help books and lectures on Mind-Body Medicine. He was awarded the OAM (Order of Australia Medal) for his contributions to the community.

The Gerson Institute, also stands by many of the concepts listed below and claim many, many patients have survived cancer by living according to these principles.

Renowned Australian Rules Footballer Jim Stynes used many of these techniques in his battle against cancer. And although he eventually lost that fight, many in the medical profession were surprised by the length of time he was able to extend his days and the quality of life that he maintained.

AFTER YEARS OF TELLING PEOPLE CHEMOTHERAPY IS THE ONLY WAY TO TRY AND ELIMINATE CANCER, JOHNS HOPKINS IS FINALLY STARTING TO TELL YOU THERE IS AN ALTERNATIVE WAY …

1. Every person has cancer cells in the body. These cancer cells do not show up in the standard tests until they have multiplied to a few billion. When doctors tell cancer patients that there are no more cancer cells in their bodies after treatment, it just means the tests are unable to detect the cancer cells because they have not reached the detectable size.

2. Cancer cells occur between 6 to more than 10 times in a person’s lifetime.

3. When the person’s immune system is strong the cancer cells will be destroyed and prevented from multiplying and forming tumors.

4. When a person has cancer it indicates the person has multiple nutritional deficiencies. These could be due to genetic, environmental, food and lifestyle factors.

5. To overcome the multiple nutritional deficiencies, changing diet and including supplements will strengthen the immune system.

6. Chemotherapy involves poisoning the rapidly-growing cancer cells and also destroys rapidly-growing healthy cells in the bone marrow, gastro-intestinal tract etc, and can cause organ damage, like liver, kidneys, heart, lungs etc.

7. Radiation while destroying cancer cells also burns, scars and damages healthy cells, tissues and organs.

8. Initial treatment with chemotherapy and radiation will often reduce tumor size. However prolonged use of chemotherapy and radiation do not result in more tumor destruction.

9. When the body has too much toxic burden from chemotherapy and radiation the immune system is either compromised or destroyed, hence the person can succumb to various kinds of infections and complications.

10. Chemotherapy and radiation can cause cancer cells to mutate and become resistant and difficult to destroy. Surgery can also cause cancer cells to spread to other sites.

11. An effective way to battle cancer is to STARVE the cancer cells by not feeding it with foods it needs to multiple.

What cancer cells feed on:

a. Sugar is a cancer-feeder. By cutting off sugar it cuts off one important food supply to the cancer cells. Note: Sugar substitutes like NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, etc are made with Aspartame and it is harmful. A better natural substitute would be Manuka honey or molasses but only in very small amounts. Table salt has a chemical added to make it white in colour. Better alternative is Bragg’s aminos or sea salt.

b. Milk causes the body to produce mucus, especially in the gastro-intestinal tract. Cancer feeds on mucus. By cutting off milk and substituting with unsweetened soy milk, cancer cells will starved.

c. Cancer cells thrive in an acid environment. A meat-based diet is acidic and it is best to eat fish, and a little chicken rather than beef or pork. Meat also contains livestock antibiotics, growth hormones and parasites, which are all harmful, especially to people with cancer.

d. A diet made of 80% fresh vegetables and juice, whole grains, seeds, nuts and a little fruits help put the body into an alkaline environment. About 20% can be from cooked food including beans. Fresh vegetable juices provide live enzymes that are easily absorbed and reach down to cellular levels within 15 minutes t o nourish and enhance growth of healthy cells.

To obtain live enzymes for building healthy cells try and drink fresh vegetable juice (most vegetables including bean sprouts) and eat some raw vegetables 2 or 3 times a day. Enzymes are destroyed at temperatures of 104 degrees F (40 degrees C).

e. Avoid coffee, tea, and chocolate, which have high caffeine. Green tea is a better alternative and has cancer-fighting properties. Water–best to drink purified water, or filtered, to avoid known toxins and heavy metals in tap water. Distilled water is acidic, avoid it.

12. Meat protein is difficult to digest and requires a lot of digestive enzymes. Undigested meat remaining in the intestines will become putrified and leads to more toxic buildup.

13. Cancer cell walls have a tough protein covering. By refraining from or eating less meat it frees more enzymes to attack the protein walls of cancer cells and allows the body’s killer cells to destroy the cancer cells.

14. Some supplements build up the immune system (IP6, Flor-ssence, Essiac, anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, EFAs etc.) to enable the body’s own killer cells to destroy cancer cells. Other supplements like vitamin E are known to cause apoptosis, or programmed cell death, the body’s normal method of disposing of damaged, unwanted, or unneeded cells.

15. Cancer is a disease of the mind, body, and spirit. A proactive and positive spirit will help the cancer warrior be a survivor.

Anger, unforgiving and bitterness put the body into a stressful and acidic environment. Learn to have a loving and forgiving spirit. Learn to relax and enjoy life.

16. Cancer cells cannot thrive in an oxygenated environment. Exercising daily, and deep breathing help to get more oxygen down to the cellular level. Oxygen therapy is another means employed to destroy cancer cells.

If you are suffering with cancer, or you know someone who is, or you simply want to do what you can to prevent contracting the awful disease, then I believe that many of these principles would be worth taking on board and sticking with.

How to Get Rid of Acne

Most people suffer from some form of acne during their lifetime. Acne affects three out of four teenagers, but anyone of any age can be affected, even babies.

Acne is unsightly, embarrassing and at it’s worst painful. But it’s most damaging symptom is the effect it has on your poise and self confidence. The nasty spots or zits and red blotchy skin are enough to destroy anyone’s self belief. Added to this teenage sufferers are often teased by their school friends and this makes things even worse.

Just in case you are wondering if your skin condition is acne, here are the typical symptoms:-

 

• Blackheads
• Whiteheads
• Redness around skin eruptions
• Scarring of the skin
• Crusty skin bumps
• Cysts (a closed pocket or pouch of tissue. It can be filled with air, fluid, pus, or other material.)
• Papules (small red bumps)
• Pustules (small, inflamed, pus-filled, blister-like lesions on the skin surface)

Acne begins when the pores (small holes in the skin and the source of a single follicle or hair root) become clogged, normally as a result of the oils secreted by the pore itself. Bacteria, dead cells and dirt can build up in the pore and cause any or all of the above mentioned symptoms.

Acne is most common in teenagers, as more oil is secreted from the pores during and around puberty. Acne tends to be hereditary and is often caused by hormonal changes, high levels of humidity and sweating, some drugs such as steroids, testosterone and estrogen and the grease or oil in some cosmetics or hair products that add more oil to the skin.

Many people believe that chocolate and greasy foods can cause acne, but research tends not to back this up. But high levels of sugar can be a trigger for acne, so avoid those sweets, candy, lollies and sugary drinks.

Treatment for Acne

As well as avoiding too much sugar, there are several other things that you can try to manage or prevent acne.

• Regularly (twice per day) gently wash your skin with a mild, nondrying soap. Shampoo your hair every day, especially if it is greasy. Comb or pull your hair back from your face.
• Do not scratch, pick, squeeze, or rub the pimples or zits. You will undoubtedly be tempted to do this, but it can lead to skin infections and scarring, making the situation even worse.
• Do not wear baseball caps, other hats or tight headbands.
• Do not touch your face with your hands or fingers. This is a sure fire way to transfer dirt and bacteria to the face.
• Stay away from greasy cosmetics or creams. Always take off your make-up at night.

You could try over-the-counter acne medications. that are applied directly to your skin. You pharmacist can advise on which ones have the best results.

Some sun exposure can improve acne a little. But too much exposure to sunlight or ultraviolet rays is not advised because it increases the risk for skin cancer, especially in countries at or below the equator where the sun’s rays are at their strongest.

Mail order products designed specifically for acne have proven very successful in the treatment of acne in recent years. You may have seen some of them advertised on television and endorsed by celebrities, especially late at night. There are a number of similar successful products available, we provide links to them here.

Organised attacks by Gun Bullies on Twitter

Are you aware that there is an organised campaign against #GunSense on Twitter?

I’ve only recently realised what’s happening, after posting several posts in support of #GunSense.

One or more of those against gun control, presumably the leaders, track the tag #GunSense and favourite any tweet that uses it. This alerts their allies and they descend on mass on the original poster. Some posts offer ‘fact’ based arguments against the original post, but they soon descend into insults and degradation of the original poster.

I don’t know if these people are in the employ of the gun industry, but I would be certain that some of them have some connection with those that are making their fortune out of the death and destruction laid upon America by loose gun laws.

I’ve notified those that responded to my most recent tweet that I am aware of their tactics and I will no longer engage in conversation with them, but they will not stop me posting in favour of #GunSense.

Maybe the pro #GunSense campaign should organise a similar strategy to counter their assault on the sensible, but then again, why should we descend to their bullying tactics?

We have created this page Gun Violence in America in support of #GunSense on this site

Long live the sensible and every success with your endeavours

Demand a Plan

Following the recent Charleston church shooting, a new campaign for sensible gun laws has been launched #DemandAPlan. That too has been attacked by the self centred gun corporations.

Check out this page, not only the video made by numerous celebrities, but the simple steps that could easily be taken to reduce the gun deaths, if they weren’t quashed by the gun lobbyists paid by the gun manufacturers