Monday, December 23, 2013

Going NUTS or Not Going at All.... The Scoop On Some Diet Suggestions

There are some serious studies being conducted to confirm the efficacy of tree nuts as a weight maintenance food. The Purdue University study (you can read about it here) is testing to see how such a calorie rich food can help control appetite and contribute to weights loss. There are the obvious suggestions that it is rich in fiber and protein which help satiate, but the study is trying to see if there's some neurological or sociological response to their consumption which can keep people coming back to them instead of going for  candy bars.

Another diet trend has its roots in ancient practices. A new trend to weight loss, blood glucose maintenance, and a possible Alzheimer's reducer, is to conduct fasts twice a week. This practice is referred to as 5:2 fasting. The Wall Street Journal recently talked about it, and you can read about it's implementation here. Basically, it's about having zero to 500 calories on fasting days twice each week and eating normally (or abnormally for some people) on "feast" days five times each week.

What's fascinating about this diet trend is how ancient it really is. For Islam, there is a Sunnah practice of Sawm (fast) on Monday and Thursday (You can find out about it here) which are voluntary fasts. In Judaism, the custom of fasting on Mondays and Thursdays is older and has a different meaning, but isn't as regular an occurance as the Sunnah custom in Islam (read more about BeHab in Judaism).

Monday, December 2, 2013

To Actually Mind Your OWN Business

Very often we discuss activities that you can do to help you stay fit, stay healthy, and stay on top of your wellness. We live in a world of constant do-ing. Now, since my interest is in your best possible health, I wanted to share how important it is to focus on your OWN stuff. Give yourself time to unwind, unplug, and un-do.

Yeah, I know you have to get ready for winter...
The folks over at Lifehacker have a great article about (and cool pictures!) the positive effects of meditiation, it's ability to focus you on your singular task, and to relax the brain. Yeah, it's like stretching for the synapses. You see, with stress and anxiety, the brain stays very active- kinda like mental push-ups. This does burn calories, but just as with regular exercise, using your brain should be within limits and get it some good rest.
There has even been some studies that chillaxing is one of the best ways to improve worker output and reduce health care costs. The Economist has a great piece on the mental market of 'mindfulness' and you can read the article here. There's thought of paying for people to just take a yoga class because it will cost insurers less money if employees are idle and relaxed.
A meditation block using a verse from Psalms
However, modern 'mindfulness' has become part of the quick fix self-help movement. It's important to understand that meditation has been used for centuries to focus people on their tasks and alleviate their stress. One of the best methods is to focus on an inspirational passage (like the one featured above). Focus on your OWN business, take charge of your life, and relax your brain. Your body will thank you.