Category Archives: Tips/Tricks

100 Calories- Vegetable Edition!

100 Calorie packs are everywhere, but have you ever wondered how many vegetables would equal the same amount? You might be surprised by how much more you could be eating if you choose these options instead.  Check out my findings below…

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*20 Baby Bella Mushrooms = 100 Calories

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*30 Baby Carrots = 100 Calories

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*4 Medium Green Peppers = 100 Calories

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* 3 1/2- 5 oz. packages of Baby Spinach = 100 Calories

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*2 Medium Onions = 100 Calories

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* 14 Brussels Sprouts = 100 Calories

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*3 Medium Summer Squash = 100 Calories

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*3- 5 oz. containers of Baby Kale = 100 Calories

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*45 Grape Tomatoes = 100 Calories

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*30 Asparagus Spears = 100 Calories

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*2 Medium Cucumbers = 100 Calories

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Filed under Food, Health, Tips/Tricks, Weight loss

Eat The Rainbow!

Here’s why you should EAT THE RAINBOW…

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Filed under Health, Tips/Tricks, Vitamins

Fresh Cherries

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One of my favorite things about summer is FRESH CHERRIES! They are such a delicious and nutritious snack!

Here are some fun facts about cherries:

  • A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that tart cherries ranked 14 in the top 50 foods for highest antioxidant content per serving size—surpassing red wine, prunes, dark chocolate and orange juice. Thus cherry consumption can help fight cancers and chronic diseases.
  • Cherries have 19 times more beta carotene than blueberries and strawberries.
  • They are also high in Vitamin C and Vitamin E. They also contain potassium, magnesium, folate, iron, and fiber.
  • Scientific studies have shown that anthocyanins in the cherries act like anti-inflammatory agents by blocking the actions of cyclooxygenase-1, and 2 enzymes. Thus, eating cherries has potential health benefits against chronic painful episodes such as gout arthritis, fibromyalgia, and sports injuries.
  • Cherries are very rich in melatonin. Melatonin can cross the blood-brain barrier easily and triggers soothing effects on the brain, calming down nervous system irritability, which helps relieve neurosis, insomnia and headache conditions.
  • Cherries were brought to America by settlers in the 1600s

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How To Stop Emotional Eating

Thought I’d give this one a re-post today as emotional eating can creep up on us at any given moment.

 

Could stress be sabotaging your health and your waistline?

Ever find yourself drowning your sorrows into a pint of ice cream or mindlessly eating half a bag of potato chips out of sheer boredom? Ever been stressed or upset one second and munching on something the next, unable to recall why you started eating or how long you had spent binging? If so, then you have entered the realm of emotional eating.  But don’t feel too guilty because you are not alone.  Recent studies suggest that over 75% of overeating is caused by our emotions. “Depression, boredom, loneliness, chronic anger, anxiety, frustration, stress, problems with interpersonal relationships, and low self-esteem can result in overeating and weight gain.”

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Emotional eating is defined as eating for reasons other than hunger. It is one of the most prominent weight loss obstacles and can strike any one of us at any given moment.  Instead of eating due to physical cues from our bodies, such as a growling stomach, emotional eating is when our feelings trigger us to indulge and typically cause us to eat unhealthy foods.

Comfort foods are a huge part of emotional eating.  People often eat to get something off their minds or alleviate stress. The kicker is that stress is accompanied by a spike in insulin, which may actually cause you to crave unhealthy foods (foods that pack on the pounds, causing you even more stress) . For example, women- we tend to crave foods such as ice cream, cookies, and chocolate (anything sweet) when we’re feeling stressed or unhappy, while men tend to crave foods such as meat and pizza.  For many of us, there are foods from our childhood which trigger thoughts of reward and happiness.  We use these foods to fill a void in our life, masking our feelings of negativity and stress. These foods tend to take us to our happy place. But in reality, these foods create feelings of guilt and unhappiness in the long run.

When we ignore our body’s physical cues and eat anytime we feel bored, emotional, or stressed, our body receives unwanted extra calories which are then stored as excess fat leading to increased weight gain and health risks.  Even when you feel full, if you are eating to fulfill an emotional need, you are more likely to continue binge eating. If you eat because you are physically hungry, you are more likely to stop when you are full.

Rather than reaching for those comfort foods, we must develop new skills for dealing with boredom, stress, and self-esteem issues.

Here are some suggestions to help you battle emotional eating:

  • Get to the root of your feelings instead of drowning your thoughts with unhealthy comfort foods. You must address your issues head on and accept them instead of hiding from them. What is the root cause for your stress or your negative thoughts and how can you change them?
  • Keep a FOOD journal.  Write down everything you eat while noting your hunger level on a scale from 1-10 to help bring to light if you are eating when you are truly hungry or for other reasons.  Also address your feelings for that day in your journal.
  • Keep a GRATITUDE journal. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, keeping a gratitude journal for even just ONE week can boost your mood for up to 6 months. A gratitude journal is simply writing down what you are thankful for every day, highlighting the positive moments of that day. It’s something simple you can add to your routine that can have significant impact on your mood.
  • EXERCISE.  As the movie Legally Blonde so gloriously highlighted, “Exercise gives you endorphins and endorphins make you HAPPY” 🙂  This will help combat stress, poor body image, and feelings of negativity, diminishing the urge to superfluously eat.
  • Drink water.  You’d be surprised how drinking a big glass of water can curb your cravings and we all know our bodies need water, so it’s a win-win!
  • Find something more productive and rewarding to do instead of eating. Go on a walk, call a friend, start a new hobby, go to the gym, meditate, read a book, enjoy the outdoors, do a devotional, etc..  Replacing the eating with a more positive action will give you a greater sense of self-worth and happiness while eradicating the bad habit of emotional eating.
  • Stay busy!  The more free time you have on your hands, the more time you have to get lost in negative thoughts or even boredom which will lead to more eating.
  • Replace the unhealthy foods with healthy ones.  I will be the first to say that the more healthy fruits and vegetables you eat, the more your body will crave them instead of the high-fat, high-sugar ones.  It may seem difficult at first, but once you can eradicate the addictive sugary foods- you will be amazed by how much you do not think about them. The more you can adopt a plant-strong diet, the better you will feel!
  • Moderation, Moderation, Moderation!  I know for many of us, eliminating our comfort food is out of the question and realistically telling you that you can never have that food will actually cause you to crave it more, leading to a possible binge.  That being said, allow yourself a SMALL amount of the food. For example, create your own 100-calorie portions so you are not tempted to eat the entire bag of potato chips in one sitting or buy the bite-sized Ben & Jerry’s portions so you don’t find yourself eating an entire pint. Or even better, find a healthy version of your unhealthy food..the possibilities are endless!
  • Surround yourself with positive people and thoughts.  Feelings of stress and inadequacy are triggers for emotional eating, therefore the more you can feel great about yourself and have happy thoughts, the less you will be tempted to eat. The more you eat healthy and have a positive body-image, the more you can enjoy life and eliminate negativity.
  • Relax. If you are super stressed, take a load off! Get a massage, take a nap, take a weekend vacation, do some yoga, meditate, or pray. You want to diminish the stress instead of piling it on.
  • Don’t give up!  Setbacks are bound to happen. Think of a setback as a minor detour on a long journey. Do not feel as though you have failed if you have a day where you give into your emotional temptations. Jump right back in and stay positive!
  • Stay in tune with your thoughts.  We live such fast paced and hectic lives that many times we cannot stop to realize that we are having feelings of stress and anxiety. Try to stop and cope with these feelings before they have passed you by and you’ve eaten your way through it.
  • Parents–Do NOT reward your kids with junk food.  This could haunt your child all the way to adulthood. Rewarding your kids with treats, such as ice cream and cookies will  make your child expect a food treat when they do something good, causing them to subconsciously reach for these junk food items later in life as well.
  • Eat for FUEL.  Remember to listen to your body. Is your body physically telling you to eat or are you eating just because you want to? Eat to live instead of living to eat 🙂

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Plant Strong- All Day Long

Always strive to make each meal plant-based.  This will ensure a nutrient rich menu which will promote optimal health! As I have said many times, strive to eat the rainbow so you are getting key antioxidants from each color group! As you can see, this spinach salad is packed with a wide array of nutrients. There’s spinach, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, grapes, cantaloupe, pineapple, blueberries, and sliced raw almonds in this salad.  I like to put good fruits in my salad so I do not have to use salad dressing.

So remember…be PLANT STRONG ALL DAY LONG! Hope all of you are having a happy and healthy weekend!

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10 Things Most Americans Don’t Know About America

I have been blessed to have studied abroad in Australia, backpack South America, Road trip around the United States, and travel to many other places which have definitely helped mold me into the person I am today. I believe traveling can teach you more life lessons than any other experience. Sometimes it really does take leaving your own country to realize what we take for granted. I had stumbled across this article a few years ago and just saw it again today so I just had to share; I have to admit, this guy is on point with pretty much everything he says. This is such an enjoyable read that everyone can gain something from! Hope you guys enjoy it as much as I do…

“10 Things Most Americans Don’t Know About America

May. 8, 2013

By Mark Manson

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Imagine you have a brother and he’s an alcoholic. He has his moments, but you keep your distance from him. You don’t mind him for the occasional family gathering or holiday. You still love him. But you don’t want to be around him.

This is how I lovingly describe my current relationship with the United States. The United States is my alcoholic brother. And although I will always love him, I don’t want to be near him at the moment.

I know that’s harsh, but I really feel my home country is not in a good place these days. That’s not a socio-economic statement (although that’s on the decline as well), but rather a cultural one.

I realize it’s going to be impossible to write sentences like the ones above without coming across as a raging prick, so let me try to soften the blow to my American readers with an analogy:

You know when you move out of your parents’ house and live on your own, how you start hanging out with your friends’ families and you realize that actually, your family was a little screwed up? Stuff you always assumed was normal your entire childhood, it turns out was pretty weird and may have actually fucked you up a little bit. You know, dad thinking it was funny to wear a Santa Claus hat in his underwear every Christmas or the fact that you and your sister slept in the same bed until you were 22, or that your mother routinely cried over a bottle of wine while listening to Elton John.

The point is we don’t really get perspective on what’s close to us until we spend time away from it. Just like you didn’t realize the weird quirks and nuances of your family until you left and spent time with others, the same is true for country and culture. You often don’t see what’s messed up about your country and culture until you step outside of it.

And so even though this article is going to come across as fairly scathing, I want my American readers to know: some of the stuff we do, some of the stuff that we always assumed was normal, it’s kind of screwed up. And that’s OK. Because that’s true with every culture. It’s just easier to spot it in others (i.e., the French) so we don’t always notice it in ourselves.

So as you read this article, know that I’m saying everything with tough love, the same tough love with which I’d sit down and lecture an alcoholic family member. It doesn’t mean I don’t love you. It doesn’t mean there aren’t some awesome things about you (BRO, THAT’S AWESOME!!!). And it doesn’t mean I’m some saint either, because god knows I’m pretty screwed up (I’m American, after all). There are just a few things you need to hear. And as a friend, I’m going to tell them to you.

And to my foreign readers, get your necks ready, because this is going to be a nod-a-thon.

A Little “What The Hell Does This Guy Know?” Background: I’ve lived in different parts of the US, both the deep south and the northeast. I have visited most of the US’s 50 states. I’ve spent the past three years living almost entirely outside of the United States. I’ve lived in multiple countries in Europe, Asia and South America. I’ve visited over 40 countries in all and have spent far more time with non-Americans than with Americans during this period. I speak multiple languages. I’m not a tourist. I don’t stay in resorts and rarely stay in hostels. I rent apartments and try to integrate myself into each country I visit as much as possible. So there.

(Note: I realize these are generalizations and I realize there are always exceptions. I get it. You don’t have to post 55 comments telling me that you and your best friend are exceptions. If you really get that offended from some guy’s blog post, you may want to double-check your life priorities.)

OK, we’re ready now. 10 things Americans don’t know about America.

1. FEW PEOPLE ARE IMPRESSED BY US

Unless you’re speaking with a real estate agent or a prostitute, chances are they’re not going to be excited that you’re American. It’s not some badge of honor we get to parade around. Yes, we had Steve Jobs and Thomas Edison, but unless you actually are Steve Jobs or Thomas Edison (which is unlikely) then most people around the world are simply not going to care. There are exceptions of course. And those exceptions are called English and Australian people. Whoopdie-fucking-doo.

As Americans, we’re brought up our entire lives being taught that we’re the best, we did everything first and that the rest of the world follows our lead. Not only is this not true, but people get irritated when you bring it to their country with you. So don’t.

2. FEW PEOPLE HATE US

Despite the occasional eye-rolling, and complete inability to understand why anyone would vote for George W. Bush, people from other countries don’t hate us either. In fact — and I know this is a really sobering realization for us — most people in the world don’t really think about us or care about us. I know, that sounds absurd, especially with CNN and Fox News showing the same 20 angry Arab men on repeat for ten years straight. But unless we’re invading someone’s country or threatening to invade someone’s country (which is likely), then there’s a 99.99% chance they don’t care about us. Just like we rarely think about the people in Bolivia or Mongolia, most people don’t think about us much. They have jobs, kids, house payments — you know, those things called lives — to worry about. Kind of like us.

Americans tend to assume that the rest of the world either loves us or hates us (this is actually a good litmus test to tell if someone is conservative or liberal). The fact is, most people feel neither. Most people don’t think much about us.

Remember that immature girl in high school, who every little thing that happened to her meant that someone either hated her or was obsessed with her; who thought every teacher who ever gave her a bad grade was being totally unfair and everything good that happened to her was because of how amazing she was? Yeah, we’re that immature high school girl.

3. WE KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THE REST OF THE WORLD

For all of our talk about being global leaders and how everyone follows us, we don’t seem to know much about our supposed “followers.” They often have completely different takes on history than we do. Here were some brain-stumpers for me: the Vietnamese believe the Vietnam War was about China (not us), Hitler was primarily defeated by Russia (not us), Native Americans were wiped out largely disease and plague (not us), and the American Revolution was “won” because the British cared more about beating France (not us). Notice a running theme here?

(Hint: It’s not all about us.)

We did not invent democracy. We didn’t even invent modern democracy. There were parliamentary systems in England and other parts of Europe over a hundred years before we created government. In a recent survey of young Americans, 63% could not find Iraq on a map (despite being at war with them), and 54% did not know Sudan was a country in Africa. Yet, somehow we’re positive that everyone else looks up to us.

4. WE ARE POOR AT EXPRESSING GRATITUDE AND AFFECTION

There’s a saying about English-speakers. We say “Go fuck yourself,” when we really mean “I like you,” and we say “I like you,” when we really mean “Go fuck yourself.”

Outside of getting shit-housed drunk and screaming “I LOVE YOU, MAN!”, open displays of affection in American culture are tepid and rare. Latin and some European cultures describe us as “cold” and “passionless” and for good reason. In our social lives we don’t say what we mean and we don’t mean what we say.

In our culture, appreciation and affection are implied rather than spoken outright. Two guy friends call each other names to reinforce their friendship; men and women tease and make fun of each other to imply interest. Feelings are almost never shared openly and freely. Consumer culture has cheapened our language of gratitude. Something like, “It’s so good to see you” is empty now because it’s expected and heard from everybody.

In dating, when I find a woman attractive, I almost always walk right up to her and tell her that a) I wanted to meet her, and b) she’s beautiful. In America, women usually get incredibly nervous and confused when I do this. They’ll make jokes to defuse the situation or sometimes ask me if I’m part of a TV show or something playing a prank. Even when they’re interested and go on dates with me, they get a bit disoriented when I’m so blunt with my interest. Whereas, in almost every other culture approaching women this way is met with a confident smile and a “Thank you.”

5. THE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR THE AVERAGE AMERICAN IS NOT THAT GREAT

If you’re extremely talented or intelligent, the US is probably the best place in the world to live. The system is stacked heavily to allow people of talent and advantage to rise to the top quickly.

The problem with the US is that everyone thinks they are of talent and advantage. As John Steinbeck famously said, the problem with poor Americans is that “they don’t believe they’re poor, but rather temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” It’s this culture of self-delusion that allows America to continue to innovate and churn out new industry more than anyone else in the world. But this shared delusion also unfortunately keeps perpetuating large social inequalities and the quality of life for the average citizen lower than most other developed countries. It’s the price we pay to maintain our growth and economic dominance.

In my Guide to Wealth, I defined being wealthy as, “Having the freedom to maximize one’s life experiences.” In those terms, despite the average American having more material wealth than citizens of most other countries (more cars, bigger houses, nicer televisions), their overall quality of life suffers in my opinion. American people on average work more hours with less vacation, spend more time commuting every day, and are saddled with over $10,000 of debt. That’s a lot of time spent working and buying crap and little time or disposable income for relationships, activities or new experiences.

6. THE REST OF THE WORLD IS NOT A SLUM-RIDDEN SHITHOLE COMPARED TO US

In 2010, I got into a taxi in Bangkok to take me to a new six-story cineplex. It was accessible by metro, but I chose a taxi instead. On the seat in front of me was a sign with a wifi password. Wait, what? I asked the driver if he had wifi in his taxi. He flashed a huge smile. The squat Thai man, with his pidgin English, explained that he had installed it himself. He then turned on his new sound system and disco lights. His taxi instantly became a cheesy nightclub on wheels… with free wifi.

If there’s one constant in my travels over the past three years, it has been that almost every place I’ve visited (especially in Asia and South America) is much nicer and safer than I expected it to be. Singapore is pristine. Hong Kong makes Manhattan look like a suburb. My neighborhood in Colombia is nicer than the one I lived in in Boston (and cheaper).

As Americans, we have this naïve assumption that people all over the world are struggling and way behind us. They’re not. Sweden and South Korea have more advanced high speed internet networks. Japan has the most advanced trains and transportation systems. Norwegians make more money. The biggest and most advanced plane in the world is flown out of Singapore. The tallest buildings in the world are now in Dubai and Shanghai. Meanwhile, the US has the highest incarceration rate in the world.

What’s so surprising about the world is how unsurprising most of it is. I spent a week with some local guys in Cambodia. You know what their biggest concerns were? Paying for school, getting to work on time, and what their friends were saying about them. In Brazil, people have debt problems, hate getting stuck in traffic and complain about their overbearing mothers. Every country thinks they have the worst drivers. Every country thinks their weather is unpredictable. The world becomes, err… predictable.

7. WE’RE PARANOID

Not only are we emotionally insecure as a culture, but I’ve come to realize how paranoid we are about our physical security. You don’t have to watch Fox News or CNN for more than 10 minutes to hear about how our drinking water is going to kill us, our neighbor is going to rape our children, some terrorist in Yemen is going to kill us because we didn’t torture him, Mexicans are going to kill us, or some virus from a bird is going to kill us. There’s a reason we have more guns than people.

In the US, security trumps everything, even liberty. We’re paranoid.

I’ve probably been to 10 countries now that friends and family back home told me explicitly not to go because someone was going to kill me, kidnap me, stab me, rob me, rape me, sell me into sex trade, give me HIV, or whatever else. None of that has happened. I’ve never been robbed and I’ve walked through some of the shittiest parts of Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe.

In fact, the experience has been the opposite. In countries like Russia, Colombia or Guatemala, people were so friendly it actually scared me. Some stranger in a bar would invite me to his house for a bar-b-que with his family, a random person on the street would offer to show me around and give me directions to a store I was trying to find. My American instincts were always that, “Wait, this guy is going to try to rob me or kill me,” but they never did. They were just insanely friendly.

8. WE’RE STATUS-OBSESSED AND SEEK ATTENTION

I’ve noticed that the way we Americans communicate is usually designed to create a lot of attention and hype. Again, I think this is a product of our consumer culture: the belief that something isn’t worthwhile or important unless it’s perceived to be the best (BEST EVER!!!) or unless it gets a lot of attention (see: every reality-television show ever made).

This is why Americans have a peculiar habit of thinking everything is “totally awesome,” and even the most mundane activities were “the best thing ever!” It’s the unconscious drive we share for importance and significance, this unmentioned belief, socially beaten into us since birth that if we’re not the best at something, then we don’t matter.

We’re status-obsessed. Our culture is built around achievement, production and being exceptional. Therefore comparing ourselves and attempting to out-do one another has infiltrated our social relationships as well. Who can slam the most beers first? Who can get reservations at the best restaurant? Who knows the promoter to the club? Who dated a girl on the cheerleading squad? Socializing becomes objectified and turned into a competition. And if you’re not winning, the implication is that you are not important and no one will like you.

9. WE ARE VERY UNHEALTHY

Unless you have cancer or something equally dire, the health care system in the US sucks. The World Health Organization ranked the US 37th in the world for health care, despite the fact that we spend the most per capita by a large margin.

The hospitals are nicer in Asia (with European-educated doctors and nurses) and cost a tenth as much. Something as routine as a vaccination costs multiple hundreds of dollars in the US and less than $10 in Colombia. And before you make fun of Colombian hospitals, Colombia is 28th in the world on that WHO list, nine spots higher than us.

A routine STD test that can run you over $200 in the US is free in many countries to anyone, citizen or not. My health insurance the past year? $65 a month. Why? Because I live outside of the US. An American guy I met living in Buenos Aires got knee surgery on his ACL that would have cost $10,000 in the US… for free.

But this isn’t really getting into the real problems of our health. Our food is killing us. I’m not going to go crazy with the details, but we eat chemically-laced crap because it’s cheaper and tastes better (profit, profit). Our portion sizes are absurd (more profit). And we’re by far the most prescribed nation in the world AND our drugs cost five to ten times more than they do even in Canada (ohhhhhhh, profit, you sexy bitch).

In terms of life expectancy, despite being the richest country in the world, we come in a paltry 38th. Right behind Cuba, Malta and the United Arab Emirates, and slightly ahead of Slovenia, Kuwait and Uruguay. Enjoy your Big Mac.

10. WE MISTAKE COMFORT FOR HAPPINESS

The United States is a country built on the exaltation of economic growth and personal ingenuity. Small businesses and constant growth are celebrated and supported above all else — above affordable health care, above respectable education, above everything. Americans believe it’s your responsibility to take care of yourself and make something of yourself, not the state’s, not your community’s, not even your friend’s or family’s in some instances.

Comfort sells easier than happiness. Comfort is easy. It requires no effort and no work. Happiness takes effort. It requires being proactive, confronting fears, facing difficult situations, and having unpleasant conversations.

Comfort equals sales. We’ve been sold comfort for generations and for generations we bought: bigger houses, separated further and further out into the suburbs; bigger TV’s, more movies, and take-out. The American public is becoming docile and complacent. We’re obese and entitled. When we travel, we look for giant hotels that will insulate us and pamper us rather than for legitimate cultural experiences that may challenge our perspectives or help us grow as individuals.

Depression and anxiety disorders are soaring within the US. Our inability to confront anything unpleasant around us has not only created a national sense of entitlement, but it’s disconnected us from what actually drives happiness: relationships, unique experiences, feeling self-validated, achieving personal goals. It’s easier to watch a NASCAR race on television and tweet about it than to actually get out and try something new with a friend.

Unfortunately, a by-product of our massive commercial success is that we’re able to avoid the necessary emotional struggles of life in lieu of easy superficial pleasures.

Throughout history, every dominant civilization eventually collapsed because it became TOO successful. What made it powerful and unique grows out of proportion and consumes its society. I think this is true for American society. We’re complacent, entitled and unhealthy. My generation is the first generation of Americans who will be worse off than their parents, economically, physically and emotionally. And this is not due to a lack of resources, to a lack of education or to a lack of ingenuity. It’s corruption and complacency. The corruption from the massive industries that control our government’s policies, and the fat complacency of the people to sit around and let it happen.

There are things I love about my country. I don’t hate the US and I still return to it a few times a year. But I think the greatest flaw of American culture is our blind self-absorption. In the past it only hurt other countries. But now it’s starting to hurt ourselves.

So this is my lecture to my alcoholic brother — my own flavor of arrogance and self-absorption, even if slightly more informed — in hopes he’ll give up his wayward ways. I imagine it’ll fall on deaf ears, but it’s the most I can do for now. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some funny cat pictures to look at.”

(http://thoughtcatalog.com/2013/10-things-most-americans-dont-know-about-america)

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You Think You Know, But You Have No Idea…

Lately I’ve been contemplating the idea that we, as a culture, never take the time to really stop and think about what’s in the foods we eat on a daily basis.  From generation to generation we continue to drift further away from the origin of our food supply.  I believe we have this sense of “Well, if the government allows this food product on the grocery store shelf, then I can eat it!”  These thoughts have urged me to research some of the most common ingredients found in foods today and how they impact our health. Be prepared, the results are not what I would call appetizing…

1.  Artificial colors- (Red #40, Yellow #5, Blue #1, etc..)

These bad boys are typically found in baked goods, cereals, sodas, candy, gelatin, cough medicines, and even conventionally grown fruits and vegetables.  Most of these colors are made from coal tars, petroleum, and antifreeze.  Should humans be ingesting the same thing cars are? I don’t think so! How do these pose a risk to your health? Well, for starters, they have been linked to cancer, hyperactivity, allergies, asthma, and nerve damage. Also, most of these products are banned in some European countries. Since when is the color of our food more important than our health anyways? I’m pretty sure we would be A-OK without these!

2.  Artificial sweeteners- (Aspartame, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sweet-n-Low, Splenda , Acesulfame, Equal, Saccharin, Sucralose, Sorbitol)

They are typically found in products marketed as a lower sugar alternative. such as diet foods and diet sodas.   These products are a huge hype right now. Everywhere you look, you see “Sweetened with Splenda” on the label. These fake sugars have been linked to cancer, metabolism disorders, depression, migraines, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes.

*There has never been a good connotation with the word fake and there seems to be some truth to that. I don’t think the word artificial should be used to describe anything that I’m eating. So remember to use raw Stevia or Xylitol, in moderation, instead of these fake sweeteners!

3.Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

When I hear MSG, I immediately think of Chinese food.  But what I have failed to realize is that MSG is actually in a wide array of foods, such as chips, crackers, cookies, frozen foods, canned soups, salad dressings, and lunch meats.  MSG is known to cause insomnia, migraines, depression, and weight gain.  Due to its bad rap, companies have found ways to mask MSG under about 30 other ingredient names. Therefore, MSG can be in the food your eating under a pseudo name and you won’t even know it! How rude! 🙂

4. Sodium Nitrate and Sodium Nitrite

These are used as a preservative in processed meats, such as hot dogs, lunch meats, and bacon. Once these preservatives get inside the human body, they are highly carcinogenic! They become highly toxic to your liver and pancreas in particular.  In fact, the USDA attempted to ban the additive in the 1970s, but food manufacturers denied the bill because they had no other way to preserve meat products. These are also used to make old meats look more red and edible…eww!

5. Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated Oils (Palm Oil, Soybean Oil, etc..)

These are found in the majority of processed foods. They are industrial created fats which are found in more than 40,000 food products.  These have high levels of trans fats which raise cholesterol and may lead to heart disease.

While I know it hasn’t been appetizing to read this post, I hope it makes you more aware.  I challenge you to get R.I.L.E.D up and Read Ingredients Lists Every Day! My rule of thumb is this: if I cannot pronounce half of the words on the ingredients list..I probably should NOT be eating it!  The ingredients listed above are just a few of many food additives found in typical foods of the American diet.  Check out how many health risks go along with just the ones I mentioned above. Don’t let the government decide what you are capable of eating; it is up to  you to take charge of what you are putting in your body. So EAT ORGANIC as much as possible and try to avoid these unnatural products that bombard our grocery shelves. Your body and health will be much appreciative!

On a lighter note, HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all of you wonderful women out there! The world is a better place because of you!!

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