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Posted by: Georgi 

How many of us realize how our dietary habits have slowly changed over the centuries and the way it has started to drastically affect our human health. Research on the subject, by advocators of the alkaline diet, indicates some startling revelations and many discussions have ensued on the subject. In the early years, all of us ate foods that naturally balanced the alkaline with the acidic. However, as newer innovations in the agricultural field were introduced, we automatically started to consume grains that were ground and processed in special machines and these were more acidic in nature. Salts, sugar and milk have also been discovered, which only adds to the issues that compound disastrous health problems.

Foods that are incorporated in the alkaline diet plan are tubers, citrus fruits, and various types of nuts, fresh vegetables and legumes. The chief element here is about keeping careful tabs on what you eat and not what you omit to eat. You will have to make conscious changes in your diet, if you wish to follow this diet plan by eliminating most of the starches, processed foods, caffeine, alcohol and sugar from your diet.

Improved results will definitely be noticed once you follow this diet for a certain period. Many people who have been on this alkaline diet plan insist they felt more energetic and reported clearer blemish-free skin, weight loss, fewer pains and aches. Our body has a wondrous mechanism in that it can prevent us from being affected by major ailments, such as cancer, if it is nourished with the right types of food.

Some of the symptoms that require immediate change in the diet are ulcers and gastritis. You will be prescribed foods that will reduce the acidic levels in your abdomen to prevent ulcerous holes from forming, or burning of the esophagus, with spill over of acid in the system. It is essential to include vinegar, citrus fruits and various ascorbic vitamins and folic acid that will help balance the acid levels and reduce the acid content in the urine. Calcium pills work effectively to reduce acidity when it initially enters the abdominal tract.

When you eat foods that are acidic, they are digested in the stomach remain acidic. Pancreas is the organ that works to neutralize acidity, by turning foods to alkaline substances, from the nutrients in the abdomen as they travel through the intestines. Urine is the best natural chemical cleanser that takes care of any changes that we make in our diets by flushing out unwanted substances. Our stomach requires a certain amount of alkaline substances to break down and digest foods therefore it is necessary to add non-acidic foods to our diet. When there is more alkaline in the system, the cancer producing white blood cells are discouraged from developing and are only accelerated, when there is excess acidity. This is the theory behind which the alkaline diet plan has evolved.

The alkaline diet plan that is also advertised as the cancer diet plan, works on the basis of handling certain chemical reactions that are introduced in the body, with the foods that we normally eat. The enzymes in the body control the chemical reactions that are brought about by the nutrients that we imbibe. The enzymes in our body also work to maintain our normal pH levels in the body, which in turn, ensures the proper working of the enzymes. This cycle takes care of the chemical reactions that occur with the foods such as fruits and fresh vegetables that we eat. It is possible to change the urine type by changing your dietary supplements and taking the right foods such as vegetables and plenty of fresh fruit as it will reduce the acidic content in the urine. Though doctors may fail to tell you, the excess proteins that you consume by way of meats, go into the bloodstream, causing it to become more acidic and do not get stored in the body. To combat this situation you need to take more calcium, which in turn, increases the risk of osteoporoses. This is because the chemical reactions are affected by the intake of calcium, which is taken from the bones to convert the acid that enters your blood to alkaline content.

The medical fraternity is not enamored with this alkaline diet plan. While they do not dismiss it altogether, they do not stop anyone from following this plan if there are no medical reasons for staying away from this diet. It is easy to follow an alkaline diet plan, as it does not involve purchase or preparation of any complicated foods or trying out any complicated recipe. The foods listed are easy to spot in any grocery store and the only difficult part of this plan is to forego foods that we have been enjoying all along.

Posted by: Georgi 

Today more than ever before, the society is faced by a very serious scourge that is almost wiping out an entire generation. Obesity is a medical problem that affects billions and billions of people today and this is largely attributed to the sedentary lifestyles that people are leading today. The other major contributing factor is the diet that has become part and parcel of the society today – foods laden with lots of unhealthy food choices.

As is therefore evidence, the answer to reducing the spread of this scourge could well lie in being active and having healthy eating habits. Sadly, not very many people are ready to effect these changes in their lives.

Any diet pill manufacturer will tell you today that by combining regular exercises with the right diet, coupled with their diet pill you will be able to successfully lose weight. Truth of the matter however is that if you took the time today to check on your diet and ensure it comprises of only healthy food choices, and if you became a little more active than you currently are, you wouldn’t even need the diet pills in the first place.

Age has very little to do with overweight or losing weight. However, overweight issues tend to crop up among adults since kids and young adults are very active, until they reach a certain age bracket (above 20 years of age), and they start to change.

With that being said, you might want to play a close attention to a vegetarian diet, which could be all you ever need to lose weight and keep it off completely. Simply put, a vegetarian diet for weight loss contains all the ‘bad’ food choices that could lead to obesity in significantly less amounts, and all the ‘good’ and recommended food choices in high amounts. A vegetarian diet for weight loss is rich in vitamins, minerals, and proteins, and contains very low amounts of carbohydrates and calories. With such a combination, you can expect to lose weight in the healthiest possible way.

Still on point, reduce your intake of such things as potatoes, pasta, bread etc, basically foodstuffs rich in starch since the moment they get into your bloodstream, they will be converted into sugar. Naturally, the body finds it very hard to digest sugar, hence will store the starch as fat in fat cells to be used later on. The problem lies in the fact that because you will continue eating the same types of foods that are rich in starch, carbs, and calories, later on you will not need the stored fats and instead fats will continue to pile up in the fat cells, and before you know it, you will have too much of it to get rid of overnight.

Once you reduce or even get rid of excess starch from your daily diet, without a shadow of a doubt you will start to see the inches drop down significantly. Rather than go for that common snack you are used to and grab a handful of coke and chips, why don’t you go for a healthier option of broccoli. You can always dip your salad in your favorite dressing and all will be well. A healthy salad can be made of any type of vegetable ranging from broccoli to spinach to zucchini to radishes to olives and all else in between. These veggies will add not only color but also amazing and distinctive flavors to any type of meal.

There are those who compliment their vegetarian diet with some types of meat, which is perfectly OK if you take meat in moderation. There are those who feel they are not getting enough proteins from vegetables alone, and will always throw in turkey or chicken to complement their salads. You can also take some eggs and milk, although these are quite potent in fats and calories and can thwart your weight loss efforts. Be careful on what goes into your mouth and you will never go wrong.

It is to be mentioned that just because you get rid of meat out of your diet doesn’t mean you will lose weight. There are very many high-fat vegetarian types of foods available in the market today. Things like ‘healthy’ chips, nut, juice drinks, energy bars, and ice creams which can equally thwart your mission to stay healthy and lose weight. While an occasional treat of any of these is OK, too much of it is poisonous for sure as you are bound to gain pounds regardless of whether you are a vegetarian or not. However, a safe vegetarian weight loss diet plan will help you not only shed off all unwanted pounds; it will also help keep the pounds off permanently.

Couple that with some regular exercise and take the recommended 8 glasses of water every day and you are sure to remain as healthy as ever and more importantly, to keep obesity at bay.

Posted by: Georgi 

You could be a strict vegetarian because or religious, cultural, or ethical reasons. Perhaps you are a vegetarian because you want to stay healthy and keep diet-related health complications at bay. Regardless of your reasons to be a vegetarian, you definitely need to ensure you are on the right path, and this article seeks to enlighten you on the different types of vegetarian diets available today, so you can be able to make an informed decision and more importantly be able to ensure you are not negating your daily dietary needs.

Types of vegetarian diets
When a vegetarian diet is mentioned, the first thing that comes to people’s mind is a diet that has nothing to do with fish, poultry, and/or meat. As you will realize, a vegetarian diet can be classified into three major categories, hence yours could fall on any of the categories.

- The first type of a vegetarian diet is the one that excludes poultry, meat, eggs, fish, and all dairy products and any foods that has any of the mentioned food products. Basically, the diet is made up of vegetables.

- The second type of a vegetarian diet is the one that excludes poultry, fish, meat, eggs, and any foods containing these products. However, dairy products like cheese, milk, butter, and yogurt are permitted. This second category of vegetarian diet is known as a lacto-vegetarian diet.

- Third in line is the lacto-ovo vegetarian diet, a diet that prohibits the use of fish, meat, and poultry but permits dairy products and eggs.

- Further down the line you will find a diet known as a semi-vegetarian type of diet, otherwise referred to as a flexitarian diet because of the simple reason that it is basically a plant-based diet although it allows dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, and poultry in small quantities and on occasions.

With that being said, you should know about a vegetarian diet pyramid, which is basically a food chart or pyramid if you like that will delineate food choices and different food groups, and goes further ahead to outline that if the foods are taken in the right amounts, they have the potential of forming the basis of an acceptable healthy vegetarian diet. As is with any other type of diet today, the key to a good vegetarian diet is to be able to enjoy all the food choices in it.

Be advised that there is no single type of food today that will give you all the nutrients that your body requires. As such, the more limiting a diet is, the more it will be challenging and hard for you to derive all the nutrients that your body requires. For instance, a vegan diet restricts food sources rich in vitamins B-12, and all milk products, products which are known to be potent sources of the much needed calcium for healthy bones and teeth. Thus, it is your responsibility to ensure you make the necessary arrangements that by the end of the day, regardless of the vegetarian diet that you take, your body will receive the following essential body nutrients.

- First in line is calcium which as mentioned is responsible for strong bones and teeth. You derive calcium from low-fat dairy products, dark green veggies like collard greens, turnip, broccoli, and kales. Your other alternative would be to take calcium-enriched products such as cereals, juices, soy yogurt, soy milk, and tofu to mention but a few.

- The second essential nutrient is iodine, a very important ingredient that helps regulate the body’s metabolism and is responsible for the growth and normal functioning of major body organs such as the thyroid, kidney, brain, and the heart. Be advised that most vegetarians don’t take enough iodine no wonder they are always vulnerable to iodine deficiency which could lead to goiter.

- Iron is equally a very important component of the human red blood cells. You derive iron from enriched cereals, dried peas and beans, lentils, whole-grain foodstuffs, dirt fruits, and dark leafy green veggies. Be advised though that iron is not always readily absorbed in the body from plant sources, hence you might want to double your intake of iron if you are a vegetarian. To be able to help your body in the absorption of iron, you might want to eat foods rich in vitamin C; tomatoes, vitamin C, strawberries, broccoli, cabbage, etc are all recommended.

- Other essential body nutrients your body needs include proteins, omega 3-fatty acids, vitamin B-12, vitamins D, and zinc, with sources of zinc being legumes, soy products, whole grains, wheat germ, nuts, cheese etc. The health of your bones is also determined by Vitamin D, which you derive from margarines, and some selected cereals. When you couple these with daily physical fitness activities such as walking, jogging, swimming, and cycling, you can rest assured you will be the healthiest vegetarian in the world.

Posted by: Georgi 

Knowing which diet to follow in a day is always confusing. The following menu ensures:
- Protein with every meal
- 2 servings of fruits or vegetables
- Fiber-rich Carbs
Unsweetened beverages, such as iced tea, coffee and diet drinks. Consume 1,600 calories per day. Increase the quantities of fruits, vegetables and whole grains and add some healthy fat to t maintain weight loss.

Monday

Breakfast – Slice 1 small banana. Add 1 cup of cooked oatmeal with 2 Tbsp. walnuts
and 1 Tbsp. honey. Drink a glass of milk (1% reduced- fat) and snack on 1 orange.

Lunch – Make a sandwich with 3 oz. Of lean deli ham, 1 oz., light Swiss cheese, lettuce, sliced tomato, 2 slices of rye bread. Apply a little mayonnaise (low fat) and some grain mustard. Eat an apple.

Supper – Eat 6 oz. of skinless chicken, herb-roasted, 1 small baked skinless sweet potato to which a tsp. of butter is added. Add ½ cup steamed green beans drizzled with ½ tsp olive oil. Eat ½ cup cubed fresh pineapple.

Snack on a small apple mid-noon

Tuesday

Breakfast – 1 cup of bran flakes, 2 Tbsp. each of sliced almonds and dried Bing cherries.
Drink a cup of milk (1% reduced-fat) and eat ½ a pink grapefruit.

Lunch – Insert 4 oz. of lean deli roast beef in a whole-grain baguette, tomato slices, over which 2 tsp. of mayonnaise (low fat) is spread. Finish off with a Bartlett pear.

Supper – Eat16 oz. Portion of pork tenderloin, pan-fried, ½ cup of wild-brown rice, 1 tbsp. of chopped walnuts. This can be accompanied with 1cup steamed dill/butter carrots. Finish with some sliced strawberries.

Snack on 1 cup of sliced kiwi fruit with ½ cup of low-fat vanilla yoghurt.

Wednesday

Breakfast – Smear 2 Tbsp. smooth peanut butter on 2 slices of whole-grain toast. Drink a cup of 1% milk (reduced fat) or eat 2 slices of 1 ½ oz. cheddar cheese (reduced fat). Top with 1 cup fresh slices of peaches.

Lunch – Make a Turkey Roll-Up by adding 3 oz. thinly sliced breast of lean turkey, 1 cup shredded spinach, 2 thin slices of avocado and 1 oz. Havarti cheese into a tortilla (whole wheat.) Toss with dill and 2 tsp. Mayonnaise (low-fat.) Serve with 1 cup sliced cucumbers, to which a dressing of 6 oz. tomato juice and some red vinegar is added. Garnish with a wedge of watermelon.

Supper – Cut whole-wheat pita bread into triangles and smear 2 Tbs. roasted garlic hummus. Eat a 6 oz. portion of skinless grilled chicken breast with few carrot sticks. Drizzle 1 tsp. Olive oil onto steamed broccoli and sprinkle grated parmesan cheese. Finish with a baked cinnamon-apple.

Snack on a handful of grapes mid-noon.

Thursday

Breakfast – Scramble 2 eggs and roll them in a corn tortilla. Eat with ½ cup of fresh tomato salsa and ½ cup fruit salad.

Lunch – Drink 1 cup of lentil soup. Eat 2 slices of baked tofu – teriyaki style (bought from a supermarket) Eat 1 cup of baby carrots carrot sticks. Eat 2 fresh apricots.

Supper – Mix 1 tsp honey with some chilli garlic sauce. Brush on to a 6 oz. fillet of salmon. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes at 400 degrees. Steam zucchini and mix it with 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes, 1 tsp. of oil, garlic and chopped basil. This can be accompanied with 1 cup of whole grain couscous tossed with 1 tsp of garlic-flavored olive oil. Finish with a tangerine.

Snack on ¼ cup of mixed nuts which are salted at mid-noon.

Friday

Breakfast – Enjoy a Strawberry-Almond Smoothie by blending 1 cup of vanilla yoghurt (low fat) ¼ cup soy milk, 1 cup frozen strawberries, 1tsp honey and a Tbsp of almonds. 2 rye crackers (crisp bread style) eaten with 1 oz. Cheddar cheese cubes (reduced-fat.)

Lunch – Prepare 4 oz. of steamed peeled shrimp and add 2 Tbsp of cocktail sauce. Accompany with a cup of three-bean salad. Enjoy a fruit salad made with mango, pineapple and papaya.

Supper – Eat 6 oz. of Turkey Meatloaf with ½ cup of winter squash to which 1 tsp. Of butter and a little cinnamon is added. Drizzle 1 tsp of olive oil, red-wine vinegar over 1 cup of cooked spinach.

Snack on 1 cup of citrus sections mid-noon

Saturday

Breakfast – Eat a small blueberry bran muffin, topped with 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce and 1 cup of 1%-fat cottage cheese.

Lunch – Eat 4 oz. of grilled chicken breast with a spinach-mushroom salad, tossed in 1 tsp olive oil and 2 tsp Dijon mustard. Eat fresh tomato slices and lettuce, 2 oz. whole-grain baguette. Finish the meal with a cup of fresh strawberries/cantaloupe.

Supper
Mix 5 oz. of mixed greens with Olive oil, balsamic vinegar and enjoy a baked/broiled swordfish, with 1.2 cup of potatoes, mashed with 1% milk, 1 tsp butter/ garlic. Eat 1 cup of roasted asparagus tossed in a tsp of olive oil/lemon juice.

Snack on 1 cup fresh slices of mango

Sunday

Breakfast – 2 scrambled eggs or omelette, one wholegrain English muffin, 1 tsp blackberry jam. Finish with 1 cup of seasonal fresh fruit.

Lunch – Take ¾ cup of split-pea soup. 2 slice whole-wheat bread. Make a sandwich with 3 oz. ham and 1 oz. cheese, little Dijon mustard. Eat 1cup of green grapes.

Supper
Mix a Tbsp of fresh/ bottled pesto with a cup of whole-grain cooked penne and add 1/3 cup of cannellini-cooked beans; 2 Tbsp roasted bell peppers, (chopped) steamed zucchini, tsp olive oil and crushed red-pepper flakes. Eat ½ cup each of slice kiwi and orange.

Snack on 3 rounds Melba toast and 1 Tbsp almond butter.

Posted by: Georgi 

Today, a high protein diet is being adopted by many, as eating proteins is beneficial for all even for those who wish to reach an ideal weight, be it weight gain or weight loss. Proteins are essential for everyone and regardless of whether one is trying to lose fat with weight loss or gain weight, increasing muscle; it is a win-win situation, as the perfect solution for combating any of these problems. Certain changes will have to be incorporated in the diet for it to be truly effective to reach the targeted goal. Let us closely examine why a high-protein diet is required for all and how to use it most effectively so that a person benefits in reaching their goals.

To Build Muscle
Everybody requires good proteins in sufficient amounts. Since a protein-enriched diet helps to build muscles, it is essential for the body to get the right protein to build and maintain muscle, if they wish to get bigger muscles or increase their existing weight. A lack of protein will result in decreased muscle mass. Muscles continuously break down during exercising and therefore, when one is working out with weights or training it is necessary to consume enough protein to help the body grow ideally.

To Lose Fat
Normally, when a person talks about losing weight, he/she actually wishes to shed some fat. It is important not to lose muscle, while doing this, so one should include protein-enriched foods. At this juncture, it is important to understand that when one consumes foods high in protein; they are actually eating foods that contain less calories, carbs and unhealthy fats that one should anyway avoid in their diet. It also provides bulk and fills up the system. You tend to profit by eating foods high in protein as they work wonders for the system.

High Protein Foods
Basic foods that can be classified under this section are Turkey, Chicken, Fish, (such as shrimp, salmon, tuna etc.) lean Meats and Beef, Beans, Eggs and Egg Whites, Milk, Nuts and supplements found in shakes, bars, powders etc. There are many other protein enriched foods available that one can take to achieve the same results.

Quantity to be consumed daily
This is something that everyone should know in order to consume the right amount. For adults who keep good health, one gram of protein per pound of body weight is ideally recommended. For instance, if a person weighs 160 lbs, then it is essential that he consumes at least 160 lbs. of protein daily. It does not matter if the person is exercising or not. My personal consumption of protein per day is slightly more than 1 gram per pound and will work for people who are interested in gaining more weight and building muscle. Those who are interested more in shedding a few pounds can reduce their intake to slightly less than a gram per pound. This means that one can consume up to 0.8 grams per pound daily for desired results.

Many people are dumbfounded at the idea of consuming so much protein per day. They ask themselves if their body actually requires as much as 1 gram per pound of their body weight! People are always busy and in a rush. It is impossible for them to take time off to prepare meals high in protein, such as chicken breasts or tuna preparations. It is therefore advisable to stock up on protein supplements as these are easily carried anywhere and easy to consume.

Taking the right supplements that are beneficial
Protein bars and shakes made by mixing powder with any choice of liquid are highly recommended. You can quickly consume about 36 grams of protein by mixing 2 scoops of protein powder with water or any liquid to make a shake. A protein bar contains about 30 grams has fewer calories and is easy for carrying around, as they are no larger than a candy bar in size.

When is the best time to consume protein?
It is vital to know the ideal time of the day to eat foods high in protein, when one is looking for maximum benefits. Breakfast is an ideal time, as one sleeps at night and there is a long gap between meals. Eating protein at dinner time helps the body repair and recover, even when one is asleep. It is also beneficial to eat protein immediately after a good workout. These are the ideal times to replenish the body with high protein foods for maximum gain.

Ideally, one should end up eating the right amount of high protein foods in a day. Try eating some high protein foods with every meal to suppress hunger pangs and let the body continue to build and repair every day to help maintain the ideal weight

Posted by: Georgi 

A fad diet can be described as any type of diet that is based on its popularity without any scientific backing. Fad diets are a common American custom. They are very restrictive in nature so while they can offer short-term satisfactory weight loss results, they are never advisable for the long term especially because they can lead to very many health complications in the future. Thus, if you are thinking about losing some weight, you might want to carefully consider the pros and cons of a diet in question before committing yourself to it. Here is a summary of the most popular fad diets today.

The Cabbage Soup Diet
As the name would suggest, in this diet, you make a cabbage soup brew made up of broth, celery, onions, lots of cabbage among other acceptable vegetables. It is advised that you take nothing but the soup for as many days as you can, and then start to introduce tiny amounts of solid foods gradually.

The Famous Atkins Diet
This diet gained in popularity immediately Dr. Atkins released the famous Atkins Diet Book for publication, and it became even more famous back in 2001 as a rapid and easy way to melt off unwanted pounds quickly without having to work extra hard or sacrifice a lot. The Atkins diet recommends eating anything and everything that is pure proteins. The foods recommended include bacon, cheese, eggs, turkey, snacks such as pork rinds, beef, and such like similar foods. The Atkins diet attracted lots of criticism from different fronts because of its unbalanced and extreme nature, and the fact that it concentrates on foods rich in cholesterol and fats, with little fiber and most of the time very little or no nutritional value at all.

The All You Can Eat for Seven Days Diet
In this diet, you are allowed to choose a single food group to concentrate on for a period of seven days, each day with its own food group. You are allowed to eat as much as you can contain as long as it is within the same food group for each of the seven days. This means that one day you can only concentrate on fruits, another on chicken, another on vegetables etc. This diet has minimal restrictions when it comes to what to eat and what not to eat.

The Snickers Diet
This fad diet advocates eating only snickers candy bars, which can be coupled with water or coffee only. While it is not very clear how many of these snickers bar you are permitted to eat in a day, as is with other fad diets, you might succeed losing the pounds yes, but you will end up compromising on your health, the health of your skin, and your mental health stability in the process.

There are many other fad diets in the market, but the above mentioned are the most outrageous and crazy of them all. Fad diets are simply a quick fix to rapid weight loss, hence should be used with lots of caution. Rest assured that most of these fad diets will actually cause uncontrollable weight gain as they are always based on deprivation. So, you ought to tread carefully with these.

Posted by: Georgi 

Recent research, conducted at Boston University School of Medicine, indicates that some people find it almost impossible to lose weight and liken this to trying to give up drugs or alcohol completely. What should one do to stop eating compulsively?

Scientists continue to remain fascinated with the subject of overeating. This could be due to the way eating different types of food has evolved over the ages. We are now flooded with an abundance of nutritional values, yet the rate at which people develop diabetes and heart problems are increasing, as also the problem of people becoming grossly overweight and obese.

Studies are being conducted to detect ways of shedding those extra pounds or trying to analyze why there is a problem with trying to lose weight. A study was done on 155 rats, which were put on a normal diet for five days and then given high sugared foods with chocolate flavoring for the next two days. Naturally, the rats latched on to the latter diet and refused to eat any more dietic food. Rather, they began to show signs of anxiousness when they were not given this rich food.
Does this ring a bell? The rats overate, when they were put back on the junk food diet though they began to lose their anxiety and behaved normally again. Studies indicated that the rats suffered similar withdrawal symptoms, when humans were taken off alcohol or drugs. There are no theories to support the fact that rat brains work the same way, as human brains.

Study author, Pietro Cottone, with other researchers have concluded that the results indicate that there could be a connection between Yoyo dieting and periodical swings when people experience withdrawal symptoms, as they try to refrain from taking drugs or alcohol. Studies further indicate that these researchers are of the opinion that eating disorders including obesity are chronic condition, where there are periodic bouts when people abstain from eating forbidden foods, such as sugar and fats and then binge uncontrollably on these high calories compulsively.

A person, who tries to stay away from junk food, finds it very difficult to give it up altogether and reverts with a vengeance when he cannot hold out anymore. A solution has been found, which may help people in this condition. They worked on the rats and found that it worked, when they added a stress component to the brains of the rats.

There is hope with the recent findings, though the treatment is not very conclusive. However, they are working on finding new solutions where they try not to blame the problem on the patient or allow the overweight person to play the blame game. The condition is likened to a drug addict, trying to give up drugs and blames his lack of willpower when he finds it impossible to kick the habit.

Try and gather help and support from friends to give up this habit of yoyo dieting so that you can control your habit and try to keep good health.

Posted by: Georgi 

Recent studies indicate that it is a good idea to begin the day with breakfast but it does not necessarily have to be a huge one. The question of the amount of energy that one can get from having breakfast has been debated over the years. No conclusive evidence is available about the role of breakfast for people wanting to lose weight. Scientifically, it has not been proved whether one can lose weight by skipping breakfast.

Recently, the Nutrition Journal published by BioMed Central delved further into the subject by trying to clarify the various theories. A study was carried out by Dr. Volker Schusdziarra who works with Else-Kroner Fresenius Center of Nutrition Medicine in Munich. He conducted tests on 380 people, some of whom were obese and some normal weight. These people had to record their eating habits in a journal including writing down whether they ate breakfast or not and the portions that they consumed.
Schusdziarra was able to conclude that people did not reduce the quantities they consumed during lunch or dinner, even though they ate a hearty breakfast. One could safely surmise that breakfast would add another 400 calories to the total consumption in the day. It would perhaps make an insignificant difference, if one avoided the mid-morning snack by eating a huge breakfast. The research therefore concluded with the German doctors figuring that that the extra calories consumed at breakfast had to be balanced to incorporate the total amount required on a daily basis.

Daniela Jakubowicz, a clinical professor from Virginal Commonwealth University, created the Big Breakfast Diet, which was then published in a book titled “The Big Breakfast Diet” Eat Big before 9.a.m. and Lose Big for Life.” The book is basically about eating all foods and still being able to lose weight. Jakubowicz however informs the readers that one should finish their breakfast before 9am.

This conclusion was the result of a clinical study that was performed where a comparison was made between diets, which included a sizeable amount of carbohydrates constituting a big breakfast, as against a diet with low carbohydrates. The results proved that though those who consumed nearly 200 calories lost about 21% weight, as against those who ate fewer carbohydrates. The latter lost only about 4.5% of their total body weight. According to the doctor, gorging at breakfast will suppress hunger pangs as well as raise the metabolic rate, which in turn will help to shed pounds.

To see how this works, one should start the day with a hearty breakfast high in carbs and protein, which should be in the range of about 600 calories. It is advisable to include a slab of chocolate, so that you ensure taking something sweet daily. Apart from this, you can also eat foods such as bacon, steak and turkey for meats, fruits, vegetables and carbs including cookies and cakes.

Continuous research will be conducted to ensure that the above claims are true and can be followed by all. One has also to fathom whether a diet low in calories will be difficult for people to follow.

Posted by: Georgi 

Vegetables that are frozen properly will retain the flavor and nutrition, better than any other means of preservation, provided it is treated correctly. Learn all about how to blanch, chill, package and cook correctly by reading this article. It is important to remember that vegetables should be cooked before freezing. While they are still tender and fresh, blanch them first so that the color is sealed along with the nutrition and flavor. If this is not done, vegetable will deteriorate in quality.

1. Blanching
This is not a difficult procedure. To blanch roughly 1 lb. of fresh vegetables, place them in a blanching basket, which is immersed in a large quantity of boiling hot water. Make sure no salt is added. Cover the vessel with a lid that fits tight and allow the water to boil rapidly again. The blanching time begins, when this happens and varies according to the size of the vegetable to be blanched. Approximately peas, carrot, or sliced beans, require about 11/2 minute and this applies to spinach, silver beet and shredded cabbage. If one requires blanching larger vegetables, it is necessary to increase the blanching time. This means that whole beans would take roughly about 3 minutes, as against vegetables cut in small 1” pieces, which take only about 2 minutes. Corncobs would need roughly 5-8 minutes of blanching time according to their size.

One can make a rough guess, depending on size and cut of the vegetable to be blanched. Cauliflower cut into flowerets required 2-3 minutes, whereas a whole cauliflower will take about 6-9 minutes, to blanch. When blanching vegetables, such as pumpkin, kumara and potatoes, one must ensure that they are half cooked before freezing, as blanching alone will not help in preserving them. The best method is to quickly chill them, then place them on freezing trays for 2 hours, pack them well and return to freezer. Half-cook beetroots and freeze them without removing the peel. Peel, when cold then slice/dice, package in small meal size quantities before freezing. The process of deep freezing has a tenderizing effect, so there is no further need of cooking this vegetable. Just thaw it out and serve when required.

One can freeze mushrooms successfully. First, fry mushrooms in little butter and cool by spreading them out on cold plates. Use the flat pack method to deep-freeze these cold mushrooms. Alternatively, simmer mushrooms in milk till tender. Use rice flour to thicken the broth, cool well, before packing into meal-size quantities. Reheat and use in recipes while it is still frozen. Mushrooms can be frozen and kept for up to 4 months safely.

2. Chilling
As soon as the vegetables are blanched, the vegetables should be transferred from boiling water to a colander that is immersed in water topped with ice. Use an ice block for quick cooling. It takes roughly the same time that it takes to blanch the vegetables in ice-cold water. This can be done by freezing 2 bowls of cold water roughly 2 points each to convert to ice.

3. Packaging
Vegetables should be drained once they are thoroughly chilled. Use clean paper kitchen towels to pat them dry quickly. The flat pack or free flow method can be successfully used for packing the vegetables.

4. Cooking
When frozen vegetables are overcooked, the effect is lost. One has to remember the fact that the vegetables have already gone through two methods of tenderizing during blanching and chilling. They can be now quickly cooked as there is no need to thaw the vegetables. They can be dropped in their frozen form, directly into boiling water that is salted. As soon as the water begins to boil rapidly again, simmer by lowering the heat for about one third the time required or perhaps less to cook the vegetables. Thaw out corn on the cob for at least 2 hours, as they tend to remain frozen in the centre. This vegetable should be dropped in salted boiling water for about 5 to 6 minutes to cook thoroughly. You can directly place frozen potatoes, pumpkin or kumara into hot fat or in a hot oven for roasting. They can be dropped into a deep-frying and cooked till they turn gold brown.

Keep in mind the following points before you begin to freeze vegetables:
- Select fresh vegetables that have the right texture and burst with flavor. Do not buy vegetables that have matured or look damaged.

- Wash the vegetables well with plenty of running cold water. Use a bio-wash that removes dirt, pesticide or bacterial residue that may have settled on the vegetables to be doubly sure. Dry thoroughly.

- Peel skins, de-seek and slice to the size required

- Use a large pot for blanching the vegetables. The time required depends on the size of the vegetables to be frozen.

Approximate Blanching Time:
Vegetables such as green peas, beans, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, summer squash and sweet peppers take about 2 minutes to blanch. Asparagus, carrots and cabbage may take about 2 to 3 minutes. Vegetables, such as eggplant and corn take roughly 4 minutes.

Posted by: Georgi 

Do you know your Body Mass Index (BMI)? Did you know that if you have a BMI of above 30 you are prone to many health complications? And did you know if you have 50 or more pounds above your average weight as per your BMI you are considered overweight? Obesity is a serious cause for concern today as more and more people are leading sedentary lifestyles and putting their healths at risk. The health risks associated with obesity are well known – heart complications, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, all which are life threatening to say the least.

Not to be discouraged though. There is some good news in form of a program known as Optifast. This is a whole new approach to obesity and if the current statistics are anything to go by, it is taking the world by a storm. See when Optifast came into being, it was only limited to consumers in the US and Canada. Today, thanks to the many success stories and attributes it has received over the years, it has become an international commodity, and is actually the most sought after product today among weight watchers and obese individuals.

Optifast is a whole new and unique approach to the obesity menace. The diet program is designed by legendary physicians, nutritionists and counsellors and is about using a caloric-controlled liquid formula very potent in nutritional value. Perhaps the other great thing about this diet program is that it comes with counselling sessions, a learning process that will help you not only shed off the unwanted pounds but also maintain the right amount of weight through healthy weight management options.
The Optifast diet program is backed by thorough research that entails educating the users on the right lifestyle changes to make, and more importantly portion control methods and personal support. Simply put, upon assuming this program, you should be ready for a total transformation of your unhealthy habits that will see to it you achieve your desired ideal weight.
What to expect of your Optifast program
• First round medical and lifestyle assessment and tests
• Continuous monitoring of your health in the entire weight loss phase and beyond
• Easy to follow regular exercise program
• Continuous counselling on nutrition, lifestyle, and general weight management
• An in-depth look at liquid weight loss formulas and the healthy food choices you can make at home

This diet program lasts for a total of 26 weeks where the first 12 weeks entail total meal replacements; another 6 weeks entail gradually getting re-introduced to solids and maintaining regular healthy diets and 20 weeks of thorough counselling on behaviour, attitude and nutrition. Note that during the first 18 weeks into the Optifast program, medical supervision is done through weekly visits to the doctor and group counselling.
As mentioned, if the current statistics are anything to go by, then this program is the light at the end of the tunnel for morbidly obese individuals. It is the success stories that act as motivation behind the success and popularity of this diet program.