Are You ADHD?

Drugs or Direction, that is the question….

Yesterday walking through the airport between an eatery and the wireless electronics store there was a big yellow sign that said something like this:

Are you distracted? Do you lose focus easily? Do you forget things? You could have ADHD, send us a text or find us on the web at (some website).

The website isn’t really their site of course. After reading the sign and looking around for a minute it hit me. What better place to try and convince people they have ADHD than an airport. Everyone is either in a hurry so they forget something, or bored out of their mind so they lose focus and are easily distracted.

Our entire society and system of marketing is based on these principles. Is everyone that buys a “keyfinder” an ADHD candidate? Who knows. What I do know is that like all things in life this was another organization looking to recruit candidates in an ideal location. Just about everyone with normal brain function is going to have some level of ADHD. If you have five Starbucks cards in your wallet or do like I do, and drink three 32 oz Diet Cokes before lunch, you might be a higher level of ADHD until the caffeine wears off.

We live in a society filled with distractions. iPods, cell phones, pocket cameras that film HD for You Tube and bright yellow signs with ADHD messages right when you are looking for your lost boarding pass all are designed to keep us distracted. Maybe they are just trying to keep us entertained and busy?

The truth is we live in a world where the absolute need for focus is almost zero. My generation and people younger than me rarely have any kind of dedicated focus. Our parents tell us “you can do anything you want to do”. If we pick something and change our mind, they just say “It’s OK dear.” To make matters worse we live in a “right now” information society. When someone calls us or texts us we are expected to answer right away.

The reality is, until we find what it is that drives us, we will always be a little distracted and out of focus. If we could each just find our true calling and put all of the rest of the distractions in a drawer we would be better off. Some of us get lucky and our parents instill that focus in us like Tiger Woods (sexting aside), and others get lucky and find their passion on their own or by accident..

After seeing a couple of pretty good accidents as a result of texting, I took a hard look at my own cell phone and texting habits in the car. Since then I have stopped answering calls for two reasons. First, I was going into autopilot when on the phone and would sometimes fly right by my off ramp or destination. Any time I saved by answering the call was then lost.

Second and more important I realized that I have so much going on, I couldn’t focus on what I was doing or what I was talking to the person on the other end of the conversation about. This is one where I needed to just take my own advice. Don’t take any calls you aren’t ready to take. If you call and I am on the road, chances are good I will forget any appointment we set or any thing I was supposed to order for you. If I take a your call in the office at the computer, then I am ready, and we both get more out of it.

While writing my book, “So, Now What?” I observed a lot of highly successful people. What I started doing was following the advice I was giving in my book as a result of those observations. I get way more done every day be being prepared to do what I am doing when I am doing it. Life is better this way. It feels slower and you have more time to do what you want to do.

Is it ADHD or lack of self discipline in a world of distractions?

A Healthy Vegetarian Lasagna Recipe

Looking into trying out a vegetarian diet and worried that there might not be any tasty recipes to satisfy your palate? Well, you may be surprised to find out that anything that you can cook with meat can be cooked with vegetables. This even includes your Italian favorites like pizza and pasta. So before you give up on trying to be a vegetarian, look into this vegetarian lasagna recipe first and see if it works for you.

Step 1

First thing you need to do is prepare all the ingredients for this vegetarian lasagna recipe. It’s not that difficult; all you need is an eggplant, some frozen spinach, lasagna noodles, a pack of low-fat cheese, a jar of meatless sauce, a pack of mozzarella, some salt and pepper, tomatoes, and parsley flakes. Keep in mind that the cheese you have to use must be healthy. You can find all of these ingredients in a supermarket.

Step 2

What you will want to do next for the vegetarian lasagna recipe is defrost the pack of spinach that you have. When defrosting the spinach, it might end up really soggy so try to drain as much water from it as you can. Using a clean cloth might help you do this or you can also use a colander.

Step 3

The eggplant needs to be prepared and cut in to thin pieces. Make sure that you make them into slices that will not slow down the cooking process. Lay these slices on a cloth and add a little salt. Place another cloth on top of the first salted layer and then repeat what you did with the remaining slices.

Step 4

For this vegetarian lasagna recipe to be perfect, you have to cook it right. Place a heavy pan on a cookie sheet on top of the stove and then let it heat for about one to two hours. Then you can cook the lasagna noodles in this heavy pan until they are tender. While doing this you can mix the cottage cheese with spinach in a bowl and then add salt and pepper until you feel it suits your taste buds.

Step 5

Now here’s the tricky part in the healthy vegetarian lasagna recipe process. Add sauce into a casserole pan and spread it out evenly. Then add a layer of lasagna noodles, a layer of eggplant, sauce, a layer of cottage cheese, spinach mix, and then another layer of lasagna noodles. Repeat this process until you reach the top of the casserole pan or however thick you want your dish to be.

Step 6

Now for the best part because it’s the easiest. To finalize your pasta, add mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce and some tomato slices. Then add parsley flakes for more flavor and color.

After you have prepared all of this, bake the dish at a temperature of 350 degrees and leave it on for about an hour. Once you notice that the eggplant becomes soft and brownish, you can remove it and you can start eating once it’s a little cooled. This is an easy and tasty vegetarian lasagna recipe you can cook to satisfy your craving for good and healthy food.

Surviving Food Cravings

In this article, Angela Stokes shares on inner wisdom and surviving food cravings. Angela Stokes is a raw foodist, teacher and expert on raw food weight loss.

Kevin: How can someone tune in to that sort of inner wisdom when it comes to health? Because I think a lot of people they deny the fact that maybe the answers are coming to them. How can someone tune?

Angela: Yeah, I think that’s a great point. Something that I wrote about in my most recent book “Raw Emotions” , is the difference between mind hunger and actual hunger, true hunger coming from your stomach. I think that’s a really key thing to start trying to tune into on this path. Because it can be really, really confusing when we first go raw especially. Where are these messages coming from? It’s like your body is being riddled. For most people, for so many years, with foods that the body cannot recognize, it doesn’t know what to do with them. And so you’ve got all of the remnants of those things floating around and your body is trying to make sense of everything. Then you start to put in the foods that are actually nourishing you and yet you still have this old waste in there and it’s just like this big quagmire of messages floating around and you don’t know how to make sense of things. It seems like your body is asking for bread. Where is that coming from? So trying to tune in to the difference between the mind hunger and the true hunger, the true desires of the body, and being clear that what the mind wants isn’t necessarily always healthy for the body.

The body is almost like a machine. You can kind of think of it as it’s always working towards optimal health. That’s what the body is all about. It just wants to take things to the next level all the time. But the mind, the mind is like out there playing all kinds of games. The mind wants to eat this, and have fun with that, it’s like it sees food like entertainment. And so trying to tune in to those differences is really, really key. So maybe if you’re feeling something and you feel like, “this is like hunger,” just try and get quiet with yourself and feel into it. “Am I actually, physically hungry right now? Is there a feeling in my stomach, a pulling, an actual physical ready for something to eat feeling?” That’s what hunger is, it’s not something in your mind saying, “I must eat that Snickers bar right now.” And that’s another easy way to tell where the hunger is coming from.

Are you actually fixated on something, on one particular thing? “I have to have that piece of chocolate cake.” Or a bowl of popcorn, it has to be a bowl of popcorn. Or are you just hungry and you’ll eat anything within whatever limits you’ve defined for yourself? You know, anything raw vegan or vegan or whatever it is. In this moment would you be willing to eat a piece of watermelon rather than that piece of chocolate cake? Are you actually physically hungry, physically ready for food?

Because when you look at things logically there’s a big difference between that mind hunger and the physical hunger. People are just so addicted to food and so used to using foods for comfort and for entertainment and all these kinds of things. And when you look at it logically, it starts to not make that much sense. Let’s take someone, maybe someone 100 pounds overweight, and they say, “I need to have some chips or something.” Where is that need actually coming from, this supposed need? This person is 100 pounds overweight. They have 100 extra pounds of stored energy sitting on their body. They don’t need those chips for energy any more than a cigarette smoker needs to smoke cigarettes to physiologically find the place where they optimally balance out nutritionally. It’s got nothing to do with that. It’s all to do with nutrition. Biologically your body is not asking for nicotine or alcohol or refined sugar, you know? But your mind, yes. Your mind might be very interested in those things and you might have become physiologically addicted to those things to the point where your not having them, you’re going through withdrawal. So it’s a complex thing. Addictions have all these different elements to them, primarily the physiological addiction and the psychological addiction. And with food addictions especially people have both of those elements going on and that’s why we get so trapped in them, because you’re physiologically addicted to these things and you also have so many patterns around eating, around using food for entertainment and comfort and all those kinds of things.

Kevin: So Angela, I imagine that, a lot of people did ask about cravings, but I imagine that what you just mentioned is probably the best technique that you’ve used to get through cravings. Is that the technique that you’ve used for success?

Angela: Yeah, definitely. And when I sense something like hunger I just ask myself gently, just ask a few questions. When did I last eat? Am I actually ready to eat something else right now? Have I drunk much water today? That’s a big part of it for a lot of people they’re really just dehydrated. And if they just drank some water instead of eating something, and then wait half an hour, they might find that that thing that seems like it was desperate hunger has dissipated. If not, and it’s intensified, then great, you really know that you’re hungry and you also had some great water. Everyone can always use more water.

There’s so many ways of handling cravings other than eating. And that’s really the largest part of what “Raw Emotions” is about. Giving people the tools to step away from the foods, to step away from the food as the crutch in life, for getting through anything and everything whether it’s ups or downs in life, reaching out to that food. There’s so much more to life than reaching out for food as your answer to everything. I made these fridge magnets and it says on them, “The answer is not in the fridge.” For people who have these kinds of issues around food it’s like that’s the answer, just reach out to the fridge, grab something to eat and then sedate yourself in some kind of way and then supposedly everything’s okay. But of course it never is. You end up, if you’re like me, 300 pounds and the very thing that you’ve been trying to use to block out life brings you so many added issues on top of everything.

So there’s massive and massive tips in “Raw Emotions” of ways to handle cravings, from simple things like I was saying of drinking water and asking yourself a few questions to aromatherapy. Aromatherapy can be wonderful for people. Feed your other senses other than feeding yourself through your mouth. Apparently vanilla is really wonderful for people to smell vanilla instead of going and eating something. Get more active. A lot of people are very sedentary these days in the kind of world that we live in. Get physically active. Get out there and exercise, get the endorphins flowing. Get active in your community. Start doing service work for people. Get out of the patterns that you’re in that just aren’t serving you and start doing something different. If you just keep doing the same thing you’re going to keep getting the same result. So step away from the food as the answer to everything and broaden out your horizons and connect with other people. Maybe start writing a diary or writing a blog. Connect with other raw foodists and the community on the Internet.

Kevin: And what do you think, is it mindset that’s most important or is it protocol? Like say raw food or whatever it is. Where would you rank mindset? Is it 50 percent, 100 percent? Or raw food, is it 10 percent of the whole package? How does that rank in your mind for someone who’s successful?

Angela: I believe the feelings that we have about what we eat, it’s as important as what we’re putting in our mouths if not more so, because we create our reality with our thoughts. You can be eating 100 percent raw foods, the best food on the planet, grow your own garden, gorgeous stuff, and if you’re not feeling good about it when it goes into your body, you’re really not doing yourself that many favors. If you’re taking that stuff into your body and you’re feeling shame and guilt and these questions of, “Am I eating too much? I’ve had five cashews too many today.” And all those kind of mind games that people might play with themselves, that to me does not strike me as a healthy place to be with your overall well-being. That just doesn’t sound like a place of balance and happiness and moderation. What I’m really aiming with the work of “Raw Emotions” is to help them just get to a point of happy maintenance with what they’re doing, whether they’re 100 percent raw or 50 percent raw or whatever percent is raw they’re eating. That’s just part of the picture. The food is just part of the picture and there’s so much more to fill in besides that. Just finding that place of happy moderation and consistency where you’re not bingeing and you’re not having crazy ups and downs with mood swings or anything, you’re just having a stable, happy life. And I would much rather see someone eating 70 percent raw and they’re happy than they’re eating 100 percent raw and they’re totally neurotic, they’re bouncing off the walls and they’re freaking out. There was some tamari in something they ate or something like that.

So, the food sure helps. Eating primarily fresh, raw food without question eating that kind of stuff instead of eating Twinkies and whatever else, is definitely going to help. It’s like you’re kind of half the way there by getting away from the really disastrous, processed, chemical foods and getting things coming into your body that are straight from nature. That just makes plain, obvious sense. But then on top of that, beyond the physical level of food going into your body, calories in, calories out, there’s a lot more to pay attention to. And I really go into that a lot in my books, getting people to just look back through their own history. What has my relationship with food actually been like? Because so few people actually do that.

There’s such a disconnect between what goes into our bodies and what we think and feel about that, and the kind of health that we have. And it’s absolutely underlined by the health systems that most of us experience where you go to some kind of mainstream doctor and the guidance will be, “Well just eat less and exercise more. Go on a diet.” There’s almost never any attention put on the emotional side of what’s happening to people beyond that physical level. It’s always just this emphasis on, “Just eat less and exercise more. It’s obvious.” And then people, it just adds to feelings of shame for people. So I really don’t find that a useful approach.

Having A Healthy Dog – Some Simple Steps

Having a healthy dog is important. You want your best friend to be as healthy as possible. It is said they age twice as fast as humans so keeping them in top shape is imperative. It helps immunity and helps the aging process possibly slow down. There are many things to think about when you consider your dog’s health. Many of those things include dog food, vaccinations, exercise, water, love, and more.

Dog food is one of the most important things to think about if you want a healthy animal. Many of the shelf dog foods have chemicals that are not healthy for an animal. These dog foods are cheaper but they can be harmful to your animal. Consider a food with concentrated amounts of meat as protein as opposed to cheap fillers that are so hard to digest, can cause severe allergies and most importantly do nothing to keep your pet healthy.

Exercise is also important for any animal. Your dog should have sufficient amount of room to run around and play. If your dog is kept indoors for most of the day then you should take the time everyday to walk it outside and give it the exercise it needs. Ideally, a dog should have a good sized back yard to be able to run around in. If not consider a dog park. Exercise is important for a dog to keep their circulation healthy and their blood flowing. This allows for a healthy body, strong muscles, and a happier life for your dog. It also may help there mental state just like humans.

Water is important also. A dog can get dehydrated much quicker than a human being. You should always ensure your dog has plenty of water to drink each day and that it is always available to drink. You may even want to consider spring water or filtered water. The chemicals and other things from the faucet may not be so healthy.

Another important aspect to having a healthy pet is love. Dogs need daily interaction. They need plenty of petting, holding, and love. A dog’s primary goal is to please their owner and you need to show your pet that you entirely approve of them and it will be happy. Studies have shown that dog’s with a lack of love or interaction is not as healthy as pets that have a lot of love. You should spend time talking to your dog and playing with your dog. This will ensure you have a very healthy and happy pet that will last a long time.

A great conversation to start with your vet if you haven’t already is: vaccinations. It is becoming increasingly popular that pet parents refuse to vaccinate every year because many feel it is harmful to the pet. As puppies, vaccinations are necessary and can save your canine’s life. As they get older though you may want to ask your vet about titer testing to measure the antibodies in your baby’s system and then you can determine if that vaccination is necessary. Depending on where you live, some vaccinations are necessary and some are not. This is something you can discuss with your veterinarian.

Everyone wants their dog to be healthy to ensure their life and longevity. There are many factors that play a big role in making this happen and as their owner; your dog depends on you to ensure they have a healthy life. You should ensure the food your dog is being fed is healthy, drinking plenty of water, getting plenty of exercise each day, and you are giving it plenty of love and knowing more about vaccinations.

Free Weight Loss Recipes and Healthy Diet

Eating right and maintaining a healthy weight is not all that difficult. In fact, I am very sure most of you already know pretty well what is best. By cooking healthy meals from weight loss recipes and participating in sports activities, you should find losing weight not a problem at all.

Start by adopting an approach for losing weight naturally. Stick to a diet that is high in complex carbohydrates and fibre, but moderate in protein, and low in fat. I have included some free weight loss recipes for you to demonstrate how to achieve that.

Many people believe that “no fat” means “non-fattening.” However, the truth is, you are often getting just as many calories from the no-fat version, and those calories may not coming from fat. So, do not be misled and start to believe that you can eat any amount of the foods that are advertised as “fat-free”. Instead, eat healthy food prepared using the weight loss recipes.

The best way to respond to hunger is with healthful snacks such as a slice of whole-grain toasted bread. Instead of skipping meals, eat snacks. Just remember that if you want to lose weight naturally, you have to keep track of every food you eat and of every activity that you do. Learn to cook healthy and delicious from weight loss recipes. That is also one way to motivate yourself.

Below are some simple weight loss recipes for healthy snacks:

Avocado, cheese, and flavoured tuna


1 cucumber

1 small tin of flavoured tuna

1 avocado

block cheese (your choice depends on your preference)

How to Prepare:

Quite easy. I just thought it up the other day and I haven’t tried it yet but it sort of gives a substitute instead of using cracker biscuits.

Slice the cucumber to reasonable thickness. Put a slice of cheese on the cucumber. Then some avocado then finally some flavoured tuna on top. Great snack!

Zero Carbs Chicken Wings


3 lbs. chicken wings

6 T. Hot Sauce

1 Stick Butter

2 qts. cooking oil

Lawry’s Seasoned Salt

How to Prepare:

WINGS: Cut whole wings at joints and discard tips. Sprinkle wings liberally with Lawry’s Seasoned Salt. Deep fry until golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels.

SAUCE: Combine melted butter and hot sauce in a large bowl, mix well. Add wings and coat evenly.

This recipe is for mild wings-add extra hot sauce for more heat. Serve with bleu cheese and celery.

Bacon and Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms


8 oz cream cheese, softened

5 or 6 slices of bacon, fried crisp

1 small onion, chopped – or less

15-20 large mushrooms

How to Prepare:

Preheat oven to 350.Take the stems out of your mushrooms, reserving 4 or 5. Clean your mushrooms well and set aside.

Chop your onion well, and chop up the reserved stems.

Fry your bacon til crisp, reserving the grease. Cook your onion and stems until tender in the bacon grease. Drain the grease and add onions/stems to the softened cream cheese. Crumble your bacon in cheese mixture. Combine well. Scoop some into each mushroom cap. Bake for about 10-15 minutes on baking sheet with edges, then broil to brown the tops. YUMMY! Great refrigerated and reheated in oven the next day!

Foods To Eat For Clear Skin

Have you ever heard the popular phrase “You are what You eat”? Whether you like it or not your diet will reflect on your skin. Eat healthy food, and you will look healthy. Eat junk food, you won’t be looking good. That is why it is important to know the right foods to eat for clear skin. This article will help you get on the right track of skin care, because it is not all about using creams and products; the most basic skin care begins by eating right.

First you should know that a diet for the overall health of the body is the best place to start, and in most cases that is enough for your skin, unless you have a deficiency of some type. But there are certain foods you must eat in order to keep your skin looking healthy, young and radiant.

Start by cutting junk food. People who eat junk food gain weight, have a pasty complexion and even bad hair. I know it is hard at first, but you can start little by little, always walking towards your goal. And please, don’t get into yo-yo diets. By gaining and losing weight constantly, your skin will stretch, and then remain saggy.

Fluids are essential to our skin diet because they help moisturize the skin. Experts recommend that we should drink 6 to 8 glasses of water throughout the day, but don’t fall in the trap of drinking the 8 glasses in the morning, you should rationalize them and drink them in a natural way.

Don’t replace water for coffee or sodas. Caffeine is a diuretic (tends to increase the discharge of urine). Reduce your intake of coffee or tea to a maximum of 2 per day. Also don’t drinking too much water 2-3 hours before going to bed to avoid morning puffiness and skin stretch.

Alcohol is bad, avoid it at all costs if possible.

Essential Fatty Acids
Also called EFAs, they are obtained from food, because our bodies can’t produce them. There are two classes of EFAs: Omega 3 and Omega 6. For our skin Omega 3 is the one we need.

EFA’s should account for a 15% of our calorie intake, and can be found on:

* Sardines

* Tuna

* Salmon

* Nuts

* Seeds and their oils (ground flaxseeds)

* Prawns

* Soya beans

Reducing the intake of saturated and processed fats is very important if you want the EFAs to work. These fats cancel its effects.

Antioxidant nutrients protect us from infection and can prevent us from degenerative diseases such as cancer or heart disease. These nutrients are found in Vitamins A, C, E and some B complex vitamins; and minerals selenium, manganese and zinc.

Antioxidants play a key role destroying free radicals (electrochemically unbalanced molecules that are produced within our bodies by chemicals, too much sun exposure and stress). Free radicals damage collagen, and collagen is what keeps our skin elastic.

We can find antioxidants in:

* Berries

* Black grapes

* Brazil nuts

* Broccoli

* Carrots

* Cherries

* Chestnuts

* Hazelnuts

* Kale

* Raisins

* Papaya

* Peas

* Peppers

* Prunes

* Spinch

* Sweet potatoes

* Tomatoes

Iron is used for the formation of hemoglobin. A deficiency in iron brings anemia, and this shows up in our bodies by a pale complexion and dark circles under the eyes. Iron is best processed from animal food but can be found also in some vegetables. The best sources of iron are

* Red meat

* Seafood

* Liver

* Eggs

* Spinach

Vitamin A
Vitamin A helps in the formation of new cell, this keeps our skin supple and is vital for our eyes and hair. If you are lacking of Vitamin A, your skin will be dry and flaky. It is manufactured by our bodies from beta-carotene and can be found in:

* Whole milk

* Whole butter

* Liver

* Oily fish

* Eggs

* Dark orange vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash)

* Dark green vegetables (broccoli, spinach, kale)

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, essential for the production of collagen (the elastic tissue in our skin that declines with age). Every time you are smoking, under stress or under too much sun exposure, your are draining vitamin C from your body, so it is best to avoid these situations in excess. Vitamin is found in:

* Citrus fruits (orange, lemon, grapefruit, lime)

* Tomatoes

* Potatoes

* Papaya

* Broccoli

* Brussels sprouts

* Black currants

* Kiwi

* Strawberries

* Peas

* Cauliflower

Vitamin E
Another antioxidant, Vitamin E has a powerful action against the damage of free radicals. This vitamin helps our skin retain its moisture, and a lack of it brings premature wrinkles, pale skin, acne, easy bruising and slow wound healing. Vitamin E can be found in:

* Vegetable oils

* Nuts and seeds

* Peanut butter

* Wheat germ

* Whole grains

* Avocados

* Sweet potatoes

Vitamin B complex
Keep your skin moist and smooth with Vitamin B complex. It releases energy from food for skin metabolism. This can be found in:

* Milk

* Oily fish

* Poultry

* Red meat

* Offal

* Eggs

* Bananas

* Soya beans

* Whole grain

* Wheat germ

* Peanut butter

* Fortified breakfast cereals

Beta carotene is the plant form of the vitamin A, converted by our bodies. It protects us from the aging effect of the sun and can be found in:

* Dark green vegetables (spinach, broccoli, watercress)

* Orange fruit and vegetables

Perfect for protection against free radicals and to counter dry skin. Selenium along with vitamin E support the immune system. Found in:

* Cereals

* Meat

* Offal

* Seafood

* Eggs

* Cheese

* Brazil nuts

* Whole grains

* Mushrooms

* Beans

* Molasses

* Wheat germs

Zinc is another mineral vital to the immune system. It manufactures collagen and speeds up healing in our bodies, included skin. A deficiency produces stretch marks, a dull complexion, white spots on fingernails, dandruff and stubborn blemishes. Zinc can be found on:

* Seafood

* Red meat

* Cheese

* Brewer’s yeast

* Whole grains

* Mushrooms

* Offal

* Eggs

* Turkey and nuts

As you see there are many components in our diets that can help our skin. Instead of making yourself a diet just for skin care, make one that works for the health of your overall body, and then, if you find a deficiency you will know what foods you need to eat to keep your skin clear and good looking. It’s all about balancing your diet.

3 Healthy Ways to Enjoy Chocolate – Really!

If my observations at coffee shops, airports, and checkout counters are accurate, many of us are wild about the flavor of chocolate. And yes, I’m one of them. If you are too, I have great news: You do not–do not!–have to swear off your favorite treat to remain committed to healthful eating.

But not all chocolate is equal. Milk chocolate, the basis of most candy bars, offers little or no benefit. Typical candy-bar chocolate tends to be overprocessed, which destroys many nutrients, and loaded with added fat, sugar, and preservatives that negate its good qualities. Milk chocolate might satisfy your sweet tooth, but it’s not something that should be a regular part of your diet.

Fortunately, your choices don’t end there. Read on for three of my favorite ways to enjoy the rich flavor of chocolate–and get disease-prevention and energy benefits as well.

1) Raw Organic Cacao Powder

Anything that even remotely relates to chocolate has my vote, but the original cacao bean can’t be beat. As the source of all chocolate and cocoa products, there’s no more pure chocolate than this.

Cacao is a time-tested beneficial food. South American cultures have enjoyed its healthful and invigorating properties for thousands of years. Modern science tells us why: Cacao is naturally rich with antioxidants, magnesium, and fiber.

The only trick to getting your best boost from natural chocolate is to be sure you get the raw, organic product. I recommend buying raw organic cacao in a powdered form because it’s so easy to incorporate into all kinds of food. I add cacao powder to smoothies, desserts, and sauces when I want a chocolate flavor. (And when don’t I? So, every day!)

2) Natural Chocolate Flavored Drink Powder

Yes, getting fresh fruits and vegetables is always best, but consider adding a whopping extra 5 to 9 daily servings of fruits and veggies right into your breakfast using a nutritional drink powder. These convenient formulas can be mixed into fruit and yogurt smoothies or added directly to almond milk or water.

When you compare brands, look for a formula with an alkaline to optimize your body’s pH level. Also look for enzymes and probiotics that aid digestion and absorption. Remember it’s always best to choose products that are raw, organic, and sugar-free. And, of course, choose a flavor that suits your taste. Chocolate, anyone?

Energy and nutrition drink powders are available in most health food stores, but you may find it more convenient to comparison-shop for these products online. Just type “chocolate flavor natural drink powder” into your favorite search engine to get started.

3) Chocolate-Covered Cacao Nibs

Bursting with real chocolate flavor, just a few of these tiny morsels are enough to quell a chocolate craving fast. Even better: They are packed with healthful antioxidants.

When you shop for these treats, look for a brand made of 100% dark cacao nibs, covered in dark chocolate–that is, a chocolate with 70% or more pure cacao content.

Is your mouth watering? Mine is! See, maintaining wellness through a balanced diet doesn’t have to mean cutting out everything you crave. Commit to adding one of these beneficial and tasty choices to your menu this week, and give yourself a health boost…enjoyably!

Health Benefits of Vitamin D Foods – Good Sleep, Bones, Immunity

Vitamin D is known as the “Sunshine Vitamin” as spending time outdoors in the sun is known to increase vitamin D in the body via the skin. Our ancestors spent a considerable amount of their time outdoors, but for the first time in history, large amounts of the world population spend most of their time inside their offices and homes.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition recommends some regular sun exposure (usually 5-10 min of exposure of the arms and legs or the hands, arms, and face, 2 or 3 times per week) and increased dietary and supplemental vitamin D to guarantee getting enough and preventing a vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D supports healthy bones, reduces diabetes risk, strengthens the immune system, remedies insomnia and soothes skin conditions. One study on vitamin D supplements for people with insomnia was published in the journal “Medical Hypothesis”. The researchers followed 1500 patients over a 2 year period. A consistent level of vitamin D3 was maintained in their blood over many months.

This produced normal sleep in most of the participants, regardless of their type of sleep disorder. During the research, the authors discovered the presence of high concentrations of vitamin D “receiving sites” or “receptors” in those areas of the brain that are related to the onset and maintenance of sleep.

Vitamin D is known to keep the bones strong and help prevent osteoporosis. Vitamin D deficiency is a known cause of rickets (soft bones) in children and osteoporosis in adults.The pioneering nutritionist Adelle Davis writes about vitamin D in her book “Let’s Get Well”. She says: “Vitamin D increases calcium absorption… and controls the enzymes necessary to deposit minerals in bones and teeth. This vitamin can be produced on the skin by sunshine provided the oils have not been washed off.”

A study from the Journal of Investigative Medicine found that vitamin D has important functions beyond those of supporting calcium and bones in the body. It concluded that vitamin D is a boost to immunity and a deficiency of the vitamin is common in autoimmune disease – a disease where the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells by mistake. These include multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease.

The recommended daily intake of vitamin D is 400 IU (international units). Daily values are developed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help provide a general guideline, however doses of 1,000 to 2,000 IU or more daily are not uncommon.

Good vitamin D foods include cod liver oil, sardines, salmon, mackerel, eggs, herring, raw maitake mushrooms, and vitamin D fortified milk and yogurt.

Raising Healthy Eaters

If you are raising children, you are probably well aware by now that kids can be extremely picky eaters. When given the choice between chicken nuggets or fruit, your children are very likely to pick the chicken nuggets. Fortunately, there are ways to help turn your picky eaters into healthy eaters. Here are our tips for raising healthy eaters.

What to Eat: Turning Your Picky Eaters into Healthy Eaters

Foods are constantly changing. What is trendy and in-season is going to be constantly changing. However, what is going to be nutritional is always going to be the same. As a parent, it is important to stick to family mealtimes and teach your children the importance of consuming whole, real and when possible, organic foods.

How to teach your children what whole foods are:How many ingredients are found in the food? A food that is truly whole should only have one ingredient.

Is the food grown from a plant or did it come from a plant? Foods that are whole are grown and not manufactured.

Can you picture the food what it looked like in it’s natural state before you purchased it? If you can’t, it’s definitely not a whole food.

As a parent, what you eat, how you eat it and why you choose to eat it is going to be very important in raising healthy eaters. Remember, your children are watching what you do and learning from you.

Children, even more so than most adults do, enjoy and often times require a routine. In fact, research shows that families who eat together are more likely to stick together. Teens are less likely to develop risky behaviors, eating disorders, abuse drugs and alcohol and tend to be better socially adjusted all from what seems like something so simple — having dinner as a family. Here’s how to make family mealtime even more enjoyable:

Set realistic boundaries for mealtimes and the foods choices you will be having at these meals. When raising healthy eaters, provide your children with the following information: what, where and when. Your child can decide on how much they are going to eat.

Always provide at least one food that is high quality, but is something that your child enjoys. You may be in charge of deciding what is going to be served for dinner, but remember your child is going to decide if they like it and how much of it they are going to eat. When trying new things, remember your child may only try a bite or two. It may take time for them to enjoy a particular food.

Sometimes hunger will even play a role in whether or not a child is going to enjoy your meal.Keep in mind that a child’s taste buds are different than an adult’s taste buds. It may take a child many times to decide whether or not the enjoy something unlike an adult who can often decide after a bite or two. Be sure to offer your child a food that they may have disliked once the opportunity to try it again and in different recipes. You may be surprised at how your child has changed his/her mind.

Make mealtime fun and relaxing. Meal times should be pleasant. Encourage conservation with your child. Make sure the energy is positive. A stressful environment is not good for you or the health of your child. Stress can make food absorption less than optimal and can mess with your metabolism.

When raising a healthy eater, never use food to punish, restrict or reward your child. Food should never be used as a punishment or as a reward; food is designed to nourish the body. Teach your child, even at an early age, to have a healthy relationship with food. Food should never be used as positive or negative reinforcement. If you are looking for a reward for positive behavior, always opt for non-food related rewards.

Know when to enforce healthy eating. At birthday parties and around the holidays, healthy eating can be a challenge. When it comes to special events, be flexible but still have a plan. Give your child a choice between two different whole food-based treats to celebrate special events. Be sure to let your child know that birthdays and holidays aren’t necessarily a day to abandon all healthy choices. In fact, on birthdays you should be celebrating good health.

During the holidays, be sure that your child understands why we celebrate holidays and that holidays are not an excuse to overindulge. If your child is old enough, allow them to participate in the meal prep for a holiday meal. This will help them to appreciate all of the hard work and effort that goes into preparing a healthy meal. This is bound to make raising a healthy eater easier.

How Can You Integrate Healthy Eating Into Your Family’s Busy Lifestyle?

If you are thinking that you are way too busy to integrate healthy living into your family’s chaotic schedule, you are wrong. Even if you are busy, your family can make time for healthy eating; especially when it comes to raising healthy eaters.

Remember you spend all day at work so that you can provide for your family. Your hard-earned money should go towards food items that are food for your family. Sure food prep may take a little time, but there is no sense is throwing your hard-earned cash away by purchasing fast food and processed foods. Think about the power that healthy foods have over your mind and body as well as your child’s. Take a little time each week to write down your child’s as well as your entire family’s nutrition goals.Remember, raising a healthy eater does not happen overnight.

Start slow and work in the direction of achieving your goals as a healthy family. Taking baby steps will help you to achieve your goals. Does your family drink way to many soft drinks? This might be the perfect place to start! Start by replacing one glass of soda a day with water and work your way so you have eliminated soda from you and your family’s diet.

Find inspiration. Maybe it’s your goal to lose a few pounds or perhaps it’s your goal to ensure that your child does not have to struggle with weight gain issues. Whatever your motivation is, use it to obtain short-term goals and eventually achieve healthy habits that will last a lifetime.

How do you motivate your child to eat healthy? Remember, it maybe a struggle in the beginning when raising a healthy eater, but the long-term goal is build healthy habits that your child can carry with them throughout their entire life.

Copyright (c) 2014 LifeWorks Integrative health

Healthy Teas

One cup of tea a day keeps the doctor away!

Tea drinking has been an important part of Chinese culture for thousands of years. One of the oldest documents about teas and their health benefits was written by a Jesuit missionary, Father Matteo Ricci, who travelled to China during the Ming dynasty. His journal, which was published in 1610, mentioned that tea drinking contributed to longevity and prevented serious illnesses among the Chinese. Nowadays considerable scientific research has been done to study the health benefits of different types of tea and the following are some of their results:

Cancer Prevention

The Institute of Nutrition and Food Hygiene in China has done research on 145 types of tea and found that green tea has the highest potential to prevent cancer. The other kinds of tea that have cancer-prevention potency are Brick, Jasmine, Oolong and black tea. Generally, tea can help prevent cancer in two ways. First, it can block the formation of cancer-causing substances such as aflatoxin and nitrosamines. At Shizuoka University in Japan, researchers have done a lot of studies about this ability of green tea and discovered that malignant tumors in mice that were fed green tea did not develop as rapidly as in those not on tea. The other way tea can help us fight cancer is by preventing cell mutation, as the polyphenols in green tea have antioxidants that inhibit mutation of the DNA in healthy cells and prevent them from becoming cancer cells.

Heart Health

Oolong and Pu-erh teas have the most benefits for our heart health. First of all, they contain a lot of phenols that help inhibit the absorption of cholesterol in the digestive tract, which accordingly helps lower the cholesterol level in the bloodstream. Second, they have potential to decrease the tendency of blood to form unwanted clots. And last but not least, they can help strengthen and keep the blood-vessel walls soft, which is very important because strokes and thrombosis usually happen to people whose blood vessels have lost their elasticity. A study by the Institute of Traditional Medicine in China has recently done detailed research about Oolong tea on rabbits and received a very impressive result. They found that feeding rabbits with oolong tea had almost the same effect on the blood vessels as giving them rutin, a nutrient that has been widely used for preventing blood vessels from losing their flexibility.

Weight loss

Oolong and Pu-erh teas are also famous for their slimming effect as I have mentioned earlier that they help reduce cholesterol in the digestive tract and bloodstream. The most popular slimming tea on the market right now seems to be Oolong combined with some other herbal ingredients. It has been reported in the news and various health articles that women who drank two or three cups of Oolong tea a day have lost up to 15 pounds in a few months. However, the weight loss effect of Oolong and Pu-erh varies, depending on the consumer personal health and lifestyle.

Tooth Care

All kinds of teas can ward off tooth decay as they contain polyphenols, which decrease the formation of plaque, as well as fluoride, which strengthens tooth enamel. Green tea, however, contains twice as much fluoride as black, wrote Dr. Sheldon Margen, professor of Public Health Nutrition, in the U.C. Berkeley Wellness Newsletter.