Fighting Constant Hunger and Maintaining Fitness

It isn’t something many people are proud to admit, but the average caloric intake of Americans today is 20% higher than it was in 1970, and more often than not, our average meals greatly exceed those of other countries in terms of size. So, why is it that many of us are so hungry so frequently? While excessive eating could certainly be a factor, it’s excessive snacking that seems to be our nutritional downfall.

According to personal trainer Sam Wood, there are various reasons why many people find it difficult to suppress their appetites throughout the day. From a sociological standpoint, we’ve been conditioned to believe that more is better when eating. Our average portion sizes as Americans are much larger than what is recommended by health professionals. Even worse, the actual food on our plates is not always what our bodies need.

One prominent issue that has taken the dietary world by storm is the notion that highly caloric foods are unhealthy. Believing this eliminates healthier fats and great sources of protein from one’s diet, seeing as both have higher calorie contents. Carbohydrates are another group of important nutrients that have been cast in a bad light as well, albeit they should be complex carbs and not processed. Complex carbs come with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The goal is to feel comfortably full for as long as possible. Healthy fats, foods rich in protein, and complex carbs will do just that.

The time of day at which you eat could also be beneficial (or detrimental) as well. For example, intermittent fasting allows you to eat all your daily foods within an 8-hour window, thus preventing you from snacking late at night, or eating too early, then feeling hungry again before 10:00 a.m. Though this may sound challenging, there are some helpful rules to abide by:

  • Never eat when bored or due to emotions
  • Meal prep
  • Grocery shop once a week
  • Shoot for 21 meals a week

Sticking to one strict routine can prove challenging. Don’t feel as though this is the key to optimal fitness. Changing it up can actually be highly beneficial. For example, some of the most common breakfast foods include bagels, cereal, white toast, etc., all of which are high in carbs that lead to you quickly feeling hungry soon after. More filling foods like eggs, greek yogurt, quinoa can have you feeling fuller longer, while also giving you a protein boost early in your day.

Finding a diet that works for you is exactly that; one that is personal. Results will more than likely vary from person to person, but following these general guidelines could be very helpful.

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The Healthiest Grocery Stores to Shop At

Your grocery shopping is extremely significant when it comes to the health of you and your family. There are many natural health food markets and supermarket chains that have expanded their health food offerings in recent years. More stores are beginning to exclude all foods and beverages that carry hydrogenated fats, artificial colors, sweeteners, flavors, or preservatives. Here is a list of the best grocery stores for your organic and all-natural health food needs.

  1. Whole Foods Market

You will find over 420 Whole Foods Market stores in the United States, The United Kingdom, and Canada. It is one of the largest supermarket chains in its class. Whole Foods has the widest variety of freshly caught seafood, organic fruits and vegetables, free-range chicken, and grass-fed beef. Their prepared foods are clearly labeled and never contain any additives or preservatives.

  1. Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s carries 80% of their own chain’s brands. While this grocery store is drastically smaller than your local supermarket, the food they do sell is often delicious and impressive. The meals in their brand contain no GMO’s, trans fats, MSG, or artificial preservatives. Trader Joe’s is truly unique and includes gourmet foods, vegetarian, organic, and alternative items for a vegan or vegetarian diet.

  1. Publix Super Markets

Publix stands out above their competition by making healthy eating a family affair. Pregnant women can join Publix Baby Club and receive newsletters about infants and earn special coupons. They have their own brand of pre-packaged organic foods called “GreenWide.” Publix makes it their focus to guide their patrons towards the produce that is the freshest and most nutritious.

  1. Natural Grocers

Based in Colorado, Natural Grocers now has over 90 stores in 14 states. You will find shelves stocked with organic produce, dietary supplements, vitamins, natural and organic food, and natural body products. Natural Grocers makes a free nutritional health coach available to all of its customers.

  1. Sprouts Farmers Market

Similar to Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, Sprouts is a chain of over 200 grocery stores that focus on healthy foods, supplements, and fresh produce. Their prices make them extremely competitive with their all-natural and higher-priced competitors. On a daily basis, you will find nutritious fruits, fresh vegetables, a full-service deli, wholesome grains, nuts and sweets, and seafood and meat counters that even make handmade sausages and burgers. Sprouts Farmers Market fully stocks their shelves with ready-to-eat meals, freshly baked goods, gluten-free groceries, and gourmet cheeses, as well.

Testosterone-Boosting Foods for the Male Diet

Testosterone is a male hormone responsible for hair growth, sperm production, and building healthy bones. As men age, or suffer from chronic illness, they lose testosterone which can cause low libido and other medical issues. Testosterone replacement therapy can help men by using medication in the form of pills, patches, or gels. However, there are natural ways to prevent low T levels; by consuming these testosterone-boosting foods.

  1. Tuna

Tuna fish is loaded with vitamin D, which is linked to testosterone production. Tuna is also rich in protein, low in calories, and good for heart health. Both fresh and canned fish can naturally boost testosterone levels. Besides tuna, sardines and salmon are other excellent sources of vitamin D.

  1. Egg yolks

Another rich source of vitamin D, egg yolks contain more nutrients than egg whites and can increase low testosterone. You can safely eat one egg yolk per day if your cholesterol levels are in check.

  1. Fortified cereals

If you have to watch your blood cholesterol, you can still raise your T levels during breakfast with fortified cereals. Many ready-to-eat kinds of cereals on the market today are enriched with a variety of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin D, niacin, iron, riboflavin, and folic acid.

  1. Oysters

Zinc is a vital nutrient that keeps male hormones at regular levels from puberty through adulthood. Oysters are a good source of zinc and are beneficial for men with zinc deficiencies. A daily dose of zinc can increase T levels, especially during weight training. Consumption of oysters has shown to increase the amount of sperm in your semen. They also contain D-aspartic acid which dramatically increases the synthesis of testosterone in the testes.

  1. Beef

While eating too much beef has been linked to certain cancers, some cuts have nutrients to increase testosterone. Chuck roast and ground beef contain zinc, and beef liver has a high source of vitamin D. Choose only lean cuts of beef and avoid eating it on a regular basis.

  1. Beans

Beans are full of plant-based proteins, zinc, and vitamin D, and is powerful at protecting the heart. Choose from kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, chickpeas or lentils to give yourself a good dose of testosterone-boosting nutrition. Beans provide a winning combo being both low in fat and high in protein.

Free Apps to Help Manage Mental Health

Originally published on DrZeeshanHoodbhoy.com

Millions of Americans struggle with mental health issues every day. While therapy can be expensive and out of reach for many, technology today is providing those with an alternative that offers valuable resources making therapeutic techniques more accessible. Within minutes, anyone can download a free app that incorporates Acceptance Commitment Therapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in the privacy of their home.

These apps can address obsessive-compulsive, addiction recovery, bipolar and anxiety disorder, and more. Health experts believe the following free apps can play an important role in the future of mental health.

  1. What’s Up

What’s up uses methods to help individual’s handle stress, anxiety, and depression. It has a built-in habit tracker that will teach you to break your harmful habits and maintain your positive ones. There is a page dedicated to pinpointing what you’re feeling at the time, and how to stop harmful internal monologues.

  1. MoodKit

Using the foundation of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, MoodKit gives their users over 200 different activities to help improve their mood. The app was created by two psychologists with the goal in mind to develop healthy attitudes.

  1. Quit That

This free app helps users beat addictions such as smoking, drugs, or alcohol and monitors your progress. Users can track as many dependencies as they want and keep track of the hours and minutes they’ve been sober.

  1. Mind Shift

Mind Shift was designed specifically for young adults and teenagers struggling with anxiety. It encourages you to take charge of your life and avoid anxious thoughts and feelings. Mind Shift acts as an on-the-go guide at helping you face challenges and intense emotions.

  1. Self-Help For Anxiety Management (SAM)

For those who want to learn about self-help but are not keen to meditation, SAM is the perfect app for you. You can build your 24-hour toolkit to track your anxious behavior and thoughts. It includes a section with 25 different self-help techniques and an online community to connect with others.

  1. Stigma

Stigma is considered one of the best journaling apps around. Its word cloud technology recognizes the words you type the most and makes you reflect on why you keep choosing these words during intense emotions. It has a social network component that lets you message people going through the same thing.

Equipment for the Beginner DJ

Originally published on ZeeshanHoodbhoy.net

When looking for starter equipment to begin DJing, it’s important to determine what you’re looking to use the equipment for. Are you looking to become involved in more casual DJing at house parties? If so, you can get away without an intensive arsenal of equipment and instead focus on putting your efforts into finding respectable computer and controller setups. Looking to pursue a DJ career where you’ll be performing at clubs and more high-profile venues? You’ll want to consider spending more money on equipment such as turntables and mixers to offer high-quality audio and gain practical and professional experience.

Below is a guide on what DJ equipment you’ll want to look into before getting started.

Computers and Interfaces

In terms of computers, you are free to use your own laptop if you already have one. With free software like Virtual DJ, you can use your computer to choose from libraries of digital music online. If you have a larger budget, you can look into software packages that come with DJ hardware or purchase professional DJ software separately.

Even if you’re using your own computer, you might want to consider investing in audio interfaces. Interfaces such as Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 are able to convert recordings into digital audio and also send digital audio to your venue’s sound system.

Controllers

While it’s possible to perform crossfading and other matches on your laptop’s keyboard, if you want more tactile control with knobs and faders, consider looking into controllers. The Traktor Kontrol S2 is a portable controller that’s compatible with Mac and PC and includes DJ software.

Turntables and CDJs

Turntables offer tactile control over audio files with scratches and other effects. Tables like Numark TT250USBs offer professional options for direct-drive turntables and also offer the option for converting analog records to digital files via computer USB connections. While turntables are tactile, some prove impractical to tote around and limit music selection due to their use of vinyls.

An alternative to a turntable is a CDJ setup. CDJs are digital decks similar to vinyl, but use CDs or a USB stick to provide easy navigation in accessing digital files with the same tactile control as turntables. Setups like Gemini CDJ-700 offer tactile control for audio along with easy-to-navigate touch-screen displays and additional customizable functions.

Mixers

Mixers provide control over audio sound and effects. The DJM-350 is an entry-level mixer that provides customizable controls and offers USB storage for optimal set organization and navigation.

Headphones

DJ headphones are crucial as they isolate and replicate audio sounds like you would be hearing them in the club. Headphones like Pioneer HDJ-2000MK2 isolate sound and separate deep bass and crisp treble frequencies to appropriately monitor feedback in clubs.

Brain Food: How A Healthy Diet Leads to a Healthy Mind

Originally published on ZeeshanHoodbhoy.com

Myth: Your mind and body are separate.

For both your stomach’s sake, and for your emotional well-being, I’ll have to kindly ask you to very slowly put down that fourth candy bar. It is common knowledge in the nutritional world that excess sugar harms the body both physically and mentally, but let me present to you the chemical proof:

One of our vital neurotransmitters which regulates our mood, serotonin, is produced right alongside the neurons that manage our digestion – in our gastrointestinal tract. Serotonin’s neighbor neurons also have a hand in our mental health, after they’ve of course, finished dealing with the fruits, vegetables, and chocolate bars passing through our system.Things go awry when the sustenance we choose works against us.

According to Eva Selhub MD of Harvard Health Publishing, certain foods just don’t do it for us the way natural sugars do. Processed sugar can actually cause extreme inflammation and debilitate most of the neurons in our gastrointestinal tract, which means not only our digestive system weakens, but the production of sufficient serotonin and our neurons’ ability to cope with stress and mood swings take a substantial hit as well.

Cue a stress-induced reach for that chocolate bar. Our bodies let us know when we need nutrients, but low emotional wellness can also trigger a craving that we don’t actually need, says Jennifer Kromberg PsyD of Psychology Today. An argument at work, unhealthy fasting or dieting, or the promise of a reward after writing a proposal when nothing else seems to be going quite right in our lives, are all dangerous paths that can lead to the understandable desire for quick and easy processed sugar.

I think of it as a cyclical process. If we are having these unhappy cravings, there’s a high chance our serotonin levels are already too low, and unhealthy foods are going to make matters worse. When we reach for that candy bar, we are potentially doing what has damaged our serotonin production and contributed to our dissatisfaction in the first place. Selhub mentions that those who take regular probiotics not only have the advantage of beneficial bacteria to fight off toxins in our food, but have also clearly exhibited positive turns in mental health.

If we want to feel physically strong, deal effectively with outside stressors, and whittle down problematic cravings, then a balanced diet is our key to both a healthier and scientifically- proven-to-be-happier life.

Your gastrointestinal tract and your mental are better off without that devious fourth candy bar anyway. Personally, I trust apples.

Cut The Carbs: A Beginner’s Guide to the Keto Diet

Originally published on ZeeshanHoodbhoy.com

The phrase “low carb” can be scary for a lot of people. It means cutting out grains, sugars, fruits and for some people it means giving up some of their favorite foods. What shouldn’t be scary is how easy it is to make these changes in your everyday life.

The keto diet is known for being a low carb diet that allows the body to produce ketones in the liver for energy. Normally when something high in carbohydrates is put into the body, the body produces glucose and insulin for energy. With the lower carb intake of the keto diet, the body stops producing glucose and insulin and goes into a state known as ketosis.  While in ketosis the liver will start to produce ketones which are the byproducts of the body breaking down fat for energy.

Ketosis is achieved by restricting the amount of carbs and the amount of protein that is being ate. Too many carbs and too much protein can limit the results of the keto diet and take the body longer to reach the state of ketosis. Keto dieters should also stop snacking, start fasting, drink lots of water, and add exercise into their daily routine. Once ketosis is reached, physical symptoms such as increased urination, dry mouth, bad breath, reduced hunger and increased energy will materialize in the individual.

Before starting the keto diet, a strict diet plan should be created to maximize optimal results. A key thing to remember about the keto diet is that the diet should consist of about 70% fats, 25% protein, and 5% carbohydrates. When setting up a diet plan, the following higher carbohydrate food groups should be cut from the everyday diet:

  1. Grains – wheat, corn, rice, cereal, pasta
  2. Sugar – honey, agave
  3. Fruit – apples, bananas, oranges
  4. Tubers – potatoes, yams, anything that is a starch

Once the higher carbohydrate foods are removed, the following healthy fats should be added into the diet plan:

  1. Meat – fish, beef, lamb, eggs, poultry, shellfish
  2. Leafy greens – spinach, kale
  3. High fat dairy – butter, high fat cream, hard cheeses
  4. Above ground vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, green beans
  5. Avocados & berries – raspberries, blackberries, any berry that has low glycemic impact
  6. Sweeteners – stevia, low carb sweeteners
  7. Other fats – coconut oil, high – fat salad dressing, nut butters

If keto is being done specifically for weight loss, also consider keeping net carb intake at between 20-30g. Net carbs are the total amount of dietary carbohydrates minus the the total fiber. But remember, when starting any diet, you are going to come down with the “flu.” Keto flu symptoms start to take shape when the body transitions from burning sugars for energy to burning flat. Symptoms can range anywhere from sugar cravings to stomach pains, nausea, cramping, and confusion.

Not only is the keto diet a great way to go from a high to low intake of carbs, it also helps with a variety of other health and everyday lifestyle changes. This is a great way to control blood sugar levels, increase mental performance, increase energy and normalize hunger, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and improve skin by reducing the likelihood of acne.