Activities that Make you Active : Hiking

When it comes to getting a workout in, you want to make it a hobby that you want to engage in. It is a great way to both stay in shape, and keep yourself motivated. After all, we all do what we want to do both on a conscious and subconscious level. So, how do you get into a hobby that gets you in shape?  You learn about it! So, we are going to cover how to get into a new hobby that will get you in shape. This one involves nature, survival and relaxation, hiking.

Hiking

Hiking is a great way to get in shape using the natural elements. It is also a way to get in touch with nature and provide a greater understanding of the world around you. However, if you are unfamiliar with the basic health and safety measures that come with hiking, it can leave you in a medical emergency.

So, if you are starting out, you want to make sure that you not only try to get your workout in but also know how to take care of yourself. So, what are some requirements for nature hiking?hiking, trail

Get in Shape Beforehand

While there are easy trails, there is going to be the occasional elevation and uneven pathways. To make this easier from couch to hitting the trails, you do this by making a transition in between.

Walking two to three times a week can help acclimate your body to the elevated heart rate that is common during hiking. It is also important to wear the same shoes that you plan on hiking with to prevent blisters. Also, wear a light pack on your back so you can get used to the concept of carrying equipment.

 Know your Trail or Find Someone Who Does

If you are going in blind, and are unfamiliar with any outdoor trails it is a good idea to start out with a short trail. There are a variety of trails that vary in both difficulty and length. The last thing you want to do is pick a difficult trail that will increase the chances of you getting hurt or turn you off the idea of hiking.

A great way to do this is to research the trails beforehand. There is usually a difficulty rating system, as well as an eta of how long a hike will take.

Another way to make this work is to hire someone or find a friend who knows how to hike, as well as how the trails work. Safety in numbers is an important tactic when you are hiking. So, if you have an expert on your side, then you are more likely to not only have a fun time, but you will also be able to learn the right way to handle the trail you are hiking on.

Check the Weather

The day before and even a few hours on the day of the hike, it is important to check the weather. This information will not only help you figure out how to dress and where to pack, but it can keep you from getting caught by surprise.

You can even learn the telltale signs of weather patterns so you can decide whether to take a longer or shorter hike. For instance, the shape of a cloud can help you determine whether it is about to rain long before they go grey.

hiking, trail

Get the Right Hiking Equipment

You want to be well prepared for a hike The right equipment can make your hike enjoyable and can increase your chances of survival in the wild if you plan on camping.

According to liftopia.com

“The 10 essentials have gradually shifted from a list of items to a list of systems. These are the systems you should pack to stay safe in the outdoors, including facing a potential overnight. Depending on the length and remoteness of your hike, expand or minimize each system. For example, on a short summer hike near services, a compact emergency blanket should be fine. However, a remote winter hike would require something more extensive. 

Ten Essential Systems

  • Navigation (map & compass)
  • Sun protection (sunglasses & sunscreen)
  • Insulation (extra clothing)
  • Illumination (headlamp/flashlight)
  • First-aid supplies
  • Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candle)
  • Repair kit and tools
  • Nutrition (extra food)
  • Hydration (extra water)
  • Emergency shelter (tent/plastic tube tent/garbage bag) .”

If you want to learn more about nutrition or staying in shape click on the pop up at www.beksbites.com

 

What is the Best Nutrition When you are Fighting Cancer?

cancer cellsWhen doctors, nutritionists, bloggers, and other experts talk about a healthy diet and nutrition, they often err on the side of talking about the most common issues. Obesity, for example, is always a hot topic when it comes to nutrition publications. This is often the case of the “squeaky wheel”. Basically, when a big issue demands attention, the ones that seem less like an emergency at the time get pushed aside. This isn’t because they are not as important, but it is often because it is not as overwhelming or shouting for attention. So, when people who are suffering from cancer or anorexia pick up a publication,  they aren’t going to find the help they are looking for.

So, we are going to cover nutrition issues OTHER than obesity, to help people with a variety of problems. Because everyone is different, and there is no “one size fits all” thing for everybody outside of a general rule of thumb.

 

  Cancer

This is the sort of condition that is life-changing enough to be serious but common enough for everyone to have at least heard of a person or have been related to one with it.  It is enough of an issue for children’s television programs to tackle it. It is also something that is often talked about when charity work comes up around the Holiday Season.

So, what is cancer and why does it have nutritional needs?

Cancer is a condition in which cells grow at an abnormal rate. Our bodies are made up of cells. They carry our DNA, and merge together to create our matter. Because our cells are for animals, they have a life cycle.  When our cells stop working, they both replace themselves via asexual reproduction, then shed away. The number of cells in our bodies are fairly even with their reproduction rate. In other words, if one cell dies, another one is replaced by our body. However, there are times when our cells grow too fast.

Instead of replacing dead cells, they take up too much space and leech off the energy meant for other parts of the body. They become too many cells for your body to handle.

Types of Cancer

According to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, there are several types of cancer. These include: ”

  • Carcinomas begin in the skin or tissues that line the internal organs.
  • Sarcomas develop in the bone, cartilage, fat, muscle or other connective tissues.
  • Leukemia begins in the blood and bone marrow.
  • Lymphomas start in the immune system.
  • Central nervous system cancers develop in the brain and spinal cord”

The treatments for these types of cancer vary according to location, and where they spread, so there is no 100% cure for every type out there. The remission of cancer depends on how early doctors catch it, and your ability to bounce back from a severely weakened immune system that happens during treatment.

protein, muscle building, cancerWhat is a Good Diet for Someone Who Has Cancer?

While it is obvious refined carbs, processed food, and sugars are a bad diet plan as a rule of thumb, there is more to it than that with people who have cancer.

For example, according to Nutritionist Carla Prado, who published over 150 studies on the subject within a year, the number one threat to cancer patients is a loss of muscle mass.

“Patients with low muscle mass experience more complications, longer hospital stays and lower survival rates. Muscle is very important for movement and balance, for posture, strength, and power, but it’s also a reservoir of amino acids,” said Prado. “The more you lose, the greater the consequences. Nutrition interventions could improve cancer treatment, making a high-protein, high-nutrient diet a crucial tool in the fight against a life-threatening illness.”

So, the place to start would be to figure out what type of foods contribute to building muscle mass. This is where protein from meats and whole grains come in. Lean beef, fish, legumes, egg, whey, and oatmeal are a great source of these things. Vegetables are also a good supplement for this to serve enough as fiber to help keep cancer patients regular while they are on a high protein diet.

Conclusion

Of course, you want to consult a doctor before going on any diet. And this isn’t a cure for the disease. However, that doesn’t mean that it can’t make the fight more bearable, or at least buy you more time. And really, time, no matter how much we have it can be a precious thing.

If you want to know more about nutrition visit www.beksbites.com

New Year New You Hindsight is 2020-Part 2

A Healthy Lifestyle for 2020

Have you ever anticipated the New Year in a way that felt almost like catharsis? Did you hope that once the clock turns to midnight that the whole world will suddenly synch up and make sense again after a year or several years of hardships and insanity? This New Years is the start of a new decade. A decade of promise and possible closure. So, at the beginning of 2020, and in the spirit of new beginnings we are going to talk about ways to kick your health and nutrition journey.  Granted a lot of those are going to be repeated. However, with a lot of this blog being a catalog of two years worth of information, a refresher wouldn’t hurt. Here is part 2 of New Year, New You with more advice in healthy lifestyle changes.

Avoid Trigger Foods and Enablement

Junk food, lifestyleWhile you don’t want to deny yourself any treats on occasion, having them around the house where it is easily accessible is not a good idea. Not even the person with the strongest will power can avoid trigger foods forever when they are within easy reach.  Especially if there are people who either do not understand your health goals. Or who are trying to address another need in your life who are happy to enable those bad habits.  So, if you are having trouble with specific types of food, and you want to make your immediate environment easier to handle, here are a few things that you can do to make things work.

First, remove all trigger foods in your house, workspace, and car as much as possible. The less you have immediate access to them, the more likely you are going to stick to your positive lifestyle changes.

Second, communicate with other people about your health goals. If you live with other people in the house or have a partner, you want to let them know that you are planning to keep junk food our sweets out of the house. Talk to them about what you are willing to have in front of you and what you aren’t. If your friends and family are respectful, then they will respect your boundaries.

Third, if you are going to indulge at all, stick with small portions. For instance, if your weakness is cookies and you have been more consistent in your healthy habits, indulge in some of those 100 calorie packets. Those things have a predetermined serving size and a portion that is enough to be guilt-free.

Pick up a Hobby

hobby, healthy lifestyleLet’s say that you are focusing on your nutrition, and exercise routine. Combined with work and other responsibilities, it can be easy for your life to get stressful. When your brain is on food, from obsessing over the subject, it can get frustrating. Especially if you are feeling psychological hunger after workouts. Or you are actively trying to get over the hump of bad eating habits.

This is where distraction comes in. Believe it or not, distraction, while not well received in many aspects of life can be useful. Especially in cases where attention is consistently demanded like school, work, or church. However, in this case, it is quite useful.

When you feel an urge to binge, and you know you just ate, look into focusing on an entirely new activity. Whether it is something creative, or something that focuses on another aspect of life completely, it can serve to break the possible food obsession in your brain.

The last thing you want to do is make your new lifestyle so difficult to keep up with that you cannot focus on anything else in your life. Healthy nutrition and lifestyle habits are supposed to enrich your life, not make you miserable. So, find something that you enjoy doing.

Conclusion

Lifestyle changes and healthy habits are hard choices to make.  But you can still make them with the right know-how and support from an optimal environment. Don’t be afraid to state what you need, take up space, and ask for help from the right people you need it from. Especially if this new lifestyle change is something you are not familiar in dealing with. Communication and humbling yourself to others who know how to handle this subject are the only ways to make new habits stick. And you want those to stick if you want a happy healthy lifestyle.

If you ever need a nutritionist in the Huntsville, Alabama area, and you are ready to start that new lifestyle change today, please click on the pop up at www.beksbites.com.

New Year, New You – Hindsight is 2020

New Year, New You – Health and Nutritionnew year, health and nutrition

Hindsight is 2020

Have you ever anticipated the New Year in a way that felt almost like catharsis? Did you hope that once the clock turns to midnight that the whole world will suddenly synch up and make sense again after a year or several years of hardships and insanity? This New Years is the start of a new decade. A decade of promise and possible closure. So, at the beginning of 2020, and in the spirit of new beginnings we are going to talk about ways to kick your health and nutrition journey.  Granted a lot of those are going to be repeated. However, with a lot of this blog being a catalog of two years worth of information, a refresher wouldn’t hurt.

Be Kind to Yourself

Part of the human condition is to be insecure in certain areas of life. Whether that looks like food control, vanity, or a bad relationship, all of these habits are often an expression of insecurity. And this is something that happens to everyone. There is not a single person in this world who is not insecure about something in their life. If they say they aren’t they are either lying to save face or they are literally a god.

When we feel weak on a personal level, especially when it comes to things like our weight, it almost seems like society gives us permission to attack that weak point. Whether that weak point presents itself in another person or ourselves. The logic that the more we prey on that weakness, the more likely we are going to get up and do something about it. While that might be the case for a few people, that is often not the result. Instead of expelling that weakness, instead, the person increases their defenses and their chance of returning to that coping mechanism.

In plain English, bullying yourself or others for their weight is not going to make weight loss happen. If anything you are guaranteeing that they remain fat for the rest of their life.

So, is not addressing the problem the answer? Of course not, if something is broken you fix it. But what you can do is offer encouragement instead of discouragement. By being kind to yourself and to others who have weight problems, you are building confidence and decreasing the need for you or them to run to their security blanket, aka emotional eating or binge-watching on Netflix.  This will make their health and nutrition journey longer lasting and gives people the results they need. health and nutrition, teamwork

Get Involved with Other People

I don’t know how many overweight people are classic introverts.  What I do know is that people tend to withdraw from others when they feel ashamed or insecure. And when you withdraw, you lose out on the potential support that you do need. And when you lose that support it is much harder to get things done on your own. Let me give you an example.

If someone has to build Rome by themselves it would take a very VERY long time, if it isn’t a guaranteed failure. When you have a hundred people, the job goes by much faster and would reduce the number in the 10s of thousands to getting completed in hundreds of years. And if you have thousands, you can decrease the amount of time it takes to work in the city.

When you have a goal you need a basic support system. For starters, any task that seems impossible will seem more probable when you have other people invested in your health and nutrition. Another reason is it provides a series of checks and balances that keep you accountable to yourself and others. On top of it, you don’t feel like you are suffering or celebrating your own victories by yourself. If anything, you feel like you are part of a community of people, who understand and are going through the same problems with health and nutrition as you are. So, don’t be afraid to find a group of people who are willing to meet you where you are at. It is a long road ahead and you need all the help you can get.

Conclusion – Work on Health and Nutrition Together

You were probably not expecting a lecture about health and nutrition to be an interpersonal affair, but these are important parts of what makes accomplishing these goals work. Parts that are often ignored for the sake of pride or propriety. But you don’t have to be alone, or ashamed. You should always have the option to get the help you need in 2020 for health and nutrition. Its the year of breaking bad cycles. Let’s do something different to achieve different results.

If you need a health and nutrition expert, click on the pop up at www.beksbites.com

Ways to Incorporate Exercise in Your Daily Life

Ways to Incorporate Exercise in Your Daily Life

Huntsville, AL – It can be hard to commit yourself to exercise every day. Especially, if you are not in the habit of it or, not all that good at time management. There are many reasons why people hesitate to start an exercise routine in the first place.

When you have a job, family, and other obligations it can get stressful. Especially when you imagine setting time aside for a workout. Combine that with the typical dread of going to a gym. This creates an understanding of why people don’t make a habit of choosing to work out.

Thankfully, there are quite a few things that you can do. You will be able to not only get you in the mindset for the New Year but you can make the whole concept of exercise seem less intimidating as a whole.

Do You Have a Pet? Take it On a Walk

exercise, dog walking, happy dogDo you have a family dog that is wrecking your furniture, and you need to stretch your legs? You can kill both figurative problems with one stone, by taking your dog on a walk on a regular basis.  As long as you are able to move your legs and wrangle your dog onto a leash you both can get the benefits of going out on a walk.

One of the main benefits that come with walking your dog is that it gives you both a chance to reaffirm your bond. Dogs love to spend time with their humans. When they do it often, they are more likely to obey their master.

Another benefit is that it will make your dog less destructive. The new sights and smells are stimulating to the dog, and the consistent exercise would both tire them out physically and mentally.

In short, the exercise is good for both of you, and you are less likely to see it as a terrible chore that puts a halt to your daily routine.

Have Kids or Grandkids? Play With Them!

Another thing you can do to keep your normal routine while injecting little exercise into it is to just play with your kids or grandkids. For the most singing, cleaning, mop, exercisepart, kids need both structure and to be watched over by their parents and grandparents. If they are ignored completely or are instructed to take you too seriously, you could be missing out on an important life long relationship.

So, if they say they want you to play with them, feel free to do it. Take them to the park or back yard, allow them to run around and start tagging people. Try to keep up.

Even if they have more energy than you do at the moment, the workout that the play sessions will give you would be more than enough opportunity to get you in shape, as well as, a chance to just have fun with your family.

You are never too old to play games with your family, and give them a chance to create a stronger bond. Plus, it is so fun that most people will forget its exercise.

Clean the House

Are you surrounded by clutter, and need a workout routine?  Get to cleaning! We all remember seeing cleaning montages in 80’s films right? This is often accompanied by upbeat music and dance breaks with feather dusters as a microphone.

Cleaning is a great workout routine. Because it involves a lot of lifting, squatting, scrubbing, and other motions that can make you work up a sweat quickly. Combine this with the accomplishment of your house looking nicer and you can see how it benefits you and your living space.

You get an energetic a contagious feeling when you on your favorite playlist that you don’t want to stop past the first song. Also, you will have a lovely place to show for it.

Conclusion

There are ways to exercise without feeling like you are taking time off to go to the gym. It can not only reaffirm your daily routine, but it can be a platform for relationship building and getting the rest of your life in order.

There are a lot of ways you can exercise without feeling like it is pointless. Even if you aren’t getting the immediate results of weight loss, you are still putting in effort towards other aspects of your life. And that can be a great head start for a New Year, New You in 2020.

If you want more tips and tricks about a healthier lifestyle with diet and exercise, feel free to visit www.beksbites.com 

Why Do We Have a Christmas Feast?

Why Do We Have a Christmas Feast?

Once you get over the hump with Halloween and Thanksgiving, you probably are bracing yourself for the Christmas feast with both dread and confusion. Didn’t you already eat vast quantities of food already? Why are these holidays so close together? Why is it tradition to even have a Christmas feast? Where did this all come from and what is this figgy pudding that carolers are demanding? We will cover why feasting on Christmas is a common tradition around the world, and why it is on top of the other Holidays.

Christmas feast, turkey, trimmings,

The Merging of Yule and the Birth of Christ

For starters, the answer to why we have a Christmas feast is the same answer why we celebrate the birth of Christ on December the 25th.  It begins when Rome adopts Christianity as the official state religion in 380 CE. It would spread to Western Europe thanks to the Roman Empire expanding its territory for the next three hundred years. When it started to conquer parts of England, Germany, and the Norwegian areas.

The people of those areas celebrated various solstice holidays and, along with the Roman Empire with a feast. According to History.com “The end of December was a perfect time for celebration in most areas of Europe. At that time of year, most cattle were slaughtered so they would not have to be fed during the winter. For many, it was the only time of year when they had a supply of fresh meat. In addition, most wine and beer made during the year were finally fermented and ready for drinking.”

This was usually to honor the shortest day of the calendar year and enjoy winter.  While the Catholic church was trying to convert the recently conquered areas to Christianity, they borrowed the Roman Empire’s habit of adopting new traditions to transition to the Christian Religion much easier.

So, when Pope Julius I declared Christ’s birthday to be on the same time as the Solstice feasts, it became the Christmas holiday that most people around the world know today. That’s why we stuff ourselves at Christmas to this day.

But what do we serve at the feast? How about Figgy Pudding.

What is Figgy Pudding?

christmas feast, beksbites

There is a mystery traditional food that is also part of the Christmas feast that appears on our yearly carol repertoire. What is Figgy pudding and why is it important enough to hold someone in their house hostage with off-key singing?

While most people who have never heard of it most likely envision a blob of gelatinous fig liquid, that isn’t what the song is talking about. That is a translation error of an old song.  Pudding, as Americans know it, is a sweet goop mostly made flavored with chocolate or butterscotch.

Figgy pudding, at least in the way it was defined in ’14th-’16th centuries, England was a far cry of what we think about pudding today.

A Preservation Method for the Christmas Feast

In the 14th century, preserving the food for the winter was a life and death sort of matter. If food can’t go through preservation, it had to be eaten on the spot to prevent spoiling over the winter. Figgy pudding was a ” soup-like dish, that served as a fasting meal in preparation for the Christmas feast. “It was a combination of beef and mutton were mixed with raisins and prunes, wines, spices, and occasionally grain.”

In the 16th century, it morphed into a sweeter dessert. This is thanks to the increased availability of fruit, including plums occasionally.

Figgy Pudding Today

These days the definition of pudding has changed in the UK and the surrounding area.  It’s less of a specific definition of a cooking technique, and more of a term for “any dessert .”

So, based on that definition, there is a series of a wide variety of things that can make up figgy pudding. These days, figgy pudding is less of a physical pudding and more of a bundt cake-like dessert.

According to Taste of Home , Now the Christmas figgy pudding typically includes breadcrumbs, eggs, brown sugar, suet, raisins, currants, candied orange peel, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and alcohol. Figs are not an official ingredient, but they are occasionally a feature from time to time, inspiring the well-known name along the way.”

Conclusion

So, if you wanted to know why we have the double whammy of the Christmas feast on top of Thanksgiving. If you want to know how to mitigate the worst of its effects, feel free to read about how to pace yourself. 

Read more at www.beksbites.com

What Can be Done about Women and Healthcare

The State of  Women’s Health in the U.S.

Have you ever looked hard in the mirror and started to wonder to yourself, “How did I let myself go this much?” Have you ever been uncomfortably called out about a recent failure but are so overwhelmed at the prospect of correcting that mistake that you weren’t even aware of making? It seems a habitual pattern with United States policies that range from the national obesity crisis to nutrition. And women’s health is just as unflattering.  The United States ranks 11th out of the top ten list of women’s health in the world after the United States tried to compare other countries to wealthy nations. Oof.

So, how did we get there, what can we do to fix it, and what sort of pattern can we recognize in order to improve our women’s health situation?

women's healthHealthcare Costs and Nationwide Chronic Conditions

In a not so surprising twist of an answer, the rise in healthcare costs, as well as what women have to pay for out of pocket are detrimental to women all over the US.  According to the same data, both women in the US and Switzerland needed to pay on average $2000 out of pocket costs for any sort of care.

In the United States, “More than one-third of women report skipping needed medical care because of costs, a far higher rate than the other countries included in the study.”

This creates an ugly cycle. Because health care costs too much money, women largely avoid going to the doctor. And when they avoid getting care, the increased risk of chronic conditions, cancers, and other healthcare issues increases. The problem gets bigger, so it costs more money to take care of. And so on, and so forth.

High Maternal Mortality and Poor Health Care for Women

Those chronic conditions do not only cause poor health for women, as a constant source of stress, but it also affects their children. Lack of prenatal care, because again, it has to come out of pocket, combined with chronic conditions that are common in US women, and you get a flurry of low birth rates, birth defects, lack of prenatal care nationwide, and a higher infant/maternal mortality rate.

But that hardly holds a candle to how the healthcare systems treat women as a whole. Thanks to a variety of stereotypes about women and emotion, most

According to the statistics, 24% of US women rate their care as excellent or very good. That is almost half as much as Norway’s and Sweden’s rating.  The specific factors vary but all point to an unspoken bias in healthcare. Women’s chronic conditions are often downplayed as “stress” or “all in their head”. It is the reason why we under-report our own heart attacks. We think that is just “an overreaction”. And its that kind of downplaying that increases the chance of mortality.

Human Bias

However, bias does not always mean that the healthcare system is actively sabotaging the women under its care. It’s more of a common human error.

Human beings are truly amazing. When we put our minds to it, we can recognize patterns, figure out cause and effect, and ultimately learn from our mistakes.  We are all very much limited with our own initial worldview, and it makes sense that we do so. After all, we first learn ourselves and our place in the world before we learn from the perspective of others. So, when it comes to a system that is supposed to benefit a variety of people, it can be problematic. What exactly do I mean? Well, nutrition, healthcare, etc for all intents and purposes is not a one size fits all sort of thing.

women's health

What Can We Do About It?

There are a number of things that we could start that can get the ball rolling on how we look at women’s health. For starters, look at what everyone is complaining about. Why is it so costly?  Is it justified, Is there anything available for prenatal or overall preventative care for chronic conditions for women?  What can we do to help more women get regular access to decent healthcare?

Another thing is for doctors, and healthcare providers to actually LISTEN to the health concerns of women. It should be a common conscious practice to eliminate bias as a healthcare provider for a better success and satisfaction rating. You want to keep people from feeling afraid to speak up.

 If you like reading stuff like this, read more about how generations view health click here.

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Nutrition and Brain Health

Nutrition and Brain Health

There is an old common adage, “You are what you eat.” While it is a visual gag for comic strip artists, the idea behind the quote is different. If you eat healthily, you become healthy. I, for one, am glad it is not a literal interpretation. We do not need to run on the assumption of people either have eaten other people or are turning into food items literally.  Our diets shape our physical outcomes. That much is certain. But what about your brain? Can nutrition help or hurt it, or is it something that is less influenced by diet?

nutrition, brain foodHow Our Bodies Work

For starters, anyone well versed in nutrition, or anatomy will tell you that not all of your anatomical parts are a vacuum. Each organ, blood vessel, muscle, and bone are all connected to create various working systems.  We need out bloodstream to carry nutrients from one place to another. Muscles, bone, and organs also require blood sources to stay healthy and alive. And all of them require the brain to function at all.

So, if you think about it, the human body is a very complicated network of multiple systems. All of which are interdependent with one another.

That would mean that the brain will most likely require nutrition. Especially, if it is technically an organ in your body.  But what sort of nutrition is required for your brain? Can a lack of it hinder its own performance?

This is Your Brain on Nutrition

In Barcelona, Spain, there was research conducted by a study group of 2oo older participants who were split into two groups. For four years, some of them had a low-fat diet, while others were on the Mediterranian Diet.  When compared against a low-fat diet, subjects who had participated in a Mediterranian Diet had better cognitive functions and memory recollection.

The only difference between the two diets was the supplement of olive oil and nuts, both of which have healthy fats. So, in a way, our brains need healthy fats, as well as fruits and vegetables to stay healthy.

This discovery was enough for hospitals and nutritionists to create the perfect diet for Alzheimer’s patients, The MIND diet. It gets its name from the acronym Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay and most of it relies on common sense strategy.

There is a list of foods that people are supposed to eat and avoid on this diet. Most of which stress the importance of antioxidants as well as healthy fats.

So, what is permissible as proper brain food?nutrition, brain food

Nutrition and Brain Food

What to eat, what to skip

Creators of the MIND diet suggest 10 brain-healthy foods and five cut back on.

Help yourself:

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Other vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Berries
  • Beans
  • Whole grains
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Olive oil
  • Red Wine

Try to limit:

  • Red meats
  • Butter and stick margarine
  • Cheese
  • Pastries and sweets
  • Fried or fast food

But why is this the case? What makes these approved foods work, and what doesn’t? Harvard has the answer to that one.

“Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep and appetite, mediate moods, and inhibit pain. Since about 95% of your serotonin is produced in your gastrointestinal tract, which is lined with a hundred million nerve cells,  it makes sense that the inner workings of your digestive system don’t just help you digest food, but also guide your emotions.

What’s more, the function of these neurons — and the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin — is highly influenced by the billions of “good” bacteria that make up your intestinal microbiome.

These bacteria protect the lining of your intestines and ensure they provide a strong barrier against toxins and “bad” bacteria; they limit inflammation; they improve how well you absorb nutrients from your food, and they activate neural pathways that travel directly between the gut and the brain.”

So not only does it affect our brains on a purely functional level, but it also shifts how we feel about things. That is amazing!

Conclusion: Eat Clean, and Get Smarter

We are certainly what we eat, but on a level that we could hardly comprehend until now. Nutrition has a surprisingly high impact in our lives and is a driving force that determines our overall health. Food is medicine for the body, so it is only right that we should give it the stuff that we need.

If you feel like you need nutritional help, feel free to contact us! Click on the pop up at the beginning of www. beksbites.com

The Myth of Tryptophan

The Myth of Tryptophan Turkey Making You Tired

The Thanksgiving traditions are certainly odd when you examine them with a critical eye. It is a holiday in which we poorly re-enact a romanticized feast that symbolizes a failed treaty between two peoples. However, that is something most people in America often overlook in favor of just having an excuse to pig out. So, we celebrate via parades, long cooking times, and watching football. But what inevitably happens at the end of the day is everyone groaning and holding their bellies. Then everyone will want to sleep it off. Immediately, someone, whether it is that know it all uncle or parent who read one too many urban legends on the internet, declares “Its all because of tryptophan. That is what is making us sleepy!”

Not only is this a terrible misconception, but it is one that refuses to die every year. So, in the name of spreading accurate nutrition information and making Thanksgiving a little less miserable, we are going to address the whole tryptophan rumor once and for all. tryptophan, turkey

Tryptophan Is an Essential Nutrient

First, we need to address what tryptophan even is. According to Medline Plus, “Tryptophan is an amino acid people need for normal growth in infants and for nitrogen balance in adults. It is an essential amino acid. This means your body cannot produce it, so you must get it from your diet.”

So far, tryptophan is something that we need for nutritional balance. But what does it do? “The body uses tryptophan to help make niacin, melatonin, and serotonin. Serotonin is thought to produce healthy sleep and a stable mood.”

The previous statement could be what causes people to arrive at the misconception in the first place.  However, while they are related to the production of serotonin, their main contribution is towards the creation of niacin. Without niacin, our bodies would not be able to balance out their own cholesterol levels.

Not only that but we eat it every day. Way more often than we think we do.

Tryptophan is in Everyday Foodstryptophan

You see, because we need niacin in our daily diet, we get it from foods. Usually, tryptophan is in foods that have protein in it. So, if you ever eat eggs, cheese, chicken, nuts, fish, and tofu, then congratulations, you are eating tryptophan.  In fact, some of these things, like chicken, have even higher levels of tryptophan overall.

So, unless you are falling asleep left and right after eating lunch or dinner, then you are probably not getting drowsy from this amino acid.

However, it still does have a link to sleep regulation, but in an entirely different way.

How Tryptophan Works

According to Sleep.org, “Eating tryptophan doesn’t immediately impact serotonin levels. Tryptophan is just one of many different amino acids that are in foods like turkey. And all of those amino acids compete to get transported to the brain. Tryptophan is one of the least represented amino acids in those foods, which means that it gets shoved out of the way by the others.

That’s where this last piece to the puzzle comes in. There’s one thing that allows tryptophan to easily enter the brain: eating carbohydrates. Carbohydrates cause your body to release insulin, which removes all amino acids—except tryptophan—from your blood. That means that tryptophan has no competition and can enter the brain easily, boosting serotonin levels. So eating a snack that’s all carbohydrates will react with stored tryptophan in your body and give you a much bigger increase of serotonin. You can actually use this to your advantage by eating a light carbohydrate-centric snack before bedtime.”

So, it is part of what makes you fall asleep but needs carbohydrates to activate at all. This just leaves one question, “What makes you sleepy at the Thanksgiving Feast?”

Conclusion

What makes you sleepy at Thanksgiving is more times than not is a combination of a few things. According to healthline.com, “However, turkey doesn’t contain a high level of tryptophan when compared to many other common foods. Post-Thanksgiving dinner sleepiness is more likely related to other factors, such as the volume of food or the quantity of alcohol or simple carbohydrates consumed.”

So, when you start to feel a little bit sleepy around this holiday season, don’t blame the turkey. Instead, just look at it as another terrifying Thanksgiving tradition that did not age well.

If you are looking for a nutritionist in Huntsville, AL, feel free to click the pop up at www.beksbites.com.

Thanksgiving Wellness & Nutrition Tips

Thanksgiving Wellness & Nutrition Tips

Its that time of the year again, folks. Football, parades, family get-togethers and food, it is the holiday season. With Thanksgiving coming up and the obstacles that come with the holidays, it sounds almost outright impossible to stay the course with your diet. However, there are several things that you can do to make your thanksgiving meals have more nutrition and your holiday season happier.  We mentioned a few in the past, but this year, we are offering a fresh take on this year’s Thanksgiving Season!

thanksgiving, nutrition

Incorporate Real Traditional Dishes for Better Nutrition

While we certainly cemented traditional food into the mix, these classic foods hold a secret. Alot of them werent available for the first Thanksgiving feast.  According to Mental Floss,

“You may be surprised to learn that some of the foods that are traditional Thanksgiving fare were not available for the Pilgrim’s celebration. They may have had cranberries, but they didn’t have sugar to make sauce. Sweet potatoes or yams were not common to the area, much less white potatoes. Pumpkin pie recipes did not exist at the time, and there were no proper ovens to bake pastries, anyway. Any milk or cheese had to have come from goats, as the Pilgrims did not bring cows with them from England.”

If anything the Pilgrims relied on various meats, vegetables, and nuts for that feast. There were a variety of fowl, shellfish, nuts and berries that were part of the feast. The closest thing they had that was sweet was cornbread pudding.

While you can’t replicate everything, considering swaping out a starchy side or two with another type of meat, or a combination of dried fruit and nuts. This might not only be a better dietary decision for the thanksgiving feast, but is also an opprotunity for an educational experience.

 Ingredient Substitution

Maybe you and your family can’t do without your famous recipes. That is a-ok! After all, we have our favorites for a reason. Another way to help you and your family stick to your diet, is to substitute ingredients.

For instance if  a mashed potato recipe call for sour cream, butter, and mayo, you could swap one or all three out with their low caloric counterparts. Hardly any one can tell the difference and you can still have the dish that you and your family love.

If you or your family are used to doing things instant, you might want to reconsider swapping it out with a homemade recipe. The preservation process that is involved in instant meals bombards the ingredients with excess salts and sugars. Not only that, but usually they are lacking in nutrition and for the most part wind up tasteless.

Even if you are making your dishes days ahead, or you ask other people to help you, the pay off is not only more healthy, it is also an all around better Thanksgiving experience.

nutrition, exercise, fitness

Plan a Physical Family Activity

While it is all too tempting to eat your weight in turkey and sleep it off, it can rob you and your family of some time that you can spend together. Instead, plan an activity that encourages people to move around. Maybe everyone can walk outside after dinner? You could set the yard up for football,  Or you guys can book a session of laser tag. As long as it encourages some physical activity, some of those excess calories are getting worked off.

If you cant do that immediately after, you can certainly plan something for the day after, or the day before. Just get a fun family activity that falls under the category of a workout.

At least, you and your family are likely to feel less guilty about the feast.

Also, don’t let anyone pull that tryptophan excuse. Not only is that amino acid an essential part of the human diet, it doesnt even control feelings of sleepiness. If anything the act of overeating is what causes the drowsiness.

Conclusion

Nutrition doesnt have to be drudgery, nor does it have to be painful. In fact, it can be painlessly incorporated into the holiday feast with a little ingenuity and positive attitude.  This is the season for happiness and a thankful attiude, not beating yourself up. So, don’t sweat about your dietary needs clashing with your holiday wants. As long as you are willing to put in a little work and creativity, you can even get the whole family in on a happier and healthier holiday season.

If you want to learn more about nutrition in Huntsville, AL , feel free to contact us at www.beksbites.com