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THE

KICK-ASS Wellness

: K O O B D HAN

43 Secrets to Clean Eating, Active Living & a Clear Mind The Alternative Daily


The Kick-Ass Wellness Handbook 43 Secrets to Clean Eating, Active Living and a Clear Mind

The Alternative Daily


Copyright Š Splash Campaign, LLC DBA TheAlternativeDaily.com First Edition: January, 2016

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means: Electronic, photocopy, recording, or by an information storage and retrieval system. Disclaimer: All material on TheAlternativeDaily.com and in this book are provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. The content of this book (text, graphics, and images) is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on TheAlternativeDaily.com or in this book. The information and opinions expressed here are believed to be accurate, based on the best judgment available to the authors. Readers who fail to consult with appropriate health authorities assume the risk of any injuries. Reliance on any information and content provided by TheAlternativeDaily.com and this book is solely at your own risk. In addition, the information and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of every contributor to TheAlternativeDaily.com. TheAlternativeDaily.com acknowledges occasional differences in opinion and welcomes the exchange of different viewpoints. The publisher is not responsible for errors or omissions.


Table of Contents Welcome..................................................................................... 5 Secret # 1:

Drink More Water.................................................. 6

Secret # 2:

Stop Counting Calories......................................... 8

Secret # 3:

Make Your Plate Colorful..................................... 10

Secret # 4:

Stop Consuming Processed Meat....................... 13

Secret # 5:

Get Enough Sleep............................................... 15

Secret # 6:

Ditch the Vegetable Oil — Use Organic Coconut Oil Instead........................ 17

Secret # 7:

Enjoy a Daily Cup of Coffee................................ 19

Secret # 8:

Allow Yourself 5 Minutes of Quiet Time............... 20

Secret # 9:

Learn How to Chew Slowly................................. 22

Secret # 10: Get Outside......................................................... 24 Secret # 11: Take the Stairs..................................................... 26 Secret # 12: Organic Tea......................................................... 27 Secret # 13: Walk.................................................................... 30 Secret # 14: Beware of Sugar................................................. 31 Secret # 15: Ditch Fluoride...................................................... 35 Secret # 16: Switch Your Salt.................................................. 37 Secret # 17: Journal................................................................ 38 Secret # 18: Deep Breathing................................................... 41 Secret # 19: Moving Water...................................................... 42 Secret # 20: Know When You Are Full..................................... 43 Secret # 21: Avoid MSG.......................................................... 45 Secret # 22: Don’t Be Afraid of Poop....................................... 46 Secret # 23: More Fiber........................................................... 50

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Secret # 24: Butter Is Best....................................................... 51 Secret # 25: Ditch Artificial Sweeteners................................... 53 Secret # 26: Stretch................................................................. 55 Secret # 27: Say “No” to Fast Food......................................... 56 Secret # 28: Eat Live Foods.................................................... 60 Secret # 29: Know Your Nuts................................................... 61 Secret # 30: Beware of These Ingredients.............................. 64 Secret # 31: Don’t Get So Wound Up...................................... 68 Secret # 32: Be Happy............................................................ 71 Secret # 33: Unplug................................................................. 72 Secret # 34: Laugh.................................................................. 73 Secret # 35: Get Rid of Your Desk Chair................................. 74 Secret # 36: Green Smoothies................................................ 77 Secret # 37: Buy Local............................................................ 79 Secret # 38: Love Your Gut Bacteria....................................... 81 Secret # 39: Stop Dieting......................................................... 82 Secret # 40: Do Something Good for Someone Else.............. 86 Secret # 41: Enjoy Nature....................................................... 87 Secret # 42: Consider Chlorella............................................... 88 Secret # 43: Resistance Train................................................. 90 Wrapping It Up......................................................................... 93 Sources.................................................................................... 94

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WELCOME Welcome to a whole new you. You have just begun a life journey that will ensure you look and feel your best for years to come. Congratulations on making a decision to put your health first, to strive to do the right thing. This handbook will provide you with the essential tools that you need to be your best. In this guide, we share 43 secrets of success that will help you build a lifelong foundation for great health and happy living. Are you ready? Be prepared for a healthier and happier you… —The Alternative Daily Team

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Secret # 1: Drink More Water Don’t ever underestimate the power of water to change your life—and your waist size, as well. The human body is composed of mostly water. In fact, we are about 60 percent water. Water is required for survival. We can go about a month without food, but less than one week without water. The first secret we’ll share with you is to drink more water, and pay attention to what your body is telling you. Here is a brief snapshot of some of the many things that water does for your health: 66 Water helps regulate metabolism and control appetite. 66 Water improves cognitive functioning. 66 Water helps regulate body temperature. 66 Water lubricates joints. 66 Water helps prevent chronic fatigue and depression. 66 Water keeps our lungs moistened so we can breathe. 66 Water helps prevent asthma. 66 Water increases energy levels. If you are tired during the day, it is probably because you are dehydrated. 66 Water can decrease the risk of some cancers, including colon, prostate, bladder, and breast cancer.

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66 Water prevents and alleviates headaches. 66 Water keeps the skin moisturized. 66 Water flushes out toxins. 66 Water aids in the digestive process and prevents constipation. 66 Water is necessary for circulation.

How much is enough? There are lots of guidelines out there regarding how much water you should drink daily. The truth is that the best way to gauge how much water you need is to listen to your body. If you respect your body and make it a point to be in tune with its needs, you will consume enough water. Your urine color can help you decide if you need to drink water. If your urine is a dark yellow, you are most likely not drinking enough. If you urinate infrequently, the same may be true. Urine will be a very pale yellow, or even white, if you are consuming enough water. If you are thirsty or participating in sporting activities, pick water as your first beverage choice. Stay clear of sports drinks, juices, sodas, and sweetened drinks of any kind. They will only dehydrate you more. Drink a large glass of water, with lemon, first thing in the morning and thirty minutes before and after each meal. Keep a BPA-free, reusable water bottle with you during the day, and get into the habit of drinking water instead of other beverages.

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What kind of water? The purest type of water is from a gravity-fed mountain spring. If you have a spring near you, collect this water to drink. It is naturally filtered by the earth, and completely free of any chemicals or dangerous additives. Go to findaspring.com to locate a spring near you. If spring water is not an option, put a filter on your tap. Have your water tested so that you know what contaminants you need to filter. Shop for the best filter based on these results. Stay clear of bottled water, unfiltered tap water, distilled water, and fluoridated water.

Secret # 2: Stop Counting Calories Put down your pad and pencil and stop counting! The tedious task of counting every single calorie you put into your mouth is not worth it. All this does is increase anxiety, which encourages the body to hang on to stored fat. This is obviously counterproductive. You may also overeat when you are stressed, making matters even worse. STOP counting calories and focus on quality!

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FACT: Counting/slashing calories can lead to severe nutrient deficiencies and energy reduction. FACT: When we eat too much after we starve ourselves, our bodies hang on to all of those calories and pack them into fat cells, where they await the next self-induced famine. FACT: Focusing on quantity over quality can be very dangerous. If you are eating healthy foods, there is no reason to be concerned about quantity. FACT: The body needs nutrient-dense foods from good sources in order to function properly. If we deprive our bodies of these nutrients, we become tired, sick, and overweight. So, now that you are no longer going to count calories, you will need to switch your attention to the quality of food that you are putting into your mouth. Ask yourself these two questions each time you eat: Question one: Is this real or processed food I am eating? Question two: Is this food a good energy source for my body?

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Obviously, the goal is to eat real food that provides energy for the body. Eat as much as you want until you are satisfied, and forget about the calories!

Secret # 3: Make Your Plate Colorful Take a look at your plate: Is it mostly brown or white with very little color? If so, you are probably consuming far too few vegetables. Nutrient-dense, organic vegetables are the best source of energy for the body. They are jam-packed with vitamins and minerals that promote health and longevity. Start making your plate colorful! Aim for at least half of your plate to be colored with fresh, local, and organic vegetables. According to Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint, 50 to 100 grams of carbohydrates from healthy sources such as vegetables, fruits, and other certified raw or organic sources will promote a gradual weight loss of two pounds each week. Because they are so high in vitamins and minerals, your body will thank you for including them in your diet every day!

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Here are a few great vegetables to consider: Salad greens: These include all leafy greens you use to make a salad, including Swiss chard, dandelion greens, watercress, arugula, and kale. These greens boast plenty of healthy vitamins, so load up your plate! Peppers: Peppers range from mild and sweet to fiery hot and everything in between. All peppers are excellent for weight loss and weight management. Peppers are one of the richest sources of vitamin C, which boosts immune system function and assists in the assimilation of other nutrients. Sweet potatoes: Although sweet potatoes are higher in sugar than some other vegetables, they are also jam-packed with nutrients. A four-ounce potato contains three grams of fiber and is one of the best sources of potassium. These tasty potatoes also contain vitamin A and vitamin C. Tomatoes: One cup of cherry tomatoes contains two grams of protein and two grams of fiber. The biggest health bonus of tomatoes is that they are rich in lycopene, a carotenoid which is highly beneficial for cancer prevention, according to the Linus Pauling Institute.

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Portobello mushrooms: These large and tasty mushrooms are packed with health-promoting compounds. Perfect for marinating and tossing on the grill, portobellos contain copper, riboflavin, niacin, phosphorus, thiamin, and pantothenic acid. Spinach: Popeye was right when he said to eat your spinach. One of the least sugary vegetables, spinach also contains plenty of fiber. Enjoy spinach lightly steamed or as part of a salad. Some people even put a handful in their smoothies or juices. Cucumbers: Who can resist the slightly sweet taste of a fresh cucumber? Native to India, cucumbers are one of the oldest known cultivated vegetables. They are now one of the most commonly grown crops in America. Cucumbers have a high water content, which makes them a hydrating vegetable. They contain numerous vitamins and minerals, and may also assist the body in the elimination of dangerous toxins. Cabbage: Cabbage is a low-calorie, high-nutrient blood cleanser that helps rid the body of free radicals and uric acid, which can lead to arthritic pain, skin diseases, and gout. Cabbage is excellent roughage, high in vitamin C, and also contains beneficial iodine. Iodine is necessary for proper brain, endocrine, and nervous system functioning.

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Preparing vegetables Pay attention to how you prepare your vegetables. Try to eat vegetables in their raw state. The two best options for cooking vegetables are lightly steaming and sauteing in coconut oil, or an organic vegetable or chicken broth. Both methods are quick and leave vegetables slightly crisp and tasty. Do not overcook your vegetables, as they will lose their nutrient value quickly this way. If using a broth, be sure to save the broth that you cooked your vegetables in and make a fresh soup from it.

Secret # 4: Stop Consuming Processed Meat Commercially-raised animals are fed multiple antibiotics and growth hormones, which end up in their meat. The overuse of antibiotics in the meat industry leads to the growth of drug-resistant bacteria strains, which make individuals more susceptible to previously treatable diseases. The secret to eating meat the healthy way is to start eating grassfed meat. Find a farmer near you at EatWild.com. Local is always best! Animals raised in confinement are fed diets mainly consisting of GMO grain and soy; far from their natural diets. What’s worse is

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that the feed often contains “byproduct feedstuff,” which can include chicken feathers, candy, and even municipal garbage. All of this eventually ends up in the bodies of the consumers—you and your family—every time you enjoy a commercially-raised steak or burger. Conversely, grass-fed animals are fed nothing but natural, pesticide-free grasses, and are given room to roam and graze. No antibiotics, growth hormones, or garbage are added to their diets. These animals are not confined or subjected to stress; they grow at a natural pace and are naturally healthy and free of food-borne diseases. The resulting meat from grass-fed animals is significantly higher in nutrients. Grass-fed beef has been shown to contain more vitamin E, vitamin C, and beta-carotene than its commercially-raised counterpart. It also contains omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which has been shown to be a potent anticarcinogen. Choosing to eat grass-fed meat means significantly more nutrition, and also eliminates the risks associated with antibiotics, growth hormones,

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pesticides, GMOs, and random feed additives. This choice also benefits community farmers and ranchers who work hard to create sustainable and humane agricultural conditions, as well as protect the environment.

Secret # 5: Get Enough Sleep The majority of Americans get far too little sleep. In fact, sleep deprivation is reaching epidemic proportions in our country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that one in five Americans gets less than six hours of sleep per night. This falls short of the recommended seven or eight hours. For optimal health, make sure you get to bed early and get at least seven hours of sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep deprivation leads to such things as increased risk for depression and substance abuse, decreased motor skills, and an increased risk of automobile accidents. In addition, people who don’t get enough sleep often struggle with memory impairment and are more likely to develop diabetes, stroke, and heart disease than people who get an adequate amount of sleep. Basically, not getting enough Z’s can be incredibly unhealthy.

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Research indicates that a lack of sleep also impacts our fat cells and their ability to respond appropriately to insulin. Researchers at the Center for Sleep and Wake Disorders note that there is an “intimate� relationship between sleep and maintaining a healthy body weight. When fat cells become less responsive to insulin, they start to leak lipids. This causes fat to accumulate in the tissues of organs such as the liver, which can lead to liver disease and get in the way of the body removing glucose from the blood. This is when metabolic problems begin.

Need help sleeping? Try chamomile: Chamomile has been used throughout the centuries to promote relaxation and stress relief. It contains substances that interact with the brain and central nervous system in a fashion similar to anti-anxiety drugs. It is also widely known to control insomnia, as it has mildly sedating and muscle-relaxing properties that help insomnia sufferers fall asleep easier. In order to be effective, it is not required that chamomile be used on a regular basis. Just a cup before bed provides immediate relief for restlessness and sleeplessness. Ingested in the form of tea, which

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is made from the dried flowers, it is best when steeped for about five minutes in boiling water, then sipped 30–45 minutes before retiring to bed. The dried flowers and leaves are most often packaged as tea. It can be bought both as bags of tea and in bulk packages. Grocery stores commonly carry chamomile tea in boxes containing a number of individual bags.

Secret # 6: Ditch the Vegetable Oil— Use Organic Coconut Oil Instead Organic coconut oil is one of the most versatile and dynamic foods on the planet. Internally and externally, this wonderful white substance can benefit your body in unique ways. Many people misunderstand and think that vegetable oil is healthy because it comes from vegetables. In reality, it is a highly processed food that has virtually no nutrients because of the way it is processed. In addition, corn, soybean, canola, and cottonseed crops are mostly genetically modified in America. These are the main sources for vegetable oil, and manufacturers are not required to tell the

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consumer whether or not the oil is made from genetically modified plants. Today, make the choice to get rid of your vegetable oil and start using organic coconut oil. Organic coconut oil, on the other hand, is non-GMO and completely natural and pure. It is used worldwide as a staple cooking oil. While most people would consider it to be just another vegetable or seedtype oil, it’s truly a marvel. From a cooking perspective, it has a very high smoke point (the temperature at which the oil breaks down and burns), making it versatile, even for cooking at high temperatures. Also, its unique chemistry and fat composition keeps it from oxidizing when heated, whereas other oils start to degrade and essentially become toxic as they warm. Some even start to degrade at room temperature! Using an unrefined organic coconut oil gives you a great health boost, and you can even use it for unique desserts. You can find organic coconut oil at most health-food stores, as well as online.

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Secret # 7: Enjoy a Daily Cup of Coffee Yes, you read that right! Along with waking you up in the morning, a cup of coffee or two a day can provide some great benefits to your health—both physical and mental. A steaming cup of joe contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, and B5, along with the minerals potassium and manganese, and numerous antioxidants. Research has linked drinking coffee to improved liver health, including a lower risk of liver cirrhosis. Some studies have also linked coffee to blood sugar regulation, and to potentially lowering one’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes. According to research presented by the American Heart Association, coffee may help improve the functionality of small blood vessels, thereby potentially improving circulation and contributing to a healthy heart. The caffeine that coffee contains has been linked to improved cognitive function and memory, as well as to elevated mood. It may

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also help to quicken your reaction time. Due to the way that caffeine stimulates the nervous system, it may even boost your metabolism, making it a worthwhile addition to a weight loss regimen.

Keep your coffee healthy! The best kind of coffee for your health—and the health of the environment—is organic, fair-trade, bird-friendly coffee. However, even a cup of high-quality, sustainable coffee can be ruined by sugar and other additives, such as chemical-laden, non-dairy creamers. If you like your coffee sweetened, skip the sugar—it’s toxic to your health!—and choose organic coconut crystals instead. In place of that creamer slurry, choose organic, grass-fed cream or milk. If you don’t consume dairy, organic almond milk makes a tasty substitute.

Secret # 8: Allow Yourself 5 Minutes of Quiet Time Are you ever thinking so hard, juggling so many mental balls, that you wonder how your internal communication system keeps from exploding? We live in a culture where stress has violated even what was once the quietest part of our lives: our sleep. We move around like supercharged ants full of anger, anxiety, and tension, all in an effort to be productive. However, this behavior is incredibly counterproductive to productivity, and detrimental to our health. It

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is vital to your health and sanity to take five minutes daily to be still and quiet your mind. The ancient practice of mental relaxation is one well worth considering in this day and age. We have so much activity in our minds that our bodies cannot handle it all. Mental toxicity brought about by stress and emotions such as anger and negativity eats away at us until we develop physical symptoms such as heart disease, depression, panic attacks, and high blood pressure. However, regularly practicing meditation may be the lifesaver we need. Just a few minutes each day of meditation and quiet reflection is enough to restore the balance overturned by our internal hyperactivity.

Easy meditation technique Find a quiet and comfortable place alone, where you will not be bothered. Close your eyes and mouth and breathe intentionally through your nose. Focus your attention inward, away from the outside chaos. Once you are aware of the stillness within, you can focus on breathing from your diaphragm instead of your lungs.

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Keep your focus on slow and rhythmic breathing, and away from any thoughts, past, present or future. Find the stillness inside of you, it is there. If this is difficult, try repeating the sound “om” and focusing on your breathing. Build up to 15 minutes daily as you get better at this technique.

Secret # 9: Learn How to Chew Slowly It has already been noted that Americans eat very fast. Do you often rush through meals, giving very little thought to what you are eating? Do you chew your food, or swallow it in one big gulp? The secret to getting the most out of your meals—both health and flavor-wise—is to slow down when you eat and remember to chew your food, each bite, very well. No rushing! All the healthy food you can eat will have limited value if you don’t chew it. The nineteenth century health guru Horace Fletcher said, “Nature will castigate those who don’t masticate.” Chewing is necessary to set off a chain reaction that is essential to proper digestion and the breakdown of food. It also has some other health benefits.

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Digestion starts before we actually take a bite of food. It is healthy to take some time to focus on the food before we put it in our mouths. In today’s hurried society, this is often neglected. Commonalities between cultures in the world who experience longevity include the time that they take to prepare and eat a meal. All elements of nourishing the body are extremely mindful.

How to eat mindfully ►► Start by breathing in the aroma of your food, giving your brain time to register it. This will trigger digestive juices, hormones, and enzymes to start working. ►► Once you take a bite, take the time to chew it completely. Chewing slowly and methodically helps increase saliva, which contains enzymes needed to break down carbohydrates. Saliva also contains antibacterial properties. ►► When we chew, we also decrease the surface area of the food so that it is easier for the digestive juices to further break it down. Only swallow when the food is completely masticated. Once the food begins to be broken down, the stomach starts to produce hydrochloric acid and this, in turn, sends a message farther down the digestive tract to get ready to work. Chewing also helps the stomach send a “full” message to the brain so that you do not overeat.

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Chewing is exercise Chewing is also excellent exercise for the jawbone, and helps to encourage healthy circulation of blood to the area, which brings nutrients and oxygen to the muscles and the brain. It is necessary to relax while you eat, chewing will be easier this way. Sit down for your meal—don’t stand—and don’t rush. Try to avoid eating while in front of your computer or while driving. Managing stress will also help the digestive juices do their job. After you have finished eating, stay seated for 15 minutes—this aids digestion. Focus on regular breathing and the sensation that you are full and happy. Aim for chewing each bite at least 20 times before you swallow— your digestive tract will thank you!

Secret # 10: Get Outside Getting outside in the fresh air and sunshine has multiple benefits. A brisk 15-minute walk in the sunshine increases circulation, floods your body with oxygen, stimulates your muscles, and gives you an energyboosting hit of vitamin D.

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If you work indoors under artificial light, it is imperative that you go outside for at least 15 minutes each day. Try going for a brisk walk, or take up a physically active outdoor hobby you enjoy. There was once a time, not so long ago, that kids played outdoors until they were forced to come in for dinner. Adults also spent far more time outside, working around their homes and yards and being physically active. Today, we live a more sedentary lifestyle, and although technology is great, few people actually get outside and interact with nature on a daily basis because of technological advances such as computers and other personal devices. Getting outside is a great way to relieve stress, and it also promotes overall health and wellness. It does not take much: just 15 minutes a day of natural light, fresh air, and movement can make a remarkable difference to your physical and mental health. A recent study found that a brisk walk could reduce the risk of heart disease by as much as 50 percent. Time outside will help elevate your mood, produce “feel-good” hormones, and loosen up stiff and tired joints and muscles. Try taking a brisk walk around the block in the morning to get your day started, or squeeze one in at lunch. Your body will thank you. Don’t let the rain or cold weather get you down—you still need the fresh air. Dress appropriately, but still get outside!

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Secret # 11: Take the Stairs Do you take the elevator because you are short on time, or because you don’t feel like climbing stairs? We are living in an age when easy seems to be our first and most accepted choice. After all, wouldn’t some people find it strange if you took the stairs? Perhaps, but it is worth it. To get more exercise into your day, take the stairs over the elevator whenever you can. According to a new study, doctors who took the stairs in a six-floor hospital instead of the elevator actually saved 15 minutes a day. The doctors who participated in the study climbed one flight of stairs in 13 seconds, versus the 37 seconds it took others to get there in the elevator. So, this puts the “no time” excuse to bed once and for all. Stair-climbing is a vigorous physical activity that increases muscle mass, improves cardiovascular fitness, and helps reduce blood pressure. There are practicality limits, of course. Obviously, if you work in a building with 50 floors and your office is at the top, you may want to just walk the first few floors and take the elevator the rest of the way.

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Be sure to wear comfortable and supportive shoes when you take the stairs. Start slow and increase your speed as you gain strength. Before long, you will be sailing up the stairs.

Secret # 12: Organic Tea Tea was discovered in ancient China over 2,000 years ago, and was originally called “Kia.” This honored warm brew has played a unique role in cultures all over the world, serving as the focal point in many special ceremonies and social customs. Tea has been a focus in numerous cultural, technological, and historical uprisings, and the center of many a legend. In short, tea has been virtually intertwined with the story of mankind.

What is “real tea”? Real tea is made from the Camellia sinensis plant, which is a native shrub in China and India. Real tea contains powerful antioxidants known as flavonoids. While the name “tea” is used for a number of different drinks, real teas include green tea, white tea, oolong tea, black tea, and

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pu-erh tea. All of these teas come from the Camellia sinensis plant, and have different tastes and medicinal properties. Green tea is the least processed of all teas, and is made by simply steaming the leaves. The potent antioxidants in green tea have been linked to reducing clogs in arteries, decreasing the risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, decreasing the risk of stroke, lowering cholesterol levels, and stunting the growth of certain cancers, including breast, lung, pancreatic, bladder, and colorectal cancers. The other real teas — white, oolong, black, and pu-erh — are all made from aged or fermented leaves, but do contain a number of medicinal properties. Research has found that these teas may reduce cholesterol levels, fight off cancer, protect the lungs, and reduce stroke risk, among other benefits.

The imposters Sweet tea, or iced tea, is a popular drink in the United States, particularly in the South. Sweet tea starts with a “real” tea and ends up as a glass of sugar with a little tea. Sweet tea, whether it is sweetened with sugar or an artificial sweetener, should not be consumed with the intention of bettering one’s health. Don’t let labels confuse you. Sweetened green tea in a bottle will not provide nearly the same benefits as a cup of freshly brewed, organic, “real” green tea.

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Herbal teas Herbal teas are not really teas at all, since they are not made with Camellia sinensis leaves. While some herbal tea blends do contain green or black tea leaves as a base, usually other herbs are used. Many of these teas, such as chamomile, peppermint and ginger, have their own wonderful health benefits, but make sure you get a high-quality product from a source you trust.

How to safely drink tea When you purchase your tea, make sure that it has not been treated with epichlorohydrin, an epoxide that is potentially carcinogenic. Taking this extra step to protect your family from possible contaminants is well worth it. Avoid tea bags that are mesh-like, or come in fancy shapes. These are likely to contain dangerous chemicals, and if you want to be safe, they should be avoided. Loose tea is the best choice of all. While it may take a little longer to steep, it is worth the wait. As an added bonus, loose tea often contains more antioxidant power than bagged teas. Matcha green tea powder is another alternative, and can be added directly to hot or cold water. Matcha is one of the healthiest teas available. Just make sure you get it from a trusted source!

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Always buy organic tea to avoid consuming pesticides. The less man has tampered with it, the better it is for your health.

Secret # 13: Walk Run, run, as fast as you can... Nope, not necessary. Most people don’t have a valid excuse for not getting some form of exercise each day. If you can walk, you can move, and if you can walk, you can probably walk briskly. According to a study out of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Life Science Division in Berkeley, California, walking at a rapid pace may reduce the risk of diabetes, hypertension, and elevated cholesterol as effectively as running. So, get out there and go for a walk! Start keeping track of your daily steps, and aim for 10,000. If you wear a pedometer, this is easy to manage. Be sure to put on the pedometer in the morning, and wear it until you go to bed. Keep a log of your steps so that you can track your progress. Most people are pretty surprised by how few steps they actually take each day.

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Here are some easy ways to increase the number of steps you take each day: ►► Walk your dog, or your neighbor’s dog. ►► Park further from the store entrance. ►► Use the stairs instead of the elevator. ►► Take a walk around the block daily. ►► Do some yardwork. ►► Walk to the store, library, or work if you can. ►► Visit a local museum or art gallery.

Secret # 14: Beware of Sugar Sugar is considered by many health experts to be pure poison. It is a highly addictive substance that lurks in more foods than we can ever imagine. Sugar, when consumed outside of whole, natural foods, has a toxic effect on the human body that is cumulative. That is, the more you eat, the worse things get for your health. Unfortunately, many people discover the devastating impact that this nutrient-void substance has on their health too late.

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It is worth noting, however, that many real, whole foods, such as fruits and some vegetables, contain varying amounts of natural sugars—which our bodies need in moderation. These foods are a far cry from the refined, added sugars lurking in many processed foods and drinks. While natural sugars are coupled with fiber in real foods, which balances their effects in the body, added sugars are dangerous, indeed. The health implications of sugar are well documented. Here are just 10 reasons why you should avoid added sugar at all costs: ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■

Sugar suppresses the immune system. Sugar elevates blood glucose. Sugar disrupts mineral balance. Sugar disrupts digestion. Sugar causes tooth decay. Sugar contributes to obesity. Sugar can cause heart disease. Sugar can cause food allergies. Sugar can cause depression. Sugar increases the risk of certain cancers.

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The many names of sugar One of the major problems with sugar is that it has a large number of pseudonyms. Take the time to look at some of the items you have in your cupboard, and at the packaged foods on the shelves when you go to the store—and watch for the names listed below. It is in your best interest to avoid (or at least seriously limit) any products with the following ingredients. Sugar is not just the white stuff in the bag—all of these ingredients are sugar, and have the same effect on the body. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■

Barley malt Corn syrup solids Beet sugar Date sugar Fruit juice concentrate Invert sugar Brown sugar Dextran Glucose

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Here are some more names… ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■

Buttered syrup Dextrose Glucose solids Malt syrup Cane-juice crystals Diastase Golden sugar Maltodextrin

And some more… ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■

Cane sugar Diastatic malt Golden syrup Maltose Carmel Ethyl maltol Grape sugar Mannitol Carob syrup Fructose High fructose corn syrup Molasses Raw sugar

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■■ Refiners sugar ■■ Sorbitol ■■ Sorghum syrup

And yet, still some more… ■■ Sucrose ■■ Turbinado sugar ■■ Yellow sugar Action Plan: Make a list of all of the foods that you currently consume that contain one or more of these ingredients. This will help you gain a better understanding of just how much sugar hides in unsuspecting places.

Secret # 15: Ditch Fluoride We all have to brush our teeth, this is true. Yet, many still brush their teeth with toothpaste that contains one of the most toxic substances on earth: fluoride. It can greatly benefit your health to find a way to keep your teeth clean without using fluoride.

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The Material Data Sheets label sodium fluoride as toxic if inhaled, ingested, or put on skin. The data sheet goes on to warn people handling fluoride to use safety glasses and gloves. In addition, fluorides are considered more toxic than lead, and only slightly less toxic than arsenic. Fluoride, used in many popular dental products, enters your body when you brush your teeth. Poison control receives thousands of calls from people with concerns about excessive fluoride consumption from such products as toothpaste, vitamins, and mouthwash. Fluoride poisons the body, and can even be fatal.

Other options There are many safe alternatives to fluoride toothpaste that are equally effective. You can purchase commercial brands that do not contain fluoride—an organic option from a brand you trust is a great choice. You can also make up a batch of your own homemade toothpaste—it’s easy to do, and it will save you some money. Simply mix two-thirds of a cup of baking soda, one teaspoon of sea salt, 15 drops of peppermint essential oil, and enough filtered water to get the right consistency. This mixture will leave your teeth clean and your mouth fresh.

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Secret # 16: Switch Your Salt Real and natural salt is as essential to life as water—without it we would die. Salt has been so valuable throughout history that it was even used as currency in Rome and traded by explorers throughout Europe and Africa for gold. However, it is essential to choose the right salt. The healthiest choice is to give up refined salt and make the switch to natural Himalayan salt. Unrefined, natural salt is vital to a number of biological functions, such as: ►► Exporting nutrients to and from cells ►► Keeping blood pressure stable ►► Increasing brain cells that regulate long-term planning and creative thinking ►► Assisting the brain in communicating with the muscles Himalayan salt is pure and hand-mined from the Himalayan Mountains. This salt, known as “white gold,” contains 84 elements found in the human body. It is useful in regulating water throughout the body, promoting

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healthy pH balance in cells, supporting respiratory health, promoting bone strength, supporting healthy sleep, promoting vascular health, and regulating blood pressure. Himalayan salt contains no environmental pollutants and will not contribute to high blood pressure like table salt may. Watch for refined salt in processed, boxed, bagged, or canned foods. Eating whole foods as much as possible will cut down on your refined salt intake.

Secret # 17: Journal Journaling is quite therapeutic, and deserves a respectable place amongst other healthy endeavors such as exercising and eating well. Try to take time each day to reflect using a journal. Once you get in the habit of journaling, just like the habit of eating right and exercising, it will become more natural. It only takes a few minutes a day to record how you feel, and according to research, it is time well spent. There is increasing evidence to support the fact that journaling has a positive impact on both physical and mental health. James Pennebaker, a psychologist and researcher, notes that journaling on a regular basis may strengthen immune cells, known as T-lymphocytes. Š TheAlternativeDaily.com

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Pennebaker believes that writing about stressful times and events can help us deal with reality better and reduce the impact that the stress has on our health. After all, that stress has to go somewhere, right? Holding in stress and pain is like not sweating— it can be disastrous. Additional research demonstrates that journaling may decrease symptoms of some chronic conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis and asthma. How well do you know yourself? Journaling helps you get in touch with who you truly are. You may be very surprised to meet yourself in the words that you write. It can also be a great deal of fun. Learn what makes you happy, sad, angry, and lonely. Writing thoughts down also helps you to understand situations that are difficult or need addressing in your life. When you journal, you will be amazed at all of the rational, well-thought-out solutions that you have to issues that formerly confused you. You may even go back later on to read some of your entries and say: “Did I really write that?”

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Journaling is also an excellent way to resolve conflict. Writing about a particular conflict and thinking about solutions is a great way to see the issue clearly and arrive at a meaningful and appropriate solution.

How to journal First and foremost, don’t be a slave to grammar. Nothing slows the creative process more than worrying about serial commas or verb tenses. Just let it flow. Whether you choose to write with a pen or keep an electronic journal, don’t ponder over how your writing sounds or looks—just write. Writing quickly is imperative, as it frees up your brain from the “shoulds” and “musts.” Remember, no one is going to look at your journal unless you let them. It is yours, so don’t be hard on yourself. There are no set rules when it comes to journaling. You can pick a theme, a word, a thought, a season—whatever you are feeling at the moment. Don’t make it rigid. Find a quiet place where you will not be interrupted. Many people journal before going to bed or upon rising in the morning. Some people find it beneficial to keep a journal by their bedside and jot down thoughts as they arise during the night. This may be beneficial to people who struggle with sleep due to stress.

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Releasing stressful thoughts may free the body for sounder sleep. Try journaling for about twenty minutes, but don’t cut yourself off if you are on a roll. Write what you want, when you want.

Secret # 18: Deep Breathing Most of us take our breathing for granted; it just happens all day long, all night long. However, because of this, we often breathe in a shallow way. Deep breathing is a way to expand the lungs and the diaphragm so that we can increase oxygen to tissues. The act of deep breathing is relaxing, and provides a massage to the lymphatic system. Set aside five minutes each day to practice focused, deep breathing. Deep breathing is an excellent way to deal with anxiety and stress without having to take medication. Deep breathing stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, slows down the heart rate, and causes the whole body to relax. When we take in more oxygen, our bodies are better able to get rid of toxins.

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How to breathe deeply Be sure that you are in an upright position. Place you hand an inch away from your belly button. Take a deep breathe in through your nose and allow your abdomen to expand. Release the air slowly through pursed lips. You should feel a burst of energy pulsing through your body.

Secret # 19: Moving Water There is something incredibly soothing about the sound of water. The sound of a stream trickling over rocks or waves lapping against the shore has a deeply calming effect. Take the time to make or purchase a fountain, and install it either indoors or outdoors, at home or in your office—wherever you spend the most time. A water feature can have a positive impact on health. Water has been used through the ages for relaxation, and is considered to be incredibly therapeutic. Placing a water feature somewhere where you will hear it can help lower blood pressure, enhance your mood, relieve stress, and create a peaceful atmosphere.

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Take time every day to stop and listen to the sound of the moving water. Performing your deep breathing exercises near a water feature can be especially soothing.

Secret # 20: Know When You Are Full Your stomach can hold, on average, 17 cups of foodstuffs. However, the feeling of being full does not come when that 17cup limit has been reached. It occurs when your brain reacts to chemicals released when you eat or drink. It takes about 20 minutes for these chemicals to register. After a meal, these chemicals stay elevated for about three to five hours, which keeps you feeling full. Once the chemical levels drop, you start to get hungry again. It is imperative to health and weight management to recognize when you are full. If you don’t feel full immediately after eating, just wait a little while and the chemicals will kick in. Because we eat so fast most of the time, we often overeat. By eating too fast, we do not give our brains enough time to register what is going on. Don’t be in a rush to finish your meal. Along with helping your brain to keep up with your body, chewing slowly will also help with digestion.

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Get in touch with your body and how it feels at different times. Pay attention to how your stomach feels when you are hungry, versus what it feels like after you drink a glass of water. The empty stomach feeling will go away after you drink the water. As you are eating, listen to your body. The empty feeling in your stomach should start to dissipate as you eat. Once you notice a full feeling, stop eating, no matter how much food is left on your plate. You should feel energetic and light, not heavy and uncomfortable, after you eat. Take the time to sit and relax for a while before deciding if you really want to eat more.

Tips to help you stay full ►► Drink a big glass of water about 10 minutes before each meal. This will encourage your brain to think that you are full sooner. ►► Focus on the taste of the food, and thoughts of fueling your body, while you are eating. ►► Once you feel full, remove the food from your plate. You can always make a new meal later with the leftovers! ►► If you feel the need to continue eating, drink a nice cup of herbal tea first. Then, reassess if you are still hungry. ►► It is possible that you may feel food cravings that are mental, not physical. Try not to eat again until you sense the empty feeling.

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Secret # 21: Avoid MSG A flavor enhancer derived and processed from seaweed, monosodium glutamate, aka MSG, was originally associated with take-out Chinese foods. Today, it is a prevalent ingredient in a wide variety of processed foods, such as salad dressings, flavored chips, gravies, and many sandwich meats, to name only a few. MSG is linked to numerous side effects, including skin rashes, numbness, nausea, heart palpitations, migraines, and seizures. Become aware of the dangers of MSG, and try to avoid it at all costs. In his book Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills, Dr. Russell Blaylock classifies MSG as an excitotoxin that stimulates the cells to the point of damage or death, potentially triggering or worsening conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and learning disabilities. MSG can be found in numerous canned, frozen, processed, and fast foods, among others. It also hides under many names and

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clever packaging techniques. A label that states “no MSG added” does not mean that the ingredients used to create the dish do not contain MSG, just that no additional quantity was used in the recipe—so be sure to check your ingredient labels. Also be on the lookout for the following additives, which always contain MSG: textured protein, autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed protein, plant protein, oat flour and vegetable protein, sodium and calcium caseinate, and yeast extract. It is also sometimes hidden within “natural flavors,” and is naturally present in soymilk. Avoiding processed foods entirely, and sticking to real, whole foods, is one great way to steer clear of MSG.

Secret # 22: Don’t Be Afraid of Poop While you may not be in the habit of checking what comes out of your bottom, it is a good idea to sneak a peek from time to time. Obviously, if you have a difficult time using the bathroom or experience serious bouts of diarrhea, something is amiss with your gut. However, even if you’re not having serious digestive trouble, the color, smell, and shape of your stool can provide an insight into your health, so it pays to be informed.

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As gross as it may seem, take a peek at your stool from time to time and learn that “what comes out” can give you a clue about the state of your health. Color: Stool color is often a reflection of what we eat. There is a wide variance in brown shades that are all considered normal. The normal production of bile keeps stool within the brown range. Black or yellow stool may indicate a problem. Black stool may be a sign of intestinal or stomach bleeding, while bright red stool may mean that there is blood coming from the anus, rectum, or large intestine. Some foods and iron supplements can cause a stool to appear black, as well. Green stool may indicate diarrhea, or just a sign of a high amount of greens in your diet. Yellow or pale white stool may indicate a problem with bile flow, and can be a foreteller of such serious conditions as cancer of the bile ducts, pancreatic cancer, or hepatitis. Smell: The smell of poop is rarely pleasant. However, when the odor changes or becomes excessively foul, it could be a warning. Because stool is comprised of undigested food parts, dead cells, bacteria, and mucus, we cannot expect it to smell great. Foulsmelling poop may result from taking certain medications, or from food that has been stuck in the colon for a long time. If the odor of your stool changes dramatically, it is a good idea to consult a health practitioner.

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Shape: Pencil-thin stool can be the result of an obstruction in the lower part of the colon. It can also be the sign of colon cancer. If stool is very soft, it may be an indication of serious conditions such as pancreatitis, which blocks the body from absorbing fat. A healthy stool is “S” shaped and well-formed, but not too hard. The stool should ideally enter the water without a heavy splash. Diarrhea: Diarrhea that lasts a while could be an indication of a more serious problem. While it is normal for the body to get rid of toxins when we are sick, diarrhea that lasts for a month or more may be a sign of a chronic condition such as Crohn’s disease. Constipation: Constipation is a major sign of low bacterial count. In the United States, constipation is one of the most common gastrointestinal complaints. More than four million Americans have frequent constipation. Those reporting constipation most often are women and adults aged 65 and older. However, many never seek help from their health-care provider, choosing instead to manage the constipation with over-the-counter laxatives, which is certainly not the healthiest option, and can make matters worse.

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Constipation occurs when the colon absorbs too little water, or when the colon’s muscle contractions are slow or sluggish, causing the stool to move through the colon too slowly. As a result, stools can become hard and dry. Stress and hormonal imbalances are two common causes of constipation, as well as the following: ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■

Inadequate fiber in the diet Lack of physical activity (especially in the elderly) Medications Dairy products Irritable bowel syndrome Changes in life or routine, such as pregnancy, aging, and travel Abuse of laxatives Ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement Dehydration Hemorrhoids, and other anal and colon problems

Better hydration, stress management, exercise, and dietary considerations are often necessary to resolve the issue of constipation.

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Secret # 23: More Fiber Fiber, found in many plant foods, is crucial to your health. Although we cannot digest fiber, it is a critical part of a healthy diet. Fiber adds bulk to your diet, which helps you feel full, prevents constipation, and helps move food and waste through the intestines. Fiber is also important in the regulation of cholesterol. One important secret to good health is to become more aware of good sources of fiber, and to eat more of them. There are two types of fiber found in food: soluble and insoluble. During digestion, soluble fiber mixes with digestive juices to create a gel-like substance. This substance helps to keep your blood sugar and cholesterol in check. Great sources of soluble fiber include beans, seeds, lentils, oats, raw nuts, peas, and certain other fruits and vegetables. Insoluble fiber is what keeps you feeling full. It provides bulk to the diet, and passes through the intestines unchanged. Many fruits and vegetables, such as cabbage, apples, peas, corn, grapes, bell peppers, and onions, contain insoluble fiber—and it’s often concentrated in the peel or outer layers.

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It is recommended that women consume at least 25 grams of fiber each day, and men should aim for 38 grams each day. You can do this by eating more fiber-rich foods such as beans, peas, vegetables, fruits, and raw nuts. If you have not been consuming much fiber, increase your intake slowly over time to avoid cramping and excessive gas. Also, be sure to consume plenty of pure water.

Secret # 24: Butter Is Best Trans fatty acids, or trans fats as they are more commonly known, are “fake” fats that clog arteries, increase the levels of low density lipoproteins (LDL, aka the “bad” cholesterol), and decrease the levels of high density lipoproteins (HDL, the “good” cholesterol) in the blood. These deadly fat imposters are formed when vegetable oils harden to create shortening or margarine.

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For the sake of your health, butter truly is best. The first part of this secret is to stop using butter spreads or anything that claims to be butter that is not. The second part is to switch to organic, grass-fed butter. Both grass-fed and grain-fed butter are rich in healthy saturated fat (two-thirds) and monounsaturated fat (one-third). Cows that graze on organic pasture produce milk fat with equal parts omega 6 and omega 3. Conversely, grain-fed cows produce butter that is heavy in omega 6. If you consume quite a bit of butter, the difference matters. Too much omega-6 in the body has been linked to inflammation. Also, if you are consuming butter from an animal that has been raised on organic pasture, it is free of chemicals. Most people will find that grass-fed, organic butter tastes better than any other kind of butter. If possible, locate a local farmer who makes their own organic, grass-fed butter.

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Secret # 25: Ditch Artificial Sweeteners Nothing artificial belongs in the human body. If you were, like millions of others, misled to think that making the switch from refined sugar to artificial sweeteners was a good choice, it is time to learn the truth. There is nothing good in artificial sweeteners and they could, in fact, cause a great deal of health damage. It’s time to get rid of all of your artificial sweeteners, and look to completely natural sources to sweeten your food and beverages. Some people think that they are doing themselves a favor when they switch from sugar and high fructose corn syrup to artificial sweeteners such as aspartame. However, aspartame is considered by some health experts to be one of the most dangerous substances on the planet. It hides in products known as NutraSweet, Equal, Equal-Measure, and Spoonful, and it accounts for up to 75 percent of all adverse food reactions, including seizures and even death.

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Headaches, dizziness, memory loss, joint pain, insomnia, irritability, dementia, and hearing loss are just a few of the other reported side effects of this extremely dangerous chemical. Switching from sugar to this artificial nightmare is nothing short of going from the frying pan into the fire.

Get your sweetness from nature instead Coconut sap could possibly be the best-kept secret when it comes to natural sweeteners. It comes directly from the coconut palm, is nutrient-rich, and contains 17 amino acids. High in B-vitamins, vitamin C, and potassium, coconut sap is a wonderfully sweet nectar. Once a coconut tree is tapped, it provides life-giving coconut sap for twenty years. Coconut sap is sweet right from the tree, and requires no extensive processing. Coconut crystals, made from sap are the perfect compliment to teas and healthy, homemade baked goods. With a low glycemic index of 35, organic coconut sap does not cause a spike in blood sugar, and is unrefined, GMO-free, glutenfree, and loaded with live enzymes. May we introduce to you the perfect natural sweetener: organic coconut crystals!

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Secret # 26: Stretch Stretching is common before and after a workout, but also has its place as part of a daily routine. Stretching when you get out of bed, when you stand up, and periodically throughout your day has great physical and mental health benefits. Make a conscious effort to stretch at least two or three times a day, and even more if you have desk job. Stretching improves flexibility by moving joints through a complete range of motion. If we don’t ask our joints to move, they will become stiff and sore. Stretching keeps muscles responsive and improves your physical performance. Stretching breaks down chemical crossbridges where two proteins create tension in the muscle. Stretching encourages this cross-bridge to break, and releases the tension and stiffness. When we don’t use muscles, especially those in our legs, they have less blood supply. When circulation decreases, toxins can accumulate. When you stretch, you compress the muscle and raise

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the blood pressure in the veins, encouraging toxin removal. Fresh blood floods the muscle and brings nutrients and proteins with it. This provides a greater sense of overall well-being. We should not overlook the fact that stretching reduces anxiety and tension. When you stretch slowly, blood pressure and breathing rate decrease. Stretching and releasing helps relieve tension in your body and calms your brain. Stretching on a regular basis helps you get in tune with your body while helping protect you from injuries and making everyday tasks easier. For a good pick-me-up stretch, stand in a doorway, facing forward. Keep your feet a few inches apart and hang onto the sides of the door frame with your fingers. Move your chest forward until you feel the stretch in your sides and back. Hold this for 30 seconds and repeat as necessary.

Secret # 27: Say “No” to Fast Food Millions of dollars are spent each year on researching new and exciting ways to combine foods to make them more addictive than ever. Certain combinations of fat, sugar, and salt, along with artificial flavors and alluring packaging are used to create foods that are highly attractive and addictive.

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These unique ingredient combinations signal the brain that we need more, and encourage us to overeat. Americans spend almost 50 percent of their food budget on fast food, or in restaurants where this food combination method is heavily used. Fast food is designed to entice and induce “craveability.” This, after all, drives business. However, sadly, it also destroys health. It really is best to just say no to fast food. Many fast-food eateries have been touting their so-called healthier options after promising to make nutritional improvements in the food they serve, but unfortunately, they’ve failed to come through. While they have increased the use of the term “healthy” on their menus, simply labeling food as such doesn’t make it so. A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that over the last decade or so, while the use of the word “healthy” increased by 86 percent, the nutritional quality of fast food meals improved just three percent between 1997 and 2010.

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There were eight chains analyzed during this research: McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), Arby’s, Jack in the Box, and Dairy Queen. The only thing these establishments are improving is their marketing strategy, designed to fool the American public into thinking they’re actually eating something that is good for them. The study did highlight the fact that, “some chains have made positive changes.” This included the decision by McDonald’s to add apple slices to its Happy Meals. Of course, the apples used by McDonald’s are not organic—and guess which fruit tops the “Dirty Dozen” list of foods that contain the most contaminants? Apples. According to the Environmental Working Group’s latest report, 98 percent of apples contained pesticides, with 93 percent containing two or more of these harmful toxins. While many people turn to fast food because it’s considered cheap and filling, it may not be such a bargain when it ultimately leads to a host of health problems, and potentially massive medical bills.

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Fast food and trans fat Many fast foods contain trans fat, one of the worst things that you can put into your body. These fats should be avoided like the plague, as they may lead to a host of health problems, including: ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■

Coronary heart disease Stroke Diabetes Cancer Obesity Infertility Premature aging

... And that’s just the short list! Consider that KFC’s pot pie contains 14 grams of trans fat, and Burger King’s hash browns contain 13 grams. Jack in the Box offers bacon potato cheddar wedges that contain 12 grams, while a large order of McDonald’s fries contains 8 grams of trans fat. The only way these fast-food chains will stop serving such unhealthy meals is if consumers stop purchasing them and demand something better! When you think about the damage that fast foods are doing to your body, it seems silly to spend any money at these places at all.

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Secret # 28: Eat Live Foods Raw foods are considered to be the most “alive� foods you can eat. Once a food is cooked or processed, it tends to lose a great deal of its nutrient value. Processed foods are often heated to very high temperatures, and then artificial ingredients are added. This leaves you with nothing short of a chemical imposter to real food. Including some live foods in your diet ensures that you are getting the vitamins and minerals that your body needs for energy. Always include some live foods with every meal and snack. For some reason, eating food that has been completely denatured is an acceptable practice in America. Living foods, also known as raw foods, have been sustaining people all over the world since the beginning of time. In those areas of the world where a diet consisting of whole foods, and a large amount of live foods, is eaten, lifestyle illnesses such as those that we see in America are all but nonexistent. In fact, the Inuit people do not even have a name for heart disease in their language, yet it is the number one killer in the United States.

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If the bulk of your diet comes from a box, bag, or can, it is time for you to consider that you are not fueling your body in the way it needs to be fueled. True energy comes from raw foods that have not been tampered with. This includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, freshly-squeezed fruit or vegetable juice, and fermented foods such as kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi.

Secret # 29: Know Your Nuts Squirrels truly do know best: nuts are a great addition to a healthy diet. While you may have heard a lot about nuts, you might wonder if there is a difference between roasted nuts and raw nuts.

Why raw nuts are so good for us Raw nuts are a nutritious part of any snack or meal. They are high in protein, and high in heart-healthy fats and fiber. In addition, raw nuts have essential nutrients such as B-vitamins, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, iron, and zinc, as well as sterols and antioxidants. There are many kinds of nuts, and each has its own healthpromoting properties. For instance, Brazil nuts provide high quantities of selenium, and almonds are an excellent source of calcium.

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Walnuts are a super-rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. Studies show that just one small handful of nuts provides protection against heart disease that is similar to cholesterol-lowering drugs. It has also been found that nuts can protect against diabetes and insulin sensitivity. Because nuts are a concentrated source of protein, fiber, and healthy fats, they digest slowly and are filling. This helps with healthy weight maintenance.

Dangers of roasted nuts Roasted nuts are obviously further from their natural state than raw nuts. They have been processed, and as a general rule, processed foods are less healthy than raw foods. When nuts are exposed to high heat during the roasting process, the fat content may break down causing free radicals. Free radicals damage cells and DNA. In addition, roasting may cause acrylamides to form. Acrylamides are dangerous; they form when nuts, which contain the amino acid asparagine, are heated to high temperatures. Acrylamides have been linked to cancer in laboratory animal studies, and may increase cancer risk in humans. Roasted nuts, in particular almonds, tend to have high levels of acrylamides.

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Roasted nuts also tend to be lower in magnesium, iron, and phosphorus than raw nuts. It is equally important to note the oil that nuts are often roasted in. This may be canola or soybean, both of which are often genetically modified. If you really love the taste of roasted nuts but don’t want the acrylamides, consider roasting them at home. To retain the maximum amount of health benefits, use organic coconut oil and Himalayan salt, and roast at a temperature lower than 170 degrees Fahrenheit. They will take a long time to cook, but are extremely delicious when done.

Soaking raw nuts It is important to say a word about soaking raw nuts. Many raw food recipes call for soaked nuts, and there are advantages to doing so. Raw nuts, especially walnuts and almonds, taste better after they have been soaked, and are also easier to digest. Phytic acid, which inhibits the digestion of vital nutrients, is reduced when you soak nuts. In addition, enzyme activity is elevated, because enzyme inhibitors are neutralized during the soaking process. Soaking removes the dust, residue and tannins from the nut shell, as well.

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Depending on the nut, they can be soaked in filtered water for as little as twenty minutes or as long as overnight in the fridge. Be sure to rinse the nuts after soaking.

The bottom line We choose raw nuts for three reasons: they taste great, they contain no damaging free radicals, and they are free of acrylamides. If you consume raw nuts, consider soaking them first.

Secret # 30: Beware of These Ingredients Do you sometimes turn a package over to read the ingredients and see what looks like a foreign language? Learn how to recognize just a few of the potentially dangerous ingredients that are lurking in your food. It’s in your best interest not to eat food that contains any of the following ingredients and additives. When reading the ingredient lists of packaged, canned, and frozen foods, many unpronounceable words, chemical compounds, and abbreviations can be found. Most of us do not have time to Google each unknown ingredient while in the middle of a busy grocery aisle.

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As a general rule, if you cannot pronounce an ingredient, it is best to steer clear. Real, whole, healthy foods will usually have no more than five ingredients on the label. Knowledge is power, and the more you know about the scary ingredients hiding within some of our most common food items the better. Carrageenan: Carrageenan is a thickening agent extracted from red seaweed. It is used as a fat substitute in many food products, including processed meats, as well as cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. In its processed form, manufactured via alkali chemical solvents, it can be hazardous to health. Some studies have linked carrageenan to gastrointestinal disturbances including inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS), intestinal ulcers, and colorectal problems. Brominated vegetable oil (BVO): An emulsifier derived from corn or soy (usually genetically modified) combined with bromine, BVO is used in many citrus-flavored sodas. It also doubles as an industrial flame retardant. Banned from food use across Europe and in Japan, BVO has been linked to skin lesions, nerve disorders, and memory loss. Animal studies have found that BVO may lead to behavioral and reproductive problems when consumed in large doses. Additionally, bromine is an endocrine disruptor and inhibits the body’s ability to retain iodine, which is essential for tissue health.

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Hydrogenated vegetable oil: Hydrogenated, and partially hydrogenated, oils are fancy labels for trans fats. Trans fats appear in many fried, fast, and processed snack foods, as well as some breakfast cereals and baked goods. These oils are created by applying pressure and hydrogen to vegetable oils to create a semi-solid fat. Dieticians largely agree that there is no safe level of trans fats, and that they should be avoided entirely. Consuming them has been linked to heart disease, obesity, and multi-infarct dementia. Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT): A preservative used in some breakfast cereals, as well as a variety of other foods and cosmetics, BHT is also used in jet fuel, petroleum products, and embalming fluid. A National Toxicology Program report published in 2005 states that BHT is, “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.� BHT may also lead to liver damage, and harm aquatic organisms, according to the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). The MSDS also bluntly states that this chemical compound should not be allowed to enter the environment.

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Guar gum: Guar gum is a processed form of guar seed extract. It is used as a thickening agent in many foods, including glutenfree foods and pharmaceutical bases. In large doses, guar gum has been linked to digestive blockages and other disturbances in digestive function. According to a 2002 study published in the International Journal of Cancer, individuals who consume guar gum as a main source of fiber have a greater risk of developing colon cancer. Caseinate: Caseinate is not to be confused with casein, a protein which naturally occurs in dairy products. Caseinate is the processed byproduct of casein, found in many commercial protein shakes and other protein supplements. To manufacture caseinate, the casein from skimmed milk is treated with calcium hydroxide and sodium hydroxide, which are chemical alkalies. Chemical alkalies inhibit the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. Caseinate is processed at a high temperature, near boiling, which essentially changes the protein into an ultra-thermolyzed protein, and creates MSG in the process. Caseinate has been linked to indigestion, allergies, and heartburn, as well as an increased risk of colon cancer.

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High fructose corn syrup: Contrary to popular belief, high fructose corn syrup is not the same as sugar. It is derived from corn (usually genetically modified), and because of its chemical structure, it is more rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. High fructose corn syrup has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and tissue damage. It may also contain levels of mercury, due to the way in which it is manufactured. Propylene glycol alginate: A thickener, stabilizer, and emulsifier used in a number of processed foods, propylene glycol alginate doubles as an industrial chemical found in de-icer and antifreeze products. Remember, when choosing your ingredients, stick to what you can pronounce. If it sounds suspicious and you don’t have time to look it up, trust your instincts and stay away.

Secret # 31: Don’t Get So Wound Up Do you wake up tired in the morning, unable to function without your cup or two of coffee? Do you crave high-carb snacks and often fall asleep mid-afternoon? Do you find it hard to fall asleep at night because you’re wired and unable to rest? Wrapped tighter than a ball of twine, many people find themselves unable to slow down long enough to give their bodies adequate rest. Sound familiar?

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Stress and adrenal health The human body is not built to deal with the continuous stressors we encounter in modern life. Chronic stress puts a tremendous strain on the adrenal glands. The tiny adrenal glands produce a hormonal cascade during a fightor-flight situation. This means that if you are being chased by a wild animal, your adrenals will kick in to help manage the lifethreatening stress. The adrenal glands respond to stress by releasing the hormone cortisol, aka the “stress hormone.” Unfortunately, our adrenal glands do not know the difference between a real emergency and everyday stress. If we stay constantly wound up, our cortisol levels stay elevated and become less and less sensitive to the regulatory mechanism.

Problems with cortisol When cortisol levels are continuously elevated, digestion, sleep, immune function, and the body’s ability to produce other necessary hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, DHEA, and thyroid hormone, may become impaired.

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High levels of cortisol can also contribute to excess abdominal fat, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and muscle aches due to inflammation. Bone health, immunity, and sex drive may also become compromised. With increased pressure on the adrenal glands, it is harder for them to make cortisol, and extra adrenalin is produced to compensate. This adrenal fatigue may result in low blood sugar, inability to focus, irritability, lightheadedness, anxiety, low blood pressure, allergies, and exhaustion.

Managing stress It is paramount to get a grip on managing stress. If you feel that your adrenals are in overdrive, stress management is key to regaining balance. How you respond to stress in your life has a lot to do with whether or not your adrenals become fatigued. Practicing yoga, meditation, and relaxation techniques is a good place to start. Let go of little things that are bothersome. Much of what we stress over, we have no control over in the first place. Understanding that stress is inevitable and employing strategic coping techniques will help protect you from adrenal failure and other stress-related conditions.

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Secret # 32: Be Happy We often spend so much time looking ahead that we miss all of the good things that are right in front of our eyes. We rush on through life with the goal to accomplish something, only to find that once we arrive, we have more to do. Facing the fact that your life’s “inbox” will never be empty is imperative to both health and happiness. Find and record five things to be happy about each day, things that are in the now, not the past or the future. Understand how important it is to live in the now—while future plans are good, don’t let them rob you of your present joys. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” Taking time each day to be aware of your surroundings, of the people in your life that matter, and of those that need your help is extremely refreshing. Notice the sun, the clouds, the birds, and the movement of the wind in the trees, and think about all that you are grateful for. When you make a conscious effort to connect to where

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you are at this present time and understand that each part of your life journey is for a reason, it makes planning for the future easier, and puts your goals into perspective.

Secret # 33: Unplug Do you ever find yourself fixed to a computer screen aimlessly surfing the Internet, or so involved in a television show that you don’t hear someone talking to you? Many people use television and the Internet as a soothing friend. However, technology tends to distract us from our own lives and surroundings. This can be dangerous to both physical and mental health. Try to go without Internet or television for 24 hours once a week. Pick a day that is most convenient for you, and arrange other activities in place of the television and Internet, such as reading, walking, talking with a friend, doing a household chore, working in the garden, doing community service, writing letters, playing with a pet or spending time with your children.

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You may find this very hard at first, but once you are in the habit of unplugging for one day a week, you will crave the time. Making a household-wide rule to unplug for one day a week will help family members reconnect, and restore and strengthen relationships.

Secret # 34: Laugh They say, “laughter is the best medicine,” and there is much truth in this. According to scientific research, laughing is good for us, and we all need to do more of it. Make sure you laugh every day. Not just a chuckle, but a real laugh. Find something funny, and let yourself go. The health benefits associated with laughter are often overlooked. However, Robert R. Provine, PhD, author of the book Laughter, states that laughter boosts the heart rate. This will help anyone who is feeling sluggish. So, keep those corny jokes in the back of your mind, or even a few really funny videos in a file on your desktop. Switch out your afternoon muffin and coffee for a quick twominute funny video, and you will be in business.

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Secret # 35: Get Rid of Your Desk Chair It is just after lunch, and you find yourself slouching over your work desk. Your shoulders are curved, you have a pinch in your neck, and your arms feel tired. Perhaps you are aware of your poor posture, but by this time it is too late: the damage is done. Poor posture results in nagging neck and back pain, headaches, and overall muscle tension. Instead of using desk chairs, some people have started working at standing desks, and others have switched to a new kind of chair: an exercise ball.

Better posture Advocates for the exercise ball desk chair note that they have far better posture when they sit on the ball than when they sit in a chair. Because you must stabilize yourself on the ball, you are forced to sit up straight and actually pay attention to your body form.

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Burn calories Because the body is engaged, you inevitably burn more calories sitting on an exercise ball than you do in a desk chair. Your muscles are at work when you sit on the ball, not at rest like they are when you are in a chair. Making small movements to keep yourself balanced means that there is always some physical activity going on. You can also roll away from your desk at any time, perform a few exercises, and get back to work. This makes your time on the ball even more worthwhile.

Clearer thinking Those that are kinesthetic learners may find that bouncing on the ball improves their thinking process. The gentle bouncing movement is perfect for those who like to be in motion or busy while they think.

Stress reduction Bouncing lightly on the ball while at your desk is a terrific way to divert stress. The focus on stabilizing yourself takes over when you bounce and stress dissipates, according to ball users.

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Tips for finding the right ball Not just any exercise ball will do. It is essential to find a correctlysized ball. Aim for a ball that allows your thighs to slope slightly downwards and not be at 90 degrees. The ball should also be tall enough that your position at your desk is ergonomically correct, so that you are not balancing your wrists on your keyboard. You can opt for a ball or a ball chair, which is essentially a ball inserted into a rolling base. Some of these have lumbar support, which many users recommend for long durations at the desk.

How to use a ball chair As with any change, it is best to begin slowly. Don’t toss your regular desk chair to the curb right away. Start by spending a couple of hours each day on the ball chair, and gradually increase your time until you are sitting most of the day on the ball. This will give your body time to adjust. Don’t be surprised if you are a little sore the day after your first day sitting on the ball.

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Secret # 36: Green Smoothies Do you eat leafy greens daily? If you are like most Americans, you probably don’t get nearly the amount of vegetables, especially leafy greens, that your body craves. Sometimes it is a matter of time, sometimes a matter of taste. To better your health, try to drink one green smoothie per day. Green smoothies can be made of any number of ingredients, but always include a leafy green veggie such as kale or spinach. People who enjoy one or two healthy green smoothies daily report some remarkable health benefits. Just be sure that your smoothie is made from whole, organic ingredients.

Making a basic green smoothie Green smoothies are quick and easy to make. The first thing to do is decide what you would like to use for your base. Three popular options include green tea, coconut water, and purified water. Add two cups of your favorite green food such as kale, spinach, or spirulina. Healthy fats, fiber, and fruits, are the next ingredients. Good options include one tablespoon of coconut oil, one tablespoon of chia seeds, and one cup of berries.

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To give your smoothie a super-healthy boost, consider such additions as bee pollen, ground flaxseeds, raw cacao, or raw maca. If you need a little sweetener, you can add a teaspoon of crushed raw stevia leaves, raw honey, or organic coconut crystals. Of course, there are many spinoffs of the ingredients listed above. With a little creativity, you will find your “perfect” green smoothie recipe. Just put all of your ingredients into a blender and hit the “on” switch. Be sure to enjoy your smoothie right away.

Health benefits of going green Green smoothies are a tasty and efficient way to get a healthy dose of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. Greens tend to alkalinize the body, helping to balance pH. Those who drink green smoothies regularly report that they have more energy and feel better than ever. In addition, leafy greens have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body, which helps to lessen joint pain, and may also help to prevent an array of chronic illnesses. The superfoods that you can add to your smoothie carry with them some astounding health promoting properties of their own.

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People who consume green smoothies, in combination with a healthy diet and regular exercise, also report losing weight, especially that excess belly fat.

Secret # 37: Buy Local There is no fresher sight than a roadside fruit and veggie stand bursting with color. Produce, picked from the vine just hours earlier, is packed with wholesome nutrition. Make a decision to seek out as much of your food from a local source as you can. The local movement is in full swing in America. The United States Department of Agriculture noted that the number of farmers’ markets in the United States increased over 50 percent between 2008 and 2011. As the wave of enthusiasm for local living begins to take hold, we see a return to what was once important in America. Shaking the hand of those who feed us, knowing our neighbors, spending our hard-earned dollars within our own community, and a return to “Front Porch America,” are what it’s all about. Having an option to shop locally, especially for food, has many advantages over doing the supermarket shuffle.

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Locally grown food tastes great: Crops are picked at their peak of freshness and don’t have to travel hundreds of miles to their destination. Freshly picked produce retains its natural flavor and requires no chemicals for preservation. Locally grown food is highly nutritious: Most produce purchased at the grocery store has travelled between 1,500 and 4,000 miles, according to the Organic Consumer Organization. Not only does this make our food system vulnerable, but it also reduces nutrient value. Some produce has little to no nutrient value by the time it reaches our tables, because of the distance it has traveled. Local food has a shorter time from harvest to table, usually 24 hours at most, and this preserves nutrients. Local produce is often free of chemicals: Local food will most likely be GMO-free and raised without harmful industrial chemicals. While it is always good to check with your local supplier, many do not use harsh chemicals or preservatives. Local food is safer: With a shorter distance to travel, there is a great reduction in the chance of contamination when we eat locally.

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Issues with safety often occur in storage and transportation; when food goes from vine to table the risk is substantially minimized. Eating local is healthy for the environment: Buying as much food as you can locally helps the environment. It decreases the use of packages, including foam and plastic trays and wraps, and cuts down on greenhouse gases used in the production and transportation of food. In many cases, it takes more energy to transport food than the food provides. The Organic Consumers Organization gives the example of a head of lettuce produced in Salina Valley California, which travels some 3,000 miles to Washington, DC. The transportation requires 36 times as much fossil fuel energy as the food itself produces when it arrives in Washington.

Secret # 38: Love Your Gut Bacteria Probiotics have received a great deal of attention lately from both alternative and mainstream health providers for their ability to restore a balance of good bacteria in the digestive system. There are many benefits to loving your gut bacteria!

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Probiotics are live bacteria that help good bacteria in the digestive system thrive. Good bacteria helps with digestion and the absorption of nutrients, and encourages a healthy immune system. When the gut is healthy and destructive bugs are kept in check, the stress response is minimized. Adding probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, microalgae, kefir, kimchi, and tempeh to your diet will help keep your digestive system as healthy as possible. You can also take a high-quality probiotic supplement—just be sure to get it from a source you trust. In addition, be sure that you are eating a diet of whole, unprocessed foods, getting plenty of exercise and sleep, and employing healthy stress reduction techniques such as meditation to cope with stress. All of these things in combination will help to keep your gut environment healthy.

Secret # 39: Stop Dieting Health is not found in a diet, or in some special quick-fix plan, pill, or potion. It is found in a new and improved lifestyle, a new way of thinking about and relating to food and your body. Make a commitment to yourself to stop dieting for good, and focus instead on developing healthy, lifelong habits.

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Good health is not simply an absence of symptoms or disease; you can actually be highly unhealthy and not really know it until it is too late. Many people have no idea what it feels like to be really healthy, and are amazed as they progress on their journey by how great they actually look and feel.

Mindset Your journey, like all journeys, will have many twists and turns. Sometimes the path will be smooth, and sometimes it may be rocky. Sometimes the light will shine brightly, and other times the clouds will set in. The strength to move through the difficult times exists within you. Getting healthy, really healthy, requires a whole new mindset, a whole new understanding, and a whole new commitment to yourself and those that love you. Don’t think quick fix—this will surely sabotage your efforts. Poor health did not sneak up and bite you overnight—it happened over a period of time, and it will take time to set things straight.

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Don’t underestimate the power of the mind. Focus instead on making good choices each day, and taking small steps forward. It is better to take baby steps than one giant leap and land in the mud. Small steps, as long as you are moving forward, are essential to success.

Goal setting Another important aspect to your journey is to set some goals. While it is okay to have long-range goals, you must also have shortterm, achievable goals that you celebrate along the way. So, if your biggest hang-up is getting rid of chips and eating more vegetables, make this a goal. When you find yourself no longer wanting chips and happily munching on a bag of organic carrots, it is time to celebrate. If exercise is hard for you, set a goal to walk every day for two weeks. When you reach this goal, take the time to celebrate. Pay attention to the things that you are accomplishing, no matter how inconsequential they may seem. It all counts, and each goal you achieve spawns a new goal as you move forward towards better health.

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Get good advice Don’t buy into everything you read or are told. Be sure that your health advice is coming from a reliable source. While there is a great deal of good information available, some is just downright wrong. Be careful with advice that is attached to a product—this is not always a great sign. Don’t listen to the media, as they have a tendency to want to sell products and are willing to say just about anything to do so. Most of all, don’t stop learning. No matter how much we may think we know about being the healthiest we can be, there is more to learn. However, be careful not to let your learning become an obsession—the goal of your healthy journey is to enhance your life, not disrupt it. Keep things in perspective and make some time to learn without overdoing it.

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Secret # 40: Do Something Good for Someone Else There is no better feeling than doing something good for someone in need. If you are human, you need to be needed. Volunteering is great for the community, sets a good example for others, and is also beneficial to your health. Today, make a decision to volunteer somewhere, or help someone out on a regular basis. Studies show that volunteering has numerous health benefits. First and foremost, it improves physical well-being. Interacting with others reduces heart rate and blood pressure, while increasing mood-balancing hormones. In addition, helping someone else is great for the immune system, and helps buffer stress. Volunteering has a positive impact on feelings of self worth and confidence by giving people a sense of purpose. Experts suggest volunteering when you are going through difficult times is a great idea, because it takes the focus off your own crisis.

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When you volunteer, you have opportunities to meet new people, experience new settings, and form social groups. Relationships are important for keeping feelings of depression and isolation at bay. New studies indicate that volunteering on a long-term basis can actually improve the quality of your life, and potentially even increase longevity. There is so much good that needs to be done on this planet. Ask yourself, who can you help today? Where can you start?

Secret # 41: Enjoy Nature Spending time in nature is good for your health. Whether it is at the park, on the lake, on a camping trip, or even in your backyard, interacting with the natural world around you is extremely beneficial to both your physical and mental health. Make it a point to notice and interact with nature as much as possible. Since the beginning of time, there has been a connection between healing and gardens. Some of the earliest physicians believed that sick people recovered much faster when they were exposed to natural elements. Studies have indicated that hospital patients who view landscapes or

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experience gardens have reduced anxiety and less need for pain relief. Many modern hospitals are designing elements within their hospitals after nature, including a nature scene you can watch while you have an MRI. Since the body and the mind are not separate, what the mind senses has a direct impact on the rest of the body. Many doctors are now including time outdoors in nature as part of their health prescriptions. Take a walk, ride a bike, or even sit outdoors and watch the birds for a while, and you will notice how relaxed you become. Don’t discuss work or make phone calls while in nature, just let yourself relax and enjoy what is around you. Your stress levels will drop and you will become calmer. You don’t need to be doing anything—just be.

Secret # 42: Consider Chlorella This single-celled, freshwater-loving microalgae is receiving much attention lately for its “superfood” qualities. Chlorella was first discovered in the late nineteenth century. After WWII, it was considered, due to its high protein content, as a possible food source. It is now recognized as a highly nutritious food, indeed.

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Chlorella is loaded with vitamin C and carotenoids, both of which help protect cells from free radical damage. In addition, this nutrient-dense algae has a high concentration of B-vitamins and iron. Promoted widely as a natural remedy for a number of health conditions, supporters of this algae claim that it defends the body against bacterial and viral infections, promotes the growth of healthy gut bacteria, reduces blood pressure, regulates blood sugar and cholesterol, and strengthens the immune system. As part of a cleansing regimen, chlorella may help to eliminate mold from the body so that it can use oxygen more effectively. Chlorella may also help to increase the amount of albumin in the body. Albumin, found in the bloodstream, protects against diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, pancreatitis, hepatitis, anemia, and AIDS. By cleansing the body of toxins and heavy metals, chlorella may help prevent certain cancers from forming. Some researchers call this underwater gem the perfect food, claiming that it can even reverse the effects of aging. The chlorophyll in chlorella possesses antibacterial properties that may help heal and repair tissue while increasing circulation, purifying blood, and removing waste products from the body.

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You can take chlorella as a tablet, liquid, or a powder—but always remember to choose a high-quality product from a source you trust. It is recommended that two to three grams be taken daily for health, and more for detoxification purposes. The powder is easy to mix with juices and smoothies.

Secret # 43: Resistance Train Muscle mass throughout the body is vital for health, and the natural erosion of muscle as we age makes resistance training that much more important. Experts believe that we lose an average of five percent of our muscle mass every 10 years after age 35. With this loss of muscle mass, comes stiff joints, poor posture, and a rapid increase in the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and a number of other health conditions. No matter how old you are, try to fit in two 15-minute resistance training sessions each week. Don’t fret… muscle mass can be maintained through resistance training well into the later years of life. When muscles are being worked regularly, the rate at which the muscle erodes is

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significantly reduced. Working muscles not only keep us healthy, but looking great, as well. Many people work out with weights and resistance training equipment in order to build obvious muscle mass, to develop the “six pack” abs, and basically because they like the way muscle looks. However, besides looking great, more muscle usually translates to better overall health. Researchers at the University of Michigan discovered that men who participated in a total body weight workout three times a week for two months dropped eight points from their blood pressure readings. This, according health experts, is enough to reduce the risk of stroke by 40 percent. Women, who have traditionally been drawn to more aerobic types of exercise, also benefit tremendously from resistance training and should include it in their workout regimes. Contrary to what some women believe, resistance training will not cause you to look like Popeye. While the numbers on the scale may not drop considerably when you begin resistance training, muscle is denser than fat, so you will be able to pack the same weight into a smaller space; thus, your jeans size will still drop and you will look and feel fantastic.

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Research out of the University of Alabama found that female dieters who lifted weights three times a week lost the same amount of weight as a comparison group who did cardio three times a week. However, those who lifted weights lost fat, while those who did aerobics lost muscle. Other studies have also indicated that lifting weights is better than cardio at carving out abdominal fat—the kind that is associated with a host of diseases, including cancer and diabetes.

Time factor Many people say that they do not have time to lift weights. Here is the good news: you don’t have to. Kettlebell swings, believed by some to be the perfect exercise, are a great way to work the heart, as well as several major muscle groups. A 15-minute high-intensity session with kettlebells every other day will keep you toned and fit. Other exercise tools, such as resistance bands and medicine balls, can also be incorporated into your workout to keep your muscles in the game. Doing some resistance training each week is better than avoiding it altogether. And remember, sit up straight and walk tall!

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Wrapping It Up There you have it, 43 health secrets to give you just the boost you need. Armed with this information, you can set yourself on course for a long and healthy life. Unlike “real” secrets, please share these with everyone you know. Our goal is that you live a healthy life and share your joy and freedom with others, so that they too can make positive changes in their lives!

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American Heart Association

Blaylock, Russell L., The Review of: Excitotoxins: The Taste

that Kills, American Nutrition Association, Nutrition Digest, Volume 37, No. 4.

Center for Sleep and Wake Disorders

Environmental Working Group

Hearst, Mary O., Lisa J. Harnack, Katherine W. Bauer, Ali-

cia A. Earnest, Simone A. French, and J. Michael Oaks, Nutritional Quality at Eight U.S. Fast-Food Chains, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, June 2013, Volume 44, Issue 6, Pages 589–594.

International Journal of Cancer

Norton, Amy, Stairs can get you there faster than elevators,

Reuters Health, Dec 13, 2011.

Organic Consumers Association

Pennebaker, James, Writing to Heal, University of Texas,

Austin, 2005.

UMBC, Robert R. Provine

United States Department of Agriculture

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United States Department of Labor, Material Safety Data

Sheets

The University of Alabama

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National

Toxicology Program, “13th Report on Carcinogens (RoC),” 2014.

Williams, Paul T., and Paul D. Thompson, Walking Versus

Running for Hypertension, Cholesterol, and Diabetes Mellitus Risk Reduction, Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, American Heart Association, April 4, 2013.

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The Kick-Ass Wellness Handbook  

43 Secrets to Clean Eating, Active Living and a Clear Mind

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