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By: Daniel Edlund
1. Thou shalt listen to thy body: find your metabolic type. <img class="alignright size-medium wp-image-28" title="10CommandmentsofHealthy" src="ht
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Every body is different and so are their energy needs. There is a reason why we have a built-in system of ‘feeling like’ having a certain food. Unfortunately, today most people have disrupted this built-in system of recognizing what the body actually needs by eating too much processed and highly addictive foods. The best way to get back in tune with the body is to clean up your diet and monitor each plate of food eaten mentally. Start with eliminating most of the carbohydrates in each meal, and slowly increase the portion size of carbohydrates in increments. There are two extremes of preferred ‘fuel’ ratio: 1) some people do very well with a high carbohydrate intake, and a low fat and protein ratio—we can use the reference of “Weight Watchers” here—and 2) the other extreme are people who do better with a high protein and fat ratio, yet very little carbohydrates also known as the “Atkins Diet.” The reality is that most people fall somewhere in between this spectrum, so the only real way to find your prefect fuel ratio is to experiment by introducing carbohydrates in increments. Optimally, after having a meal, you should be satisfied, content and full with energy for hours without feeling the need for a sugar or caffeine boost.
2. Honor thy meal times.
There is a common saying that you should eat small and often which is true enough, but the key is to not use that as an excuse to constantly chow down on food. After a meal or a snack you should wait at least 3 hours before eating anything at all. There are adverse effects of constantly stimulating secretion of insulin, which happens even with small amounts of food. Reviewing some of the primary reasons, every time your body releases insulin, your body automatically goes into “fat-storing mode”—therefore, everything eaten after or during (especially if the energy is not needed) will be stored as fat. Another top reason is that if your body constantly releases insulin, you may disrupt the pancreas’ ability to produce it, which may lead to diabetes. Last but not least, over-snacking disrupts the cleansing “flush” that occurs after each complete digestive cycle, which is imperative for digestive health.
3. Thou shalt pursue meal and snack balance.
We all know to drink a lot of water as the general diet stigma has proclaimed to us for years, and it is worth re-mentioning that keeping hydrated during the day is one of the most important factors for maintaining health. We are 70% water, and even a drop of 1% in fluids will decrease our functionality by 10%—not to mention the numerous functions in the body that are directly dependent upon proper hydration. The one thing I want to address here is fluids while eating. You should drink a big glass or two of clean water, not tap water, 15 minutes before the meal and not so much during. The reason for this is that if you drink too much water while eating you will dilute the digestive fluids resulting in poorer digestion and nutritional absorption. Also it is a good idea to drink hot fluids, as cold fluids solidify the fat in the food and may end up clogging your system.
4. Thou shalt fear not the fat, but the sugar.
How many times have you heard “but it is fat-free and therefore healthy,” not considering that you will instead consume a ton of sugar? We need good quality fats in our diet for several reasons…here are a few: the immune system’s functionality, protection of the brain and its functions, and the absorption of the fat solvable vitamins A and D. Sugar, on the other hand, is not only useless as energy as it is, but mere empty calories, it also leaches calcium from the bones and other vitamins and minerals from the cells. Not to mention, its obvious weight gaining abilities. Craving sugar every day in any shape or form? Then you are addicted to sugar, which is proven to be more addictive than heroin! Considering the fact that sugar has become cheap, it finds its way into most foods and often in the form of a high fructose corn syrup (which is even worse as that also is (cancerogenic). Pay close attention to your food sources and eliminate processed, pre-packaged foods. Go cold turkey and ride out the wave, which may last a week to ten days. After that you will see that you will have a much more stable energy level throughout the day!
5. Thou shalt pursue meal and snack balance.
Also related to food ratio is the importance of a macronutrient balance for each meal, meaning the balance between proteins, carbohydrates and fats. All three of these macronutrients should be represented in every meal or snack to ensure proper energy and nutritional absorption. You need the carbohydrates to absorb the protein and ensure that it does not get used as energy, as it is optimally building blocks. You need the fat to balance the meal and its glycemic index, as it lowers the value of the meal resulting in a longer lasting energy without the classic sugar crash. You need protein in every meal for the enzymatic processes in the body and its role in maintaining strength of muscle mass.
6. Thou shalt learn the importance of organic.
This topic could be a book in itself, but I will portray the most prevalent reasons. First and foremost, organic means the food is chemical, pesticide, fungicide and hormone-free. All foods that have been produced with the use of any of these elements will end up in your food and you will eat it. The body does not recognize any of these substances, as food and it will get stored in your body, year after year. This is possibly one of the main sources of diseases today. Furthermore, when food is produced with the use of these chemicals, the process is faster and kills naturally occurring microbes in the earth—which are responsible for giving the food its nutrition—leaving you with an already dead food that is stripped of its nutritional value. Not only then would you have to eat twice as much to get adequate nutrition, you are also more susceptible to reach for the crappy stimulation food items because you are simply not fed properly.
7. Thou shalt not covet fast and processed foods.
The progressive advance of fast and processed foods are indeed a product of our fast moving society where there is simply no time to cook anymore. However, the faster a food is the faster it will take you to your grave, literally. The lack of nutrients and the supremely poor ingredients of fast and pre package foods, will not only make you gain weight, it will also most certainly get you sick. And when you go to the doctor he will give you a drug that will make you sicker without eliminating the root of the problem. I can’t stress enough the importance of making the effort to make your own food, in order to know what’s in it. Plan ahead for the week, make bigger batches of food and bring your lunch with you each day while saving time and money. That little extra effort will be well worth it in the long run!
8. Thou shalt not be deceived: the microwave is not your best friend.
Most people like the convenience and speed of the microwave, but from a nutritional standpoint it absolutely kills the food. Microwave radiation causes the food to heat up by vibrating the water molecules in the food, hence it often comes out unevenly cooked as some parts of the food contains more water than other parts. However, when this radiation occurs it also breaks down the actual food molecules effectively killing the nutrients leaving you with a dead food with vastly less nutritional value. You can also clearly detect a loss of flavor. Now if the food that you are microwaving also happens to be pre-packed and frozen you can rest assure that you have a minus on the nutritional value of that meal! Make the effort to heat up your food conventionally or eat it cold.
9. Thou shalt not kill the coffee, just the sugar.
There is a lot of conflicting information on coffee and caffeinated beverages in general. Actually a small amount of coffee a day is completely defendable as it stimulates your metabolism and helps burn more fat in your daily routine. There are also studies that suggest that a moderate intake of coffee decreases the risk of heart disease. The main thing to be aware of here is two-fold: One, where does your coffee come from and how is it produced? Coffee companies tend to spray a ton of pesticides on the coffee that you end up drinking. It also tends to be heavily processed which further decreases the level of naturally occurring antioxidants found in natural coffee. Two, what else comes in your coffee drink? If it is a extra large frappuccino with 50 grams of sugar and whipped cream and chocolate on top, it is not coffee anymore; it’s a dessert with a calorie value equivalent to half a days worth of energy from healthy foods. Have your coffee with minimal additives and if you must sweeten, use stevia.
10. Thou shalt avoid gluten at all costs.
More and more people are found to be gluten intolerant, also known as celiac disease. In my opinion gluten should be avoided as much as possible, which is not easy as it finds its way in most processed foods. Once in a while it’s fine to consume gluten, but if it occurs on a daily basis then a number of things happen in the body. First of all, gluten is most commonly consumed in any form of white bread, which is actually as bad as eating pure white sugar considering its glycemic value. Secondly, and more importantly, when gluten is consumed and digested, it forms a lining not too different from glue in our digestive tract. We have micro hairs in our digestive system, or villi, that collect the broken down nutrients directly from the intestines. The gluten effectively clogs these hairs and leads to an array problems including the lack of nutritional absorption, as well as colon infections and constipation. There are alternative options to bread and gluten products like sprouted rye bread, quinoa and other gluten-free options.