Archive for October, 2013

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Chilled Espresso Custard

October 31, 2013

HIShapingLandscape

Chilled Espresso Custard

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 375 ml skim milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 Tbsp sugar substitute
  • 2 tsp instant decaffeinated coffee
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Ground cinnamon, for garnish
  • Lemon twists, for garnish

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, sugar substitute, coffee and vanilla extract until well-blended.
  2. Pour into four custard cups or ramekins and place in a 30 cm skillet. Fill the skillet with water to 1.5cm from the tops of the custard cups. Bring the water to the boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 mins.
  3. Remove the cups from the skillet, cover with plastic wrap touching the surface of the custard, and refrigerate for 3 hours, or until chilled.
  4. Garnish with cinnamon and lemon twists.
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Preventing Heart Disease in Kids

October 29, 2013

As part of the our Clinical Research Group, Dr Ayer studies the early-life origins of atherosclerosis. Though heart disease is often considered a disease of old age, evidence of atherosclerosis (the most common cause of heart disease) has been found in the arteries of adolescents and young adults. So Dr Ayer’s research focuses on improving the cardiovascular health of children, particularly by finding early factors that raise or lower the risk of cardiovascular disease later in life.

 

How can you measure the cardiovascular health of children? “Obviously you can’t use invasive techniques in children,” says Dr Ayer. “[So] using ultrasound we measure the arterial thickness, which gives us an indication of changes that are occurring in the arterial wall. We can also use ultrasound and other non-invasive techniques to measure vascular stiffness – so the structural and functional properties of the arteries.”

 

A lot of Dr Ayer’s work revolves around a 14-year (and counting) study called CAPS, a study that has followed a group of children from their birth – in the late 1990s – until today. Originally an investigation into ways to mitigate childhood asthma, CAPS has now started yielding some fascinating cardiovascular research.

 

One important finding is that omega-3 (fish oil) supplementation from birth to age 5 can help babies with low birth weight. Low birth weight is a risk factor for later-life cardiovascular disease, which is measurable by a thickening of the artery walls in children as young as 8; omega-3 in the diet stops this thickening from occurring. Interestingly, this supplementation has no beneficial effect for the average child – only for those who had low birth weight.

 

The CAPS study has also yielded valuable information on early-life risk factors for atherosclerosis. “We’ve looked at other determinants of [arterial] wall thickening, both the traditional risk factors like blood pressure and lipids, but also novel risk factors such as birth weight, lung function and obstructive sleep apnoea in childhood,” says Dr Ayer. Now that the children from the CAPS study are in their teenage years, Dr Ayer is investigating the effects of puberty on arterial structure and function.

 

When asked which CAPS study he’d like to highlight, Dr Ayer points to his study showing that smoking during pregnancy causes children to have lower HDL (“good”) cholesterol at age 8. HDL cholesterol has a number of potentially protective actions against atherosclerosis, so smoking during pregnancy puts the child’s heart health at risk. “It’s part of that public health message with regards to smoking and pregnancy; most people know that smoking in pregnancy is bad, but you’re building a case against it. I think that helped the case for an important public health issue.”

Article sourced from http://www.hri.org.au/page.aspx?pid=623

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Chicken with Coconut Curry Coating

October 24, 2013

Healthy Inspirations Coffs Harbour

image001

4 chicken drumsticks
1 egg
2 Tbsp coconut oil
25g almond meal
25g desiccated coconut
1 Tbsp curry powder (or curry paste)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chopped coriander

1. Preheat oven to 180° C and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper or aluminium foil.

2. Combine egg and melted coconut oil in a small, shallow bowl.

3. In another bowl, combine almond meal, coconut, spices and herbs.

4. Dip one drumstick in the egg and oil mixture, using fingers to coat it completely, remove and allow excess liquid to drip back into the bowl, and then roll it in flour mixture until completely covered.

5. Place drumstick onto lined tray, then repeat step 4 until all drumsticks are done.

6. Pop the lot in the oven, and bake for around 45 minutes, until coating is crunchy and meat is cooked through.

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Increase Flexibility in Your Hamstrings

October 22, 2013

If I had a dollar for every time a yoga student or friend bemoaned his or her tight hamstrings, I would be pretty wealthy. It seems that people are super concerned about hamstring flexibility, and strain hard to touch their toes. Frankly, this ability is overrated.

Located on the back of the legs, the hamstrings are made up of three muscles with tendons that cross over both the knee and hip joints. Because the muscle attaches to two joints, any decreased joint mobility affects the length of the muscle.

Because of our sedentary culture, we spend an inordinate amount of time sitting — with both the knees and hips bent. This position directly impacts the length of the hamstrings. Athletic activities, such as running and biking, further shorten the hamstrings. This tightening also affects the pelvis because the tendons attach to the sit bones (ischial tuberosities), the bottom hooks of the pelvic bowl. In sitting, and even in standing, the shortening of the hamstrings can rock the pelvis backward, causing a rounded, slouchy position in the lower back. This rounded position can stress the back muscles, creating the potential for injury.

Now take this understanding of pelvic alignment and physiological length of the hamstrings onto the yoga mat, and move through a series of forward bends: the back muscles and tendons, attached to the sit bones, become genuinely cranky. Too often in yoga classes, students are most concerned with keeping their legs straight while trying to get their hands on the floor in a forward fold. Accomplishing this move really does not matter for general function and mobility, and can actually be injurious if done incorrectly.  If a student strains to get their hands to the floor, and rounds at the pelvis, the lower back (and possibly the hamstring tendons) are at risk of becoming strained.

If the hamstrings are tight but the pelvis is allowed to tip forward as the student moves into a standing forward fold, the lower back is safe and, with time and practice, the student can work on gradually straightening their knees. The goal is to hinge at the hip, so that the lower belly moves toward the upper thighs.  As long as pelvic mobility is not affected, and the core is engaged, a slight tightness in the hamstrings might offer some protection to less-flexible students by acting as a bumper pad to protect them from overstretching the connective tissue in their muscles and tendons.

Moving from the pelvis safely and successfully helps gain and maintain hamstring flexibility.

Complete this practice to help improve both pelvic mobility and hamstring flexibility:

1. Start with cat/cow by going down on all fours. Focus on moving your pelvis by moving the sit bones up and down. Don’t dump into the lower back.

2. Move into downward facing dog. Lift the sit bones up towards the ceiling, lifting the tendons of the hamstrings. Keep the pelvis in this position as you tuck the toes, lift the knees off the ground and gradually straighten the knees. Move into down dog gradually as you keep the pelvis stable, stopping when the knees can no longer straighten without rounding the back.

If your hamstrings are really tight, place your hands on a chair and do the same cat/cow transition into a down dog. The focus should still be on lifting the tailbone.

3. In down dog, place a block between your upper thighs and squeeze the inner thighs together. Try to straighten the knees, with the block in place, by pulling the lower belly in and lightly squeezing the sit bones. This movement activates the hamstrings, inner thighs and quadriceps (on the front thigh).

4.  Lie on your back, and place a strap, or a towel, around your foot and straighten the knee. Instead of pulling the foot closer to your head, keep the foot over the hip point and firm the front thigh muscle/quadricep to stretch the hamstrings. This alignment keeps the pelvis in a slight tilt and does not let the lower back round (as it would if you kept pulling the foot towards the head).

5. Keep your abdominals engaged as you work on your pelvic mobility, on all fours or on your hands in down dog, so that you don’t dump into your lower back.

Completing this practice, and focusing on the pelvis instead of the hamstrings, may get you closer to the promised land of palms on the floor – or not. Remember, yoga is like life.  It isn’t about the result; getting your palms down is much less important than how you move towards that goal.

Article sources from http://www.myyogaonline.com/about-yoga/learn-about-yoga/how-to-safely-increase-flexibility-in-your-hamstrings/

Handstands … the benefits of being Upside Down

October 19, 2013

Handstands are an extremely underrated exercise, for one main reason: most people think they just can’t do them.

But just because you didn’t do gymnastics when you were younger and aren’t yet an advanced yoga practitioner doesn’t mean you can’t start doing handstands starting today.

Aside from bringing out your inner kid and just being plain fun to do, there are actually several ways handstands can benefit your health, especially if you do them on a daily basis.

So whether you do them against a wall or manage to do freestanding ones, here are five reasons why you should do handstands every day:

1. They’ll make your upper body super strong.

In order to stay upside down for any length of time, you’ll need a massive amount of shoulder, arm, and upper back strength. In fact, it’s not uncommon for beginners to start shaking after just a few seconds of holding a handstand.

To build up strength, start by holding a handstand against a wall for three sets of 5-10 seconds. Work up to holding them for a minute or two at a time. Practice often, and watch as your upper body strength skyrockets.

2. They’ll increase your balance

If you’ve ever tried a handstand, you know that besides needing to be strong to do them, you’ll also need to have substantial balancing skills as well in order to be able to hold yourself up. Freestanding handstands, especially, require you to be able to have full control over your muscles and to constantly make small adjustments to avoid falling.

Practicing freestanding handstands or doing handstands against a wall and trying to take your feet off the wall for as long as possible will help increase your balancing abilities like no other exercise can.

3. They can boost your mood.

Not only will handstands make you strong and help improve your balancing abilities, handstands can also make you feel happier, since the blood flow to your brain has an energizing and calming effect, especially when you’re feeling really stressed out.

Another way handstands can help your mood is by reducing the production of the stress hormone, cortisol, which can not only de-stress you in the short-term but could also help relieve minor depression and anxiety.

4. They build core strength.

There’s no need to spend hours focusing just on your abs — you can have fun doing handstands and build core strength as well.

Since staying upside down forces you to stabilize your muscles, you’re constantly working your abs, as well as other key muscle groups such as your hip flexors, hamstrings, inner thigh muscles, obliques and lower back while in a handstand. Training handstands every day will get you a well balanced, super strong core.

5. They help with bone health, circulation and breathing.

Since handstands are technically a weight-bearing exercise, they can help strengthen your bones, making you less prone to osteoporosis. Handstands are also beneficial for your spine, and help aid bone health in your shoulders, arms and wrists.

Not only that, the upside-down nature of a handstand can increase circulation to your upper body, while relieving pressure on your feet and legs and stretching your diaphragm at the same time, which in turn can increase blood flow to your lungs.

So start building handstands into your daily routine, even if it’s just a few a day. You’ll not only be benefiting your health; you’ll have a blast while doing it!

 

Article sourced from http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-11284/5-reasons-you-should-do-handstands-every-day.html

A Reason to Skip Artificial Sweeteners

October 17, 2013

A new study may make you think twice before adding Splenda to your coffee.

Published in the journal Diabetes Care, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis researchers found that sucralose, most popularly known by the brand name Splenda, has effects on the body’s responses to sugar (glucose) — which could thereby affect diabetes risk — despite the fact that it has zero calories.

“Our results indicate that this artificial sweetener is not inert — it does have an effect,” study researcher M. Yanina Pepino, Ph.D., research assistant professor of medicine at the university, said in a statement. “And we need to do more studies to determine whether this observation means long-term use could be harmful.”

The new study included 17 people who were severely obese (they had a body mass index over 42; 30 is considered the starting point for obesity) and who didn’t regularly consume artificially sweetened products. The study participants drank sucralose or water before taking a glucose challenge test. This test involves drinking a sugary solution before undergoing blood sugar measurements in order to see how well the body responds to sugar; it’s typically used as a tool to determine if a woman has gestational diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic.

After that, the researchers asked all the study participants who first drank water to then drink sucralose before undergoing another glucose challenge test, and all those who first drank sucralose to then drink water before undergoing another glucose challenge test. Researchers found that consuming the sucralose was associated with higher blood sugar peaks and 20 percent higher insulin levels compared with consuming the water, though they noted more studies are needed to determine the actual health effects of a 20 percent increase in insulin.

It’s important to understand how exactly insulin and blood sugar play a role in Type 2 diabetes. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that assists in the absorption of sugar into cells and also helps to decrease the amount of sugar that is circulating in the blood. The amount of insulin secreted into the bloodstream is related to the amount of sugar circulating; when there is less sugar, there is less insulin being secreted, according to the Mayo Clinic. With Type 2 diabetes, cells become insulin-resistant, and the pancreas isn’t able to produce enough insulin to get the cells to take up the sugar. When this happens, sugar accumulates in the blood.

The increases in insulin levels in the new study could show that the participants’ bodies are able to produce insulin to accommodate the glucose — or it could be a risk factor for diabetes because when a body is constantly secreting insulin, it raises the risk of cells becoming resistant to the hormone.

 

But still, even though “we found that sucralose affects the glucose and insulin response to glucose ingestion, we don’t know the mechanism responsible,” Pepino said in the statement. “We have shown that sucralose is having an effect. In obese people without diabetes, we have shown sucralose is more than just something sweet that you put into your mouth with no other consequences.”

Past research in animals has suggested that artificial sweeteners have effects on fasting glucose levels. Particularly, research presented at a 2011 meeting of the American Diabetes Association showed that aspartame — another kind of artificial sweetener — is linked with higher fasting glucose levels in mice, TIME reported.

According to Dr. Melina Jampolis, who is an internist and physician nutrition specialist, research in both animals and humans suggests the taste of sweet can boost appetite, and also reinforce cravings for and dependence on sugar. She told HuffPost:

Laboratory and animal studies have found an increase in insulin with some artificial sweeteners, which could drop your blood sugar and make you crave more sugar, but there is no consistent evidence for this in humans. There is some evidence in humans that artificial sweeteners may subjectively increase appetite. However in the context of a meal, it is not known if it causes an increase in hunger and if so, if this outweighs the decrease in calories consumed.

As far as a link between a big source of artificial sweeteners — diet drinks — and diabetes, research has been a little more mixed. A study presented at the same American Diabetes Association meeting showed that diet soda-drinkers had dramatically bigger waistlines over a nearly 10-year period, compared with non-diet soda drinkers — and weight is, of course, a huge risk factor for diabetes.

And a study released earlier this year in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed an association between diet soda and higher Type 2 diabetes risk. That research interestingly showed that while diet and regular soda drinkers had higher Type 2 diabetes risks, those who imbibed with diet had an even higher diabetes risk.

However, a big study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published in 2011 showed that diet sodas actually may not raise diabetes risk, and that the association could be attributed to the fact that people with diabetes or who are obese drink more diet drinks than other people, Reuters reported.

“People who are at risk for diabetes or obesity … those may be the people who are more likely to choose artificial sweeteners because they may be more likely to be dieting,” National Institutes of Health endocrinologist Rebecca Brown, an artificial sweetener researcher who was not involved in the 2011 study, told Reuters.

But still, there’s no question that some good old H2O trumps sodas — diet or not — to quench thirst and hydrate the body.

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This article was sourced from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/03/splenda-blood-sugar-sucralose-insulin_n_3362122.html

Exercise with a Friend – The Workout You Won’t Cancel

October 15, 2013

Karen Stein was feeling angry with herself. She had started a new job, with a demanding travel schedule that caused her to add unwanted pounds. As winter ended, Stein* felt so unhappy about her weight gain that she resisted when her friend, Susan Mosher*, tried to get her outdoors for physical activity.

That might have been the end of the story. But Stein, 37, and Mosher, 41, are exercise buddies as well as friends. They had started exercising together as co-workers and continued after the company that employed them had folded. For nearly five years now, except in the dead of winter, the two Pennsylvania women meet at least once a week (more often in summer), to walk a five-mile loop in a park near their homes.

According to Stein, her exercise buddy wouldn’t let her stay depressed and inactive. Mosher finally convinced her to lace up her sneakers and head for the park.

“We just started going again and it worked itself out,” says Stein, who lost nearly all the extra weight. “She was a huge part of me taking it off.”

How buddies help

There’s strength in numbers, the old saying goes, and that’s especially true for many women when it comes to exercising. Social support encourages physical activity. An exercise buddy (or two) makes such support even more personal. If you decided to become more active this year, having an exercise buddy may help you achieve and maintain that goal.

“Exercise partners can provide a kind of gentle coercion and limit your negative self-talk,” says Barbara A. Brehm, Ed.D., professor, Department of Exercise and Sport Studies, at Smith College in Northampton, MA. Forget making excuses about why you’re too tired or too busy to exercise. When you’re scheduled to meet a friend for exercise, Brehm says, “you’ll avoid that debate in your head about whether you should go and work out.”

The buddy system keeps boredom away and makes time pass quickly. Many exercise partners talk as they walk (walking is a popular buddy exercise). The miles or kilometers seem to disappear more rapidly while chatting with a companion than they do when you’re exercising alone, focusing on every step or minute.

“I can go on a two-mile walk by myself, but I don’t like anything longer,” Mosher says. Yet when she walks five miles with Stein, “before you know it, you’re done!”

Having a conversation while exercising dissociates you from the discomfort of the activity, says researcher James J. Annesi, Ph.D., Director of Wellness Advancement at the YMCA of Metropolitan Atlanta. “People who can tolerate discomfort better are less likely to drop out from exercise,” he says.

What’s more, even if they start out as only casual acquaintances, exercise buddies often build strong friendship bonds. That was true for Mosher and Stein, who count the psychological benefits of their relationship as important as the physical ones. “It’s almost therapeutic,” Mosher says. “As we walk, we tell each other our problems and struggles. And it’s cheaper than therapy.”

The buddy system works for losing weight as well. Researchers at Miriam Hospital/Brown Medical School and University of Massachusetts Dartmouth found that participants in a weight loss regimen that included exercise lost more weight when their support partners took part in the same program and were successful at dropping pounds. Others participating alone, or whose support buddies didn’t lose weight, did not do as well.

Relating to buddies

One reason that teaming up with an exercise buddy works is that you see someone who’s similar to you doing a physical activity. That strengthens your belief that you can accomplish the same thing.

The greater your self-confidence about performing regular activity or keeping up in an exercise class, the more motivated you’re likely to become, Brehm says. That boosts adherence—your ability to stay with an exercise regimen beyond the start-up phase.

“People who stick to their exercise program get some kind of reward: it makes them feel better, it helps them sleep, it’s fun to do, or it’s accomplishing something,” says Brehm. When you have a buddy, “you’re accomplishing two things at once. You’re getting to see your friend…and you’re exercising at the same time.”

You can achieve adherence success with a supportive group as well, says Annesi, who has conducted research on the subject. He’s sympathetic if your knees grow weak at the thought of entering a room filled with sleek, high-intensity, power exercisers. Not all physical activity that happens in a social setting is supportive, he notes.

Annesi advises you avoid groups (and individuals) that make you feel as if your body is being judged negatively. “When you find a group that you feel comfortable with…you’ll stay with the exercise,” he says.

Tips for a successful exercise buddy relationship

  • Consider personality. “Pick somebody who you really want to spend time with, because that’s going to motivate you to go,” says Stein. But don’t convince your best friend to be your exercise buddy if she doesn’t like physical activity. If you do, your plan could fail quickly.
  • Make joint decisions. Find someone who shares your same exercise interests and whose schedule is similar to yours. Choose an activity location that’s convenient for both of you.
  • When possible, match skill levels. If you walk for exercise, your buddy’s speed should be similar to yours. It’s okay if she’s a little bit faster, because that will encourage you to push yourself a bit. You don’t want a wide difference in skill or you might feel as if you’re holding her back. Matching ages doesn’t matter, Brehm notes, as much as matching fitness levels. Partners of varying abilities can buddy up by meeting at a gym and using equipment set to their skill levels, such as elliptical trainers or treadmills.
  • If you need extra encouragement, make an altruistic match. Some people have more success when they’re exercising because it’s good for someone else, such as an overweight child or a spouse with heart disease.
  • Make your exercise sessions a priority. Buddies need a similar amount of commitment to the plan. “There have been many Saturday mornings,” says Mosher, “when she shows up at my house at 6 a.m. and I say, ‘If you weren’t coming, I wouldn’t be up.'”
  • Have a back-up plan ready for when your buddy can’t participate. Occasionally, your buddy will get sick or have a schedule conflict. If she can’t make a session, have an alternate plan—whether it’s to walk the same route alone or while talking to a friend on a cell phone, exercise to a DVD or video at home, or go to the gym. Knowing what you’ll do will help keep you moving.
  • Make adjustments when needed. Mosher and Stein have kept their buddy relationship active over the years by adapting to changes in jobs, family, and health. Success comes from “constantly tweaking what we’re doing, to make it work for our lives,” Stein says.

Did You Know?

Red "FREE MEMBERSHIP" Stamp

Motivate Your Mates To Get A FREE 6 Month Coffs Coast Health Club Membership!  

Spring is the best time of the year to get in shape and its always more fun when you are getting in shape with your mates. Until 6pm on Sunday 20th October we are offering all current members the opportunity to SAVE their friends some money & GET A FREE 6 MONTH MEMBERSHIP for themselves. The beach weather is coming and the layers of clothing are going, so now is the time to make your move!

Simply invite your friends to join the club & when 5 of them join before 6pm on Sunday 20th October, WE WILL GIVE YOU A FREE 6 MONTH MEMBERSHIP!

To help you motivate your mates we are also offering them the opportunity to join for 50% OFF their joining fee if they join individually or 100% OFF their joining fee if two or more join together. This obviously makes it easier for you to get your 5 mates joining & YOUR FREE 6 MONTH MEMBERSHIP sooner.

There are no catches, all they have to do is write your name down on their 12 month membership form & we will take care of the rest. When they join, they will also be eligible to take advantage of the offer. Only one current member can claim the new member but there are no limits on this offer, so if 10 mates join YOU GET A FREE 12 MONTH MEMBERSHIP & so on!

Quick, spread the word!

 

 

 

Information sourced from http://www.healthywomen.org/content/article/get-motivated-workout-you-wont-cancel

Are You Gluten Intolerant?

October 13, 2013

More than 55 diseases have been linked to gluten, the protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. It’s estimated that 99% of the people who have either gluten intolerance or celiac disease are never diagnosed.

 
It is also estimated that as much as 15% of the US population is gluten intolerant. Could you be one of them?
 
If you have any of the following symptoms it could be a sign that you have gluten intolerance:
 
1. Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea and even constipation. I see the constipation particularly in children after eating gluten.
 
2. Keratosis Pilaris, (also known as ‘chicken skin’ on the back of your arms). This tends be as a result of a fatty acid deficiency and vitamin A deficiency secondary to fat-malabsorption caused by gluten damaging the gut.
 
3. Fatigue, brain fog or feeling tired after eating a meal that contains gluten.
 
4. Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Scleroderma or Multiple sclerosis.
 
5. Neurologic symptoms such as dizziness or feeling of being off balance.
 
6. Hormone imbalances such as PMS, PCOS or unexplained infertility.
 
7. Migraine headaches.
 
8. Diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia. These diagnoses simply indicate your conventional doctor cannot pin point the cause of your fatigue or pain.
 
9. Inflammation, swelling or pain in your joints such as fingers, knees or hips.
 
10. Mood issues such as anxiety, depression, mood swings and ADD.
 
How to test for gluten intolerance?
 
I have found the single best ways to determine if you have an issue with gluten is to do an elimination diet and take it out of your diet for at least 2 to 3 weeks and then reintroduce it. Please note that gluten is a very large protein and it can take months and even years to clear from your system so the longer you can eliminate it from your diet before reintroducing it, the better.
 
The best advice that I share with my patients is that if they feel significantly better off of gluten or feel worse when they reintroduce it, then gluten is likely a problem for them.  In order to get accurate results from this testing method you must elimination 100% of the gluten from your diet.
 
How to treat gluten intolerance?
 
Eliminating gluten 100% from your diet means 100%. Even trace amounts of gluten from cross contamination or medications or supplements can be enough to cause an immune reaction in your body. 
 
The 80/20 rule or “we don’t eat it in our house, just when we eat out” is a complete misconception. An article published in 2001 states that for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity eating gluten just once a month increased the relative risk of death by 600%.
 
Still unsure?
Seek out medical advice.
 
 
 
Article sourced from http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-7482/10-signs-youre-gluten-intolerant.html

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Grilled Tuna with California Salsa

October 10, 2013

Grilled Tuna with California Salsa
Serves 4

 Ingredients

  • 4 (100g) tuna steaks
  • Large handful fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 3 medium tomatoes, roughly diced
  • 2 Tbsp small capers, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup mixed olives
  • 2 lemons
  • Rocket, to serve

 Method

  1. Pat the fish dry with paper towel. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the basil, garlic and oil. Brush both sides of the fish with some of the basil mixture, season with salt and pepper and set aside for a few minutes.
  2. Add the onion, tomato and capers to the remaining basil mixture to make the salsa, and mix well. Cut half the olives into slivers, discarding the pits. Stir into the salsa, season to taste with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Set aside.
  3. Heat a fry pan to medium hot and cook the tuna steaks for about 2 minutes each side or until just cooked through. (Do not overcook as it becomes very dry.)
  4. Divide the rocket between four plates, top with a tuna steak, add the salsa and scatter with the remaining whole olives.
  5. Serve with a wedge of lemon and a side salad.
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Food to NEVER eat again!

October 8, 2013
Drop that spoon! Everyone deserves the occasional indulgence, but before you dig in there are a handful of foods you should steer clear of to avoid damaging effects on your body, skin, and waistline. Here, experts weigh in on  foods to push off your plate for good.

Frosting

That store-bought frosting from a tub might taste great on cakes and cookies, but it’s packed with problems. “It’s one of the only items in the grocery store that still has trans fats, which are terrible for your health and waistline,” says Melina Jampolis, MD, physician nutrition expert and coauthor of The Calendar Diet. “Trans fat raises bad cholesterol, lowers good cholesterol, and causes inflammation, which can lead to belly fat and diseases ranging from heart disease to diabetes.” On top of that, tub frosting is loaded with sugar, and high-sugar diets contribute to premature wrinkles. Yikes.

Bagels

If you’re prone to skin problems and tempted to grab a bagel before you go in the morning, think twice. “Bagels have a massively high glycemic index, which increases insulin and leads to increased inflammation in the body, which is shown to possibly accelerate aging and worsen acne and rosacea,” says dermatologist Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, codirector of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery in Washington, DC. Opt for an English muffin with peanut butter instead.

Processed Baked Goods

So convenient, so tasty (if we’re being honest here), but so not worth it. Those pre-packaged mini muffins, doughnuts, and dessert cakes will add tons of calories and loads of unwanted sugar to your diet, plus they aren’t easy to digest. “These foods are bad on so many levels, because they are filled with high sugar content and preservatives for a longer shelf-life — they can literally sit there forever,” says Dr. Tanzi. “Sugar increases inflammation in the skin, which on top of irritating acne and rosacea, can make you look puffy and bloated. Skip the wrapped stuff and grab fresh fruit for a sweet fix instead.

Soft Drinks

Dietitians and doctors all agree: Soda should be nixed from your diet completely. “One can of soda is like a can of water with 10 packets of sugar in it,” says nutritionist Bonnie Taub-Dix, MA, RD, CDN, and director and owner of BTD Nutrition Consultants, LLC. “The recommended amount of daily sugar for a woman is about six teaspoons or 24 grams, and soda has way more than that.” Good old fashion H2O is still your best option. If you want to jazz it up, add a slice of fresh fruit for flavor.

Sugary Cereal

A bowl of Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops, or Cap’n Crunch might taste like nostalgia, but it’ll wreak some havoc with its high amount of inflammation-causing sugar and gluten content. “For some people with sensitive skin, gluten can exacerbate breakouts, leading to increased redness and, yes, more breakouts,” says Dr. Tanzi. Opt for low-sugar, gluten-free options like Rice Chex and Corn Flakes.

Stick Margarine

Choose a small amount of regular butter or soft spread over stick-shaped margarine when topping foods or baking, says Taub-Dix. “Margarine is usually loaded with trans fat,” she says. Don’t forget that stick margarine is found in plenty of pastries, crackers, snack foods, and even microwave popcorn, so limit intake to keep cholesterol levels in check.

Bottled Tomato Sauce

It’s easy to forget sources of sugar when you’re making recipes that aren’t traditionally considered sweet, but they do exist. Tomato sauce is a big culprit, says Dr. Tanzi. “Make your own, because the store stuff has a ton of sugar.”

Bacon

Noshing on bacon as a side for breakfast, as a topping for salads, or as an addition to your sandwich? Bad habit. “I know it’s only 45 calories a strip, but it is really high in fat, sodium, and the preservative sodium nitrate,” says Taub-Dix. Veggies or a few nuts are better options for a crunch, and won’t create such problems for your heart and digestive system. You’re better off avoiding it, but if you must have a little bacon? “Stick to half a strip to crumble on foods like salads and sandwiches,” Taub-Dix says.

Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is low in calories and has some good vitamins and minerals like riboflavin and vitamin B-6, but the extremely high sodium content will leave you bloated and at risk for conditions like hypertension. “There are so many low-sodium, lighter soy sauce options, there’s no reason to buy the regular stuff anymore,” says Taub-Dix. Yet she still recommends using the light stuff sparingly. “A tablespoon of the low-sodium soy sauce is about 600 milligrams of sodium instead of 900, so it is less but not none.”

Article first appeared in http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/weight-loss/eating-help/calories/foods-to-never-eat/