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How to Stop Emotional Eating

By Denise Foley

Did you buy six boxes of Girl Scout cookies this year because you couldn’t say no to the world’s cutest 7-year-old in a Brownie uniform? Did you take that extra helping of your sister-in-law’s whole wheat carob cake because you didn’t want to hurt her feelings? When your BFF is waffling over ordering dessert, do you agree to share it with her even though you don’t want it – and then match her bite for bite?

If you could answer yes to any of these questions, you may suffer from sociotropy – the scientific term for having the need to please others. While that might make you the right candidate to broker peace in the Mideast, excessive niceness is a recipe for excessive girth. And it’s only one of the character traits that can lead to unhappy mornings on the scale.

We all know the major triggers of emotional eating: anger, loneliness, rejection, guilt. Most of us, at one time or another, have taken out our fury on a bag of crunchy corn chips or tried to beat the blues with a pint of cookie-dough ice cream. But new research shows that certain personality types are also prone to making a frosted donut a chosen alternative to therapy. Besides the sociotrope, there’s the thrill seeker and the worka-choco-holic – and each type needs different strategies for coping without the extra calories.

The People Pleaser: You Eat for One, But It’s Not You

In a recent experiment at Case Western Reserve University, researchers screened volunteers for their “gotta be nice” qualities, then invited them to a meeting with a staff member (actually an actor) who casually passed around a bowl of M&M’s. When the bowl came their way, students who’d scored higher on the sociotropy scale dug in, taking more than the students who were less concerned with others’ comfort or with matching how many the actor ate. “They didn’t want him to feel bad by eating fewer,” explains study head Julie Exline, Ph.D.

We often eat more when we’re around those who are eating a lot – that’s one reason studies show that people whose friends are overweight are more likely to be heavy themselves. “Then, if you have a people-pleasing thing going on top of that, you’ll feel even more pressured to follow others,” says Exline.

After overeating comes depression, and not just because you can’t zip your jeans. “When your motivation is to please other people, you’re letting them tell you what’s important to you,” says Exline. “I describe it as ‘silencing your own voice.’ ” The goal, then, to avoid piling on those unpleasing pounds, is to find that voice.

1. First, Consider What You Want 
If you’re not truly hungry, “Lay on praise, then state your boundary,” suggests Karen R. Koenig, a psychotherapist and author of Nice Girls Finish Fat. You might say, “Those pastries look delicious, but I’m so stuffed from lunch that I’m going to take a pass.” You can smile at that cute Brownie, give her the money for two boxes of cookies, then ask her to donate them to troops overseas. 

2. De-nice Yourself…A Little 
Of course, you’re going to be fighting an enemy that has outposts in your head, as writer Sally Kempton famously said. Even if you were the biggest tomboy on the block, you probably grew up believing that caretaking was in your future, if not somewhere in your genes. “But changing isn’t as hard as you may think,” says Koenig. “It’s really about learning a new life skill.”

Practice saying a (polite) no to the salesperson on the phone (start with the robocaller if you’re a tough case), then work your way up to strangers offering samples in a store and coworkers tempting you with holiday goodies. After that, you’ll be ready to take on your cousin when she pushes a second helping of pie at you.

Are you eating out of boredom? The Thrill Seeker: You’re Bored and Want Candy

What you probably want is a jolt of dopamine, says Susan Carnell, Ph.D., research associate at New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital. That’s the brain chemical that drives excitement, pleasure, and motivation – including the motivation to eat. “The dopamine system evolved with the very purpose of making adaptive things like eating feel rewarding so we wouldn’t forget to do them.”

These days, says Carnell, drugs, thrill seeking, and food cravings have hijacked the brain’s reward system, leading to addiction, accidents, and overeating. Recent studies have found that ingesting sugary, fatty foods sparks dopamine production in the brain in much the same way drugs like heroin do, lighting up the neural reward center in imaging studies. “It’s just a matter of degree,” says Carnell. “Food gives a relatively mild high compared to skydiving and heroin. But it’s the easiest route to reward.”

Surprisingly, there’s not a lot of research on boredom eating, but a small 2011 Bowling Green State University study hints at how prevalent it is. In the study, 139 young men and women reported eating out of boredom more than out of other states of emotion linked to overindulging, such as anxiety or depression.

Older studies, approaching boredom from a slightly different direction, have suggested a connection between having what scientists call a “novelty-seeking personality” and being overweight. In a review from Washington University in St. Louis, obese people were more likely than thinner folks to be novelty seekers; they also had great trouble dropping pounds. One reason: Being high in novelty-seeking can make you more likely to overeat as well as to try and enjoy drugs. Cocaine, a cupcake – it’s all the same when you’re looking for a kick.

Joking aside, if your life seems like one big yawn, there are things to do other than hitting the fridge.

1. Seek Out a Thrill 
Make a list of activities that can fill in the boring blanks. “To stimulate your neural circuitry, it has to be something that makes you feel excited and motivated,” says Carnell. You could, for example, take a class. Dopamine is the chemical that fosters learning and memory, so the novelty of doing something new scatters the chemical throughout your brain. Whether it’s knitting or scuba diving depends on you and the level of excitement you think you need.

2. Shake Up Your Life Regularly 
Get off the bus at a different stop and hoof it the rest of the way to work, checking out the sights you’ve only seen from a window. Plan your dream vacation or home-remodeling project in detail, as if you’re doing it soon. Need to lose weight? A single program may not help you, particularly if you get bored counting calories, carbs, or points. So try one and, after the thrill’s gone, try another. Likewise, alternate physical activity – walking one day, Zumba the next.

Busy lives can contribute to weight gainThe Worka-choco-holic: You’re Overworked, Overwhelmed – and Overeating

Those are the “three O’s” that are the downfall of driven women, says psychologist Melissa McCreery, Ph.D., which explores how women’s busy lives contribute to emotional eating and weight gain. The “O’s” can all lead to stress eating. “But there’s more to it than stress,” says McCreery. “Women who balance many responsibilities struggle with putting themselves first. It takes time. Food is an easy Band-Aid, while real self-care can be more time-intensive.”

But solutions come in many sizes – and even small changes may be enough to avoid the extra pounds that can come with extra work.

1. Think “Doable” 
You don’t want to add more stress to your life. For example, take five minutes to transition between work and home. If you know you won’t find quiet – everyone will be “starving” or clamoring to tell you about his or her day – sit in the car and listen to music or meditate before going into the house.

2. Connect With Yourself 
When you’re stressed, take five again – five seconds – before digging into the Nutella. “Ask yourself what’s going on and if there’s anything else you want to do besides eat,” says McCreery.

Make a list of small breaks that don’t involve chewing: calling a friend; playing a game on your cell phone; tossing a toy for your dog.

3. Say It Out Loud 
A recently published Greek study found that people who were trying to learn a new skill did better when they spoke to themselves using cue words. When you’re stressed, voicing your plan to do something other than eat – “I’m going to sit down and read for five minutes” – will change the direction of your thoughts, says McCreery. “It takes you off autopilot and puts you more in control.”

If that doesn’t work, instead of blaming yourself, be curious. Think about what went wrong and what you could do next time. Overachievers are smart; harness your own wisdom, and you’ll find your answers there.

Getting enough sleep can deter emotional eatingGo to the Mattress

No matter what your personality, if you’re tired, you’ll be tempted to look for a quick hit of energy – the kind that lives in vending machines or behind drive-through windows. Many of us know this from life experience, but now, using brain-imaging technology, researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, have confirmed that people who have been sleep-deprived suffer impairment in the parts of the brain involved in making appropriate food choices. The solution: Make sleep time sacrosanct. When you can’t log enough hours, try these next-day tricks: Give your brain a rest every 45 minutes or so. “No matter how busy you are, you’ll be more productive if you take breaks,” says psychologist Melissa McCreery, Ph.D. And find other quick ways to boost energy – move around, go outside for some fresh air, or listen to upbeat music on your iPod.

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How to Make Apple Cups and Homemade Apple Cider

These are really much simpler than they look, and are such a charming way to enjoy your favorite apple cider!  The only requirements are some apples, a paring knife, and a spoon.  (Although if you have a melon baller, it’ll make the scooping slightly easier!)

Cute, delicious, and nutritious!

Apple Cider Cups Recipe

Ingredients:

  • large apples
  • lemon juice
  • apple cider, either homemade or storebought
  • optional: cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, allspice and/or star anise for garnish

Method:

On a cutting board or sturdy surface, use a knife to cut off the top of the apple.  Then take a paring knife and carefully outline where you’d like the “rim” of your apple cup to be.  (My rims were about 1/4″ wide.)  Use a spoon to carefully begin scooping out the center of your apple until you have a nice “cup”.  (A melon baller also works well for this.)

Also, if your apple doesn’t sit exactly level, take your paring knife and just slice off a few millimeters to even off the bottom to make it even.  Just be careful not to let your knife cut through the bottom or sides of the apple when hollowing it out, or the cider will leak out!

Once you have the inside of the apples hollowed out, brush a little lemon juice over the inside of the apples (to prevent browning).  Then fill with your favorite apple cider, garnish with cinnamon or spices if you’d like, and serve!

Bonus Tip:

You could also warm the apple cups in the oven before serving. DON’T  leave them in too long, or they will lose their firmness.

Homemade Apple Cider (Non-Alcoholic)

Ingredients:

8 -10 organic red apples

1/4 cup real maple syrup

4 tablespoons cinnamon (or 4 cinnamon sticks)

4 tablespoons allspice

Directions:

1. Quarter your apples (no need to remove peel or seeds).

2. In a large stock pot add your apples and fill with water–just enough to cover the apples.

3. Add maple syrup

4. Wrap your cinnamon and allspice in a doubled up cheese cloth and tie, and add this to the apples and water.

5. Boil on high for one hour (uncovered) checking on it frequently.

6. Turn down heat and let simmer for two hours (covered).

7. Take off the heat after two hours of simmering and let cool.

8. Remove spices and mash up the apples to a pulp like consistency (a potato masher works well for this).

9. Once cool pour into a strainer over a large bowl. When most of the juice has drained away, put the remainder of the pulp into a doubled up cheese cloth and squeeze over the bowl until no more juice comes out.

10. (At this point you can either restrain the juice to get out the little bits of pulp that remain with a cheese cloth draped inside the strainer to catch them or just leave it like I do).

11. You can store in an air tight container in your refrigerator for up to a week or you can freeze it for later use if you like.

FOR DIABETICS

** You could make this a diabetic recipe by omitting the maple syrup and adding stevia to taste in place of the sugar or none at all.**

 

 

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The Health Benefits of Distilled Water

The Importance of Pure Water:

Only oxygen is more essential than water in sustaining the life of all living organisms. Human beings can live for several weeks without food, but only a few days without water. The quality of your tissues, their performance, and their resistance to disease and injury are linked to the quality and quantity of water you drink. Experts agree that in order to maintain optimum health one needs to drink 8-10 glasses of water per day. The daily cleansing of wastes from each cell, the flushing of the alimentary canal and the purifying of the blood are all dependent on our water consumption.

The Present Condition of Water:

Most people get their water from the household tap. This water originates from lakes, rivers, streams, and underground sources. The majority of water goes through a cleaning system at a local water treatment plant. However, many harmful pollutants and water borne diseases are present in the finished treated water

Fifty percent of the US population uses water that, in part, is made up of recently discharged wastewater. And like the treatments for drinking water, wastewater treatments do not remove many of the toxic substances. Prevention Magazine

According to scientists from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), it has been estimated that between 60 to 80 percent of all cancer is caused by chemicals in the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink. The NCI expressed concern over 20 years ago that increases in carcinogens in water and our inability to remove them could result in serious exposure of the general population.

What is distilled water?

Distilled water is water which has been heated to the boiling point so that impurities are separated from the water which itself becomes vapor or steam. It is then condensed back into pure liquid form. The impurities remain in the residue which is simply thrown away. Distilled water contains no solids, minerals or trace elements, and has no taste. Distillation removes the debris, bacteria, and other contaminants.

Distilled Water and Your Health:

“Do I need to tell you why drinking plenty of good quality water is as essential to health as eating properly? In a nutshell: one of the main activities of the body’s self-healing system is filtration of the blood, a job performed mostly by the kidneys which a little help from the mechanism of perspiration. Kidneys are such efficient, compact and miraculous filters that they put to shame the dialysis machines used the maintain the patients with renal failure. T he heart, blood, and kidneys are a single functional unit the constantly cleanses and purifies itself, removing all the toxic wastes of metabolism and the breakdown products of harmful substances that get onto our bodies one way or another. This purification system can operate efficiently only if the volume of water flowing through it is sufficient to carry away the waste. Further, as good quality steam distilled water enters the body, it has the ability to pick-up mineral deposits accumulated in cells, joints, artery walls, or wherever such deposits occur and begin to carry them out. Gallstones and kidney stores then decrease, and it also lessens arthritic pain as joints become more supple and movable.” Dr. Andrew Weil, Natural Health, Natural Medicine

What about minerals?

There are two forms of minerals, organic and inorganic. Inorganic minerals refers to non-vegetable or non-animal matter, i.e. not living. This includes carbonate and lime compounds, calcium, iron and magnesium. Because these components are non-living, our bodies can no make use of these minerals and our cells reject them. The result of ingesting these minerals is an accumulation of debris in our bodies. Organic minerals living and are found in vegetables, fruit, seeds, grains, meats, and nuts. These are easily assimilated by our cells and are essential for good health. If your rely on water as the source of your required minerals, you are sadly lacking. T he minerals in water are inorganic, and the body cannot make use of them. The body continually assimilates the much needed minerals from the food we eat.

Does distilled water rob the body of essential minerals?

No, this is physiologically impossible. Some have been lead to believe that because distilled water is so pure, it will leach healthy minerals and trace elements from the body. In our bodies distilled water cleans out our impurities and replenishes the essential nutrient required for human life: pure, clean, healthy water. Our cells use the organic minerals for body growth and maintenance; however, the impurities that the body cannot make us of are flushed out with distilled water. Distilled water flushes out all the inorganic minerals and pollutants which would otherwise be retained in the body and accumulate in vital organs such as the liver, kidneys, and intestines. These minerals and pollutants are gradually increased by drinking impure water. A continuous or prolonged exposure to these minerals and pollutants may cause carcinogens to form within tissues. The cancer may only manifest itself months, years or even decades after such contacts have ceased. And often the causative agents may have totally disappeared from the tissues.

Distilled Water and Disease:

It has become apparent that pollution and contamination exist within our drinking water. With the amount of sewage dumped into drinking water sources, many water borne diseases are present in the so-called “treated” drinking water. This leaves our bodies vulnerable to infection and disease.

The viruses of major concern in relation to drinking water are those of intestinal origin, excreted by infected animals or humans, which reach water sources by way of the soils unlimited potential for serious disease and contamination of the human body. Canadian Nutrition Guide

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The Harmful Effects of High Protein Diets

Keith Markel

So your friend tells you she’s starving and has a case of hunger pains. After your workout, you both head to lunch. She orders a cheeseburger deluxe platter, no bun, extra cheese, no fries. She explains the carbs are totally bad for her and that she’s on a high-protein diet. Whether it’s the Atkins Diet, Zone Diet, The South Beach Diet, Meat-Mania, Proteinopia or whatever fancy name they call that high-protein diet she’s on, it’s doing more harm than good.
 
The calling card of high-protein diets is that your body burns fat for energy and that, in turn, will result in weight loss. Prolonged consumption of high protein sends the body into a state of ketosis. That’s top of the list of cons of high-protein diets. Ketosis occurs when the liver converts fats into fatty acids for use as energy and the by-product, ketones. Ketones increase the acidity of the blood and can be detected in the urine. In extreme cases of starvation or fasting, the body undergoes gluconeogenesis, which is the production of glucose from sources other than carbohydrates, primarily protein.

Possible kidney damage

High-protein diets place a lot of stress on the kidneys. The initial weight loss on high-protein diets is from water loss. When carb intake is restricted, the body uses muscle and liver glycogen for energy. For each gram of glycogen, two grams of water are used or “lost.” The minute you give into your carb craving, that weight will come back. The diuretic effect of eliminating carbohydrates from your diet stresses the kidneys while they remove urea, a by-product of protein synthesis, from the body. Compounding that problem, when the body is in a state of ketosis, increased levels of calcium are excreted — that can lead to kidney stones; a build-up of calcium in the urine. Think about the experiment when you put a nail in a cup of Coke: After a few days the acid in the soda starts to dissolve the nail. The same breakdown happens to your bones. Calcium (along with other minerals) is leached from bones and teeth because of the increased acidity of the body. Literally pissing away calcium is a major con of high-protein diets because that will have a negative effect on your workouts. Calcium is a necessary mineral for muscle contraction and nerve impulse. Calcium loss can also lead to stress fractures.    

Increased risk of cardiovascular disease

A balanced diet consists of approximately 60% carbs, 25% protein and 15% fats. However, 30% to 50% of calories come from protein on diets like Atkins. That shift also means an increase in fat consumption: up to 50% of calories come from fat, and increased calorie consumption. For every gram of carbohydrates there are four calories compared to nine calories per gram of fat. Meats, cheese and eggs — animal and dairy products — all contain saturated fats and cholesterol, even the leaner varieties. When you think about it, how healthy does eating sausage, egg and cheese for breakfast, a cheeseburger and milkshake for lunch and (let’s say you’re trying to be healthy) a salad for dinner with chicken, egg, bacon bits, nuts, and with Ranch, Caesar or blue cheese dressing sound? Over time, consumption of this sort of diet, along with limited fiber and fruit consumption will raise LDL cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease. 

Negative effect on social interactions

Complex and simple carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, which is used for energy. Not getting enough glucose is next on the list of the cons of high-protein diets. Glucose is the only fuel source for your brain (not to mention your boys below the belt). When your brain is lacking that vital nutrient, you become fuzzy and can’t think straight. You also become irritable and cranky, and may experience dizziness, fatigue and headaches. What causes this change in mood is low serotonin levels and tryptophan. That moody and tired disposition definitely doesn’t make you a fun person to be around. And while you’re telling off your friends or yelling at your boyfriend or girlfriend, they’ll recoil from your breath. Bad breath is a “symptom” of high-protein diets. The body releases ketones through the lungs as well. Your breath will have a sickly, sour or alcoholic odor.

Increased risk of constipation

The restriction of carbohydrates on high-protein diets also reduces the amount of fiber you get in your diet. Fruits and grains are considered off-limits. Limited fiber intake can cause constipation, not to mention the dehydration caused by ketosis and limited carbs. Insoluble fiber found in fruits, veggies and whole cereal grains can prevent constipation. Soluble fiber can decrease blood cholesterol. And when you pop those laxatives, you may still have a hard time eliminating your bowels because diets high in meat can cause hemorrhoids.

Protein isn’t particularly dangerous, but an over-consumption of protein may be associated with:

  1. Dehydration. Experts advise drinking a half gallon of water per 100 grams of protein.
  2. Seizures. Seizures have been linked to excess protein intake – but only if insufficient amounts of water are consumed.
  3. Increase in liver enzymes.
  4. Nutritional deficiencies. Just focusing on protein intake causes some high-protein dieters to overlook other nutrients. Ensure that your diet is balanced and nutritious.

While this list may seem alarming, it’s important to remember that many of these side effects are only associated with highly excessive protein diets coupled with unbalanced nutrition.

The average person needs about .4 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Active individuals may require .6 grams. People that exercise frequently and at a high intensity – like myself – require about a gram per pound of body weight. Bodybuilders and athletes may require even more.

high-protein = high-risk

Remember, any diet that encourages you to limit or totally eliminate a certain food or food group — such as carbs on a high-protein diet — should be carefully considered before following. The best diet for health, weight management or weight loss is a balanced diet that will not harm vital organs or systems in your body.

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6 Appetizers with more calories than an entree

When you sit down in a restaurant and order an app, you don’t expect it to equal or exceed the calories in a main meal. Unfortunately, many popular appetizers contain astronomically more calories, fat, and sodium than you should consume or the day, let alone in your pre-entrée nosh. What’s worse is that apps tend to be a shared experience, with three-or-more split between everyone at the table, so it’s easy to lose track of how much you actually eat. Our advice? When you’re dining out, skip the apps in favor of a small green salad and recreate these perennial favorites at home for a fraction of the calories and fat.


1. Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers These spicy stuffed poppers not only come at a high heat, they also come at a steep caloric cost. One plateful of these peppers tallies over 1,900 calories, 135 g of fat, and over 6,000 mg of sodium! (Yes, that’s right 6,000 mg of sodium.) You could have ordered 9 chicken enchiladas and still saved 36 g of fat and 2,000 mg of sodium.

Make it Yourself: Spicy Jalapeno Salsa We love spicy food: Not only does it pack a whole lot of flavor, the capsaicin found in chiles are known to kick your metabolism into high gear. Opt for this fiery jalapeno salsa instead of the fattening poppers: This version uses chili powder as well as jalapeno peppers to give this sauce a zesty punch. Plus, it amounts to under 10 calories per serving.


2. Boneless Buffalo Wings With Blue Cheese Stop trying to kid yourself that the celery stalk that comes with the basket of wings makes this starter a healthy choice: One order of these saucy snackers amounts to almost 1,500 calories and 4,590 mg of sodium. That’s the salt equivalent of gorging on over 2 large bags of potato chips before your main entrée.

Make it Yourself: Waistline-Friendly Buffalo Wings These wings have all the qualities you love—smoky and fiery chicken coated with a finger-licking-good sauce—but they come with a fraction of the calories, fat, and sodium. One serving of these has less than 220 calories and nearly a 10th of the sodium.

3. Stuffed Potato Skins While potato skins are not regarded as a typical healthy choice, these “loaded” appetizers may be far worse than you anticipated. The boat-like munchies are usually brimming with high-calorie and high-fat ingredients like sour cream, bacon, and a medley of melty cheeses, but all that indulgence comes at a price: One plate of these is 2,070 calories. It’s also got 135 g of fat, the equivalent of over a dozen chocolate donuts.

Make it Yourself: Spicy Potato Skins Baked potato? Check. Sour cream? Check. Cheddar? Check. Bacon? Yup, we’ve got that too. These creamy and delicious potato skins have every element of classic stuffed potato skins, plus a few added extras (like some chile peppers), but they have less than a fifth of the caloric cost.


4. Guacamole And Chips We absolutely love avocado: It’s got a rich, buttery taste, and it’s packed with belly-flattening MUFAs. Unfortunately, not all guacs are created equal. Some restaurant versions really pack on the calories and salt—one platter of chips and dip could amount to close to 1,400 calories and 84 g of fat, not to mention over 2,000 mg of sodium.

Make It Yourself: Guiltless Guacamole This unique recipe for guacamole cuts calories, fat, and sodium with one simple (and yummy) swap. This version is not only packed with MUFAs, but it’s brimming with vitamin A as well as folate.


5. Beef Nachos  It’s hard to resist the tempting call of layers of tortilla chips, melted nacho cheese, onions, peppers, and juicy beef. But you would be all the wiser to stray from this fattening app tower: One plate has 1,700 calories and over 3,500 mg of sodium.

Make it Yourself: Cheesy Nachos Hold the beef with your nachos: That simple skip will cut a ton of calories, and you won’t be left wondering, “Where’s the beef?” This recipe, complete with blue corn chips and a layer of cheese, comes in under 250 calories per serving.


6. Chicken Strips Ordering an individually sized chicken appetizer may make you believe that you are playing it safe when it comes to keeping your eye on your waistline. Think again. A single serving of sesame chicken strips amounts to more than half of your day’s calories and over 2,600 mg of salt.

Make it Yourself: Parmesan Chicken Strips Try these breaded Parmesan chicken strips instead: They’ve got that scrumptious crunch and a rich, cheesy coating with one plateful tallying up to a mere 167 calories.

Akilah M. El, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor and certified Master Herbalist with a private practice in Atlanta Georgia and Berlin Germany. Join Dr Akilah El on Facebook and Twitter

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