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Brianna S.

@brianna_s15

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The Truth About Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners used in diet food and drinks do not help in losing weight but actually trick our bodies into thinking that sugary foods do not have any calories. People who consume artificial sugar also tend to eat more calories by increasing their portion size.

A brand new, extensive study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal showed that there are complications associated with eating non-nutritive (artificial) sugar, like increased BMI (weight gain) and cardiometabolic issues.

@brianna_s15

Artificial sweeteners won't help you with weight loss

popsci.com

Switching from Cole Zero to regular Coke will not help, and even the ‘zero-calorie’ or the so called ‘natural’ sweetener options are only helping our sugar-addiction.

Sugar is no longer classified as food, but as a drug, similar to cocaine. It is not good for us and we need to kick the habit of consuming it in any form.

Pain: A Complex Phenomenon
  • We all have experienced pain, be it physical or psychological.
  • Trying to quantify or define the intensity of the hurt being experienced isn’t easy.
  • Pain is relative, as each of us has a different anatomical and neurochemical build, a different context that makes it unique.
  • All these factors make pain a complex phenomenon, and most of us are managing it pharmacologically (popping pills), which generally causes problems.

Analgesic culture: can reframing pain make it go away?

theguardian.com

Most drugs and over-the-counter analgesics only suppress pain, and we think that’s normal as we are brought up believing that pain is wrong and we have to feel good at all times.

Research in the 1980s showed that Americans are having more options to treat their problems and yet are having more illnesses than about 50 years before. This is ironic as these years also witnessed the maximum progress in treatments and vaccines, increasing life expectancy.

The basic mindset on how to tackle pain, by suppressing it with dangerous opioids or pain-killers is like treating a human body like a piece of machinery: Finding the broken part and fixing or replacing it.

The approach fails to understand how integrated the human body is, and completely ignores the cognitive processing and emotion that goes on inside it.

Just reframing the painful experience as something that is beneficial and can be simply endured, increases the tolerance levels in humans who have been accustomed to popping pills in order to feel better, at the cost of long-term complications.

A Daily Deluge Of Junk Information

The way many of us, especially young adults, consume digital media, often by multitasking, can impair attention, according to new studies.

Media multitasking, which is engaging in the TV program while texting or using social media, is a common activity among the younger population.

Media Multitasking Disrupts Memory, Even in Young Adults

scientificamerican.com

Some of the effects of media multitasking include reduced attention spans, lapses in attention, and forgetfulness of information due to reduced brain-signal patterns.

The lower sustained attention can also result in people having memory recall issues in the long run, as the everyday behaviour evolves into a steady pattern.

There is no "best diet"

The “best” diet is a theme: an emphasis on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, and plain water for thirst. 

That can be with or without seafood; with or without dairy; with or without eggs; with or without some meat; high or low in total fat.

The Last Conversation You'll Ever Need to Have About Eating Right

grubstreet.com

Best foods don’t have labels

Because they are just one ingredient: avocado, lentils, blueberries, broccoli, almonds, etc.

The "Age" of vegetables
The best vegetables are likely to be fresh and locally sourced, but flash frozen is nearly as good (as freezing delays aging). Those “fresh” vegetables that spend a long time in storage or transit are probably the least nutritious.
Power bars

...are closer to junk food than they are to real food. 

Many power bars have nutritional profiles similar to Snickers.

The body detoxifies itself daily; that’s a primary job of the liver and the kidneys, and they are really good at it. The intestines, spleen, and immune system are in on it, too. 

Take good care of your liver and kidneys, gut, and immune system. Far better “cleanse” than any juice.

A diet that starves the body of glucose sources so that it’s forced to burn ketone bodies — products of fat metabolism — as fuel. There is not a lot of evidence to show prolonged ketosis is good for health. 

Good Carbs, Bad Carbs

Highly processed grains and added sugar are bad because they’ve been robbed of nutrients, they raise insulin levels, and they’re often high in added fats. But most plant foods are mostly carbohydrates: vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds, which are quite healthy. 

In conclusion: Carbs are not evil; junk food is evil.

Only 10% of people have problems with tolerating gluten. 

About one percent of people have celiac disease, and perhaps 10 percent have lesser forms of sensitivity, which may be related to other factors, like a disrupted microbiome. 

It's much easier to outeat running than to outrun all of the tempting calories that modern marketing encourages us to cram in. 

Both diet and exercise are important to health, and exercise is important in weight maintenance. But to lose weight, the preferential focus needs to be on controlling calories in, more than calories out.

No single food, separate from the overall quality and pattern of diet, exerts a major health effect. 
Cooking At Home: A Chore More Than A Hobby
  • Many people see cooking at home as a chore rather than a hobby or a fun activity to do to save money and have a delicious meal at the same time.
  • Fast food and ready-to-eat dinners may save our time but they cause so many illnesses like heart diseases and diabetes.
  • The less time we spend cooking at home, the worse our diets become and the convenience is slowly killing us.
  • We cannot ignore the fact that if we choose to have better diets and eat healthier we have to make time for cooking.

Hate Cooking at Home? Practical Tips for Doing It Anyway

blog.doist.com

  • Cooking at home isn't much of a hassle when you plan things ahead. Weekly meal plans exist and are a trend that's easy to follow.
  • Schedule it so it happens.
  • Home cooking includes investing in the right tools like quality knives, pots and pans because it makes cooking essentialy more fun to do. You can pair cooking while listening to music or a podcast, anything you enjoy doing.
  • Keep it realistic. You don't have to cook 90% of the time, set aside 30 mins for cooking and 10 mins for decluttering your fridge.
  • Keep it simple. Repeat often. You don’t get bonus points for complexity or variety.
  • Have 3-5 go-to recipes. The more you make a recipe, the easier it will become and the less mental resistance you’ll feel when you think about making it.

Five Ways To Improve Flexibility:

  • Practice Yoga, Pilates, tai chi and stretching.
  • Get good quality protein post your exercise routine, combining it with Vitamin C to aid recovery.
  • Hold your stretches of a longer period, like 30 seconds if you can.
  • Practice daily, as an increased range of motion reduces the risk of injury.
  • Take a warm bath to relax your muscles.

Five ways to improve flexibility

theguardian.com

Food Allergies

Food allergies happen when your body reacts in a mild or a severe manner after consuming a type of food that your body is supersensitive to.

Severe food allergies in which the body exhibits serious symptoms like slow pulse, blood pressure drop and wheezing/dizziness (anaphylaxis), are getting increasingly common, with a quarter of people having allergies experiencing them. Anaphylaxis cases are on the upswing across the world, just as food allergies become widespread. While the data is tricky, multiple sources point towards a 7 percent rise in food allergies worldwide as of 2018.

Why food allergies are on the rise

bbc.com

Many experts say that the cleaner people are in everyday life, insulated from dust and viruses, the more likely they are to contract severe allergies. This is due to the fact that many microorganisms that the body encounters in the outside world educate the body and populates the gut with microorganisms that strengthen the immune system.

Example: A study in Denmark proved that households with more cats and dogs have less allergic disorders.

A study shows that the more antibiotics a child intakes during childhood, the more the probability is of them contracting food allergies.

This is because antibiotics ‘nuke’ the gut bacteria, most of which is healthy.

Fearfully avoiding certain foods right from childhood (like peanuts) does not expose the child’s body to the ingredients, leaving it poorer and more susceptible to allergies in adulthood, even if the food isn’t consumed directly.

The body didn’t get the chance to build immunity towards the particular food, and the person is at risk while in contact with others who have consumed the food, or intake it in other forms (like while applying cream that has that food ingredient).

Lack of Vitamin D is playing havoc to the development of our immunoregulatory systems. The more we stay indoors, the less sun we get in our bodies, making it produce less of Vitamin D.

We also get allergic to the sun and apply sunscreens, which many studies point out are not as helpful as touted earlier. While too much of Vitamin D may also be detraminial, we need to apply natural essential oils and get more sun for building our immune system.

Insomnia
  • Thoughts and restlessness are a product of stress and worry and lead to a common problem: Insomnia.
  • Being unable to sleep can cause further mental health issues like chronic anxiety and depression due to more time spent lying awake and worrying.
  • The world has witnessed a surge in insomnia due to the ongoing pandemic and its offshoots like joblessness and health worries of our loved ones.

The rhythm of the night: How music can help insomnia

bigthink.com

Music of various minimalistic and calm genres has the ability to silence any sleep-preventing thoughts, with the positive distraction of music being safer and as much effective as a sleep medication.

Ambient beats, dreamy landscapes and delicate strains of the piano or the sitar (an ancient Indian guitar) naturally imbues positive mental states, infusing rhythmic color and emotions and creating hypnotic pulses that promote sleep.

A Sonic Environment To Doze Off

Though any slow music can promote sleep (provided it has around 60 to 80 beats per minute) classical music goes further and even impacts the ‘parasympathetic nervous system’ of the body, which is responsible for resting and digesting food.

Frédéric Chopin’s Nocturnes, 21 solo piano pieces that transform the mind into a dream state, are masterpiece compositions that even mimic the oncoming of sleep by ending without any ending, similar to how one never registers the exact moment one falls asleep.

Whether it is an eight-hour soundscape on Headspace, or a Sleep Whispers podcast that tell stories in a whispering mode to calm and hypnotize the brain, the sonorous format used is called Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response(ASMR) that uses sonic triggers to induce euphoria and relaxation in the brain, pushing it towards a dream state.

Explaining our experiences

The brain is the ruler of our movements and the keeper of our thoughts. The brain is also joined to the body, and connection goes both ways. For example, if receptors indicate hunger, we find food to eat.

Research shows that those sensations do more than alert the brain to the body's immediate concerns. Studies of the heart give insights into the role the body's most basic processes play in explaining our experiences.

How Your Heart Influences What You Perceive and Fear

quantamagazine.org

The activity of the heart can be divided into two phases: systole (when the heart muscle contracts and pumps out blood) and diastole (the heart relaxed and refills with blood.)

Systole decreases pain and control startle reflexes. Pressure sensors send signals of the heart's activity to inhibitory regions of the brain. Experiments show that people are more likely to forget the words they heard exactly at systole.

When you sense something from inside, it reduces the processing of external signals. When your heartbeat is going, it's loading up the seesaw on one side.

An experiment showed that when people were given a faint electrical stimulus to their finger, they were more likely to notice it during diastole and miss it during systole. When the heart pushes blood through your body during systole, it's possible to feel your pulse in your fingertips.

The systole doesn't inhibit the stimuli of fear. The systole not only activates inhibitory brain regions, but also the amygdala, an area that process the experience of fear. During systole, people can perceive fearful faces more intensely.

If you are in a state of fear, you don't want to be sensitive to pain. You want to run over broken glass to escape the threat. But you also want to be hyper-alert to danger in the environment.

  • Researchers found eye movements often occur at systole, while we fix our gaze more often during diastole. During systole, we're least sensitive to the world.
  • Another finding is that systole is more likely to enhance fear processing in people with anxiety. If you can change how threatening stimuli are, you may be able to get people out of anxiety states.
Birthday Blues

Birthday depression can be described as a general sadness on or around your birthday. Birthday blues are very common. Reasons for feeling down around your birthday include:

  • Aging. Birthdays can remind us that we are one year older.
  • High expectations. We may be disappointed by not having our expectations met for a birthday party or gifts.
  • Lack of accomplishments. You are feeling dissatisfied with your achievements since the previous year.
  • Social pressure. When we compare our birthdays with our friends' parties, we might feel our celebration is just not good enough.
  • Less excitement. Adult birthdays aren't as exciting as our birthdays as kids, and that mismatch can cause the birthday blues.
  • Milestone birthdays, such as 16, 21, 30, 40, 50, 60. Some people may feel sad if they don't have a huge party to celebrate their milestone birthday.
  • Less love. Turning 18, you're congratulated as an adult. At 45, it is just another birthday.

Birthday Depression: Why Birthdays Are So Hard

scienceofpeople.com

  • People who don't have many friends or family members.
  • People with fake friends.
  • People who struggle with anxiety.
  • Introverted people may feel like they have to socialize during their birthday.
  • People with high expectations surrounding a birthday. If these expectations are not met, it can lead to birthday blues.

Write down the answers to these four questions.

  1. What was the ONE best thing that happened last year?
  2. What was the biggest challenge you faced last year, and what did you learn?
  3. What do you hope will happen this year? It could be goal-oriented or be an inner change.
  4. What did you want to learn this year? For example, learning people skills, becoming good at drawing or public speaking, starting a new Youtube channel.

When you have written down a few year's worth of birthday questions:

  • What were the highlights of the past years?
  • What were some of my biggest life lessons?
  • What were some of my goals, and did I accomplish them?
  • What new skills did I learn?
  • Birthday blues are often part of getting older. You are not alone in feeling this way.
  • If you want to celebrate, it's on you to plan it or verbalize your own expectations. People can't read your mind.
  • Be direct about gifts. People don't always know your preferences, so give friends and family ideas of what kind of gifts to get you.
  • Have compassion for yourself. You are more than your birthday.
  • Your birthday comes once a year - take charge and do it right for you.

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