Showing posts with label Nutrition. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nutrition. Show all posts

Preparing Your Own Aloe Vera Gel At Home


Aloe vera gel comes from beneath the layers of Aloe plant leaves which is succulent-like often thought of as cactus leaves. Aloe vera leaves are filled with thick and gelatinous gel and the aloe vera gel at the center of each leaf is important for medicinal purposes. Each aloe leaf is divided into four layers, the rind which is the hard greenish gray other protective layer, the sap which is the bitter liquid under the rind that surrounds the gel, the mucilage gel or the inner leaf area and, the inner gel or the gel fillet which contains eight essential amino acids vital to the body. The inner gel is the one you need for medicinal use. You should carefully remove any inner leaf and sap thoroughly.
It is a great advantage if you know how to make your own Aloe vera gel especially when you have the plants at home or is planning to grow one. It will really be helpful for you to able to acquire herbal medicine any time or for your cosmetic needs. You can make your own gel by:
1- Choose an outer leaf that grows toward the bottom of the plant, provided that it's healthy also. Remove it by cutting an angle close to the base of the plant. Remember that plants without having leaves growing close to the ground are not mature enough to harvest.
2- Once the leaf is cut, place the leaf upright in a container, slightly tilted position. Allow the leaf to stay in that position for 10 to 12 minutes for the sap to drain from the leaf.
3- Place the aloe vera leaf on a cutting board and cut off the tip of the leaf carefully. Cut the pointed rough edges on both side with a very sharp knife making sure that both side of the leaf all the way from the top to bottom were cut.
4- Slice the aloe vera leaf lengthwise from the inside to separate the front and the back.
5- Seeing the slimy mucilage gel, scoop them out from both side of the leaf. Clear the inner gel, something that appears to be more solid. You may use spoon for scooping out the gel and you may use a butter knife if the leaf is very large. While removing the gel, it is necessary for you to press down lightly but firmly. Be careful not to remove the remaining sap.
6- Put the aloe vera gel in a plastic food container or glass food container and store it in the refrigerator. Choose the container that may help keep out the light like brown or dark green colored container.





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Top Tips for Vegan Cooking

In the beginning, you might discover that Vegan cooking is more of a pain and hassle than it is a benefit. If you discover yourself in this position, you are not alone. However, there is help available for you. Taking some time to really look over all of your options is best to ensure that you are able to get the biggest benefit possible from the healthier lifestyle. Vegan cooking is something that will typically require you to think carefully as well as plan ahead, in this spirit it is extremely important to be sure that you are getting everything planned out ahead of time to ensure you have what you need.
One of the biggest suggestions to get the biggest benefit is to look into cooking with the fruits and vegetables that you like the most. If you have a serious objection to eating okra for example you should never dash out and look for a stack of okra recipes. Instead, you need to focus on the recipes that involve ingredients that you like. Of course, a bit of trying new foods is always good, but building a base of foods that you like is a great starting point.

To ensure that your new Vegan diet is as affordable as possible you need to look for fruits and vegetables that are in season to cook. If you are constantly having to purchase expensive fruits and vegetables for your meals you will quickly discover that your budget is blown far before it is time to even work on the next months budget. Spreading your money around as much as possible will demand that you buy only foods that are in season as much as possible.
If you are truly interested in living the ultimate Vegan lifestyle, it is time to start investing in a garden for your house. You do not need to dedicate acres of space to the garden, but a small area to raise at least the basic vegetables would be considered essential. If you can spare some additional space to add some more vegetables then go right ahead, however never feel as if a garden is wasted if you only have a few feet. To start with you need to look towards tomatoes and even peppers. These are both extremely easy to grow, take very little space and can save a bundle of money. Having your own fresh vegetables to eat is a huge perk.
Look for ways to save as much money as possible. If you are going to embrace a Vegan lifestyle, you should reap all of the benefits. This means looking for some pick your own farms, which will allow you to pick your own produce at a significant savings. If you are only buying small batches of produce you will discover that it can quickly turn expensive. Purchasing larger supplies can provide you ample stock to enjoy fresh foods as well as allow you to can or freeze additional supplies to have for the off-season months.
A final suggestion to follow as you are getting started with Vegan cooking is to look for some great cooking classes designed to start teaching from the very basics. This will allow you to learn numerous ways to cook without the problem of your meals tasting plain and boring. If you are truly interested in exploring a delicious Vegan lifestyle then the cooking classes are something that you will have to venture into. An alternative to the classes would be to stop by a friend’s house and get some cooking tips from them, this however is only effective if your friend is also a Vegan and can teach you some of the best tips and tricks for retaining flavor and producing delicious meals. Working to live a healthy lifestyle does not involve boring meals that you suffer through; rather with some practice you can create truly remarkable dishes.


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Fight Stress With Healthy Eating

Whenever we get too busy or stressed, we all tend
to make poor food choices that will actually 
increase stress and cause other problems.  To get
the most of your healthy eating and avoid stress, 
follow these simple tips.
Always eat breakfast
Even though you may think you aren't hungry, 
you need to eat something.  Skipping breakfast 
makes it harder to maintain the proper blood and
sugar levels during the day, so you should always
eat something.
Carry a snack
Keeping some protein rich snacks in your car, 
office, or pocket book will help you avoid blood
sugar level dips, the accompanying mood swings, and
the fatigue.  Trail mix, granola bars, and energy
bars all have the nutrients you need.
Healthy munchies
If you like to munch when you're stressed out, 
you can replace chips or other non healthy foods
with carrot sticks, celery sticks, or even 
sunflower seeds.
Bring your lunch
Although a lot of people prefer to eat fast food
for lunch, you can save a lot of money and actually
eat healthier if you take a few minutes and pack
a lunch at home.  Even if you only do this a few
times a week, you'll see a much better improvement
over eating out.
Stock your home
As important as it is to get the bad food out of
your house, it's even more important to get the good
food in!  The best way to do this is to plan a menu
of healthy meals at snacks at the beginning of the
week, list the ingredients you need, then go shop
for it.  This way, you'll know what you want when
you need it and you won't have to stress over what
to eat.

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www.cdc.gov:centre for disease control and prevention

Coronavirus : How to Protect Yourself?

Know How it Spreads

Illustration: woman sneezing on man
  • There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
  • The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
  • The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
    • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
    • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Take steps to protect yourself

Illustration: washing hands with soap and water

Clean your hands often

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Illustration: Woman quarantined to her home

Avoid close contact

Take steps to protect others

man in bed

Stay home if you’re sick

woman covering their mouth when coughing

Cover coughs and sneezes

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
man wearing a mask

Wear a facemask if you are sick

  • If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room. Learn what to do if you are sick.
  • If you are NOT sick: You do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask). Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.
cleaning a counter

Clean and disinfect

  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
To disinfect:
Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work. Use disinfectants appropriate for the surface.
Options include:
  • Diluting your household bleach.
    To make a bleach solution, mix:
    • 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water
      OR
    • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
    Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.
  • Alcohol solutions.Ensure solution has at least 70% alcohol.
  • Other common EPA-registered household disinfectants.
    Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens pdf icon[7 pages]external icon claims are expected to be effective against COVID-19 based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).

How To Manage Your Sleep Problems

Insomnia is a sleep disorder in which one has difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or getting quality sleep. According to a recent study by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, one in four Americans develop insomnia each year, but fortunately, about 75% of these individuals recover without developing persistent insomnia while the other 25% progress to acute insomnia.
People over the age of 60 tend to experience sleep disturbances more often than younger people. Females are also twice as likely to have sleep problems compared to males. There are a multitude of possible causes for insomnia, including:
  • emotional stress,
  • mental health disorders, such as depression or anxiety,
  • chronic pain,
  • allergies,
  • asthma,
  • heart failure,
  • hyperthyroidism,
  • heartburn,
  • menopause,
  • restless leg syndrome,
  • circadian rhythm disruptions, such as jet lag or working night shifts,
  • sleep apnea,
  • certain medications,
  • caffeine,
  • heavy smoking, and
  • excessive alcohol intake.
Insomnia is agonizing, exhausting, and frustrating. Some people turn to sleeping pills, either over-the-counter or prescription, which may help improve sleep while you are taking them. But insomnia usually returns once they are stopped because medications do not treat the underlying causes of insomnia.
Melatonin is a natural sleep hormone that is sold as a supplement. It is helpful for occasional sleep problems and jet lag. Individuals who report that melatonin does not work often make the mistake of taking too high a dose of several grams. Very often, as little as 300 mcg is already sufficient. Always start with the lowest dose before increasing the dosage. It is also beneficial to get the "timed release" melatonin as it will help you stay asleep longer. However, melatonin also does not address the underlying causes of insomnia.
A more successful approach to insomnia is to improve sleep hygiene and make lifestyle changes in conjunction with cognitive behavioral therapy. Dozens of studies have proved that this strategy is extremely helpful in treating insomnia. In the following, we will examine these techniques in more detail.
Sleep Hygiene And Lifestyle Changes
Sleep-Promoting Habits
The goal is to help you fall asleep more easily, wake up less often and for shorter periods of time, and fall back to sleep more easily.
  1. Regular rising time. Set an alarm clock and get out of bed around the same time every day, no matter how little or poorly you have slept. Do not try to sleep in on weekends because by doing so, you will disrupt your body's circadian rhythm.
  2. Reducing time in bed. Do not go to bed early because you did not sleep well the prior night. This will actually exacerbate insomnia. Determine your earliest allowable bedtime by starting from your desired wake-up time and subtracting the amount of time you want to stay in bed. The time in bed is your average sleep time plus 1 hour and can range from a minimum of 6 hours to a maximum of 9 hours. If you sleep on average 5 hours or less at night, your time in bed should be 6 hours. If you sleep 8 hours, your time in bed should be 9 hours. In other words, your time in bed should closely match the amount of sleep you are averaging per night. The purpose is to avoid the bed becoming a cue for wakefulness more than a cue for sleep. For insomniacs who are already exhausted, the hardest part is to stay awake until the allowable bedtime. Try to engage in a light activity and refrain from going to bed. As you start to sleep better and more hours, you can move the allowable bedtime earlier.
  3. Wind down gradually in the hour before bedtime by engaging in relaxing activities. Avoid stimulating activities such as phone calls, arguments, emotional discussions, work-related activities, surfing the internet, bill-paying, or unpleasant TV programs.
  4. If you need to nap after a poor night of sleep, limit your nap to 45 minutes and do not take it later than 4 pm.




Stimulus-Control Methods
The purpose is to help insomniacs unlearn the connection between the bed and insomnia.
  1. Use the bed only for sleep and sex. No watching TV, working, studying, playing video games, or talking on the phone. If reading a book or watching TV helps you fall asleep, set a timer to turn off the light or TV after 30 minutes.
  2. If you cannot fall sleep within 30 minutes or if you awaken during the night and cannot fall back to sleep within that time, get up, go to another room, or sit in bed and engage in a quiet and relaxing activity such as reading a book or watching TV until you feel drowsy. Do not lie in bed tossing and turning.
Lifestyle Factors
  1. Engage in some form of physical activity every day. Apart from going to the gym, you can also include activities like washing the car, mowing the lawn with a non-riding mower, raking leaves, climbing stairs, bicycling, walking uphill, etc. These activities can be broken up into several shorter sessions but they should add up to at least 30 minutes each day. However, it is best not to exercise up to 3 hours before bedtime.
  2. Get some sunlight exposure during the day. If you work indoors, go outside on your coffee break or lunch hour. This will help regulate the body's melatonin (sleep hormone) production and improve sleep. It will enhance your mood and energy as well.
  3. Drinking 1-2 cups of coffee early in the morning probably will not affect nighttime sleep. However, if you do not sleep well, you should avoid caffeine after noontime.
  4. If you smoke and cannot quit, try to eliminate smoking near bedtime or at night. Nicotine is a stimulant and it will make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.
  5. If you drink alcohol, limit yourself to one drink at least 2 hours before bedtime. Nightcaps are not a cure for insomnia. Alcohol makes it easier to fall asleep but it can make sleep lighter and more fragmented. It also suppresses deep sleep and exacerbates snoring and sleep apnea.
Food & Sleep Connection
  1. Foods that are high in complex carbohydrates (eg. peas, beans, oats, quinoa, brown rice) have a mild sleep-enhancing effect because they increase serotonin, a brain neurotransmitter that promotes sleep.
  2. Foods that are high in protein inhibit sleep by blocking serotonin.
  3. To fall asleep more easily and have less nighttime awakenings, try eating a light carbohydrate snack before bedtime.
  4. Avoid foods that are high in sugar as they can cause a burst of energy.
  5. Avoid foods that are likely to cause heartburn or any digestive discomfort.
  6. Avoid eating late dinners.
  7. Reduce fluid intake after 8 pm.
  8. Studies found that deficiencies in B vitamins can impair sleep. Consider taking a B complex supplement if you think that your diet may be lacking in nutrients.
Establishing The Optimal Sleep Environment
  1. Room temperature can have a significant impact on sleep. Insomnia is associated with a failure of body temperature to fall at bedtime. So sleeping in a warm room will make it even harder for the body temperature to drop. The optimal temperature for sleep is between 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit (or 16 to 19 degrees Celsius).
  2. Keep the bedroom completely dark and quiet. In general, insomniacs tend to be more sensitive to noise. Older people whose sleep is lighter as a consequence of aging are also more prone to noise-induced sleep disturbance.
  3. Some individuals are more sensitive to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) than others. If so, removing electronic devices from the bedroom can reduce the stimulation caused by EMFs.
  4. Make sure your bed is comfortable and provide adequate support. Beds that sag can disturb sleep by causing neck and back discomfort, while mattresses that are too hard can cause discomfort for people with arthritis.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Insomnia (CBT-I)
CBT-I aims to treat chronic sleep problem by changing the thoughts and behaviors that cause or worsen sleep problems with habits that promote sound sleep.
Relaxation Training
Stressful life events are the most common precipitators of chronic insomnia. Most insomniacs and even some good sleepers have a harder time sleeping on stressful days. Studies have documented that increased daytime stress is correlated with reduced deep sleep, which results in lighter, more restless sleep.
Fortunately, we all have an inborn tool within us that can overcome these stress responses. It is called the relaxation response (RR), which simply put, is using the mind to control the body.
How To Induce The RR
  1. Lie down or sit comfortably. Relax all the muscles throughout the body by starting from the head spreading to the toes or vice versa.
  2. Engage in slow, deep abdominal breathing.
  3. Direct your attention from everyday thoughts to a neutral word such as calm, peace, relax, heavy or whatever you choose. Repeat the word silently. Or you can visualize an enjoyable, relaxing scene such as a beach, a mountain, a meadow, or floating on a cloud.
  4. If your mind wanders or negative thoughts come in, literally say "no thoughts" a few times. Then go back to your word or scene and continue with the deep breathing.
  5. Practice the RR everyday, either in the morning or afternoon. Allot 10-20 minutes for the RR. If you fall asleep, it is fine. However, do not practice the RR 1-2 hours before bedtime as it may affect your sleep.
  6. When you get better at doing the RR during the day, you can try using it at night to fall asleep or after a nighttime wake-up. If you do not fall asleep within 30 minutes. Get up or sit up in bed and engage in a light activity. Do not lie in bed tossing and turning.
  7. Be realistic and be patient. For some insomniacs, it takes up to a few weeks before their sleep improves.
Why The RR Improves Sleep
  1. When practiced during the day, it counters daily stress responses, reducing the likelihood that stress hormones will be elevated at night.
  2. When practiced at bedtime or after an awakening, it helps turn off the internal dialogue, quiet the mind, and relax the body.
  3. RR produces a brain-wave pattern similar to Stage 1 sleep, which is the transition state between waking and sleeping. When insomniacs practice the RR at night, it is easier to enter Stage 1 sleep and ultimately Stage 2, deep sleep, and dream sleep.
How To Overcome Negative Self-Talk
Last but not least, negative thoughts during the day or at bedtime play a powerful role in stimulating wakefulness and causing insomnia. Certain negative thoughts and emotions are normal responses to stressful situations, such as grieving after a death. However, some negative emotions such as worry, anxiety, frustration, and anger are unnecessary, excessive, and unhealthy. They trigger stress responses that adversely affect sleep. Therefore, it is beneficial to eliminate or restructure these negative thoughts that cause more stress.
  1. Become more aware of negative self-talk. Catch yourself doing it or better, write them down and review them at the end of the day.
  2. Realize that most of these thoughts are either not true or overly negative and pessimistic.
  3. Reflect on past experiences and ask yourself: "Has anything like this happened to me in the past and if so, how did it turn out?" Most likely, we tend to worry too much and things seldom turn out as badly as we imagined.
  4. Reframe your negative thoughts and focus on positive beliefs.
  5. Do not generalize a problem to your whole life. View setbacks as temporary.
  6. Avoid blaming yourself for things beyond your control.
  7. Refrain from dismissing positive events as temporary or due to luck or external causes.
  8. Practice gratitude everyday.
  9. Seek out optimists and avoid pessimists. Both optimism and pessimism are contagious.
Hopefully, by incorporating healthy sleep hygiene and making lifestyle changes as well as cognitive behavioral therapy, we can all say goodnight to insomnia!