Desk Job Put a Strain on My Neck

My neck started hurting after I got a desk job. When we switched to laptops I still wanted to use a regular keyboard and a mouse. I cannot stand the touchpad and the keys on the keyboard of a laptop. This puts the screen too far away from me, and I lean my neck forward to see it. So much for following good ergonomic recommendations. I ended up pinching a nerve in my neck that lead to sensations of bugs crawling in my right ear and a similar sensation across my face to my nose. A San Francisco chiropractor was on my list of necessary calls to make on my way home from work on Monday. The reason I called is that I fixed how I sit at my computer a couple of weeks before, but I still had the odd sensations.

The IT department hooked me up with a flat screen monitor I could attach to my laptop when at my desk. The keyboard was right in front of it, so that fixed my problem of poor body position while using a computer. However, I did not feel any better in my neck even two weeks later. Continue reading Desk Job Put a Strain on My Neck

Is Fasting Healthy? The Pros and Cons

In this article I’m going to talk about fasting, if it’s healthy and the pros and cons to it.

Fasting has been around for centuries. For example Moses fasted for 40 days when he received the commandments in the Holy Bible. There is fasting in the Muslim religion with Ramadan and Gandhi has fasted in protest.

Now there is a thing called the 5:2 diet. Eat a normal diet for 5 days and 2 days eat 25% of what you would normally eat.

Is it healthy going without food? First let’s talk about the negatives. The first thing that comes to my mind is OK eating healthy is hard enough as it is and most people can’t even do that. Going without food or 25% of what you normally eat is even more difficult. It’s almost like those crazy new years resolutions that nobody follows through with.

The next negative is that it’s unpleasant. You know you are going to feel a little miserable for the days you don’t eat.

The good news is there are many health benefits to going without food for a few days. Researchers say fasting “flips a regenerative switch” which creates brand new white blood cells, essentially regenerating the entire immune system. This can be done in 3 days.

According to USC News two studies showed a short-term fast starves cancer cells and helps chemo therapies better target the cancer.

Researchers at the Inter-mountain Medical Center Heart Institute found that men, who had fasted for 24 hours, had a 2000% increase in human growth hormone, which regrows cells. They also had significantly reduced their triglycerides, boosted their HDL cholesterol and stabilized their blood sugar.

Next children who suffer from epileptic seizures have fewer of them when placed on caloric restriction or fasts. You might think that when you go without food you can’t think as clearly.

One study in the National Library of Medicine looked at females that were deprived of food for 24 hours and tested how sharp their mind was.

None of the tasks – including sustained attention, attentional focus, simple reaction time or immediate memory were found to be impaired.

However, performance on a low processing load tapping task was significantly poorer when the subjects were deprived of food for 24 hours prior to testing. I’m not sure what that means.

Plus memory is improved when someone is deprived of food. The United States National Library of Medicine tested 50 people before and after they had a 30% reduction in calories. They found a significant increase in verbal memory scores after caloric restriction.

Also restricting the amount of calories you consume can enable someone to live longer. Japan has more people living past 100 than anywhere else and many practice the art of eating until 80% full. Restricting the calories of rats, yeast, flies fish, monkeys and worms have shown them to live longer.

5 Alternative Proteins For Vegetarians

A healthy and balanced vegetarian diet can be a very effective solution to various health issues people face day-to-day. From lowering high cholesterol to losing weight, vegetarian food is a great option for treating all health problems. A lot of people are taking a turn towards vegetarianism to change their lifestyle completely. This situation poses a need of learning about certain protein-containing foods which can be eaten without choosing anything from the meat section.

Here, I’ve rounded up five proteins containing foods which can be proven animal-free alternatives for vegetarians. Indulge in these foods each day or weekly.

1) Chickpeas

Protein content: 7.3 grams in 1/2 cup

Also known as the garbanzo beans, they are laced with manganese and molybdenum. According to research, chickpeas provide you with 7.3 grams of protein in just half a cup. They are also a rich source of fiber, protein, iron, zinc and phosphorus which promote a healthy life. Make hummus, falafel and different curries with these beans and get enough protein you need.

2) Quinoa

Protein content: 8g per 1 cup (cooked)

It is one of the healthiest alternatives of protein in the health-food world. Quinoa is a great substitute for grains of meat, and can be eaten as an alternative to rice, pasta, and couscous. You can add the little seeds to your favorite salads, soups, and cereals, as well as quinoa, is a great addition to scrambled eggs. This protein enriched food not only enhances the taste of your meal but also provides the nine essential amino acids that your body can’t produce naturally. It’s also abundant in iron, fiber, manganese and magnesium.

3) Almonds

Protein content: 6g per 1 oz.

Want to lose your weight? Eat almonds before you hit the gym, because these are called natural weight-loss pills. Consuming a little more than a quarter-cup of the nuts can reduce weight more effectively than a snack of complex carbohydrates. Almonds are also a great source of vitamin E and good fats, so they can help you burn fat and carbs during workouts. Moreover, they promote heart health and fight chronic health diseases such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

4) Cottage Cheese

Protein content: 13g per ½ cup

When it comes to healthy snacks, cottage cheese is one of the best choices. It is a great addition to your salads, can also be included into your curries and replaced with other fattening varieties of cheese. You can also eat it with your favorite fruits for a protein packed breakfast. Cottage cheese is rich in lean protein, calcium and low in calories.

5) Soy Milk

Protein content: 8g per 1 cup

As a traditional staple of East Asian cuisine, soy milk is a healthy mixture of oil, water, and protein. It is a fabulous source of protein and thoroughly deserves its status as a potential alternate for the meat. With low calories and zero cholesterol content, this healthy drink not only prevents you from over-eating but also keeps your metabolism from lowering. Use it in making your smoothies and milkshakes instead of regular milk and get high amounts of vitamin A, B12, vitamin D, and potassium to ensure your overall health.

Ashwagandha’s Benefits For Immunity & Vitality

Ashwagandha is one of the most potent herbs and has been used since ancient times for a variety conditions. The herb is known for its restorative benefits. The Sanskrit meaning of Ashwagandha is “whiff of the horse”, that means it imparts the vigor and strength of a stallion.

Because of its rejuvenating features, it is commonly known as Indian ginseng while botanically Ashwagandha and Ginseng are unrelated. It belongs to the family of tomato; it is a plump shrub with yellow flowers and oval leaves. Ashwagandha bears red fruit that has a size of a raisin. Ashwagandha is found in the dry region of India, northern Africa, and the Middle East; now it is grown in the mild climates of the United States.Ashwagandha has traditionally been recommended to strengthen the immune system after an illness.

According to Ayurveda, the human body is woven from the food. The nutrients that we consume are metabolised into the energy and form cells, tissue and organs. Every day we need vital vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to maintain the delicate balance of our bodies. And Ashwagandha, if taken as a supplement is highly useful to create a body balance. One can take a dose of 600 to 1,000 mg of Ashwagandha twice daily.

Ayurveda has specified certain herbs as having adaptogenic benefits; Ashwagandha is one such herb. Adaptogens (a combination of amino acids, vitamins, and herbs) are a substance that modulates the body’s response to stress or a changing environment. Adaptogen allows the body to cope with external stress like toxins in the environment and it also helps to overcome the internal stress such as insomnia and anxiety.

Ashwagandha has many useful medicinal components like alkaloids, choline, fatty acids, amino acids, and a variety of sugars and others. The leaves and fruits of Ashwagandha have valuable therapeutic features, while its roots are commonly used as an herbal remedy in western countries. Scientists and researchers have been studying Ashwagandha for several years and have compiled many studies pointing to the healing benefits of the Herb.

Ashwagandha helps in stabilising blood sugar, improving learning, memory and reaction time. Ashwagandha has anti-malarial properties and protects the immune system of the human body. It offers anti-inflammatory benefits and helps in lowering and controlling the cholesterol. Also, it reduces the brain cell degeneration. Apart from these advantages, Ashwagandha has significant healing benefits that have been proven scientifically.

For centuries Ashwagandha has been used as a general body tonic, that makes human body stronger and healthy. Apart from boosting overall immunity, Ashwagandha has a great potential to work as an anti-cancer agent as it controls the growth of cancerous tumors. The herb also acts on the endocrine system by stimulating hormonal balance. Further, it is of great use during menopause as it prevents mood swing and hot flashes.

And if you are tired of looking in the mirror at wrinkled, sagging and dry skin, Ashwagandha is of great use to overcome skin problems. Its powerful antioxidant property protects the skin against radical damage and reduces the ageing process. Ashwagandha also promotes the production of natural skin oils, compounds and proteins for healthy skin. It can be used as a toner for the glowing skin.

Ashwagandha, a magical herb is one of the greatest gift of nature to humanity. It keeps you younger, healthier and gives you a better sleep. The miraculous herb is the ticket to get health benefits and beauty benefits.

The Critical Difference

What is The Critical Difference between people who stay fit and those who do not?

What is it that makes one person succeed and another fail?

Those who keep their gym membership and those who cancel?

I have been helping people with fitness goals for five years and have found myself asking this question quite a lot.

Five years is by no means a lifetime in the fitness industry (not even a decade!)… but over that time I can vouch these two factors as being the difference.

1) Your Brain

A strange way of putting it, but simply… your brain stops you.

Confidence, Drive, Motivation, Belief, Vision, Expectations, Goals, Passion, Diligence.

You could read reams of books about each one of these aspects of your psychology. But in my experience it all boils down to whether you are prepared to put in the work it takes.

Do you really want this? Are you prepared to better yourself day by day, to get the change you want? If so, why not?

Don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t over think it. Do what you can. Stay positive. Stay upbeat. Enjoy exercising. Commit to a consistent training schedule. Eat using your common sense. Simple.

2) Environment

Really, brain trumps environment every time. If you have enough drive and sheer willpower you can overcome your surroundings and achieve your fitness and body composition goals regardless.

But a good environment makes it a lot easier.

Look at the big picture, THEN focus on details. Some good questions to ask yourself:

• How much do you walk each day?

• How active are you?

• How often you make time for exercise?

• Where do you buy your food and what do you buy?

• Does your partner/family situation influence the food choices you make? If so, what can you do to change this?

• Are you in an environment which physically and mentally challenges you to be better?

• Do you set benchmarks and goals when exercising?

• Do you train with someone? If so do they help or hinder your training?

Having competed at the highest level in sport, I can vouch for the power of environment. Surrounded by people in the same position as me, I was pushed to give my all to each session, eat as well as I can and focus fully on what I wanted to achieve.