Live the Organic Dream https://www.livetheorganicdream.com Thu, 21 Nov 2019 19:45:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.4 Is Pizza Healthy? The Answer May Surprise You https://www.livetheorganicdream.com/is-pizza-healthy/ https://www.livetheorganicdream.com/is-pizza-healthy/#respond Sun, 24 Nov 2019 19:30:05 +0000 https://www.livetheorganicdream.com/?p=1867 9 times out of 10, if you ask someone what their favorite food is, they’re going to say: pizza. And why not, pizza is probably one of Mankind’s most delicious and important inventions, rivaling the Pyramids or the International Space Station in magnitude. But is pizza healthy? Well, if you’re eating a slice right now, …

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9 times out of 10, if you ask someone what their favorite food is, they’re going to say: pizza. And why not, pizza is probably one of Mankind’s most delicious and important inventions, rivaling the Pyramids or the International Space Station in magnitude.

But is pizza healthy? Well, if you’re eating a slice right now, the answer is oh my god who cares, and some people might even argue that it’s a pretty complete meal all around (you have all the major food groups in one pie). Of course, buzzkill doctors will probably say that pizza is one of the unhealthiest things you can ever put in your body, like plastic straws or arsenic (but, like, a delicious kind of arsenic).

And why wouldn’t you believe doctors? Well, it turns out, they’re wrong. Or rather, they’re only half-right: to answer the question “is pizza healthy?” researchers went out and tested a whole bunch of pizzas and found that some pizzas are actually good for you, while some actually are garbage (delicious garbage, though).

To settle the matter, let’s take a closer look at our favorite food, pizza:

Nutritional Breakdown

Image from Pixabay

Just like people, every type of pizza is unique, and each type of pizza carries with it its own nutritional content, some of which can be quite surprising, especially if you’ve lived your life believing all pizza was bad for you. Turns out, certain pizzas can actually be healthy, while certain pizzas really are like guns in a bun.

Fast Food Pizza

There’s a reason fast food pizza is frowned upon by doctors: it’s severely unhealthy. Every time you hear someone ask “is pizza healthy” and they answer “no”, it’s because they’re basing their answer on fast food pizza.

And it makes sense: out of all the types of pizzas out there, fast food pizzas have the worst nutrional content, with typical fast food pizza containing really high levels of Trans fats, artificial preservatives, and most of all sodium. In fact, a typical fast food pizza would normally have:

  • Sodium: 900 mg (which is a whopping 38% of a person’s recommended daily intake, or RDI)
  • Sugar: 1 gram
  • Fat: 26 grams
  • Carbs: 37 grams
  • Calories: 460

Fast food chains will also often use high fructose corn syrup, Monosodium Glutamate (or MSG), and a ton of salt. Fast food places use high fructose corn syrup, or HFCS, because it’s cheaper and holds up better to heat. Fast food places also use much more salt than home cooks and local pizzerias because it gives their food a more uniform taste. Many fast food places also use MSG, which, despite getting a bad rap, might not actually be that bad for you.

Frozen Pizza

Let me make one thing clear: frozen pizzas belong at the bottom tier of the pizza quality pyramid. That being said, it’s still pizza and thus a superior food choice compared to, well, everything else. Frozen pizzas, despite their inferior taste, are a staple for busy families and college students, who simply don’t have the time to make a delicious, mouth-watering ‘za.

Unfortunately, frozen pizzas are also one of the unhealthiest kinds of pizza out there, laden with Trans fats, refined sugars, and a whole lot of highly processed and artificial flavors and preservatives. Here’s the nutritional breakdown for 1 serving of a typical grocery store frozen pizza:

  • Sodium: 810 mg (to note, this is 34% of a person’s RDI)
  • Sugar: 8 grams
  • Fat: 18 grams
  • Carbs: 39 grams
  • Calories: 380

Getting a frozen pizza with extra toppings like pepperoni or sausage will obviously bump up the calories and the fat, and while they do add flavor, it’s nothing compared to the real stuff.

Freshly Made Pizzeria Pizza

By far the superior choice in terms of pizza, your local pizzeria will always be healthier than fast food or frozen pizza. Of course, each pizzeria will have its own ingredients, preparation, ovens, and even slicing, methods that will determine its nutrional information (ok, maybe not the slicing but, you get what I mean).

Because pizzerias will almost always use fresh ingredients, it will almost always be healthier, with less sugars, Trans fats, sodium, and artificial flavors. Pizzerias will also probably never use preservatives, as their pies are meant to be eaten on the same day (although cold next-day pizza is still pretty bomb).

Most pizzerias (at least, the good ones) will make their dough from scratch, with purists relying solely on flour, water, salt, and good quality olive oil to make their crust. They’ll also probably use San Marzano tomatoes which, as well all know, is the superior choice of tomato for the sauce. Mozzarella cheese is obviously necessary, and depending on the pizzeria, they’ll probably use good, high-quality mozzarella that has less sodium and less Trans fats.

Of course, if you pile on the cheese, pepperoni, or sausages, it’s going to be a little unhealthy, so just try to practice restraint.

So Is Pizza Healthy?

Yes and no. Fast food and grocery store frozen pizzas are definitely not healthy. However, freshly made pizzeria pizza, or even homemade pizza, could be healthy, depending on what you put into it.

Make Your Pizzas Healthier

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There’s no reason to stray away from the world’s best food just because some lab coat found Pizza Hut to be unhealthy! There are plenty of ways to enjoy a pizza without having to worry about your heart stopping, or diabetes.

That being said, if you eat, like, 5 entire pizzas in one sitting, then obviously you’re not going to live past next week. As with most things, practice restraint and try not to eat a month’s worth of your caloric intake in one meal.

Here are some easy ways to make pizza healthier:

Don’t Be Shy with the Veggies

Be they raw, blanched, boiled, steamed, or roasted, vegetables can elevate a pizza from great to sublime. Toss in a handful of fresh greens on your next homemade pizza to give yourself a much needed vitamins and minerals boost. Bonus: some vegetables, like ginger, have antibacterial and antioxidant properties, which are just super great for your body.

Skip the Processed Stuff

As much as possible, make your pizza with whole foods; that is, food that is processed as little as possible. Yes, bacon and pepperoni make for a classic pizza, but grilled chicken breasts or even slices of sautéed pork make excellent toppings too.

Whole Grain All the Way

If you’re making homemade pizza, swap out white flour with something wholegrain as these types of flour usually have more fiber, more minerals, more good things that your body needs, as compared to regular, all-purpose flour. Other alternatives include cauliflower and pita bread. Healthy alternatives exist, and if you encounter it, take it.

San Marzano or Bust

If you’re using jarred pizza sauce, try to go for one that’s made with real San Marzano tomatoes. This is because San Marzano tomatoes have just the right amount of natural sweetness and tartness that make it unnecessary for you to add extra sugar, keeping your glucose levels stable.

Control Your Portions

More often than not, people eat with their eyes first, which is why an entire slice of a New York Style Pizza might look a tiny portion, when in fact, half of that would be enough to get you full. Try to cut smaller or thinner slices as a form of portion control.

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You’re Probably Not Getting Enough Sleep: Why 5 Hours or Less is Not Enough https://www.livetheorganicdream.com/is-5-hours-of-sleep-enough/ https://www.livetheorganicdream.com/is-5-hours-of-sleep-enough/#respond Sat, 23 Nov 2019 19:13:03 +0000 https://www.livetheorganicdream.com/?p=1861 If you’re reading this after a long day’s work and feeling the fatigue sink and making you feel like you aren’t getting enough sleep, we have some bad news: you probably really aren’t getting as much sleep as you should be. In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a Morbidity and Mortality …

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If you’re reading this after a long day’s work and feeling the fatigue sink and making you feel like you aren’t getting enough sleep, we have some bad news: you probably really aren’t getting as much sleep as you should be.

In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a Morbidity and Mortality Week Report that showed more than a third of adults in the country aren’t actually getting as much as sleep as they should be. This lack of sleep, coupled by numerous stressors, was directly linked with a whole host of physical and mental problems, some minor, while others were a little more concerning.

Most people assume that getting 5 hours of Z’s is plenty, but is 5 hours of sleep enough? According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society, 5 hours of sleep isn’t even close to enough. In fact, research shows that adults need at least 7 hours of sleep or more per night in order to keep both body and mind at optimum levels.

Anything less than that and your overall health can actually start to decline. It’s not just a matter of being fatigued, although that does contribute to a lowered immune system; sleep deprivation can lead to a host of other help problems, like weight gain. Not getting enough sleep can even affect you mentally, with studies showing that regularly getting less than 7 hours of sleep can negatively affect a person’s nervous system over time, making them less prone to rational thought and less prone to solve problems in a logical manner.

A big misconception people have about sleep is that they assume they sleep for 5 hours straight. However, sleep is actually a little more complicated: the human body sleeps in stages, with each stage shifting every 90 minutes. There are 4 stages of sleep:

Stage 1: Undefined Non-REM

Stage 2: Defined Non-REM

Stage 3: Deep Non-REM

Stage 4: REM Sleep

REM is Rapid Eye Movement, and is considered to be ‘deep sleep’. This is when your mind starts dreaming. People who sleep less than 7 hours usually do not go beyond Stage 2 sleep, which, while not as prone to awakenings as stage 1, is nowhere near your body’s much needed deep sleep.

So is 5 hours of sleep enough? No, it is not, and getting anything less than that can open you up to a wide variety of problems.

You Can’t “Make Up” For Lack of Sleep

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A common thought process for most people is, it’s okay if they don’t get enough sleep during the weekdays because they can just “make up” for it over the weekend by sleeping in. However, according to researchers: that won’t do you any good.

Harvard Medical School calls this “sleep debt” and is a condition wherein a person doesn’t get the recommended 7+ hours of sleep every night. Sleep debt is not something you can pay back, and the more it accumulates, the worse it gets: diabetes, memory loss, weight gain, and even heart disease, are all linked to chronic sleep debt, either directly or indirectly.

It Can Negatively Impact Your Mental Health

As mentioned earlier, sleep debt can cause severe effects on your mental health, including, but not limited to, increasing levels of anxiety and even causing depression. But that’s just the tip of the sleep deprivation iceberg…

New research shows that chronic sleep deprivation (that is, getting less than the recommended 7 hours of sleep a night) can severely lessen a person’s ability to think clearly, drastically reduce reaction times, and even negatively impact the formation of new memories. These effects happen over time, and a person undergoing chronic sleep deprivation will see the effects unfold gradually as the years roll by.

Sleep Deprivation Can Wreak Havoc On Your Body

For people who believe that 5 hours of sleep is enough, we have even more bad news: getting less than the recommended 7 hours of sleep can lead to a whole lot of physical problems, from weight gain and heart disease, to a perpetually lowered immune system that can lead to serious complications in the future.

In a study done by the University of Colorado, researchers found that just one week of sleeping 5 hours a night led their participants to gain 2 pounds. This is because a lack of sleep sends your hormones into chaos, including hormones that regulate your appetite.

The less sleep you get, the more weight you gain, the more you’re at risk of heart disease, especially considering that most people with sleep debt often eat excessive amounts at night, right before they sleep. This means that your body has less time to digest and process food, which then leads to fat and sugar accumulating in your arteries.

If that’s not bad enough, sleep deprivation can also make you sick. During REM sleep, or deep sleep, your body starts releasing a type of protein cytokines, which help your body heal itself as you sleep. Cytokines help fight inflammation and infections, and a lack of sleep can severely decrease the amount of Cytokines in your system, making you more prone to sickness.

Get Better Sleep

Image via Pixabay

Sleep deprivation is a serious problem, but fortunately, it’s also a problem that can be resolved easily and effectively, with just a few simple lifestyle changes. Here are some things you can do to get better sleep:

Sleep Schedules Help You Get Consistent Z’s

Creating a sleep schedule and following it strictly can greatly increase the chances of you getting the recommended 7 hours of sleep a night. Sleep schedules aren’t complicated: set a time for you to go to bed, and a time for you to wake up. Follow this every night, even on weekends. Soon, your body will start getting used to this schedule and adjust itself accordingly

Meditation Helps

One purpose of meditation is to soothe your mind and create a sense of peace and calm which, as we all know, are necessary for a whole night of restful sleep. Meditating just a few minutes every night before going to bed can greatly help people bring themselves to a serene mindset that’s primed for sleep. Make meditation a part of your bedtime ritual (i.e. taking a warm bath, light stretching, reading a relaxing book, etc.), and over time, your body will start taking your bedtime ritual as a signal for sleep, helping you get to Stage 1 sleep even easier.

Eliminate Distractions

Your bedroom should only be used for rest and relaxation. This means taking away phones, tablets, laptops, and basically anything else that might tempt you to stay up past your bedtime. Over time, your body and mind will start getting used to the idea of your bedroom as a place for sleep, which, in turn, will give you a sense of peace and relaxation as soon as you step in your room.

If All Else Fails, Consult Your Doctor

Sleep deprivation is a common problem, but insomnia isn’t. If you’ve tried everything in your power to get a good night’s sleep and still fail, you might have to go to a sleep doctor or a psychiatrist and see if there’s something wrong with you. Thankfully, most hospitals now have sleep specialists and therapists who can pinpoint possible causes for insomnia and treat it effectively.

So, to recap: is 5 hours of sleep enough? It is not. Experts recommend 7 or more hours of sleep every night. A Lack of sleep can make you sick, negatively affect the way you think, and give you weight gain. There are ways to solve the problem, however, and it starts with something we all hated growing up: a regular bedtime.

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Cherry Popsicles, White Bread, and Sleep : The Strange Connection Between Certain Foods and Snoozing https://www.livetheorganicdream.com/white-bread-and-sleep-connection-between-certain-foods-and-snoozing/ https://www.livetheorganicdream.com/white-bread-and-sleep-connection-between-certain-foods-and-snoozing/#respond Fri, 22 Nov 2019 18:13:28 +0000 https://www.livetheorganicdream.com/?p=1856 We’ve all been there: you get home from a long day of work after going through your daily hellish commute. You have a quick dinner and try to start your bedroom rituals as soon as possible. After a warm bath and a quick 10 minute meditation (relaxation is one of the purposes of meditation, after …

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We’ve all been there: you get home from a long day of work after going through your daily hellish commute. You have a quick dinner and try to start your bedroom rituals as soon as possible. After a warm bath and a quick 10 minute meditation (relaxation is one of the purposes of meditation, after all), you light a couple of candles and dive under the covers. You close your eyes and try to get some sleep.

But 2 hours later, you find yourself still wide awake, tossing and turning and hating the fact that it’s now past midnight and you have to be up in just a few hours.

Sound familiar? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Almost a third of people in the country report not getting nearly enough sleep, with around 10% of people being diagnosed with chronic insomnia. It’s gotten so bad that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have classified insomnia as a public health epidemic. While there are some obvious fixes (i.e. not drinking coffee at night, keeping your devices out of the bedroom, etc.), there’s one suspected source that people often overlook:

Dinner.

That’s right, that ‘quick bite’ you just had before your bedroom rituals might be affecting you a lot more profoundly than you think. Unfortunately, despite what your mom says, a glass of warm milk is not going to help you catch some Z’s.

Of course, there are certain foods that act as natural relaxants, inasmuch as certain foods act as stimulants: certain fruits, like cherries, are naturally high in melatonin, while apples have unusually high levels of caffeine.

It’s also in the quantity of food we eat: while carbs like white rice and bread can make you feel groggy, having too much before bed can prolong your digestion, keeping you up well into the wee hours of the morning. Of course, a moderate serving of rice or white bread can induce relaxation and sleepiness. That’s because these types of carbs spike your GI (glucose index), which increases your blood sugar level, which, in turn, can lead to an energy crash.

Some carbs, however, should be off your pre-bedtime list: whole milk, while soothing and relaxing, have too much saturated fats, which prolong digestion as well. Whole-wheat foods, like pita bread, is healthy, but unfortunately, they’re also rich in energy-boosting vitamins and minerals, so while they make great breakfasts and midday snacks, it’s best to avoid them at night.

Coffee obviously should be avoided, but certain food and drinks like red meat and alcohol, despite giving you a feeling of relaxation, can also be detrimental to your sleeping patterns, especially alcohol, which can interrupt you in the middle of your snooze.

Chemistry, Psychology, and the Timing of Eating Before Sleeping

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That being all said, while the chemistry of your diet does affect your sleep on a physical level, the psychological effects should also be considered: yes, milk does have fat that prolongs digestion, but if a warm, fresh-out-of-the-microwave, frothy glass of milk gives you feelings of warmth, relaxation, and coziness, all of which leading you to a better headspace for sleep, then you should have a little bit.

Contrary to popular opinion, a glass of warm milk before bed won’t send you into a deep slumber because of the properties in the milk, he says. But, if the warm milk actually helps you relax and calm down then that’s what will put you to sleep.

Another thing to consider is the timing of your last meal for the day. Obviously, snacking or eating right before going to sleep is a big no-no: your body is way too busy digesting, which will either prohibit you from falling asleep, or interrupt your sleep stages, which is just as bad. Drinking water or alcohol right before sleeping is also detrimental to sleep, as this activates your body’s natural filtration system, which in turn, will get you up.

Another factor to consider is the timing of your last meal or snack of the day. If you eat right before you sleep, your body will be primed for digestion, which can disrupt sleep otherwise. Similarly, if you drink water right before bed, your body’s filtration system will fire up and you’ll need to wake up more often to go to the bathroom.

Your best bet? Eat the lightest meal you can have around 2 hours before you plan on sleeping. Apply some common sense and avoid obvious stimulants like sugar, caffeine and nicotine. Eat carbs, but eat them in moderation. You wouldn’t think white bread and sleep go hand in hand, but that ham sandwich paired with a glass of warm milk might just be your ticket to dream land.

Foods to Eat Before Sleeping

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Tryptophan is a naturally-occuring chemical that helps prep our body for sleep. Some foods are rich in tryptophan, and this can easily help you fall asleep at night. Here are some foods to try to help you settle down, relax, and get you sleepy:

Bananas

At only 100 calories each and chock-full of fiber, bananas are a great pre-bedtime snack or dessert during dinner. They have all the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs, and as an added bonus, bananas are also a very rich source of tryptophan.

Pumpkin Seeds

It’s one of the richest naturally-occurring sources of magnesium, with one serving containing at least 50% of your recommended daily intake, pumpkin seeds are also a powerful muscle relaxant, making it a perfect pre-bedtime snack that can actually help you unwind.

Cherries

As mentioned earlier, cherries are another rich source of melatonin, the hormone that regulates our sleep-wake cycle. If tryptophan is responsible for making us sleepy, melatonin is responsible for making sure we stay asleep during the whole sleep cycle. Just make sure to get fresh cherries, and not the ones that are soaking in syrup. Tart cherry juice right before bed can also go a long way to helping you sleep through the night.

Turkey

Specifically, white turkey meat, like the ones from the breast part, are naturally high in tryptophan and proteins, both of which are essential in making you feel sleepy. Of course, try not to overdo it: a couple of slices of good-quality white meat from a roast turkey are more than enough to get you ready for bed.

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Empty Carbohydrates and Calories: What They Are and How to Avoid Them https://www.livetheorganicdream.com/what-are-empty-carbohydrates-and-calories/ https://www.livetheorganicdream.com/what-are-empty-carbohydrates-and-calories/#respond Thu, 21 Nov 2019 17:08:46 +0000 https://www.livetheorganicdream.com/?p=1850 Ever since we were young, we’ve been told to avoid soda, candies, and chips in favor of food like fruits and vegetables. As we grow older, we understand why: too much sugar can lead to diseases like diabetes, while too much sodium can lead to heart problems later in life. Another reason most people don’t …

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Ever since we were young, we’ve been told to avoid soda, candies, and chips in favor of food like fruits and vegetables. As we grow older, we understand why: too much sugar can lead to diseases like diabetes, while too much sodium can lead to heart problems later in life.

Another reason most people don’t know, however, is because of empty carbohydrates and calories. While it’s OK to sneak some cheat food every now and then, too much empty carbohydrates and calories consumption can be bad for your health in the long run.

Carbohydrates vs. Calories

Carbohydrates are sugars, starches, and fibers found in grains, vegetables, and milk products. These are important for a healthy diet because it’s one of the main ways (apart from protein and fat) for your body to obtain energy or calories.

Calories, on the other hand, are the unit of energy which measures the amount of energy you get from consuming a certain food or drink. A small apple, for example, has 78 calories, while a Big Mac from McDonald’s has 257 calories. While an apple is healthier than fast food burger, if a person is doing strenuous activity and requires more energy (say, for example, a construction worker at a building site), then it is more practical for them to eat the one that provides more calories because those calories will be put to use. But if a person is at home and doing nothing for the whole day that requires a lot of energy, the apple can suffice.

Empty Carbohydrates

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While carbohydrates can come from many types of food, some food sources are healthier than others. For example, your daily white bread is a good source of carbohydrates to start your morning. However, it’s full of white sugar and preservatives that make it unhealthy. Compare this to healthier white bread alternatives like pita bread which has roughly the same amount of carbs but almost no sugar.

Empty carbohydrates are foods that technically still have carbs, but it’s been processed in such a way that all the other nutrients have been stripped away. The best example of this is white rice and brown rice. Brown rice are grains that haven’t been husked and processed, so the bran and germ are still intact, while white rice has these removed. Aside from the different flavor, white rice is stripped of the vitamins and fiber because these are found in the bran and germ. So, by the time it becomes white rice, you’re simply eating it for the starch and carbohydrates. Whereas you would have been eating more nutritious carbohydrates with brown rice.

In fact, most processed grains are empty carbohydrates because most of the natural nutrients have already been stripped away. This is why many food manufacturers advertise their processed grains as “fortified” or “enriched” or anything to suggest there are added nutrients to make up for the lost nutrients.

Empty Calories

Empty calories are similar to empty carbohydrates in a sense that they do provide calories but offer little to no nutrients. These calories come from fats and sugars added into food. While it offers additional calories, it doesn’t offer any nutritional benefits and, when consumed in large amounts, can be detrimental to your health.

For example, take a look at soft drinks. A can of Sprite has 146 calories, but most of it comes from the corn syrup added to the drink. Aside from this, you’re only drinking carbonated water, flavoring, and preservatives – none of which have barely any nutritional value. Other examples of food with empty calories is in candies, sweetened artificial drinks, sugary cereals, pizzas loaded with salty toppings and fried meat.

How to Avoid Empty Carbohydrates and Calories

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A small amount of empty carbs and calories in your diet is OK as long as you eat a balanced meal of healthier food filled with more nutrients. Eating too much fat, sugars, starch, and carbs may require you to exercise or perform some heavy lifting if you want to avoid buildup in your body that can lead to obesity, nutrient deficiency, and other diseases and bodily conditions that come from these.

While the average healthy diet may always have empty carbs and calories (e.g. whole milk contains empty calories but also provides calcium and fat), the best way to avoid bad carbs and calories is to watch what you eat. Processed food will always have more empty carbohydrates and calories than fruits, vegetables, nuts, and other natural foods. Also, fried food has more empty calories because of the fat added to the food.

You can also consider going on low-carb, Keto, or any diet that restricts you to avoid certain types of food or only eat a pre-determined amount of food depending on your daily activities. However, not all diets are effective for all body types, nor are all of them safe. If you’re interested in starting on a diet, it’s best to consult with a nutritionist about what’s best for your body before starting.

Empty carbohydrates and calories aren’t the healthiest choices when planning your meals, but it’s OK to eat these in moderation as long as you balance it out with a healthy diet and regular exercise. These provide you with some amount of energy to get through the day, but that’s about it. You’re better off eating other healthy foods that provide the same amount of energy and more nutrients to help improve your health.

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The Purpose of Meditation https://www.livetheorganicdream.com/the-purpose-of-meditation/ https://www.livetheorganicdream.com/the-purpose-of-meditation/#respond Wed, 20 Nov 2019 23:05:47 +0000 https://www.livetheorganicdream.com/?p=1843 For many people, meditation doesn’t really rank high in our daily priorities list, with more emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, and even physically, draining activities filling up the top spots more often. It’s strange to think that meditation, something that provide you with a ton of both physical and mental health benefits, is still something that many …

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For many people, meditation doesn’t really rank high in our daily priorities list, with more emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, and even physically, draining activities filling up the top spots more often. It’s strange to think that meditation, something that provide you with a ton of both physical and mental health benefits, is still something that many people find strange; in fact, studies show that people see meditation as just another “new age fad” and something that is unnecessary in daily life, with some religious people believing it to be evil and demonic. Weird!

But the ancient peoples who first noticed the benefits of meditation knew that clearing your mind and allowing the Universe to flow through you brought not just bliss and clarity, but also enlightenment, a sense of well-being, and ultimately, a way to end earthly suffering and become one with the energy that encompasses all life.

The ancients observed that practicing meditation on a daily basis was the way to becoming a holistically-developed human being, something that is sorely lacking in todays fast-paced, highly draining world. It’s time we brought back daily meditation as a necessary activity, not only to keep our body and mind in check, but also to allow us to get back in touch with our souls and our connection with the Universe. Here are some of the purposes of meditation, along with some perks:

A Calm Path to Inner Peace

Leave anything to the elements, without proper care or maintenance, and it starts to break down. With computers, constant usage builds up strings of unnecessary code that, if it accumulates, slows down the entire system; houses, if left neglected, builds up dust and dirt and becomes home to insects. Even places in nature, if something is out of balance, will result in the entire region becoming unlivable.

It happens all around us, and yet many people feel like it doesn’t apply to them or their mind. Left untreated, your mind becomes tangled and choked with negativity, bits of unnecessary code, house dust, and barren soil. This manifests into a constant state of mental and spiritual turmoil, as your mind starts to combat itself and the darkness it has created.

Meditation cures that by creating a sense of calm, stilling the storms, defragging unnecessary code, cleaning up the house, and bringing life back to barren lands. It’s a way to process all your negativity and turn it into something more productive: energy.

Grounds You in The Present

Image from Pixabay

In our modern fast-paced, tech-augmented, reality-questioning world, it’s hard to stay in the present, to be in the moment of things. Everywhere we go, we’re always somehow outside of the now and the here: commuters glue themselves to screens, updating themselves about the lives of other people living in other parts of the world, social media shows us ‘throwbacks’ and keeps us living in the past, and even modern entertainment is all about rehashing, retconning, or rebooting franchises from decades ago.

One of the purposes of meditation is not only to shield you from the mind-warping capabilities of social media and other emergent technologies, it’s also effective at  keeping  you anchored in the present, in the now, in the here. That’s because meditation is more than just simply “emptying your mind”, it’s about allowing your mind to be fully aware of its surroundings, space, energy, and emotions, and dropping all other unnecessary toxicities. Do this enough times, like every day, and you’ll find yourself craving to be in the moment and to be away from a computer screen.

Unlocks Your Hidden Potential

When you meditate on a daily basis, your mind starts getting used to having access to more of your brain’s natural capabilities. As you train your mind to be less distracted with negativity, free of toxicity, and ever present in the moment, it becomes more attuned to what you’re doing right now. Basically, like a computer with a fast processor, a mind that is used to meditating processes things faster, retains things better, and allows you to access parts of your brain that you might not have used so much in the past.

Of course, this doesn’t grant you superpowers (although we wish it did!), but it does grant you a mind that is more effective, more creative, and more powerful. As one of the main purposes of meditation, unlocking your hidden potential (or potentials) is one of the best perks you can get from meditating daily.

Happiness from Within

One of the worst things the modern world has taught us is to find happiness in external things: branded commodities are marketed to us to make us feel like life is incomplete without it, social media validation has become an actual source of income for some people, and the accumulation of wealth has become the end-all-or-be-all of many people’s existence, even becoming our barometer of whether or not a person is a functioning member of society. But all these are unnatural and temporary, and this creates disharmony within our minds, making us toxic, negative, and even physically sick.

One of the purposes of meditation is to create harmony with your mind, your body, your soul, and your surroundings. It cannot change the outside world, but it can help you create a mental and spiritual space within you that is immune to the damage of the outside world. As you get better at meditating, you start to find that there are many things about who you are and what you can do that brings true, permanent happiness. Because it comes from within, it cannot be destroyed, muted, or taken away; inner happiness is indestructible, and something you can carry with you for the rest of your days.

It Makes You a Better Person

Image from Pixabay

Eastern philosophers have long believed that meditation breeds desirable traits like wisdom, mindfulness, honor, and above all, compassion for your fellow person. That’s because meditation allows you to be in touch with your true emotions which becomes sensitive to the emotions of people around you. As you meditate daily, you become attuned to the people around you, their pain and their anger, their joys and sorrows, and it kickstarts this natural empathy humans are born with. As humans, we are all born with light, and meditation is a way for us to let that light shine out into the world, giving it to people in darkness, and making them feel the kind of happiness you feel.

This is one of the most important purposes of meditation; it’s not just a way to be more mindful, or more present, or healthier, it’s a way to make you into a better person as a whole.

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Is Pita Bread Healthy for Weight Loss? https://www.livetheorganicdream.com/is-pita-bread-healthy/ https://www.livetheorganicdream.com/is-pita-bread-healthy/#respond Wed, 20 Nov 2019 12:56:30 +0000 https://www.livetheorganicdream.com/?p=1837 Plenty of diets nowadays claim that carbs, not fats, are the main culprits for obesity and the diseases that stem from it. Which is supposedly why, if you’re trying to lose weight, you’ll do a more effective job of it by cutting down on bread, sugar, and pasta rather than butter and cheese. While some …

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Plenty of diets nowadays claim that carbs, not fats, are the main culprits for obesity and the diseases that stem from it. Which is supposedly why, if you’re trying to lose weight, you’ll do a more effective job of it by cutting down on bread, sugar, and pasta rather than butter and cheese.

While some people can go cold turkey and completely cut carbs out of their life, a few of us need to slowly wean off carbs or find healthier alternatives. When it comes to bread alternatives, there’s a claim that pita bread is healthy for weight loss because of its ingredients compared to your everyday sliced bread. But just how healthy is pita bread and, if not, are there other alternatives to consider?

What Is Pita Bread?

Also known as pitta, Arabic bread, and Syrian bread, pita is a type of flatbread that’s a staple in the Mediterranean, Middle East, and other parts of the world. Its creation dates back to the prehistoric Middle East, with evidence pointing back as far as 14,500 years prior.

The term “pita” comes from the Modern Greek word which comes from the Byzantine Greek word, πίτα, which means a bread or cake. This, in turn, may have come from the Ancient Greek “πικτή” (pronounced “pikte”), which means fermented pastry. This ancient Greek word could be the ancestor for both the words “pita” and the Latin word that would eventually create the word “pizza.”

Pita Bread Ingredients

Image via Pixabay

 

The main ingredients of pita bread are flour, water, yeast, and salt. However, others may add different ingredients to their pita bread, and other commercial manufacturers may add different ingredients such as sugar and preservatives, so it’s best to check the ingredients on the label before making a purchase.

It is not suitable for people who want to go on a keto or carb-free diet, but it can be good for people who are trying to lower their carb intake or finding healthier carb alternatives compared to the average carb intake of eating regular bread.

Pita Bread vs. Regular White Bread

If you’re looking at pita bread in comparison to white bread, you can understand why many people believe pita bread is a healthier alternative to white bread. While different bakeries and commercial manufacturers’ ingredients and its measurements for white bread vary, you’ll generally find wheat flour, sugar, oil, yeast, and milk.

Flour and sugar are a form of carbohydrates – and bread is high in carbs: A single slice of white bread has 13 grams of carbs and around a gram of sugar. In comparison, one pita has 10g of carbs and almost little to no sugar at all.

Is Pita Bread Healthy?

Pita bread has less carbs than white bread, but that’s not to say that it’s completely healthy. For example, if you’re looking to replace your daily white bread with pita bread, then you lose a few grams of carbs. But if you’re eating a pita sandwich filled with sugary spreads like Nutella, then you’re still eating a lot of carb.

And while you do lower the amount of carb you’re eating, you’re increasing the amount of sodium. Pita generally has much more salt in its ingredients than regular white bread. And too much salt in your diet can increase your blood pressure.

So, while pita is healthier than white breads that are filled with sugar, they aren’t totally healthy if you’re eating it with unhealthy fillings, spreads, and sauces. In fact, it’s not really better than the other white bread alternatives in the market.

Alternatives to Low-Carb Bread

Image via Pixabay

Three other healthy carb alternatives to white bread that come to mind are sourdough bread, whole wheat bread, and oat bread. Here’s a brief rundown of the three, which you can easily find baked fresh in most bakeries.

Sourdough Bread

Sourdough bread is with a fermentation process with natural lactobacilli and yeast to make the bread rise. It has a sour taste and is easier to digest because of the probiotics produced during fermentation, promoting good gut health.

The fermentation process reduces the amount of phytates in the bread, which impair mineral absorption. This means the bread has more minerals and nutrients than average bread. And while there is sugar present in the ingredients, the bacteria decreases the rate at which it is digested, reducing its impact on one’s blood sugar.

Whole Wheat Bread

Whole wheat bread includes wheat grains that weren’t processed: it includes the germ, endosperm, and bran. In comparison, white bread includes wheat that’s been washed and processes so that only the endosperm is included.

The outer bran layer is high in fiber, while both the bran and the germ have proteins, vitamins, and minerals. The endosperm, however, is just mostly starch, which is why white bread doesn’t have the same nutrients and whole wheat.

Oat Bread

Oat bread is a mixture of whole wheat flour and oats, as well as the typical ingredients of bread including yeast, water, and salt. Oats are known to have many health benefits, including vitamins, minerals, and fiber that can regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

While it sounds healthy, be careful when choosing your oat bread, as some recipes aren’t always the healthiest. Some oat breads may have oats, but it’s very minimal compared to the amount of flour, sugar, oils, and preservatives used, which practically cancels out the health benefits provided in oats.

Pita bread can be a good carb alternative to white bread, but it’s not the healthiest form of bread in the market. Consider the other healthy options available, or be careful about what you put inside your pita as a filling.

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Crafting Revisited: Picking Up on the Old Habit With New Tools on Hand https://www.livetheorganicdream.com/crafting-revisited-picking-up-on-the-old-habit-with-new-tools-on-hand/ Wed, 31 Jul 2019 01:00:00 +0000 https://www.livetheorganicdream.com/?p=1829 A weekend of decluttering led to yet another weekend activity: arts and crafts. After organizing our tools and replenishing our supplies, we decided it’s time to put our well-stocked toolboxes and drawers to good use. We experimented with some of the materials and supplies we have on hand. Water Coloring with Stampers Having bought a …

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A weekend of decluttering led to yet another weekend activity: arts and crafts. After organizing our tools and replenishing our supplies, we decided it’s time to put our well-stocked toolboxes and drawers to good use. We experimented with some of the materials and supplies we have on hand.

Water Coloring with Stampers

Having bought a lot of stazon inks previously, and with duplicates, too, we could pick a few dupes and explored other ways to use it. This is other than for stamping; we used it for water coloring, and the results were fantastic.

Since the ink doesn’t blot when water is applied to it, it was easy to paint stamped images and drawings. This is by using this technique and coloring material without ruining the outline of the image. To do this, make sure the lid of the ink case is completely closed.

Give it gentle squeeze to release some of its ink onto the back of the cover, which will be used as the coloring for this experiment. So we used one of our favorite stamps and colored inside it using a water brush and the ink that we squeezed out of the stamp pad.

The intensity of the paint can be controlled by the amount of water applied to it. Surprisingly, the ink was easy to work with, and the result was quite fantastic!

Designing Stationery Envelopes

Decided to put the packs of card stock to use and made two different sizes of envelopes using the envelope punch board. The good thing about using this tool is that the finished product looks as if a professional stationery maker actually did it. The edges are trimmed evenly, and the cuts are clean.

And because we loved our new water coloring technique, we decided to apply the same to our envelopes to give it a bit of color and unique design. For this crafting session, we used different ink colors to create a lively design.

We used the water pen for this one as well. It is easier to control the amount of water that is applied and to prevent excessive water from soaking the surface of the card.

Journal Decorating

journalling

One other thing we used to do was to write in journals. This time, other than simply writing entries about our day, we decided to infuse it with daily art and doodles, to make it more fun and different. There are plenty of ways to use a journal notebook and plenty of ways to decorate it, too.

And because of its size, it’s quite the portable art medium. You can take it anywhere, use it anywhere and any which way you wish. This makes it the perfect companion for traveling or simply as a catch-all for work and art ideas.

We’re thrilled to have discovered new ways to use our arts and crafts supplies. As well as find ways that allow us to let our creative juices flow and create something that makes us happy. Art is highly therapeutic, and best of all, it’s fun to do.

Have you done any crafting projects yourself lately? Perhaps it’s the perfect time to schedule a crafting project for a weekend spent beyond the ordinary routine.

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Stay Safe: How to Survive an Avalanche https://www.livetheorganicdream.com/stay-safe-how-to-survive-an-avalanche/ Mon, 29 Jul 2019 01:00:00 +0000 https://www.livetheorganicdream.com/?p=1811 Skiing is an enjoyable experience that everyone should try at least once in their lifetime. But along with this pastime are some risks that could change an exciting hobby into a nightmarish event. One particular event that you should try to avoid and be prepared for is an avalanche. It can happen at any time, …

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Skiing is an enjoyable experience that everyone should try at least once in their lifetime. But along with this pastime are some risks that could change an exciting hobby into a nightmarish event.

One particular event that you should try to avoid and be prepared for is an avalanche. It can happen at any time, and if you’re at its path, you should know what to do to survive.

Don’t try to outrun it

If you see an avalanche bearing down on you, don’t even try to outrun it because you won’t be able to. Outrunning an avalanche only happens in the movies, so your best chance to survive this disaster is to move perpendicular to it. Try to get as far away from the middle of that avalanche as possible.

Now, if the avalanche starts at your feet, do your best to jump upslope. This way, you’ll be avoiding the fracture line, and you won’t get caught up with the cascading snow. As soon as you get out of the middle of harm’s way, you need to keep yourself rooted.

Grab onto something

There’s no telling how big the avalanche is going to be. Maybe you were able to avoid the fracture line when it started to fall beneath your feet, but you might have unsettled the snow above you, which is now crashing towards you.

To improve your chances of surviving, grab onto something strong to keep you in place. Look for a tree branch or a rock, and grab onto it as hard as you can. If the crashing snow is too strong, and you get uprooted, try to “swim” with the flow so that you’ll stay above the avalanche.

Breathe and signal

If you happen to get buried under all that snow, you should create some room to breathe. So, if you see that you’re about to be buried by an avalanche, cup your mouth with your hands to give it some space to breathe.

Taking in large gulps of air will also help you survive under all that snow. It will help your lungs expand and give you enough space to breathe.

You should also keep in mind to give your rescuers all the things they need to find you. That means you should wear something bright that can be seen for miles. There may be a chance that you’ll be half-buried.

You can wear an Arcteryx vest, for one. This brand has lots of colorful attires that can be seen for miles. In addition to that, make sure that your overall outfit can easily be seen so that means your shoes, helmet and gloves sport bright colors.

Stay calm

Ski close up

Most importantly, you should stay calm and not panic. Panicking will quicken your breathing, making it harder for you to breathe. Also, if you panic, you might find the urge to move and try to dig yourself out of the snow. This could loosen the snow even more and bury you even more. Try to sit tight and wait for the rescuers to come for you.

We never know when avalanches can happen. But as long as you know what to do in the event that an avalanche occurs, you’ll be able to survive it. Even the smallest detail might be able to save your life.

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Early Signs of Type 2 Diabetes https://www.livetheorganicdream.com/early-signs-of-type-2-diabetes/ Sun, 28 Jul 2019 01:00:00 +0000 https://www.livetheorganicdream.com/?p=1823 Glucose is a simple sugar that serves as fuel for the cells. While they have enough glucose in the bloodstream, persons with diabetes have a problem utilizing the glucose in the cells. That said, they feel hungry sooner than later despite eating enough. Receiving a Diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes An experienced family doctor in West Jordan and other areas …

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Glucose is a simple sugar that serves as fuel for the cells. While they have enough glucose in the bloodstream, persons with diabetes have a problem utilizing the glucose in the cells. That said, they feel hungry sooner than later despite eating enough.

Receiving a Diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes

An experienced family doctor in West Jordan and other areas may give a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes if the symptoms are consistent and the tests confirm it. Doctors report that most of the people they diagnose with Type 2 diabetes have already been harboring the disease for about five years.

The early signs may not be noticeable and most people are unaware that the changes in their habits are already symptoms of diabetes. Taken together, the following signs suggest diabetes at an early age. Which signs have you been exhibiting lately?

Impaired Blood Circulation

The simplest and earliest indication of impaired circulation is the delayed healing of a superficial cut. When a typical wound is taking a few months to heal, it is an indication that the blood circulation is impaired. Consistently high levels of glucose in the bloodstream could damage the blood vessel lining. If you have a wound that does not heal, it is at risk for infection. For these reasons, you should see a doctor and ask for a professional opinion on the matter.

Yeast infection

blood sugar checkup

Chronic yeast infection is a problem in itself, but it can be a sign of diabetes as well. Sugar is food for yeasts, which multiplies in excess in the body and causes infections. The moist and warm areas of the skin are most prone to harbouring yeast. Armpits and genitals are most commonly affected. When these areas are infected, they become itchy. Other people experience a burning sensation. The area may be red and sore as well if the infection worsens.

Problems in Vision

Damage to blood vessels in the eyes can lead to blurry vision. One or both eyes may be affected and it could lead to severe problems, including permanent blindness. Blurriness due to diabetes comes and goes. When the lens of the eyes is damaged due to high blood sugar, the vision problem worsens even more. People who already have eye problems will experience more symptoms if they have diabetes. You need to see an optometrist immediately to change the prescription of your eyeglasses.

Type 2 vs. Type 1 Diabetes

In Type 2 diabetes, the blood sugar levels are too high, which affects the sensitivity of the cells to insulin. It is characterized by insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetes may be diagnosed in adults. In Type 1 diabetes, the problem is insufficient production of insulin by the pancreas. There is not enough insulin to allow the cells to utilize glucose. The symptoms are quite similar, but Type 1 diabetes is diagnosed much earlier, usually in childhood.

When you feel any of the symptoms enumerated above, you must pay attention. Your body is showing you signs that there could be something wrong. If you have the symptoms and experience extreme thirst and frequent urination as well, it’s time to see your doctor for a consultation.

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5 Ways to Reduce Eye Twitching https://www.livetheorganicdream.com/5-ways-to-reduce-eye-twitching/ Thu, 25 Jul 2019 21:59:38 +0000 https://www.livetheorganicdream.com/?p=1818 Eyelid twitching, known medically as myokymia, is the involuntary contraction of the eyelid muscles. While it is not exactly life-threatening, it can be bothersome, especially when you are in public. These are five of the things that you can do so that you will no longer have to worry about eye twitching. Consider having a …

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Eyelid twitching, known medically as myokymia, is the involuntary contraction of the eyelid muscles. While it is not exactly life-threatening, it can be bothersome, especially when you are in public. These are five of the things that you can do so that you will no longer have to worry about eye twitching.

Consider having a Botox

Botox procedures are not just for those who are worried about wrinkles and blemishes on their faces. In recent years, a lot of Botox operations have also been done because they help relieve the constant contracture and twitch of the muscles that surround the eyes.

You should do it if the twitch happens a lot. If you are experiencing twitching near your eyes, you might want to consider a botox procedure as it might solve the problem you are having. Head on over to a plastic surgeon in Salt Lake City.

Gently massage your eyelids with a warm compress

Warm compress is one of your best bets if you want to stop your eyes from twitching. One of the leading causes of eye twitching is muscle stress, and the warmth from the compress will be able to facilitate healing in the eye area.

Put it in your eye area for a little more than 20 minutes while also gently massaging your eyelid using your fingers. Make small, circular motions in your eyelids so the twitching will be gone faster.

Make sure that you get rest

As already mentioned above, eye twitching is a result of stress, fatigue, and even poor nutrition. If the eye twitching bothers you so much, you should get some rest. At the very least, you should take six to eight hours of sleep.

While this will not totally eliminate the stress that you are feeling, it will help you reduce the stressors in your life. Even short naps (not more than 15 minutes) will help a lot in dealing with the eye twitching.

Get a break from facing screens

A lot of workers do not realize how much stress the eyes go through when you work in front of a computer or phone screen. This is one of the causes of eye twitching, which is why you should limit your exposure to the screen.

If it cannot be avoided, you should at least have a regular break from the screens. This way, you will be able to limit the harmful effect the screen has on your eyes and the muscles surrounding it.

Limit your caffeine intake

coffee with cookies

While not enough studies confirm the exact relationship between massive coffee intake and eye twitching, there is enough clear association between the two. While caffeine can be good at making sure that you last eight hours in the workplace, too much may cause your eye to start twitching.

If possible, you should not go beyond two cups of coffee on a daily basis. You can also switch to healthier sources of caffeine like green tea.

There are several approaches that you can take to solve eye twitching. You can go for Botox if it has become a recurring thing or you can do a warm compress if it is your first time experiencing it.

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