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The Mediterranean Diet for Everyone

In our attempt to find the best diet for health and longevity, the research behind the Mediterranean diet certainly seems to put it in that category. If you adopt the Mediterranean diet, studies show that your will not only have longer life expectancy, but will reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and hypertension. So, your quality of life can improve as well. This is primarily due to the use of olive oil in place of other saturated fats like butter. I recently discovered a recipe oriented book with a ton of ideas and even a daily meal planner. There are a few different variations of the diet and this one allows meat and desserts. It all has to be cooked in a clean and healthy manner, of course. But, I honestly believe we can enjoy this type of diet and not feel deprived while improving our health.

The book is The Mediterranean Prescription by A. Acquista, M.D. and his first point is to know the difference between the different types of fats. The goal is to consume unsaturated fat as in olive oil and plant based foods while reducing trans and saturated fats. Don’t worry, it’s all spelled out on the package labels and recipes in his book. Many people are staying away from wheat or starch these days, but there are good and bad starches too. Organic whole grain bread, for example, is one of the most healthy foods available. It’s prudent to avoid the white starches in bread, pasta, and rice and just replace them with the whole grain versions. Some studies even correlate how much whole grain products you eat to how long you will live.

In case you are new to the Mediterranean diet, Dr. Acquista lists the 12 guiding principles:

1. Eat lots of fruits.

2. Eat lots of vegetables.

3. Eat lots of legumes

4. Eat nuts and seeds

5. Eat whole grains

6. Use olive oil on salads and cooking

7. Eat low-fat dairy products in moderation

8. Eat fish

9. Eat the right fats (have a high ratio of unsaturated fats to saturated fats)

10. Regular physical activity

11. Drink Wine (red)

12. Eat small amounts of red meat and meat products.

Which Is The Best Diet? Dukan, Dorm Room, Paleo, Raw Food, Alkaline or Cambridge?

Despite the claims of an overwhelming number of diets, it is not surprising that when they are tried and found wanting, there is no choice but to eat what mother nature serves you. For natural foods are indisputably anti-inflammatory, fat burning, energy boosting and naturally diuretic. Why aren’t other diet foods?

Dukan Diet

Firstly, the Dr Dukan diet supports a high intake of proteins, which is rather hard on your wallet since animal proteins are pretty costly. Why not consider plant proteins which are cheaper, equally sustaining and multifarious in range.

For example, for vegetable proteins, there are the avocado, broccoli, spinach, kale, peas and sweet potatoes. Legume proteins include lentils and beans, nuts and seed while grain proteins can be found in quinoa, amaranth, bulgur, brown rice, wheat germ and oat bran. Moreover, eating too much protein can cause liver and heart problems, as well as weight gain.

Further, the Dukan diet sets a limit to high sugar foods On the contrary, in a plant-based diet, there are intelligent nutrients that willregulate your blood sugar. These foods include wholegrain breads and cereals, brown rice, legumes, fruit and vegetables.

Dorm Diet

In the case of taking supplements by college students following the Dorm Room Diet, pointing out the difference between a synthetic and a natural product, is most judicious.

For instance, Jerome Rodale, taking the example of vitamin c, explained that the man-made pure ascorbic acid cannot be compared to the more balanced natural product packed with other vitamins and minerals for curative effects. Whole foods like citrus fruits, dark green leafy vegetables, guavas and papayas are always superior to those of the coal tar variety.

Paleo Diet

A paleo meal plan does not make room for grains and instead, relies heavily on ‘safe starches’ like sweet potatoes, pumpkins, yams and nuts. This is tantamount to eliminating a great food source as rice, quinoa and millet can help balance your body’s pH balance.

Further, grains are protected from all kinds of poison sprays by their husks, making them relatively safe foods to eat. For instance, the corn is protected by its sheath while the brown rice has minimal chemical exposure.

Raw Rood Diet

In addition, the raw food diet upholds the belief that healthiest foods are uncooked foods. However, the truth is that some vegetables are more digestible if cooked. Also, juicing fruits in the raw food diet will remove the fibers so much needed in digestion.

Alkaline Diet

Abounding with alkalizing foods.the Chinese plant-based diet is never lacking in tofu, onions, garlic, ginger, root tubers, cruciferous vegetables and leafy greens. However it is nicely balanced by including acid-producing foods like rice and oats, pastas and breads. Nevertheless, eating too many alkalizing foods will affect your health in the long run.

Cambridge Diet

To weight watchers, the Cambridge diet claims of quick weight loss is music to their ears. Totally banking on nutritionally balanced snack bars, porridges, soups, and shakes, the dieter does not have to look for any other source of nutrition.

But would not the missing raw food factor be the cause of fatigue, and bad breath; while a lack of fiber, constipation? Worse still, missing valuable grains like oats; and fruits like bananas is no cure for insomnia. Certainly, nothing beats eating whole foods and all their wonderful life-giving vitamins and minerals.

As for the Cheater’s diet, it makes no bones about cheat days on which you are allowed to eat and drink absolutely anything however unhealthy it may be for you. This strange phenomenon is called binge eating, an idea which is foreign to a plant-based diet, where you can fill up on many whole foods like the pumpkin, avocado, beans, apples and oatmeal, without piling on the pounds.

Underlying the Fasting Diet is the practice of detoxifying your body and reversing disease. Well, most whole foods detoxify as well as nourish your body so naturally that it escapes your attention. In fact, your body will detoxify itself when given enough water and fiber.

Oh, for the want of a rhyme, while it goes, ‘Oh, what a riot, Blubber’s on a diet!’

Fighting Free Radical Damage With Antioxidants

Even while you are trying to reverse sun damaged skin or fight aging, unknown to you, chemical reactions are underway in your body that often end up playing havoc with the skin. The most potent of these reactions is oxidation.

Free radicals keep forming in the body – due to sun exposure, stress, hormonal changes, lack of sleep, unhealthy eating habits and even just breathing. These free radicals build a chain reaction that ends up wreaking untold oxidative damage. The results manifest in all your persistent skin problems – dry skin, sensitive skin, loss of collagen, premature aging and even skin cancer. The DNA starts mutating, the skin cannot repair itself and other health issues also appear.

The solution

What you need is something that will inhibit the rapid oxidation process or at least counter its effects – and the answer obviously lies in antioxidants!

In fact, the body produces natural antioxidants that protect the skin and repair the damaged cells. However, the production of antioxidants declines with age and consuming antioxidant-rich food alone fails to have the desired effect.

What the skin needs now is topical application of antioxidants that will not just repair but even protect the skin from further free radical damage!

The good news is that there a variety of antioxidant compounds. For example, astaxanthin, green tea, pomegranates, coffee berries, mushrooms, olives, grape extract, vitamin C, vitamin E to zinc, copper, beta-carotene, retinol and superoxide dismutase are literally loaded with effective antioxidants.

Moreover, these antioxidants can be combined with various skin care products such as gels, serums, lotions, creams and even face washes to deliver the desired results. They work to neutralize the free radicals and therefore, reduce oxidative stress on the body.

Therefore, they can help reverse sun damaged skin, tighten and tone the skin and fight wrinkles and aging on the one hand and even fight inflammatory diseases and skin cancer on the other.

Now that you have understood the need for antioxidants, you should start looking for antioxidant-rich skin care products. It’s even better if the products are created by nature, defined through science!

Another interesting fact is that there is no ‘best’ antioxidant and you do not need to use any particular type of antioxidant in abundance. In fact, the opposite is true – the more the merrier! So you need skin care products that contain a variety of potent and stable antioxidants, as they perform better when they are mixed together. What’s more, antioxidants also help to enhance the effectiveness of skin care products like sunscreens!

The skin care market is brimming with antioxidant-rich products that make tall claims of beneficial effects. However, be warned that while antioxidants are helpful, they are not a magic bullet. Instant results are not possible.

Should I Be Vegan or Vegetarian? What’s the Difference?

Going vegan, or vegetarian, is a great way to eat smarter, lose weight, burn fat and feel full of energy. Choosing to live a healthier lifestyle starts with your diet. Nutritionists and health experts now realize that up to 70% of your physical fitness level is directly the result of your diet. So good for you for deciding to go vegan or vegetarian. By the way, what is the difference? A vegan is definitely a vegetarian, but not all vegetarians are vegans. And what is this pescatarian thing anyway?

Defining the Difference Between Vegan and Vegetarian

Before you join a club or organization, you first find out what they are all about, right? What do they believe? What are the basic tenets, rules and unwritten laws which govern that organization? You need to ask yourself those same questions when you are choosing between a vegan and vegetarian lifestyle.

– Vegan – A person who excludes the use of animals for clothing, food or any other purpose. They do not consume or use any products made from animals. This means they do not eat honey, eggs, meat, milk and any other animal-based food.

– Vegetarian – This is someone that does not eat meat or fish. Unlike a vegan, some types of vegetarians eat dairy products, eggs and cheese. Vegetarians are not usually concerned with excluding animal-based nonfood products from their lives, like clothing.

The Different Types of Vegetarians

As you can see, vegans are much more passionate about their exclusion of animals used to create food and nonfood products. Vegetarians pretty much stick to a plant-based diet, but they may wear leather shoes and clothing, eat eggs and cheese, and drink milk. Check out these different types of vegetarians…

Pescatarian – This is a person that is basically a vegetarian. However, they also eat fish and other seafood products, dairy and eggs.

Flexitarian – If you would like to be an “almost vegetarian”, the flexitarian diet might be right for you. This is a vegetarian that occasionally eats eggs, cheese and dairy products, and also eats meat infrequently.

Lacto vegetarian – If you wish to exclude poultry, meat, fish and any egg products from your diet, while still eating dairy products such as yogurt, cheese and milk, the lacto vegetarian lifestyle is for you.

Lacto ovo vegetarian – Do you love cheese, eggs, egg-based food items, yogurt, milk and other dairy products? If so, add these foods to an almost totally plant-based diet and you are a lacto ovo vegetarian.

Russell (Rusty) Hart is the founder of the Health, Fitness & Sport Club, a website devoted to the promotion of health, fitness and wellness. Should this subject matter be of interest you can visit the HF & S Club home site where you’ll find over 1,300 quality posts with new posts being published daily. To quickly access those that are of interest you can select any of 20 Categories broken down by over 260 Sub-Categories for easy access.

Transactional Versus Transformational

Many undertakings fall under the category of either transactional or transformational. Transactional jobs or life changes require work and effort in a business sense. One might move one list of tasks into another file or transfer them to a new person. A business might exchange one item for another, such as Bread A is no longer popular because Bread B has taken over, and so inventory is reduced and eliminated and Bread B finds itself prominently displayed on the shelf. Know, of course, that the word “Bread” can be replaced by an action that a business or organization plans to assume. You might find List, Budget Item, Computer Basis, or Institutional Change in the slot and know that A is being exchanged for B or C or Z.

Transformational action, however, requires internal, mental change as well as external change. It is not as simple as getting rid of a trouble spot by swapping it for something new, improved, or different. Transforming necessitates examination and study, uncovering and defining long-term versus short-term effects and expectations, and informing team members and yourself of these desired outcomes. To transform requires conversion and alterations and perhaps even a complete makeover, a do-over sort of situation without doing the exact same thing again.

Many people look at diet through the lens of transaction. They believe that by tossing out A (dessert) and replacing it with B (vegetables) all will be well. While the sugary intake reduction may have fantastic initial results, in the long-term, diet requires more than just tossing out the bad. It requires a transformation in thinking. If I love chocolate, and I do mean love chocolate, and then decide that for dieting purposes I will eliminate it forever, I probably will not be happy or feel satisfied. I may become disgruntled and crabby and take it out on the nearest bystander. My anger will escalate all for the dreamy taste of a succulent, chocolaty bite, and then my resolution to eat more healthily with a focus on vegetables will fill me to the brim with angst and my transactional choice will be jettisoned and my poor eating habits will resume.

Imagine instead, a scene where I utilize transformational thinking. Instead of anger over my lack of chocolate I will simple cut back to a reasonable amount. One bite of deliciousness never destroyed a soul and so I will transform my thinking, enjoying the yummy luxury of fresh veggies followed by a delectable bite of chocolate. I will transform my anger feelings into those of satisfaction: a good deed deserves a good reward. Voila, I feel better already.

Along with the veggie/chocolate exchange, I need to rework my attitude. How important is good health to me and what relationship does it play with my ideal weight, strength and physical condition, and my mental outlook? If my attitude indicates an “I don’t really care” position, then all of the food swappings on earth will make no positive difference. If I believe, however, that watching my intake and wrapping it in layers of tasty, good-for-me eats are the best plan of action and offer the greatest potential results, I am ready for change. I am ready to transform.