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What is metabolism?

basal 1079177 640Having a quick and efficient metabolism is the key to weight loss. Contrary to popular belief, eating a very low calorie diet will actually slow down metabolism and stymie the weight loss process. While eating regular, well-portioned, whole food meals can actually boost metabolism.
So what exactly is metabolism?
Simply put, metabolism is body’s process of converting food and beverages into energy. The metabolic process, of course, is complex but understanding it is not. But first, we have to bust a few metabolism myths.
When you eat more calories than needed for basic energy, exercise and daily tasks, the excess is stored as fat to use later. But in modern life, we don’t have food shortages, so most people rarely call upon stored fat to provide fuel. Instead we just carry around those emergency rations as belly or thigh fat.
Many people blame their excess fat on a slow metabolism, but actually, metabolic speed can be changed with some effort. So the good news is that we have some control over the speed and function of our metabolism.
While metabolism directly influences energy needs, diet and movement influence metabolism. Lifestyle effects weight more than anything else.
So here’s some metabolism 101.
Your body needs energy even when at rest or sleeping. Energy is required to breath, circulate blood, digest and power organs. The calories needed for these basic tasks is your ‘basal metabolic rate’. And this is determined by your age, sex and body composition. While you can’t change your sex and age, you can change your body composition.
To raise metabolism we must focus on body composition. Here are 4 ways to increase metabolism through body composition.
Studies show that caffeine increases metabolism for up to three hours after consumption. It also reduces fat oxidation. Though this is good news, it’s not license to go overboard on coffee. Too much caffeine can have the opposite effect by taxing the adrenals. If you can’t feel the effects of caffeine it means you’re over caffeinated.
Sleep deprivation will tank your metabolism because it decreases your body’s ability to balance blood sugar levels and increases appetite. The less you sleep, the more you will crave serotonin-boosting carbs. Lack of sleep also increases the belly-fat storing hormone, cortisol.
So while sleeping more than you need to will not boost metabolism, not getting enough shuteye will slow it down. Shutting off blue lights (TV, phones, computer screens) 30 minutes before bed will also increase sleep quality by regulating melatonin.
This is most surprising for most people. We associate weight loss with eating less, but in reality the body compensates for lower calorie diets by slowing down metabolism. This is a brilliant survival strategy; the body becomes more efficient on less fuel. But it’s not great for weight loss because some people can actually gain weight while dieting, especially post-diet, when normal eating resumes.
Eating regularly tells your body that food is plentiful and abundant so it doesn’t need to go into conservation mode and is more likely to burn fat for fuel.
When you understand that eating actually speeds up metabolism, it can change your relationship with food and help you ditch low calorie dieting.
Choosing the right foods to eat is the key to weight loss, not starvation. Protein is one of the best foods to fuel metabolism.
Exercise is a known metabolism booster but it’s important to pick the right type. Focus on building muscle because muscles raises metabolism by burning more calories. And with more lean muscle you can eat more, which raises your metabolism further.
Cardio workouts may burn calories but when the exercise stops, so does the calorie burning.
Resistance training and high intensity interval training (HIIT) are much better at boosting metabolism. Resistance training increases lean muscle mass and tone, which elevates metabolism while at rest. Resistance training means exercising muscles using opposing forces like dumb bells, resistance bands or your own body weight.
HITT uses short, intense burst of activity to spike heart rate. It creates post exercise oxygen consumption, also called ‘after burn’, which raises calorie burn for up to 30 hours post exercise.

So don’t blame your hormones for weight gain after 40, focus instead on boosting your metabolism in these 4 ways.
Give your metabolism a boost by using our Total Body Makeover program.
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Diet soda effects on health

desk 1492258 640Ironically diet soda doesn’t do what people expect it to do. It’s neither a healthier option than regular soda, nor does it help people lose weight, according to researchers at Purdue University.
After studying the effects of drinking diet soda researcher believe that drinks with artificial sweeteners should have the same warning from health officials as their sugary counterparts.
Beverages are becoming a political issue, as government officials look into regulating and taxing sodas and other sugary drinks to limit their consumption. Diet sodas should be regulated alongside regular ones as science points out that they are just as unhealthy.
According to a 2009 study in the journal Diabetes Care, people who drink diet soda are twice as likely to develop metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Artificial sweeteners have been found to alter both gut microbes and the brain gut connection, which in turn affects metabolism.
When researchers fed mice zero-calorie sweeteners found in these drinks, including saccharin, aspartame and sucralose, they developed glucose intolerance.
Also people who drink diet soda tend to over eat because it confuses the body’s ability to manage calories. Not only do they become hungry but also thirsty for more diet soda.
Diet soda consumption has also been linked to depression and kidney damage. Drinking four or more cans of diet soda per day increases the risk of depression by 30 percent. And it’s not the caffeine that’s the issue because people who drink 4 cups of coffee have a 10 percent lower chance of developing depression.
The combination of caffeine and artificial sweeteners, like aspartame, in some sodas create a short addictive high similar to that of cocaine. And is just as likely to over stimulate your brain.
Diet soda also reduces kidney function by 30 percent. And daily diet soda consumption has been linked to cardiovascular disease by researchers from the University of Miami and Columbia University. A study that followed 2,000 diet soda drinkers showed a higher likelihood of dying from cardiovascular disease.
Here’s another surprising fact about consuming both regular and diet soda, it increases risk of developing asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). And the more soda a person drinks, the higher the risk. An Australian study found that 13.3 people with asthma and 15.6 people with COPD drink 2 diet sodas a day.
Aspartame in particular is damaging to the brain because it chips away at its protective antioxidant defense system. It is no wonder that Aspartame is linked to brain-centered diseases like epilepsy, brain tumors, Alzheimers, ADHD and depression.
And it comes as no surprise to anyone, that both diet and regular soda have a negative effect on teeth. They are nearly as corrosive to dental enamel as battery acid.
So the next time you think about drinking a diet soda because it’s healthier or better for your weight, think again. Go for a glass of water, a less sugary drink or if you want something fizzy, a probiotic rich Kombucha.
A full body cleanse can eliminate the toxins from artificial sweeteners and help significantly reduce sugar cravings for soda.
The 21-Day Body makeover focuses on balancing blood sugar with protein and whole food nutrition so you don’t have energy dips and the need for something sweet to keep you going.
Some of the things that also off set the craving for sweet is indulging in sour foods like lemon water and fermented foods.
After 21 Days most people’s taste for sugar will change. The less sugar you eat the less you crave it. And even diet soda’s will begin to taste too sweet.
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The pH factor

vegetables 317497 640To prevent disease, you must keep your body in balance. pH level is one of the best ways to measure that balance. pH stands for power of hydrogen, which is a measurement of the hydrogen ion concentration in the body. It is an indication of how acid or how alkaline the body is.
You can test your acid alkaline pH balance regularly by drenching a piece of litmus paper in your saliva or urine first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything.
Morning readings will be slightly higher than usual daytime pH levels because the body has just spent the night detoxing. Mornings readings, however, are a good indication of general pH range.
Ideally, the body should be balanced between acid and alkaline at a blood pH level of 7.365, which is slightly alkaline. The acid- alkaline scale goes from 0 to 14, with zero being pure acid (think of battery acid) and 2 being the acidity level of lemons. On the other side, 11 is the alkalinity level of ammonia. All fluids and cells in the body have an acid alkaline balance, but none are as important as blood pH, which must be kept from 7.3 to 7.4 to survive. The goal is to maintain this neutral pH range for optimum health and disease prevention.
While neutral pH is linked to health and vitality, acidic urine and saliva pH make you more vulnerable to diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and heartburn. Acidity is also the ideal environment for viral, bacterial and fungal infections to thrive. Less serious complaints are associated with acidity (also called acidosis) such as migraines, constipation and allergies.

Nobel prize winner Dr. Otto H Warburg found that the root cause of cancer is oxygen deficiency. Oxygen deficiency leads to an acidic state in the body. Conversely, high levels of oxygen, as found in an alkaline state, create an environment where cancer cells can’t survive.

Dr. Warburg found that cancer cells are anaerobic, which mean they don’t breathe oxygen and thrive in a low-oxygen, acid state. On the contrary normal cells need oxygen to survive. He also found that if normal cells are deprived of only 35 percent of their normal oxygen supply, for only 48 hours, it could turn them cancerous.

Another major determinant of acid alkaline balance is diet. Eating a diet of toxic, acid-forming foods like processed, refined grains and sugars or genetically modified organisms leads to acidic pH. The body compensates to balance blood pH by pulling salts and mineral such as calcium, potassium and magnesium from other areas of the body, like the bones, to neutralize the acid. This can result in mineral deficiencies.

Here’s an easy home remedy for balancing acidity that, in conjunction with an alkalinizing diet, will bring your body back into pH balance.
Ingredients: 1/3 tsp. baking soda and 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or organic apple cider vinegar.
Method: Mix everything together. The acid/base combination will immediately begin to fizz. Keep adding baking soda until the fizz stops and then fill the glass with 8 oz. water. Drink all at once. This home remedy will neutralize the pH and create an alkaline-forming environment in your body. It will help with stomach acid and reduce acidosis.
An alkalinizing diet is one that is full of fresh fruits and veggies, organic or pastured meat/eggs, gluten-free grains and raw nuts and seeds. Dairy, refined sugar, processed foods, vegetable oils (except for coconut, avocado and olive) commercially raised meat, sodas, coffee, black tea, alcohol and chocolate all create acidity in the body.
Stress and negative emotions also contribute acidity to the body. Stress reduction and pleasurable activities are just as important in balancing pH as food. Exercise also adds more oxygen to the body, making it a pH balancing activity.
Detoxification is vital to maintaining pH balance. Most detox diets focus on eating alkalinizing foods, exercise and stress reduction. Detoxing not only helps bring the blood and body back into pH balance but also gets rid of stored toxins that affect the body’s ability to function, balance and detoxify.

The 21-Day Body Makeover will help bring the body back into pH balance, increasing energy, clarity, and creating a balanced environment in your body to naturally fight disease.
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Embrace your curves

Here’s a reason to embrace your curves. Oxford University recently did a research study on behinds and found that big butts are healthy butts!

The study revealed that women with bigger behinds have lower cholesterol, as well as an excess of heart healthy omega 3 fats, which also help brain development. That means that people with bigger behinds are less likely to develop cardiovascular diseases and dementia.

While cultural norms may promote thinner bottoms for aesthetic reasons, from a health perspective, women with larger behinds tend to be smarter and healthier.
So let’s put these findings in context.
When it comes to body composition, a moderate amount of fat concentrated in the butt, hips and thighs won’t adversely affect health.
Women are born with a tendency to store fat in different areas of the body.
Pear shapes tend store fat in the lower half of their body, the butt and legs. Hourglass shapes tend to store fat in their breasts, butt and legs. And lastly, apple shapes store fat in their tummy. Of the three types, apple shapes are the ones who need to be concerned about their weight. Decreasing belly fat will make the most difference in protecting their health.
Research shows that people with apple-shaped bodies, that store fat in their middle, face more health risks than those with pear-shaped bodies, who carry more weight in their lower half. Belly fat is often associated with higher cholesterol and susceptibility to fatty liver disease and cirrhosis. Belly fat also affects blood sugar stability.
Fat that is stored around the tummy is more readily converted into energy when needed than fat around the hips and butt, and this raises cholesterol. Conversely, more fat around your bottom and less around your waist usually means lower cholesterol.
Belly fat is a marker of visceral fat, which is stored around organs such as the liver, pancreas and intestines. It has greater blood flow and more receptors to cortisol, a stress hormone produced by the adrenals. The fat stored in the hips and buttocks is peripheral fat, which does not affect the stress response like visceral fat does.
The greater the number of cortisol receptors, the more sensitive the visceral fat tissue is to cortisol. This heightened sensitivity to cortisol stimulates fat cells to further increase in size.
Hip to waist ratio (WHR) is a way doctors calculate obesity and the risk of conditions caused by obesity. Just like it sounds, WHR measures the ratio of the circumference of the hips to the waist. The waist measurement is divided by hip measurement to get the WHR number. A lower number is considered healthier and a higher WHR is associated with increased risk of health issues.
WHR is also used by doctors as an indicator of health and probability of developing serious health conditions. WHR also correlates with fertility and is found to be a more efficient predictor of mortality in older people (over 75 years of age) than waist circumference or BMI.
One of the best ways to lose belly fat is to stop eating sugar and refined carbs. Doing a real food cleanse like the 21 Day Body Makeover is another great way to lose belly fat, stabilize blood sugar, balance cortisol production and improves liver function.
So flaunt that healthy butt and embrace your curves as you work towards losing the fat that really matters.
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Flu Myths

thermometer 1539191 640Though I haven’t had the flu for more than a decade, I’ve recently came down with a bad case with fever, chills, aches, congestion, etc. The doctor offered medication to relieve my suffering but I was able to heal in record time without drugs. I’m going to tell you how I did it and bust some flu myths along the way.
Flu myth #1: Reduce the fever with medication
The aches and general misery of the flu come from having a fever. My fever was 101.6 and my doc told me to take 500 mg both of Tylenol and Aleve, staggered around the clock to bring down my fever and let me body heal. I didn’t take her advice because I know, that in some people, these over the counter medications can cause digestive issues by damaging the intestinal lining. Instead of these meds I focused on boosting my immune system, and my fever broke day later.
Fever is the immune response to fighting foreign invaders, like viruses, with heat. If this natural process is interrupted, it may ease some of the symptoms, but will likely stretch out the duration of illness.

For adults and children, a fever under 104 is nothing to worry about. If it gets above that, taking a bath or shower in tepid water (never cold) will help bring down temperature naturally. Anything above 107 is considered dangerous and a doctor should be consulted.
Flu myth #2: Probiotics won’t help with flu
It’s true that flu is viral and not bacterial, however, that doesn’t mean that supporting your immune system won’t speed up recovery. While probiotics won’t fight the flu virus directly, it will support the immune system’s fight, just like vitamin C will do. Anything that supports the immune system, such as Frankincense essential oil, turmeric supplements or medicinal mushroom tea (dried chaga or reishi mushroom), will help your body fight it off.

Flu myth #3: Feed a cold and starve a fever
You need energy to fight off the flu. While I wasn’t hungry while sick, I drank most of my calories in the form of bone broth soups, with lots of coconut oil for it’s anti viral properties. I also drank lots of tea with honey and lemon or honey and almond milk and water with cranberry juice (vitamin C).

When you have the flu, you should drink as much liquids as you possibly can, up to about 2 to 3 liters a day. This helps flush the body of toxins as well as prevent dehydration from fever. Homemade bone broth is one of the best things you can have while battling illness as it provides healthy fat, amino acids and lots of minerals. And it boosts the immune system. You can add collagen powder to the broth to increase its protein content. You can also add sliced veggies or protein to the broth and stew them, for extra vitamins, protein and carbs. This is easy fuel for your body because it won’t spend too much energy digesting it.

Flu myth #4: The flu shot is the only thing that will prevent the flu
Getting the flu shot is a personal decision, but I don’t do it because I focus instead in building up my immune system. The flu shot only protects against certain strains of flu, while your immune system protects against everything.

One of the best ways to build up immunity and protect against flu is elderberry. You can buy dried elderberries and make your own tea or get elderberry tinctures at the store. Elderberry is highly antiviral. I took elderberry capsules during the day (4 in total) and a night-time elderberry syrup to help me sleep. I also made myself calendula tea to sip during the day because calendula is also highly anti viral and anti-inflammatory. It also supports your liver.

The best prescription for flu is rest and fluids. But you can try the tips I used above or these additional ones for extra help:
  • Dandelion tea supports the liver
  • A splash of apple cider vinegar in warm water with a touch of honey
  • A drop of lemon essential oil in your water
  • Sauerkraut juice for natural probiotics
  • Eating roasted garlic for antibacterial properties
  • Keeping a positive frame of mind.

The last tip is very important as the faster you think you’ll heal, the faster you do! A typical flu last anywhere from 5 to 14 days. I was able to kick my flu in 4 days.
Prevention is the best treatment for the flu. The best defense is building up your immune system during the winter and year. One of the best ways to care for your immune system is to do a detox or two each year. The 21-Day Body Makeover is the perfect, gentle detox to support your immune system and important organs like the liver and adrenals. It will also help clean up eating habits, because refined sugar consumption notoriously suppresses immunity.
When you first feel you’re coming down with something, that’s the best time to rest, take herbs and drink liquids as you body has the best chance to fight it off before the virus takes hold. And if you do get sick just use the tricks above to get better faster.
This article is written and provided by Angela Privin is a digestive health coach who uses natural methods to help people heal their digestion.
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