Top 10 Healthy Lifestyle Tips

Living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be hard. It just takes the motivation to change our bad habits into good, healthy ones. Below is a list of 10 healthy lifestyle tips to get you started. Once you start, you can come up with more healthy choices that work for you.

o The first thing is to eat a balanced diet. Eat more fruits and vegetables and get rid of the high sugar, processed foods. Along with eating better is getting the right nutrients in the system.

o So the second thing is to take vitamins and minerals to help your body work properly.

o The third tip is to quit all those nasty unhealthy habits. Smoking, drinking, drugs, chewing tobacco, whatever your vice may be quit now. You are in charge of your health and living a healthier lifestyle means getting rid of the things that may kill you.

o The fourth thing to do is exercise. Exercise makes you feel good and can motivate you to get other things done as well.

o Along with exercise, number five is making sure you see a doctor each year for an annual physical. This is more important in women, but men should be seeing a doctor every 2-3 years to make sure there are no big health concerns.

o The sixth is to surround yourself with a strong support network, or a group of people who will be there for you and participate in a healthy lifestyle as well.

o Your family and friends can help you with the seventh tip, have fun and enjoy life.

o Eighth tip is to create a good balance between work and play.

o The final two tips are to accept yourself for the unique individual you are and love what you do. If you can accept yourself, the good and the bad, it will show in all you do. Your job is something you will be doing for at least the next 20 years, so you should love it. If you don’t keep looking until you find something you do love.

Start with those healthy lifestyle choices and see how you feel in the next few weeks. You should feel more energized, motivated, and positive.



Choosing the Right Foods

Food is not only one of life’s necessities, but it can also be a great source of joy and pleasure. With so many varieties of foods and so many ways to prepare them, eating should never become boring and tedious. We should look forward to mealtime with excitement rather than with apathy or even dread.

Too often in today’s society, however, people seem to be in a hurry. They eat on the run instead of taking time to sit down and savor their meals. They frequently subsist on large quantities of high-fat, high-calorie fast food, or they skip meals altogether. Good nutrition has been put on a back burner. Such poor eating behaviors can eventually create real physical and/or psychological problems.

Is it any wonder that many Americans suffer from obesity, while others suffer from anorexia or bulimia? Sadly, eating disorders and obesity go hand-in-hand with low self-esteem. More importantly, though, they increase the risk of additional health issues. Eating disorders can result in such conditions as malnutrition, severe anemia, dehydration, muscle atrophy, and even death. Obesity has been linked to life-threatening conditions such as high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

Even when we want to eat sensibly, we have the tendency to indulge in larger portions of our favorite dishes, while we eat insufficient amounts of other foods. In turn, we most likely do not always take in adequate amounts of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.

Eating should be a healthy, enjoyable experience…not a stressful or destructive one. Yes, healthy eating does require some planning, time, and effort, but it’s worth it in the end.

Choosing the Right Foods for a Healthy Life

Developing good eating habits in your home should be a top priority for the sake of every household member. What constitutes a healthy, balanced diet?

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, you should “make smart choices” from all the basic food groups in the food pyramid. The USDA goes on to describe a healthy diet as one that

o “emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products;

o “includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts; and

o “is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.”

If you happen to be a vegetarian, it is essential that you get plenty of protein from other sources, such as nuts or beans. If you crave desserts and junk food, it is okay to indulge occasionally, but don’t go overboard. You can eat a healthy diet without completely depriving yourself of your favorite treats. Moderation is the key.

In addition to choosing the right foods, it is important to monitor the portion sizes. You should try not to consume more calories than your body needs for fuel. Obviously, someone who is very active will require a higher caloric intake than one who leads a sedentary lifestyle.

For a Healthier You

As you adopt healthy eating habits, don’t forget to enjoy the sensuous pleasures that can be derived from food. Sit down and relax at mealtime. If possible, eat with other family members or friends, and avoid such distractions as work and television.

Take the time to chew your food slowly and to really smell and taste each bite. Not only will you derive more joy from eating, but you will be more conscious of what you put into your mouth. You’ll give your brain a chance to send a signal to your stomach to let it know that you have eaten enough. In this manner, you will have more control over the amount of food you consume.

Through conscious eating of a healthy, balanced diet, your overall well-being should improve. You may look better and feel better, too. You may notice that you have more self-confidence, more energy, and a more positive outlook on life. The benefits derived from consuming the right foods are definitely worth making a healthy diet part of your lifestyle change.

Note: The guidelines set by the U.S.D.A. are intended for the average public over two years of age. Individuals with certain health conditions should follow the advice of their doctors regarding what they should eat.

For weight control and optimal health, a regular exercise program is also recommended in conjunction with a proper diet. Before beginning any exercise program, however, it is wise to consult with your medical professional.

As the old saying goes, “you are what you eat.” Eat healthy and be healthy!



It’s Healthy to Treat Yourself Once in a While

For most people, eating a piece of cake while dieting would invoke extreme guilt and frustration. If you are living a healthy lifestyle and consuming the correct foods on a regular basis, then there is nothing wrong with treating yourself once in a while. In fact, treating yourself can be healthy. Find out why, and how to make sure you don’t overdo it.

Some people can afford to add a little bit of extra food to their diet. If you’re eating high-quality (preferably organic) foods, and taking in the right amount of vitamins and minerals (whether through supplementation or superfoods), then you are effectively giving your body what it needs to function at optimal levels. Since your body’s dietary needs are satisfied, it will not be detrimental to treat yourself to something extra like chocolate or ice cream, assuming you are not suffering from any medical conditions.

If you are sick, your body is working overtime to try and fight against what ails you. Obviously, this is not the time to stress your body with excess sugars and fats that it must therefore breakdown. When you are ill, it is important to eat even more powerful foods, and even less nutrient-deficient foods. Take a strong vitamin (or superfood), and make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D. Of course depending on the season and your geographic location, the sun delivers a different amount of vitamin D to everyone.

Why not make the treat itself healthy It’s hard for some people to think that cheating in your diet can be healthy, but it absolutely can. Not only does it ensure that you won’t reach your breaking point and start eating everything in sight, but the treat itself can actually be healthy as well. Take chocolate for example. Derived from the cacao plant, chocolate actually has many beneficial properties. Besides tasting great, cacao-chocolate helps with digestion, kidney function, bowel function, and a number of other things.

When I say cacao-chocolate, this is chocolate containing a certain percentage of cacao. Pure cacao is extremely bitter, and therefore most people will not enjoy it. With cacao-containing chocolate, you can still retain around 80-90% of the cacao without such a hard-hitting bitterness. Don’t take the percentage of cacao down too low, or you’re starting to take away from the effectiveness of the chocolate.

Treating yourself is a great way to ensure that you stay strong in your healthy new nutritional lifestyle, and yet another way to include some healthy foods in interesting ways. Treat yourself around once a week, and try and keep it fresh and preferably organic.



Pets – A Prescription For a Healthy (and Happy) Heart!

What do Rover, Fluffy, or Bubbles have to do with your heart health?

Apparently a lot!

When Sandra Thornton was recovering after multiple bouts in the hospital with heart problems, she was advised to get a dog. Her benefits case manager felt it would help ensure that she would get out walking every day and prevent her from sliding back into her workaholic tendencies. “You can’t stay late at work when your canine friend has an urgent appointment with a fire hydrant!” laughs Sandra.

Pets are known to have an extremely beneficial effect on a number of physiological and psychological factors that lead to better health.

Several studies have shown that pet owners have lower cholesterol and blood pressure than non-pet owners. These two factors alone can account for a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease.

A study conducted at the State University of New York in the late 90s focused on 48 stock brokers who were taking medication for high blood pressure. Those who got a pet reduced their stress-induced increases in blood pressure by half. The study also showed that pets were the best support when it came to stressful tests – more so than spouses!

Another study, published in the American Journal of Cardiology in 1995, found that dog ownership in particular increased the likelihood of surviving after a heart attack.

A 1980 study on animal companions and one-year survival of patients after discharge from a coronary care unit showed that pet owners have a higher one-year survival rate following heart disease. Of the patients in the study who did not own pets, 28% died whereas only 6% of the pet owners died within one year. (Friedmann, Katcher, Lynch, Thomas)

According to a study released in 2008 at the American Stroke Association’s (ASA) International Stroke Conference, people who never had a pet cat were 40% more likely to die of a heart attack over the 20-year study period than cat owners. They were also 30% more likely to die of any cardiovascular disease, including stroke, heart failure, and chronic heart disease. The findings emerged from an analysis of data on nearly 4,500 men and women, ages 30 to 75, who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study. All were free of cardiovascular disease when they entered the study in the 1970s.

Caring for a pet can also reduce stress levels, fight depression, and lower triglyceride levels – all risk factors for heart disease.

The reasons for these benefits are not fully understood. Part of it may be that pets offer unconditional love and acceptance. It’s hard to stay angry, grumpy, or sad when faced with absolute love! A pet can be your confidant, but never talks back or gives unsolicited advice.

If you have a dog, it needs exercise – and regular walking is one of the best things you can do for your heart. Just 30 minutes a day of brisk walking can reduce heart disease risk, possibly by as much as 30 to 40 percent. You’re far more likely to get out for that walk, even when you’re tired or the weather is inclement, if there is an anxious and expectant pet waiting by the door. According to a study published in a 2006 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, dog owners living in urban areas generally walk almost two times more than their neighbors without dogs.

Another benefit is socialization. Sandra notes that she and her husband stop and talk to just about every person they encounter when they are out walking their dog.

What kind of pet?

Dog or cat? What’s your preference? There are benefits for any type of pet ownership. A pet will have the same calming effect and impact on blood pressure, regardless of species or breed.

If you live where pets are not allowed, one option is an aquarium. Watching fish swim about the tank can have a similar relaxing and soothing effect as meditation. The calming effects can also help lower blood pressure and stress levels. The downside with fish is you can’t pet them, they don’t smile at you or lick your hand, you can’t take them for a walk, and you can’t pack up your aquarium and take it with you on holiday.

Birds can also bring years of enjoyment. You may think that having a bird is less costly and time-consuming than other pets; however, owning a bird takes no less responsibility than a dog or a cat.

Things to consider

In spite of the many health benefits of owning a pet, the most important consideration prior to getting one is not your own health benefit – it’s your readiness to take on the responsibility of an animal. Obviously you need to have the space and the ability to make a long term commitment to its care and exercise.

But once these considerations are settled, if a pet is in your future, you can look forward to some well-established health benefits for years to come.



What Do the Categories of Hypertension Mean?

Plain and simple, blood pressure is the force of the blood against your artery walls. It will normally go up and come back down throughout the day; however, when it stays up (elevated) then it is called high blood pressure (hypertension is the medical term).

No matter what you call it, hypertension is very dangerous for a number of reasons:
1. Often there are no signs or symptoms that you have problem. To find out, you have to have your pressure taken.
2. High blood pressure makes your heart work very hard contributing to hardening of the arteries. The medical term for hardening of the arteries is “atherosclerosis”.
3. Hypertension increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. These health problems are the first and third leading causes of death among Americans.
4. Other conditions associated with hypertension are: kidney disease, congestive heart failure, and blindness.

Blood pressure is divided into categories (mmHg stands for millimeters of mercury):
Normal blood pressure: less than 120/80 mmHg
Prehypertension blood pressure: between 120/80 mmHg and 139/89 mmHg
Hypertension: 140/90 mmHg and above

If you have prehypertension, that means you don’t have high blood pressure yet. This also means that if you do nothing to control your pressure, in the future, you probably will develop high blood pressure. When you are at the prehypertension level, you still have a chance to prevent it by changing your lifestyle. At this point, eating healthy, moderate exercise, losing weight and stress management techniques can help keep your pressure from slipping into dangerous hypertension.

Once you are diagnosed with hypertension (140/90 and above), you can change your lifestyle and, in most cases, control it without medication.

If you are 50 or older, the top number (systolic pressure) is the one that will more accurately diagnose hypertension for you.

But what is systolic blood pressure?
Systolic blood pressure is the pressure against the artery wall as the heart beats. If it is 140 or above, then it is considered high.

Diastolic pressure (the down number) doesn’t need to be high for you to have hypertension. When this happens, it is called “isolated systolic hypertension,” or ISH.

Is ISH common, I never heard of it?
Actually, it is more common for older Americans. For most older individuals, it is the systolic pressure that increases with age. Diastolic pressure increases until about 55 years of age, then it begins to decline.

To find out if you have ISH (isolated systolic hypertension), you need to have it checked. Remember, hypertension often times has no signs or symptoms so don’t fall into the mindset that you can tell if you have it or not – go have it checked!

Once you have ISH, you have it for life. It cannot be cured, but it can be controlled. The alternative to not controlling your blood pressure is: stroke, heart attack, congestive heart failure, kidney damage, blindness and decrease in the quality of life. How does that sound for a great retirement plan?

The treatment for ISH is a healthy lifestyle and, if necessary, adding medication to control it.

What about diastolic blood pressure – what is that?
Diastolic pressure is the force of blood in the arteries as the heart relaxes between beats. It is the bottom number. A good way to remember Diastolic (Down number). For younger individuals it is the diastolic number that is important. If the number is higher, the person is in greater risk of heart attacks, kidney failure and strokes.

There are some illnesses that are out-of-our-control, but others, like hypertension, can be controlled or prevented. Life is always a matter of choices, so whatever decision you make with regards to your own health, will be something you and you alone will be dealing with later.



The 5 Key Benefits of Eating Healthy

Most of us know that the biggest benefits of eating healthy are that we will stay physically fit, feel better, and have fewer illnesses. We can lower our risk of illnesses like heart disease and diabetes as well. Another key benefit of eating healthy is being able to maintain a healthy weight. In this age of epidemic obesity, this is one of the simplest weight loss plans.

But how many of us teach these benefits to our children, and insure that the habit of eating healthy becomes a part of their daily lifestyle? If we did, we could see healthier, happier children, and teenage obesity could become a thing of the past. Here are the 5 major benefits of eating healthy every day:

1. Eating healthy is probably the easiest and most important way in which you can keep active and shield yourself from the many diseases that are now common as we grow older, including heart disease and diabetes. By eating healthy you are boosting your energy levels, improving your bodily functions, and helping to improve your immune. By eating a healthy diet and combining this with exercise you could end up leading a longer and more vibrant life.

2. You will meet your daily nutritional needs. Your daily food intake should include some amounts of grain, fruit, vegetables, milk (or other dairy products), beans, oils, and protein. There are vitamins and minerals in healthy foods which can boost your immune system and shield you from many common illnesses. In some cases, by eating a healthy diet you can actually reduce the risks that are often linked with such serious diseases as cancer and diabetes.

3. You will enjoy life more and have more energy to face the tasks before you. Healthy eating can reduce your stress levels. Combine this with daily exercise and you will increase this effect even more.

4. You will sleep better and be more rested when you wake up.

5. If you are currently overweight, you will be able to lose that weight more easily – and maintain it long term! Most people who lose weight with fad diets gain it right back again when they go back to their normal eating patterns. With a healthy diet that you maintain for life, you will lose that weight once and maintain it long term.

Once you implement a healthy diet, you will be surprised at how fast you will start reaping these rewards. The benefits of eating healthy will continue to reward you for the rest of your life.



What Is Amazon?

Amazon is a multinational electronic commerce corporation, but you probably know it as a giant bookstore on the Internet. Selling lots of stuff besides books, but most people know Amazon best as a book retailer.

Amazon.com is America’s largest and most successful online retailer. Amazon does three times as much business as their closest competitor in terms of online retail business, Staples. Amazon (which can be found online at the URL Amazon.com) sells everything from books and music to movies, eBook readers, clothes, furniture, toys, and even food items.

History of Amazon

Businessman Jeff Bezos founded of the company in 1994–when dinosaurs roamed the Internet. When Bezos created the company it was called Cadabra–the latter half of the classic magic word “Abra-cadabra.” Bezos quickly realized that people thought the business was called “cadaver” (another word for “dead body”) and he soon changed it to Amazon.

Why did Bezos pick the name “Amazon?”

A few different reasons. First of all, Amazon starts with “A”, placing it near the beginning of any alphabetical list. Another reason Bezos chose “Amazon” for his online retailer is because the Amazon river is the largest in the world. Lending Bezos’ company a very “big” sound.

Amazon started out as a small online bookstore. Bezos eventually diversified Amazon to include music downloads, eBooks, and the entire product line you find today at Amazon.com. Amazon now operates all over the world, with companion websites dotted across Europe and Asia. Amazon is now the most popular music and book retailer in the UK, and ranks third in Asia as well.

Amazon Coupons

The best thing about buying books and stuff from Amazon is the big variety of coupons available online. Even though Amazon’s regular prices are competitive with other book retailers, using any of the massive number of Amazon coupons to be found on the Web drops the price even more.

There’s always a free shipping coupon or discount code available with a simple Google search. If you want to dig a little deeper, check out TechBargains.com or the classic third party coupon site RetailMeNot.com. TechBargains has over two dozen different coupons for Amazon.com at any given time, including free “super saver” shipping (on your order over $25) and large “percent off” deals on select items and brands. RetailMeNot tends to have more specialized Amazon coupons than TechBargains, so if you’re in the market for a particular book or CD, check them out first.

According to their website, Amazon’s vision is “to be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.” As Amazon’s product line swells and they corner more markets around the world, they are coming closer and closer to reaching that goal.



Back to Basics Living

Our children are growing up in a fast paced world very different from the world we grew up in. We have many great advancements and achievements to celebrate in our modern age, yet in many ways we have never been more challenged when it comes to raising our children. Today’s parents must deal with the influence of media and marketing towards children like never before. Children and parents are bombarded with commercials, advertisements, businesses, popular magazines, best-selling books, an array of toys and other products that tell us how to make our kids the brightest, the most advanced, or to give them the most opportunities. Today’s children have more material things than any other generation, yet rates of childhood depression, high school drop outs, and teen suicide are alarmingly high. Today’s children have many opportunities and many disadvantages as a result of modern life.

The modern world brings vaccines and medicines to prevent or treat deadly diseases, technologies that have revolutionized the way we live, inventions and advancements that have prolonged human life and solved some of the world’s largest mysteries. However, modern living can also be isolating, chaotic, turbulent, and unhealthy. We now have more pesticides in our food, more pollution in our water supplies, the highest obesity rates of any generation, we are further behind other industrialized nations in education, we are destroying our ozone layer, and seeing weapons of mass destruction being produced around the world. We’ve lost our since of moral duty, social conscious, and with it our character. Too many people are afraid to stand up for causes and injustices and just go along with their heads down to the status quo.

We need to take control over our own lives before we can effectively bring change in our overall communities. There is a strong need for us to take a look in the mirror and reflect on how we are living our lives. Are we raising our children to the best of our abilities or are we merely surviving parenthood? Why do parents feel the need to smother our kids with materialistic things? Why are our kids overeating? Why are the average Americans thousands of dollars in debt? Are we trying to fill a void? Are we trying to make ourselves happy by over consuming? If so, it doesn’t seem to be working. Studies have shown that compared to individuals of the Great Depression era we have so much more wealth and luxuries, yet American’s are no happier or content than they were during this impoverished time. For many of us, we’ve lost our sense of purpose. We are not living life to its fullest. We need to regain control of our lives and get back to the basics. Materialism can spoil values and happiness. At the end of our lives, most of us will not reflect back on our lives and regret not working longer hours, we will regret not building better relationships or establishing more values in which we live by. Here are some of my tips for living a fuller life:

  • You are what you eat. Learn to lessen processed artificial foods in your diet and rely more on healthy whole foods that are naturally found in nature.
  • Get active. Find some active things you can fit in your lifestyle and enjoy doing. If you enjoyed roller skating as a child, invest in some skates and spend a weekend on the nature trails. Take nature walks. Take up a new sport. Learn to play tennis with your spouse. Enlist family bike rides. Go hiking. Take an exercise class.
  • Establish a support network. You need both friends and family. Join organized groups with people who share a common interest. You might enjoy parenting groups, religious organizations, civic groups, or community centers. Reconnect with old friends from various stages in your life. Relationships are the foundation of life. They need you to nurture them, and work at them. They don’t happen on their own.
  • Don’t just spend quality time with your children, spend quantity time with them. Get on the floor and play with them. Attend and actively participate in their extracurricular activities. Know your children’s friends and where they spend their time. Be involved in their school. Read to/with your kid’s everyday.
  • Gardening has numerous benefits for people of all ages, particularly for elderly and young children. It stimulates all our senses through sights, sounds, textures, and scents. It can help us connect with memories and the past. Garden as a family. Get young kids and grandparents involved whenever possible.
  • Have arts and craft time daily with your kids. The biggest complaint most parents have about art is the mess. Learn to get past this. Keep a supply of crayons, markers, or paints in freezer type bags, purchase art paper or just reuse paper grocery bags. Make a time everyday to get these out and so something creative with your kids. Don’t just put them in front of the art, get involved with them. Older kids might enjoy a more detailed craft such as building wooden models, or scrap booking.
  • Cook and eat together as a family. Most times you’ll end up eating more healthfully than you would if you dined out, and you’ll be forced to have some conversation as you sit at the dinner table.
  • Involve kids in running errands and housecleaning when appropriate. Even toddlers can help do chores around the house such as dusting, cleaning windows or hard surfaces with non-toxic cleaners. Running errands such as taking the dog to the vet, going grocery shopping should also be viewed as educational for kids. Get them involved by helping you make a list or pick out items from the store. We also enjoy taking our son to specialty stores such as a health foods store or pet store.
  • Get outside whenever possible. Bundle up and get out in cold weather, slather on sunscreen and get out in the summer, and put on your rain gear and get out in the spring and fall. Kids need outdoor play and having some of this daily is optimal. Dress for the weather and get them some fun gear such as sleds, rain boots, sand/water toys, bubbles to blow, and get outdoors. Don’t just go to parks, experiment with going on nature walks and hikes, local arboretums or community gardens, large sport fields, etc.
  • Have holidays and rituals with your kids. Make these regular things they can have fun and expect on an early basis. You can not only do mainstream holidays but you can incorporate lesser known holidays such as Arbor day, Earth Day, seasonal solstices into your routine. Make a point in making the holiday’s special and fun for kids.
  • Teach children to place less value on material things and play up the fun of little things. Make the first blooms of spring even more fun and exciting than getting a new toy. Instead of buying a new book, go the library each week and check out several. As soon as your child can write his/her own name, let them get their own library card. Take your kids somewhere you can feed ducks. Spend money on a membership to your local zoo or aquarium versus buying a new toy for a birthday or holiday. Remember, children learn from us–try to be conscious of how material we live our own lives.
  • Do community service work with your kids. Even from a young age, kids can be involved with volunteer work and learn about the community they live in. Visit a nursing home with your toddler. Go tour the local fire station with your preschooler. Have a best used party for your older child. They can have a fun party with their friends with snacks, games and fun. On the invitation have each child bring a sack of items such as lightly used clothing, winter coats, etc. then take the items with your child and donate them to a local homeless shelter the following week. The ideas are limitless.
  • Consider taking a pet into your home. Research to determine which type of pet best fits your lifestyle. Even something lower maintenance such as a hamster or goldfish can teach a child about unconditional love and the responsibility of caring for a living creature.
  • Have weekly family meetings where you can discuss any issues such as vacation planning to chore work together as a family.
  • Vacation as a family at least once a year. This need not be an expensive trip to Disney World–just a weekend getaway to something fun in your own state will serve a useful purpose. If possible, try to also take a vacation once a year just you and your spouse. Offer family members or friends a child swap where you take their kids for a few days and vice-versa and give yourself and your spouse a much needed break.



Mom and Pop Culture

I love watching movies with my parents. I don’t know, there is something comforting about lying back on the couch with Mom and Dad, and slipping away into whatever action/adventure we chose for the night. Okay, but that doesn’t mean deciding on a movie, watching it in its entirety, and than agreeing on the thumbs up or down verdict is an easy task. In addition, watching Sharon Stone spread her legs in a police precinct, or a lesbian kiss in a pool between two hot, young actresses, I get so uncomfortable that I once set off the house alarm just to eliminate the awkward situation. The point is, finding a movie to watch with Mom and Dad isn’t easy, and needs to be thought through. My mom has her guidelines. No violence. Nothing too depressing. No horror. No blood. And let’s try to find a title with only a few four-letter words, okay?

Okay. So, this basically eliminates one of my favorite movies. So there I am, watching All The Pretty Horses. With Mom and Dad. Yep, on a Saturday night. Never mind my obvious social problem of having nothing to do on a Saturday night but watch a movie with mom and dad, but I still argue that despite the personal humiliation, I don’t feel that I have to suffer through some romantic melodrama as a result. The whole reason I watch movies is to escape my own issues (says four therapists). Bridges Of Madison County just isn’t helping my escape plan. Dad likes what I like. Thrillers. Car chases. Spy adventures. Smaller, independent, dark films; he’s pretty much open to anything and loves to watch a good movie. However, Dads have Moms to answer to, so in the middle of Casino Royale I may get a “isn’t this a little violent” out of my father, who then goes back to the edge of his seat to keep watching. Honesty, pop. Honesty. Is that too much to ask? And a date on Saturday night wouldn’t be the worse thing either. I mean, what am I doing here. It should be mentioned that I too have my own set of unbendable guidelines.

Under no circumstances shall the film being watched be stopped in the middle, with the intention of watching the rest on another day. In addition, if either mom or dad falls asleep by the end of the opening credits, said film will be turned off, popped out of the DVD player, and taken for me to watch on my own. Phone will not be answered. Knock at the door? Turn out the lights and pretend we are not home. And finally, let’s try and keep bathroom breaks to a minimal. I admit, I am strict when it comes to movie watching, and if the rules are not obeyed, things descend to ugly, quick. This is called transference (according to four therapists). The real reason for my irritability is that this, ladies and gentleman, is my Saturday night.

Finally, to all the parents out there reading this and immediately siding with my mother and father, I urge you to keep an open mind when it comes to watching TV, listening to music (which is I know, “so loud”), and watching movies with your kids these days. With every post-Baby Boom Generation came massive changes in popular culture, doing away with the 1950s political correctness my parents grew up with, and replaced by new classic films, you know, like Jackass 2. Let the children pick. Then, blood, sex, bad language, see if you sit back, relax, and here’s the big one, suspend judgment and analysis as to what your son or daughter likes about the film and what that says about them as people, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll be entertained by a guy who accidentally gets his one-night stand pregnant, or a dirty cop on a killing spree. If not, don’t worry. You TIVO’d The View. Open minded.



Diet and Prostate Cancer: Is There a Link?

Did you know that prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men in the United States? Or that over 70% of such cases occur in men 65 years old and older? Or that African-American men are at higher risk than other ethnic groups of developing the disease?

Looking at those facts, you’d probably say that cancer of the prostate only affects older men so why bother? The hard truth is this disease can strike anyone at any time, including you.

While there is still no smoking gun when it comes to the specific cause of this type of cancer, there are predisposing factors that have been linked to increase your risk of developing cancer of the prostate. I’m talking about age, ethnicity, heredity, high testosterone production, diet, and lifestyle. While there’s nothing much you can do to most of these, certainly something can be done to correct your diet and lifestyle. Modifying those two contributing factors may allow you to lower your risk of developing this cancer. So let’s take a closer look at the role diet might play in prostate cancer.

Several studies suggest that maybe up to 75% of all cases involving cancer of the prostate can actually be eliminated by a change of diet. The researchers discovered that patients who have changed to low-fat diet along with fish oil supplements have observed a slowing of development or growth of the cancer cells. The slower it is the lesser chance for the cancer cells to spread and the better your chances for survival. Makes sense.

Here are suggested changes in the diet that may reduce your risk of developing prostate cancer.

Avoid a diet high in fat. A number of studies suggest that diets high in saturated fats are linked to higher incidences of the cancer. So here are the foods you need to take off the menu – fried foods, processed meats (yeah bacon and pepperoni are out), potato chips, cakes, butter, margarine, cream, dairy products, coconut oil, and palm oil. Eating foods like these say you are daring the Big C to strike.

Love fish. Fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that can keep your prostate healthy. And your heart too.

Go for healthy oils such as canola oil, olive oil, and flaxseed oil.

Substitute high fat milk, yogurt, and cheese with their low-fat counterparts.

Try soy. Soy is found to reduce the risk of prostate cancer because it contains phytoestrogens that fight off the cancer or slow cancer growth. Readily available soy products include tofu, soybeans, and soymilk.

Tomatoes, tomatoes, and more tomatoes. Tomatoes, along with other fruits such as apricots, pink grapefruits, watermelon, raspberries, and papaya, contain lycopene. That is a proven, very potent antioxidant. Not only does it fight off certain cancers, but lycopene is also your heart’s best friend. Extra tip: Eat cooked rather than raw tomatoes to better absorb lycopene.

Stuff your fridge with pomegranates. Pomegranate fruits and juices contain phytochemicals found to reduce PSA levels of patients with prostate cancer.

Become a green tea lover. Green tea contains catechins that help prevent certain cancers. Weight management is also often advised for those at high risk of prostate cancer. And drinking green tea can help promote weight loss.

Other foods most beneficial for prostate health are cereals, whole grains, lentils, beans, broccoli, cauliflower, and other fruits and vegetables.

Studies have shown that a diet rich in selenium and Vitamin D may reduce the risk of prostate cancer development as well. Selenium can be found in food sources like oatmeal and Brazil nuts. While Vitamin D can be found in tuna, mackerel and salmon. Although you may also enhance your natural Vitamin D production through sun exposure for about 15 minutes a day.

Naturally a change in diet that goes heavy on food items mentioned here should only be a part of your efforts in changing your lifestyle. It would be wise to also engage in regular exercise and learn how to manage stress in order to improve not only your prostate health but your overall health as well. Still there are no guarantees that even if you do follow such a healthy lifestyle and diet that you won’t be smitten. Sometimes things just work out that way.