Attitude Adjustment

 

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Photo by MI PHAM on Unsplash

 

Thursday was Thanksgiving here in the United States and for many, this meant a day spent with family eating lots of delicious food.   There were games, laughing, talking, joking and lots of fun but few took the time to express thanks.  Many have forgotten the purpose of the holiday and it has now become just a day to overindulge.  For some, it was an opportunity to be thankful.  Let’s not leave our thankfulness at the Thanksgiving table but take this attitude with us throughout the year.

What does it mean to be thankful or to have gratitude? Webster’s Dictionary defines gratitude as being thankful.  Scientist are discovering that an “attitude of gratitude”  has many benefits. Recent research has found that those who practice and cultivate an attitude of gratitude have less financial difficulties are more emotionally stable,  are less greedy, have fewer episodes of depression, and have more energy.  In addition, they sleep more soundly, have better immune systems, exercise more, and are less likely to be an alcoholic and are much happier than those who do not cultivate an attitude of gratitude.  Similar results were found in children.  Children who cultivate the attitude of gratitude have better grades, focus less on material things, set higher goals in life and complained of fewer aches and pains.

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Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash

There are many ways to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.  One method is to develop a gratitude journal or a blessings journal.  In this journal you take the time daily to write about the things for which you are grateful,  Another method that I have heard of is the gratitude stone.  In this method, one carries around a small stone and each time they feel it or remember it they recount what they are thankful for.  Writing a gratitude list, recounting one’s blessings before going to sleep, making visits and thanking those whom we are grateful for are other ways one can cultivate an attitude of gratitude.

One of the most impacting ways that you can cultivate and attitude of gratitude is to practice positive thoughts.  Instead of focusing on the bad in the situation choose to see the good in it.  If you cannot find the good while you are in the situation, then choose not to say anything.  During this season of thankfulness let us pledge to remain thankful, for in so doing you are creating a healthier you so that you can be healthy for life.

 

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Don’t Pull The Trigger!

I have often wondered why people play the “game” of Russian roulette.   It is a game of chance and risk where one round of ammunition is placed into the chamber of the gun, the cylinder spun, the gun put to the head, and the trigger pulled.  With each spin of the cylinder the risk increases.  Some even die while playing, but even the idea of death is not enough to deter many from playing.   The idea of the so-called game is absolutely absurd to me because of the risk involved and the possibility of death. What if I told you the choices that we make everyday play a type of Russian roulette with our health?  We have pulled our health triggers so many times that today indeed may be the day when the consequences of our actions are seen.

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Photo by Caitlin Greene on Unsplash
The occasional consumption of a hamburger, slice of pizza, an order of fries or serving of chips can be part of a balanced diet, but most Americans indulge on a regular basis. Overindulgence and abuse of these foods high in fat, sodium, sugar, and calories have resulted in an expansion of the waistline and a decline in health. They are also a problem because they have become a type of drug and are used to soothe unease, stress, anxiety or as a reward for accomplishments. Today we will explore how to avoid food triggers.
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Photo by kayleigh harrington on Unsplash

Temptation means to be enticed or led to do something you would not ordinarily do.  This usually happens after a stressful situation.   Triggers for temptation foods include things such as stress, emotional distress, depression, anxiety, and boredom. The most important thing is to recognize triggers prior to the temptation and learn ways to combat them. In our health Russian roulette, the temptation is the gun, the trigger is the stressor that causes us to reach for the food and the bullet is the foods that we eat.  Each time we give in to the temptation the cylinder spins and we are one step closer to death.  Each time we give in the risks rises.

Most of us know what our temptation foods are based on how we feel after we have eaten them.  These foods have become our enemies because they are destructive in the way we consume them.  They cause us to feel shame, guilt, hopelessness. Temptation foods seem to be in control of us rather than us being in control of them.  There is usually a feeling of failure;  a feeling of “I can’t believe I have done this again”.  They cause you to feel temporary relief from the stress, but after you have eaten them you feel even worse than when you were stressed.

 

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Photo by Jannis Brandt on Unsplash

 

The first step in resisting/avoiding temptation is to recognize when and where the temptation comes.  Is it a particular place, person, event or occasion that stirs the desire? If so, the answer may be to avoid them.  Another answer could be to develop different coping mechanisms for the stressor such as exercising, journaling or therapy.  Another step could be learning to reward yourself with things other than food.  Get your hair done, go for a bike ride, take a walk in nature, get a massage, visit or call a friend, or take time to pray.  Most importantly do not give in to temptation. It is not worth the risk to your health.

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

Today, don’t pull the trigger on temptation.  Resist the urges and consider your journey. Don’t go backward, continue forward.  Continue your journey to a healthier you so that you can be Revived Through Nutrition!

Going To Battle Unprotected

Having an immune system without sufficient defenses to fight disease is like going to war without enough soldiers to fight the enemy. In the battle against disease, the estimated trillion bacteria in our gut represent some of the soldiers who fight disease.  Many individuals have damaged their gut defense system with poor dietary choices, overuse of antibiotics, stress and inadequate rest.

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Sauerkraut, a fermented cabbage and an excellent source of probiotics

 

Low amounts and inadequate varieties of bacteria in the gut has been linked to diseases such as cancer, diabetes, depression, eczema, asthma, fibromyalgia, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, and allergies. A diet high in processed foods, unhealthy fats, and limited fiber are the biggest contributors to poor gut health.  The misuse of antibiotics also accounts for a large decrease in the amount of the gut’s healthy bacteria.  A great example of this is the C-difficile infection, which is common in patients who receive high-dose antibiotics. This is a bacteria normally present in the gut, but, after antibiotics kill off the healthy bacteria along with the harmful ones, it grows to dangerous levels and causes unpleasant symptoms in the patient. In addition to antibiotics and poor diet, research indicates that inadequate rest may cause the body to send signals to the gut which damage the healthy microflora.

There are over five hundred species of bacteria in the gut that create a microbiome unique to you.  This microbiome requires both prebiotics and probiotics to live.  Prebiotics are food ingredients that pass through the digestive system mostly undigested, like oats and bananas.  They act as a food source for bacteria and promote the growth of beneficial bacteria.  Probiotics are active cultures or good bacteria found in certain foods, mostly aged or fermented, that help to replace and increase the number of bacteria (microflora) present in the gut.

 

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Kefir, a fermented, yogurt-like drink high in probiotics

 

Some ways to improve gut health include: eating whole grains, limiting processed food, and choosing plant-based, high-fiber meals. In addition, choosing foods high in Omega-3’s such as walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines and healthy fat sources such as avocado, almonds, and olive oil have been shown to have a positive impact on the gut.  Since the gut is also influenced by sleep, getting the recommended 7-8 hours daily could positively impact gut health.

The chart below lists the best sources of both prebiotics and probiotics.  Consuming a variety of foods from this list can help restore gut health and decrease the risk of illnesses, therefore, increasing your bacterial army’s chances of being victorious in fighting the war on unhealthy germs and bacteria.

 

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Blackberries, high in prebiotics 

 

Best Sources of Prebiotics and Probiotics

Type of Bacteria Food Sources
PREBIOTICS ·        Garlic

·        Bananas

·        Whole wheat foods

·        Soybeans

·        Jicama

·        Asparagus

·        Dandelion Greens

·        Barley

·        Oats

·        Flax seeds

·        Apples

PROBIOTICS ·        Yogurt

·        Kefir

·        Tempeh

·        Kimchi

·        Kambucha

·        Garlic

·        Sauerkraut

·        Miso/miso soup

One way to increase the intake of prebiotics and probiotics is a breakfast smoothie.  This recipe is quick and easy to prepare and can act as a meal on the run.

Healthy Gut Breakfast Smoothie

1 cup skim milk kefir

1/2 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt

1 -2 cups spinach or kale

1 cup mixed fruit

1/2 Tbs flax seed

1 Tbs chia seeds

1/2 Tbs hemp seeds

Blend until smooth and enjoy!

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Provides: 341 calories, 31 grams protein, 10 grams of fiber.