An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system mistakes a perfectly harmless substance for a dangerous one. In response, the system launches a full-scale attack, all the while wreaking havoc on your body.
Smoothies are supposed to be healthy. Here’s how to make sure they stay that way.
Ever since you first heard of smoothies, your mouth has been watering. When you’re sipping on a smoothie, your mouth is in taste heaven. When there’s no smoothie in your hand, all you can think of are strawberries, bananas, and blueberries. But if you’re not careful, your smoothies can turn into nothing more than an average dessert.
To make sure your smoothie is as healthy as it is cold and delicious, you’ve got to have more than a good blender. You’ve got to have the right building blocks as well.
Building Block: Fruit
In a healthy smoothie, the most basic building block is fruit. Ideally, you want to go with fresh fruits that aren’t sitting in sugar water or have been made unhealthy in some other way. Rather, you want fruit straight off the vine or tree. Raw fruit that hasn’t been tampered with will ensure you the most powerful smoothie punch.
Some of the most common fruits found in smoothies include bananas, strawberries, and blueberries. But don’t let this keep you from getting creative. No matter what your favorite fruit is, you can toss it in the blender for a delightful, flavorful smoothie. From cantaloupe and mango to pineapple, raspberry, and melon, you can include any fruit you can find in your smoothie concoction.
Want the thickest, most delicious smoothie possible? Toss the fruits you plan to use for a smoothie in the freezer before you go to bed. In the morning, toss them in the blender. It’s a simple, yet effective way to get the thick smoothie you want.
Building Block: Juice
Once you’ve got your fruits picked out, you’ll need to find a complementary juice. As with the fruit choices, there is one juice that is picked much more often than the others: orange juice. However, you can toss in whatever type of juice you want to spice up your smoothie.
For variations on your favorite smoothie, give apple juice, grape juice, or cranberry juice a shot. Each different juice will affect the consistency, thickness, and flavor of your smoothie, so keep trying out juices until you find the perfect flavor for your pallet.
Building Block: Yogurt
When you have lots of different fruits and flavors, you’ll probably want something to pull them all together into one cohesive whole. Enter stage left: yogurt. Low-fat or fat-free is the best choice, and since most yogurt falls into one of these categories, it is also an easy choice to find.
With the right amount of yogurt in the mix, your smoothie will go from a yummy treat to a must-have each and every day. While you’ll probably rely on vanilla yogurt for most of your smoothies, using strawberry, strawberry banana, blueberry, or other flavors will enhance your smoothie instantly!
Wake Up and Smell the Smoothie
Need a better way to get your day started? Get your morning off right with this easy-to-make Wake-Up Smoothie recipe.
Yields: 3 servings, 1 cup each
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
- 1 1/4 cups orange juice (go for calcium-fortified for added benefit)
- 1 banana
- 1 1/4 cups frozen berries of your choice (good options include raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and/or strawberries)
- 1/2 cup low-fat silken tofu or low-fat plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon sugar or Splenda Granular (optional way to add flavor that causes the smoothie to be a tiny bit less healthy)
- Combine all ingredients and put in a blender. Cover and blend until the mixture is creamy and smooth. Serve immediately. Smile.
Nutritional Information Per Serving: 139 calories; 2 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 grams monosaturated fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 28 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams protein, 4 grams fiber, 19 milligrams sodium, 421 milligrams potassium.
Some of the hidden and not-so-hidden dangers of fast food.
Fast food is fast, easy, and relatively cheap. But you probably know it’s not the best for your family. Well, you’re right. In fact, fast food is some of the worst stuff you can feed your spouse and kids – especially if it’s on a regular basis.
Where do the dangers exist? Funny you should ask.
In the Fries
Excessive salt and grease all come together for one of the tastiest complements to your eating out experience. As if those three weren’t enough to keep you away, French fries also have trans-fats and saturated fats, the kind of fats that don’t do the body good. So while they may be offered with every meal you can order at every fast-food restaurant in the world, fries should be avoided if you want to sidestep one of the largest pools of unhealthy food in a fast-food restaurant.
In the Burgers
In order to keep fast food as cheap as possible, some fast-food restaurants lower the quality of meat used in hamburgers. That means fatty hamburgers (and chicken sandwiches) that are more likely to taste great but result in food poisoning. More likely than food poisoning is simply winding up with extra calories that will go straight to your waist, belly, or whatever other area of your body you’d rather keep trim.
In the Healthy Sides
Before getting too excited about those healthy choices at your favorite hit-and-run restaurant, there’s something you should know. Though the word “healthy” may encourage you to jump in fork first, some of the healthy sides offered at fast food restaurants aren’t all they’re cut out to be. Chili made with fatty beef and filled with cheese and baked potatoes loaded with bacon, cheese, and other unhealthy condiments turn would could be a healthy alternative into an equally unhealthy choice.
In the Desserts
One of the most obvious places to find dangers in fast-food restaurants is on the dessert menu. From soft serve ice cream topped with caramel, chocolate, and strawberry syrup to post-meal frozen coffee, finding a healthy option on the dessert menu is as difficult as finding a needle in a haystack. In fact, your best chance for finding a healthy option on fast-food dessert menus is
In the Drinks
Since you can get as many refills as you want without paying extra, it can be tempting to fill your cup to the rim time and again. Unfortunately, filling your bladder and urinary tract with soda or sweet tea isn’t a good idea. These drinks make you need to urinate more frequently and have enough calories in each 12-ounce serving to make it hard to eat anything without consuming an unhealthy amount of calories. As if that isn’t bad enough, sodas and sweet tea offer no nutritional value besides a quick energy boost, which usually comes at the cost of a crash.
The Hidden Good News
No matter how hard you try, you’re not going to be able to stay away from fast-food restaurants every day of your life. Going to these quick-and-easy eateries doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or have to resign yourself to chowing down on extra calories you may never shed. What it does mean is that you’ll have to work a little harder to avoid those extra calories.
But it can be done. A great first step is to avoid fried foods that are in such great quantity in fast-food establishments. You should also opt for the healthier side items, and help them stay healthy by not adding on fatty toppings. And if you must have dessert, look for a yogurt parfait or a low-fat frozen yogurt in a cup. When you’re done eating, smile and pat yourself on the back for doing what was once thought impossible. You’ve just eaten a relatively healthy meal at a fast-food restaurant.
The truth will set you free…to exercise better!
Everyone falls prey to lies and myths on occasion. But if you buy into one of these and your exercise routine is affected by it, you could be in a world of danger. What lies may be affecting your ability to work out safely and with maximum results? Read on to find out.
Lie 1: Big Size = Big Strength
Okay, so the big guys are often rather strong (you won’t see a lot of skinny folks lifting cars), but you don’t have to be super beefy to be strong. Actually, too much muscle mass can make it difficult to perform certain activities. Instead of focusing on getting bigger, bigger, bigger, go for exercises that help you get in good shape, have good muscle definition, and retain your ability to move quickly.
Lie 2: Muscle Becomes Fat
Ever wished you could transform all of the fat around your midsection into rock-hard muscle? Of course you have. Unfortunately, you know you have to burn off the fat in order to make room for muscle. Likewise, the muscle you build up won’t turn into fat when you stop working out. You just think it did, because any time you stop working out, you see unwanted pounds show up with such speed.
Lie 3: You’ll Get His or Her Results
At every gym there are people with great bodies. Everything is where it should be and every muscle is well defined and shapely. To get the same results, you ask one of these model-looking individuals for the secrets to their picture-perfect bodies. You take careful notes and then attempt to mimic their every move in the gym. Unfortunately, what works for one person may not work for you. Every body is different and responds differently to various exercises. Since there is no one-size-fits-all approach to exercise, try plenty of different workouts to find out what works best for you.
Lie 4: Tons of Gym Time, Awesome Results
If spending an hour or two in the gym five days a week is good for you, then spending five hours every day pushing your body to the max is even better – right? Wrong. Overtraining your muscles and not giving them any chance to rest can actually cause your muscles to begin breaking down and going away. On top of this, you also put your muscles at risk for some serious injuries if you spend too much time exercising – especially if you’re doing the same movements over and over again.
Exercise myths aren’t always created out of malice. In fact, many of them are built on what would seem to be common sense. However, deciphering between truth and fiction is the only way to ensure your workouts are safe and beneficial.
Lie 5: Slow Is Safe
Commercials that feature outdoor groups of people enjoying a relaxing class of yoga can be misleading. While yoga and pilates can be relaxing and slow-moving ways to get exercise, they can put your body at risk for some of the same injuries other exercises pose. So before hopping into an advanced yoga class without understanding what you’re getting into, start at the beginner’s level and gradually work your way up to the more advanced, demanding classes.
Lie 6: Form Doesn’t Matter
Back when you were first starting to lift weights, you worried about keeping perfect form for each rep. But over time, you began to realize that form wasn’t as important as just getting out there and lifting. Unfortunately, your epiphany isn’t based in truth, because if you lift weights or perform other exercises without using the right form, the negative results are two-fold. First, you aren’t actually targeting the muscle you think you are unless you maintain good form. Second, improper form puts you at great risk for a variety of severe injuries.
Lie 7: Genetics Are Everything
If your parents and grandparents are overweight and out of shape, it can be easy for you to expect the same fate for yourself. But don’t let your genetics get in the way of exercise. Instead, understand that you may have to make some modifications (including what you eat) to get the results you want in the gym. You may even have to change your goals to better meet your body’s abilities.
I asked Az Ferguson co-author of the Game On! Diet “what’s better for you a regular pepsi or diet” his response ” it depends if you want to get hit in the head with a hammer or a baseballl bat”
… ouch! Water is always the best choice but if you find yourself in a situation where it’s between diet and regular always opt for the non diet product.