Insomnia Cures – Natural Cures and Remedies

Sleepless nights could really be unnerving and blackish grey circles under the eyes of those suffering from insomnia aren’t the only after effects of such a condition – the whole human body’s metabolism takes a huge hit from lack of precious rest you get from sleep. Insomnia is a relatively common sleeping disorder that over one-thirds of the world suffers from. According to Dr.Weil, 10 to 20% of adults experience it and needless to say, it isn’t an easy condition to deal with. here are a natural cures and remedies for Insomnia:

Establish a set-routine, your body just gets used to it: your mind and body are more connected than we care to admit. make a routine – a plan – and stick to it. Set a fixed time to sleep and no matter what, go to sleep. Also, try to sleep at exactly the same time each day, and that includes your weekends too. Additionally, some things can help you with your sleep since this is where your problem largely lies. one of things you could do is to take a hot shower and hit the bed. Alternatively, try to meditate or do deep breathing exercises.

Hit the gym or work-out: Research suggests that physical exhaustion directly contributes to good sleep throughout the night. Go ahead and sign-up for a membership. Talk to your personal trainer and set yourself an exhaustive routine each day to tire yourself out. Sweat it out at the gym and your sleep for the night is a sure thing. Alternatively, go for a jog and workout at home. The key is to work to exhaustion or muscle failure.

Limit food, alcohol and caffeine: Don’t take coffee anytime before bed time. Caffeine is a stimulant and it hinders sleep or at least tends to keeps you awake (you don’t want that, do you?). Other things that can limit your chances to sleep well are alcohol and heavy food intake before you hit the bed. Excessive food and alcohol induce insomnia and creates sleeplessness.

Use mind conditioning and mild natural treatments: There are plenty of safe herbs available that could help you as cure from insomnia. Some of the well-known ones are Valerian and Melatonin. Further, you could dim the lights at least an hour before your sleep time, read on the bed, and try to get plenty of sex. All of these methods are known to work to a great extent to cure people off insomnia. Sleeping pills should never be the way out for you.

Insomnia Cures – Natural Cures and Remedies

Think Outside the Box and the Spine (Part 4): The Hips

The prevalence of hip pain is terribly rampant in our modern society. Current statistics indicate that one in four people may develop painful hip arthritis in their lifetime.1 a recent study found that 14.3 percent of participants ages 60 years and older reported significant hip pain on most days in the previous six weeks. Also worth noting is that men reported hip pain less frequently than women.2 And in the 2006 National Health Interview Survey, approximately 30 percent of adults reported experiencing some type of joint pain or stiffness during the preceding month.3

While patients may seek chiropractic because of pain only in one area, the burden lies on us, as chiropractors, to give a thorough evaluation to determine if that pain is a result of a problem somewhere else in the body (e.g., back pain that actually stems from the hips). Joint pain can be caused by osteoarthritis, injury, prolonged abnormal posture, or repetitive motion. The pain can be caused by a condition as simple as a strain all the way to advanced, degenerative changes that necessitate total hip replacement.

The Hips

The hip or acetabulofemoral joint is the joint between the femur and acetabulum of the pelvis. Its primary function is to support the weight of the body in both static and dynamic postures. The hip joints are the most important factors dictating stability and balance.

The hip joint is a synovial joint formed by the articulation of the rounded head of the femur and the cup-like acetabulum of the pelvis. It forms the primary connection between the bones of the lower limb and the axial skeleton of the trunk and pelvis. both joint surfaces are covered with a strong – but lubricated – layer of hyaline cartilage. The cup-like acetabulum forms at the union of three pelvic bones: the ilium, pubis, and ischium.

The hips are the largest weight-bearing joints in our body, and they have a stable anatomy. The hip joint is a deep socket with a thick joint capsule, strong spiral ligaments, and several powerful, stabilizing muscle groups. The joint itself is not often injured. most injuries occur secondary to biomechanical imbalances.

Looking Deeper

In practice, we encounter hip pain and dysfunction on a daily basis and in multiple patients. When the average hip-pain patient comes in, they may recount the usual, garden-variety diagnoses they have been given by their physician. Bursitis, tendonitis, arthritis, capsulitis and strained muscles are some of the common afflictions we hear about. The lion’s share of blame seems to be leveled against arthritis and degenerative joint disease (DJD).

The concept I teach in all of my seminars and articles is that you should de-emphasize the singular event that brought this patient to your office. In other words, if the patient has just suffered a recent injury to their hip, such as a fall or pain after exercising, don’t just focus on that seemingly “traumatic” episode. That’s what the allopathic physicians do. They focus on pain and on what “just” happened to the patient that made them come in for crisis care.

That is not to say we should ignore the trauma or incident; note it, but then delve deeper. When you are assessing any type of lower-body problem, don’t forget the relationship to the feet, ankles and knees! Not only is it significant, but identifying the underlying cause of why your patient became susceptible to being injured also becomes your answer to how to stabilize and protect them in the future.

Lower-Body Misalignment

In each of the previous three articles in this series, I outlined a sequential bone-and-joint misalignment pattern that originates from the lack of the three-arch support in our feet. this failure of the feet to adequately and correctly support the weight-bearing stress of our body and disperse ground forces during weight-bearing can have negative effects on the body.

In my experience, I have found that more than 80 percent of the time, this failure of arch support results in a flattening or overpronation of the feet. Excessive foot pronation will cause biomechanical imbalances and stresses that manifest as pain somewhere in the body.

Recall that when the feet are excessively pronated, the tibia and femur bones internally (medially) rotate. this creates a torsional pressure on the femur shaft and into the head as it articulates with the acetabulum. Internal rotation of the femur head also adducts the shaft of the femur, creating forces that shape how the femur head will misalign.

A great way to get your patients to understand this is to do the following demonstration with them. First, stand up. Take your hands and place them on both greater trochanters. now forcefully drop your arches down to the floor as far as you can and you will be re-creating or accentuating dropped or flattened arches seen in excessive foot pronation. Close your eyes and feel what is happening to your body. you can follow the stress from your feet, ankles, knees to the hips. Focus on your hips.

Think about what you are feeling at the hips during this exercise; you can actually feel the internal rotation at the femur head, as well as the flexion of the hip. since many patients we see deal with chronic, long-standing and often undetected, excessive foot pronation, their hips have been under this stress for months to years. When a joint is misaligned or subluxated for long periods of time, the body goes through compensatory changes. The iliopsoas, tensor fascia lata, gluteus medius/maximus, piriformis muscles and the iliotibial band (ITB) become chronically hypertonic and weaker.

This is not to say the patient could not have more serious problems in the hip area. do the standard orthopedic tests to cover all bases. Obtaining an X-ray series on the hips may yield substantial information, especially when arthritis is suspected. this is your call depending on your patient presentation and how you feel it may change your treatment protocols. Arthritis or DJD of the hips that is moderate to severe will definitely affect how your adjustments hold and how much conservative care the patient can actually benefit from until surgery needs to be considered.

Adjustments We can Perform on the Hip

Internally (medially) rotated femur: with the patient supine, lock the tibia between your knees and grasp the middle to distal femur with both hands. with an internal to external, long axis line of drive, gently twist the femur outward. there is no heavy-handed or violent thrusting with this maneuver. It’s more like a gentle, directional mobilization of the shaft of the femur externally. (Image 1a)

Another option is to cup the heel with one hand and the dorsum of the foot with the other with the patient supine. Rotate the entire thigh / leg into external rotation and then traction down the long axis of the shafts of the bones. Add an appropriate thrust at end range. this decompresses the hip joint and cavitation is often heard. (Image 1b)

Lateral femur head: The patient should be side-lying with the involved hip up. you can lift the leg with the inferior hand and place the palm of the superior hand on the greater trochanter of the femur. The adjustment occurs by thrusting from lateral to medial, slightly superior to inferior. for doctor comfort, the addition of a drop table piece or spring-loaded instrument helps tremendously. (Image 2)

The hips

The hips Anterior femur head: Patient is supine with the knee bent comfortably to relax the illiopsoas muscle. Take knife-edge contact onto the anterior femur head near the inguinal region and thrust anterior to posterior. you may add slight inferiority as well. again, use of a drop table or spring-loaded instrument here is extremely effective. (Image 3)

Remember that for any of the adjustments described above, there are variations that we do not have the space to discuss in this article. Because we understand the patterns that exist most of the time, we can allow for a random posterior femur head here and there. just trust your instincts and fix what you find.

Don’t forget that by the time you get to adjusting the hips, you likely have already adjusted the feet, ankles and knees. All of these areas are important. (If you need a review, look at the first three articles in this series.)

Stabilizing the Joint

Once the adjustments have been made, you have to think about how to stabilize the joint. Here are some tools to utilize and ideas to consider:

  • Elastic tape (functional or sports taping)
  • Trochanter belt
  • Custom foot orthotics. this will address the arches of the foot and help to stabilize the body.
  • Appropriate shoe types. what patients wear affects their body, not just their feet and should be evaluated.
  • Modifying activities. what the patient’s doing may not be working anymore and should be addressed to avoid further injury.

I hope that by this point, the message is clear: Although we should never overlook the importance of a traumatic or acute-onset injury / pain, many patients come to us with chronic pain and dysfunction. Take a step back, think globally and try to draw some connections between what the patient is feeling and the biomechanical patterns that exist from the feet upward. this may provide substantial insight into not only the problem, but also how to provide comprehensive conservative care.

  1. Murphy LB, Helmick CG, Schwartz TA, et al. One in four people may develop symptomatic hip osteoarthritis in his or her lifetime. Osteoarthritis Cartilage, 2010;18(11):1372-9.
  2. Christmas C, Crespo CJ, Franckowiak SC, et al how common is hip pain among older adults? Results from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. J Fam Pract, 2002 Apr;51(4):345-8.
  3. National Health Interview Survey, 2006. Public-use data file. available at cdc.gov/nchs/nhis.htm.

This is the fourth in a series of six articles dedicated to the extremities, covering clinical discussions from the feet to the ankles, knees, hips, hands / wrists and elbows to the shoulders. Part 1 appeared in the Feb. 12, 2012 issue; part 2 ran in the April 22 issue; and part 3 appeared in the July 1 issue.

Dr. Kevin Wong, a 1996 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic West, is an expert on foot analysis, walking and standing postures, and orthotics. He lectures nationwide on spinal and extremity adjusting and practices full-time in Orinda, Calif.

Think Outside the Box and the Spine (Part 4): The Hips

Yo-yo Dieting Doesn’t Prevent Future Weight Loss: Study – HispanicBusiness.com

Diet news is never just plain good. good would be something like “Eating chocolate causes you to lose weight and gain lean muscle mass, study finds.” The latest, out of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, is not like that. Yo-yo dieting, researchers have found, actually doesn’t change your metabolism and make it harder to lose weight in future efforts, as widely believed. so just because you’ve lost and gained, lost and gained, lost and gained, you now have no excuses. Do it again. And likely, again. Dr. Anne McTiernan, of The Hutch’s public health-sciences division, the senior author of the study published online by the journal Metabolism, sees the results as a half-full kind of thing. “A history of unsuccessful weight loss should not dissuade an individual from future attempts to shed pounds or diminish the role of a healthy diet and regular physical activity in successful weight management,” McTiernan said. The study was designed for a slow, steady and reasonable amount of weight loss — 10 percent of body weight within six months and maintenance for the next six — with daily calories of 1,200 to 2,000, calculated by each woman’s beginning body weight. Earlier studies have suggested that repetitive weight loss-regain cycles may increase a dieter’s preference for dietary fat, perhaps because of changes in metabolic rate, immune function and body composition, the authors noted. but few studies have actually examined this notion, which suggests that somehow dieting causes a person’s body to become more efficient at holding onto fat, they said. For the study, McTiernan and her colleagues enrolled 439 overweight to obese, sedentary Seattle-area postmenopausal women, ages 50 to 75. Obesity, the researchers said, is a known risk factor for many cancers, as well as for heart disease and diabetes, and with two-thirds of the U.S. population overweight or obese, it’s a worry for those in public health. And for the nearly half of American women estimated to be currently dieting, any help understanding what’s going on with their recalcitrant fat may be very welcome. The women in the study were randomly assigned to one of four groups: one got a diet that reduced calories by 500 a day. Another, a brisk-walking assignment with no diet. The third group was told to diet and exercise, and the last group got no intervention. at the end of the yearlong study, those in the diet only and diet-plus-exercise groups lost an average of 10 percent of their starting weight, which was the goal of the intervention. The exercise-only group lost an average of 2.4 percent of starting weight. overall, weight loss among the women who had a history of severe or moderate weight cycling didn’t differ significantly from those who had not repeatedly gained and lost pounds. in addition, there wasn’t much difference in the percentage of body fat or lean muscle mass gained or lost, their blood concentration of hormones, insulin sensitivity or blood pressure. Of the 439 women, 18 percent had a history of severe weight cycling (having deliberately lost 20 or more pounds on three or more occasions) and 24 percent had a history of moderate weight cycling (losing 10 or more pounds on three or more occasions). “To our knowledge, no previous studies have examined the effect of prior weight cycling on the body composition, metabolic and hormonal changes induced by a comprehensive lifestyle intervention” of such women, the authors wrote. because the study was only a year, it wasn’t able to capture longer-term effects, the authors said. it also wasn’t able to measure the degree to which larger or more frequent weight-loss episodes may influence metabolism or hormones. McTiernan said they did follow some of the women for a longer period of time and are analyzing those results now. Doctors also have been frustrated by their patients’ unsuccessful attempts to lose weight, the authors said, but some have been reluctant to recommend weight loss to otherwise healthy patients for fear that weight-loss cycling could make them less healthy. This study shows that a history of unsuccessful weight loss should not discourage future attempts, the authors said. but it’s important to use healthy and sustainable weight management, they added, as recent work showed weight regain is more likely when people use unhealthy weight control strategies. And regain may have undesirable consequences. when a person loses weight, a portion of the weight loss is fat and a portion is muscle, said Caitlin Mason, a postdoctoral fellow at The Hutch and a study co-author. “Some evidence suggests that after weight regain, the muscle mass is not fully recovered,” she said. “Thus, there could be a small net gain in fat mass.” The study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, also included investigators at Harvard Medical School, the National Cancer Institute, and the University of Washington.

Yo-yo Dieting Doesn’t Prevent Future Weight Loss: Study – HispanicBusiness.com

Fruit and Vegetable Diet – Get Fast Weight Loss With Fruits and Veggies

The fruit and vegetable diet is the easiest way I know to lose weight fast in a healthy all natural way.

How does eating an all fruit and vegetable plan create weight loss so quickly?

  • It is very low in calories.
  • Almost all fruits and veggies are high in fiber so you feel full. you never have to be hungry on this diet. No starving – no way
  • It is really a delicious way to eat so you have no problem sticking with your program.
  • You don’t have do tedious measuring or weighing of your food.
  • You don’t need to take and pills or supplements.
  • No injections to receive.
  • No need to be doctor supervised.
  • No ravenous hunger to lose weight.
  • Exercise with this program is not required; however it is recommended that everyone get at least 30 minutes of walking each day at the minimum. the great thing is that eating this way energizes you so you can begin an exercise program if you want to. If you already work out, you will experience increased energy and vitality.
  • Eat whenever you want to – just follow the simple easy to follow plan.
  • Not boring – lots of foods to choose from and lots of variety.
  • The food tastes great – not yucky like some diet products you have to force down.
  • It is an all natural plan – no preservatives, chemicals, toxins, or dyes.

You will be satisfied and feel great if you follow the plan that I did.

One thing I always hated about diets is that I had to wait so long between each authorized meal and that just made me think about food even more. Well, with the fruit and vegetable diet you won’t have to go through that agony.

When I did the fruit and vegetable diet I was actually excited about getting on the scale each morning to see how much weight I had lost – that was great.

Give it a try – you will be pleasantly surprised at how easy the weight will drop right off your body.

Fruit and Vegetable Diet – Get Fast Weight Loss With Fruits and Veggies

DC Breaking Local News Weather Sports FOX 5 WTTGTying the knot ups women’s drinking rate, lowers men’s

By Randy DotingaHealthDay Reporter

SATURDAY, Aug. 18 (HealthDay News) — Can marriage — or divorce — drive people to drink?

A new study suggests the answer depends a great deal on gender: Marriage appears to lead to more drinking among middle-aged women, while divorce seems to drive middle-aged men to the bottle.

The research looked at people in general, and not everyone will follow the pattern. still, the findings suggest that “marriage and divorce have different consequences for men’s and women’s alcohol use,” said study author Corinne Reczek, an assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati. “For men, it’s tempered by being married and exacerbated by being divorced.”

Researchers already know that men drink more than women, but women have been catching up in recent years, Reczek said. It also appears that men slow down their drinking when they’re married, especially for the first time, she said.

But what about later in life and when marriages end, especially due to divorce? That’s where the new study comes in.

Reczek and colleagues examined the results of U.S. surveys conducted in 1993 and 2004. they looked at just over 5,300 people (who were aged 53 and 54 in 1993) and tracked them over time. In addition, they interviewed 130 people directly.

“We find that unmarried and divorced women actually drink less than their continuously married counterparts,” she said. “For men, those who were recently divorced have the highest number of drinks and men who are married have the lower number.”

For women, the average number of drinks per month was nine for those who were married and 6.5 for those who were divorced over that time; for men, the numbers were 19.2 and 21.5, respectively. for those who got divorced during that period, the average monthly number of drinks per month was 10 for women and 26 for men.

What’s going on? In some cases, women said their husbands introduced them to alcohol, Reczek said, so “they just drink more because their husbands drink more. Women talk about how when they get divorced, they lose the person encouraging them to drink.”

As for men, they tend to turn to alcohol to cope with stress as compared to women who turn to food or family members, she said. It’s also possible that single men are more likely to hang out with their male friends who enjoy an intoxicating beverage, Reczek added.

Mary Waldron, an assistant professor of Human Development at Indiana University, said research into drinking and marriage — particularly among people in their 20s — has been murky. “There is some research to suggest entry into marriage is associated with greater reduction in drinking for women than men,” she said. “But other research suggests the opposite, and still other studies report similar reductions in drinking for men and women upon marriage.”

The new study is unusual in that it suggests women who have been divorced for a while seem to be at the lowest risk of drinking, Waldron said. that conflicts with previous research.

Why does this study matter? Waldron said: “It’s important to consider the role of marriage and transitions out of marriage, through divorce or widowhood, on risks for heavy or problem drinking, including risks for the next generation.”

The study is scheduled to be presented Saturday at the American Sociological Association annual meeting in Denver. Research presented at medical meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

More information

For more on alcohol, try the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

 

DC Breaking Local News Weather Sports FOX 5 WTTGTying the knot ups women’s drinking rate, lowers men’s

Love the skin you’re in: 15 surprising tricks to keep it healthy and glowing

1 Cut out white bread for fewer spots

Although doctors have said diet has no bearing on acne, a recent Australian study showed that a low GI diet did help decrease spots.

This means swapping white refined carbs such as bread, cereal and pasta for wholemeal varieties.

2 Sleep on your back to beat wrinkles

According to the American ­Academy of Dermatology, sleeping in the same position night after night can lead to wrinkles that don’t ­disappear once you’re up.

They also note that sleeping on your side increases wrinkles on the cheeks and chin, while sleeping face down gives you a furrowed brow.

Your best bet for smoother skin is to sleep face up, on your back.

3 Eczema-proof your place of work

Hand dermatitis or eczema is the second most common reason for people taking time off work in the UK.

Any role that involves using chemicals or getting hands ­repeatedly wet can be a trigger, with hairdressing, catering, ­cleaning and nursing the worst culprits.

So it’s vital to always wear protective gloves, especially if you suffered from eczema as a child, as it can often recur in adulthood.

4 Don’t waste money on super-high SPFs

You might think sunblock SPF 100 would be twice as good as SPF 50, but there’s hardly any difference.

SPF 50 blocks 98% of UV rays while SPF 100 blocks 99% – a tiny ­difference in protection for the huge price difference.

As most of us use only half the amount of suncream we need, you’re better off doubling the amount of sunblock than ­doubling the SPF.

Glass of wine? why not?

5 Sip some red wine

Grapes contain one of the most powerful ­anti-ageing antioxidants yet discovered – resveratrol.

Studies ­suggest it can help maintain a youthful complexion by fighting damaging free radicals.

But don’t overdo it. A small glass of red wine every other day will boost your intake. or try grape juice as an alternative.

6 try giving your face a good rub

Not only does it feel great, a facial massage can help stimulate ­fibroblasts (connective cells) in the skin to release collagen and restore some of the elasticity that’s lost as we age.

But don’t pay someone to do it. just five minutes a night ­massaging in your favourite ­moisturiser, using sweeping ­movements, will have just thesame effect.

7 Shun the sun to beat spots

It may seem the sun dries up and improves your acne but it makes it worse in the long run.

As your skin sheds the UV-damaged cells, they clog pores and can trigger more breakouts of acne.

8 Swap hands when you put on sunscreen

Studies show that right-handed people put more sunscreen on the left side of their body than their right and vice versa, which can mean ­important areas miss out on adequate sun protection.

Try swapping hands during ­application to ensure more even coverage.

9 be a shady lady

Repetitive facial movements like squinting can overwork the facial muscles, forming a groove beneath the skin’s surface.

This eventually becomes a wrinkle or permanent frown line. Wear ­glasses if you need them for computer work and ­sunglasses on bright days to stop you squinting.

10 Boost fish intake

Good oils: Eat more oily fish

Healthy skin is maintained by fat.

In particular, getting more of the essential omega-3 fats found in salmon and other oily fish can help to keep skin supple and ease ­conditions like eczema.

US ­dermatologist Dr Nicholas ­Perricone even credits omega-3s with ­reducing the skin inflammation that is ­responsible for sagging and ­wrinkles.

One to two portions a week will boost your intake.

11 Tuck into turkey

This often-forgotten low-fat meat contains a vital skin-friendly protein called carnosine that slows down a process in the skin called cross-linking.

When this happens, fibres grow in the skin’s collagen, making it stiff and less elastic.

This stops it snapping back when you do things like smile or frown – and is what causes laughter lines and crow’s feet. Use turkey in place of chicken in stir-fries and salads.

12 Get your oats

Oats are one of the few natural ingredients approved by the stringent Food and Drug ­Administration in America for their beneficial effects on skin problems.

They contain phytoalexins, which have a soothing and anti-irritant effect on the skin.

Studies have shown that an oat-based skincare regime can bring about a ­significant improvement in people with mild to moderate eczema.

Skin brand Aveeno make a range of skincare with oats. see aveeno.co.uk

13 Speed up your cell turnover

While skin of all ages ­produces new cells which gradually move to the surface and shed, the older you get the slower this process becomes.

Dead cells stay on the ­surface for much longer, ­resultingin that dull, ­dehydrated look. ­

“Gentle ­exfoliation with a damp flannel or using a skin cream that contains retinoids (check the label) can help boost cell turnover,” says ­dermatologist Francesca Fusco.

14 Ditch trans fats

These man-made fats are damaging to your skin, according to Harley Street dermatologist Dr Ariel Haus.

Listed on the label as “hydrogenated vegetable oil”, some supermarkets have banned trans fats from own-brand products but it’s still possible to buy biscuits, cakes and other processed food that contain them.

15 And breathe…

One big scientific discovery is that your state of mind can affect your skin.

Stress releases hormones that can make acne, eczema and other conditions worse.

Try yoga, reading or any other relaxing ­activity you enjoy.

Just taking a few minutes at the end of the day to sit and take deep breaths – counting to 10 on the “in” breath and 10 on the “out” – can make a difference.

Love the skin you’re in: 15 surprising tricks to keep it healthy and glowing

Reality show host Alison Sweeney stays in shape for self, family

“The biggest Loser” star Alison Sweeney shares her pregnancy and postpartum fitness tips in her book “The Mommy Diet.”

With a focus on “staying healthy through pregnancy and getting back in shape afterwards,” the “Days of our Lives” actress motivates women to “feel good emotionally and mentally.”

Alison talked to Celebrity Baby Scoop about her postpartum weight-loss secrets; her son Ben, 7, and daughter Megan, 3; and her motivation to stay healthy.

Q Tell us about your book “The Mommy Diet.”

A the book is about staying healthy through pregnancy and getting back in shape afterwards. the focus is on nutrition and fitness plans, but … I also wanted to pay attention to advice to make you feel good emotionally, mentally too — like good fashion (and) beauty tips.

Q what inspired you to write the book?

A so many books focus on how to take care of your child, which obviously is so important, but I didn’t see one book focused on the mom — how to get yourself back.

As I met so many fans afterwards asking me how I’d gotten in shape after Megan was born, I realized I had the perfect opportunity to share all the tips that I learned with all the women out there who want to get back in shape but need a little guidance — as I did/do.

While my book does focus on pregnancy and post-pregnancy recovery, it’s for any woman who wants some advice on how to get their diet and nutrition on track.

Q what are your best postpartum weight-loss secrets?

A Staying healthy during the pregnancy is all about moderation. I absolutely appreciate the importance of rest, relaxation during pregnancy as well as paying close attention to your nutrition and fitness.

So, best advice? Listen to your body. after the baby is born, take the time you need to learn your new role as mom. but my best tip after having the baby is to remember that you will be a better mom if you’re able to take the time to care for yourself, too.

Eat small meals throughout the day rather than a few bigger meals where one tends to get carried away overeating out of hunger, when it takes your body sometimes 20 minutes to feel full after you’ve started eating.

Shake up your routine. try different workouts, take a new class, mix it up. … if you don’t have time to go to the gym, pop in a workout DVD while your baby is taking a nap.

Q how do you maintain a healthy balance between keeping fit and unrealistic Hollywood body images?

A I stay healthy for my kids, my husband and for me. I was motivated to be healthy during my pregnancies and to get back in shape after because that is a key factor in being the best mom that I can be for my children.

QHow are your kids doing? what do they do to make you laugh?

A Ben is 7 and Megan is 3. they are so different. they are both fun, funny and loving kids, but Ben is much more sensitive and introspective whereas Megan is a spitfire — so outgoing and precocious. We have our hands full, and we love every minute.

Q how did you spend summers as a kid? have you carried on traditions with your kids?

A my summers as a kid were spent with family and friends, often going to the beach or a lake to water ski and fish, etc.

We do the same with Ben and Megan — they go to some camps with friends and then we do as much as a family as possible.

Whether swimming, hiking or just taking adventures, we make sure to be active and have fun as a family.

Reality show host Alison Sweeney stays in shape for self, family

Vegetarian Breakfast Dishes – Start Your Day Right

Breakfast is the most important part of the day. It helps you fuel your body before you get out there and start your daily life. If you don’t eat meat, then things like bacon and breakfast sausage are obviously out of the question. Below you will find some vegetarian breakfast recipes and meals that you can eat to start your day.

One of my favorite vegetarian breakfast recipes is some simple oatmeal. When I start to get bored of plain oatmeal, I like to change things up a bit by adding in some fruit Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, peaches, or even slices of banana go wonderfully in oatmeal. To give it an extra kick of flavor, sprinkle some cinnamon on top and you will have a delicious breakfast that will keep you going until lunch.

Another of my favorite recipes is a tortilla wrap. you can do anything with this type of breakfast. I like to take my tortilla, and fill it up with things like scrambled eggs, cheese, green onions, celery, tomatoes, and anything else I can think of for that day. It’s a lot of fun and really easy to do before you head out to work in the morning.

Omelets are another amazing breakfast food. It’s also another food that you can add a lot of different ingredients to Add in some green onions, spices, cheese, regular onions, celery bits, and any other vegetable you like. This makes a healthy and nutritious breakfast that you can enjoy as part of a healthy diet.

There are thousands of vegetarian breakfast recipes out there for you to enjoy. choose a few of your favorites and rotate them so you don’t get bored of any one food. both you and your family are going to love your healthy and varied vegetarian diet, starting with the most important meal of the day.

Vegetarian Breakfast Dishes – Start Your Day Right

A Major Advance Toward a Birth Control Pill for Men

in the search for a cancer cure, researchers have developed a molecule that could function as a non-hormonal, reversible form of male birth control.

Juan Gaertner/Shutterstock

Potentially huge news published today in the journal Cell is the result of two years of collaboration between teams lead by Jay Bradner of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Martin Matzuk Baylor College of Medicine.

Bradner, who is also an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, explains the origins of this research as an attempt to block a cancer-causing gene. put simply, all of an individual’s cells contain the same DNA, and so different cells, such as blood cells or liver cells, “remember” what type they are and what their function is with the help of proteins, which Bradner describes as little bookmarks at the molecular level.

the molecule he developed, JQ1, is intended to inhibit these proteins, removing the bookmarks and basically causing cancer cells to “forget” that they’re cancerous. the results, so far, have been promising. and as it turns out, JQ1 can, by the same mechanism, inhibit the testicular protein responsible for producing sperm (identified last year by Debra Wolgemuth and her team at Columbia University).

JQ1 is unusual in its ability to traverse the blood-testis barrier. the body’s germ cells are blocked by a cellular barrier that prevents toxins in the bloodstream from reaching them and damaging the genome. Normally, Bradner explains, this is a challenge for drug development, but JQ1 can travel freely across this barrier and can even concentrate in the testes.

in trials conducted on mice, prolonged exposure to JQ1 caused a significant decline in testicular volume. Three weeks of daily JQ1 treatment was revealed to cause a 4.5-fold reduction in the mice’s sperm motility, with their sperm count reduced to 28 percent of the control group. after 6 weeks, sperm count was at 11 percent, and only 5 percent of them remained motile.

the successful development of JQ1 as a male contraceptive could be groundbreaking in several key ways:

Non-hormonal – “The hormonal manipulation of female fertility is one of the most important discoveries in modern medicine,” said Bradner, but similar methods are significantly less well-tolerated in men. JQ1 does not have any effect on hormone levels, so it would not be likely to inhibit sexual performance.

Reversible  in mice, discontinuation of JQ1 treatment lead to full restoration of their reproductive abilities. Men would therefore be able to control their fertility without undergoing a vasectomy. Speaking of which…

Orally administered – This also gives it an advantage over RISUG — reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance — a surgical intervention currently undergoing trials in India.

Safe for offspring — JQ1 alters gene expression, not the actual genes. the mice babies born after treatment was discontinued were perfectly healthy, and they had no problem having mice babies of their own.

still, at this early stage, some caveats are already apparent:

Compliance the testicles, in their non-interrupted state, are constantly making sperm. Lots and lots of it. Bradner acknowledges that more studies will have to be done to determine just how often JQ1 treatment can be skipped while remaining effective, but he predicts that men are going to have to be extremely responsible about continuously taking the pill.

Effectiveness — the female birth control pill is about 95 percent effective. Male condoms, when used perfectly, have 98 percent effectiveness. But it’s estimated that out of every 100 couples who use condoms as their main form of birth control each year, 11 to 16 will end up becoming pregnant. to be a viable contender, JQ1 will have to be at least as reliable as these other common forms of reversible birth control.

STI Protection — like the female pill, this won’t protect from infections. Even though sperm production is inhibited, men will still ejaculate semen, and will thus be capable of transmitting disease.

Actually getting it – “The definitive development of a contraceptive agent will require more chemistry,” said Bradner. as JQ1 is currently entering clinical trials with cancer patients, researchers might be able to study its reproductive side effects in human subjects for the first time. If it proves to be as effective in the patients as it was in mice, the next step would be to work on getting it to perform specifically as a form of birth control. Matzuk’s lab has already initiated research toward a third generation JQ1 molecule that would be selective for the testicular protein — his recently received funding from the National Institutes of Health toward this end.

That this important development was arrived at more or less accidentally is surprising, as an oral, non-hormonal form of male birth control can have huge implications for reproductive health. Giving men more control over their fertility can potentially reduce the number of unintended births and change the current conversation about contraception rights. For now, it’s still years away, but these first steps are promising.

A Major Advance Toward a Birth Control Pill for Men

Trans fats and the chemistry of evil

Trans fats are a four letter word in nutrition circles — the boogeyman that corrupts your baked goods and tasty fried foods. But what makes these nutritional fats different from all the others? and why are they the bane of medicine?

Trans fats differ from other unsaturated fats from a structural perspective, but only a subtle one. a slight change in chemistry makes these tiny molecules a big problem for your body.

A tiny, tiny chemical difference Fats are made up of long chains of carbons bonded together, with a acidic element at the end (this is why fats are often called fatty acids). there are two main types of fats – unsaturated and saturated. Unsaturated fats are molecules of fatty acids with a carbon-carbon double bond somewhere along the molecule. The other type of fat, saturated fat, lacks any double bonds — every carbon in the chain is “saturated” with hydrogen atoms. From now on, we will only be talking about unsaturated fats, as trans fats originate from unsaturated fats.

From a chemistry perspective, each double-bonded carbon within an unsaturated fatty acid chain is bonded to three other atoms. The carbon atom is bonded (through a double bond) to the carbon next to it, singly bonded to the carbon behind it in the chain, and bonded to a hydrogen.

It is the position of the hydrogen relative to the rest of the chain that makes all the difference between a trans fat and a regular cis unsaturated fat.

In cis unsaturated fats, the hydrogen is bound in the same orientation as the hydrogen on the other end of the carbon-carbon double bond. This orientation causes the hydrogen to be repelled by other the hydrogen across from it. This repelling due to an overlap of electron clouds causes a kink at the site of the double bond, with the other end of the fatty acid bending in a different direction.

However, if the hydrogen bonds at the opposite position — away from the adjacent hydrogen — the molecule of fat remains linear, creating a trans fat.

While both of these molecules of fat have the an identical chemical formula (same number of carbons, oxygens, and hydrogens), this little change is enough to make their geometric structures and chemical properties vary a great deal. and this is where the problems begin.

Trans fats and stacking Trans fats, due to relatively linear shape when compared to other unsaturated fats, are able to bundle together and stack. This stacking property is key to the negative impacts of trans fats on health, as stacked trans fats are harder for the body to metabolize into useable energy.

Stacked trans fats are extremely stable and have much higher melting point than the corresponding cis unsaturated fat. This difference in melting point can be extreme — often upwards of 30 °C higher, making the difference between a solid or liquid at biological temperatures. The more stable trans structure causes the body a number of problems in breaking down the molecules.

Making trans fats Trans fats can occur naturally, but most are created by adding hydrogens to vegetable oils (liquids fats) to cheaply create a solid fat that is stable at room temperature. This process creates a form of fat that is cheaper and easier to acquire than animal fat.

This hydrogenation process is commonly used to turn linoleic acid, an unsaturated component of corn and soybean oil featuring two carbon-carbon double bonds, into margarine.

Health problems associated with trans fats The National Academy of Sciences declares that there is no safe level for consumption of trans fats, stating that ingestion of any amount of these molecules increases the probability of heart disease. Occurrences and deaths due to coronary heart disease, a narrowing of blood vessels moving oxygen and blood to the heart, is linked to diets high in trans fats.

When calorie counts are equal, monkeys fed foods high in trans fats gained additional abdominal fat and weight gain compared to monkeys fed a low trans fat diet over a six year study. whether this correlation extends to humans is not definitively known, as long term studies of humans maintaining equal calorie counts are a difficult undertaking.

Trans fats are more difficult for the liver to process than other fats, as trans fats interfere with liver enzymes. Trans fats also pose a problem to lipases, enzymes that break up fats. Lipases are capable of breaking down cis fatty acids, but the enzymes are unable break down trans fatty acids with the same efficiently.

An increase in depression? one of the more interesting negative effects of eating foods high in trans fat comes in an unforeseen neurological effect – an increase in depression. in a study conducted in Spain, patients without a history of depression who consumed diets high in trans fats experienced a nearly 50% increase in major depressive disorder.

A number of factors could link the eating of fried and processed foods to depression, particularly the decreased cost of these foods and economic status. However, a biochemical theory explaining the increase in depression calls for the substitution of edible trans fats for a similarly structured molecule in the orbitofrontal cortex, a portion of the brain governing emotional response to external rewards.

Researchers have looked for a correlation between the consumption of trans fats and a cancers. despite their efforts, no definitive link between the two has been established.

Top image is from Paul_Brighton via Shutterstock. Image of cis and trans-oleic acid as well are within the public domain, as well as the space-filling structural images of unsaturated fatty acids used to show the difference in geometry. Sources linked within the article.

Trans fats and the chemistry of evil