13 Ways to Eyeball Calories at the Cookout | Health Guides Daily

Got the cooler? Bug spray?
We’re all trying to squeeze in one more picnic before summer packs up. But it’s hard to stay nutritionally mindful as you share the bucolic scenery with ribs, potato salad, homemade brownies, and a few cold beers. Without the handy calorie counts posted like they are at the Starbucks counter, your plastic fork is left to go tub-diving blind.

For those who would like a little guidance, here are tips for eyeballing the calories and fat grams of common picnic foods, courtesy The Nutrition Twins, Tammy Lakatos Shames and Lyssie Lakatos, authors of The Secret to Skinny and Fire Up Your Metabolism. To make things easy, they chose all the equivalents from items you probably have in your purse.

Print this out and pack it with the folding bubba chair:

Spare rib = 2 thin combs stacked on top of each other 220 calories, 17 grams of fat (6 grams of it saturated)

Corn on the cob = round hair brush (the bristle part)   60 to 70 calories, 1 gram of fat
Add butter (= MAC eye shadow case): total is 170 calories, 12.5 grams of fat

Burger patty = three lipsticks (tubes or round gloss tubs) laid out next to each other  220 calories and 10 grams of fat  With a bun, it’s 420 calories and 13 grams of fat.  Ketchup (a squirt = ChapStick) adds 28 calories.

Hot dog = three lipsticks (the long way)   150 calories, 13 grams of fat
With a bun it’s 260 and 14.5 grams of fat

Fried chicken drumstick = something that fits into a soft glasses case
120 calories and 7 grams of fat

Sliced turkey breast = pocket-sized Kleenex  118 calories, 2 grams fat

Sliced ham = pocket-sized Kleenex  180 calories and 10 grams fat

Potato salad = small coin purse 180 calories, 10 grams of fat

Cornbread = iPhone 173 calories and 4.6 grams of fat

Pasta salad = travel-size Tylenol bottle
75 calories and 5 grams of fat

Sweet ‘n Salty Chex Trail Mix = nail polish bottle 100 calories and 3 grams of fat

Brownie = Altoids box
150 calories and 8 grams of fat

Chocolate chip cookie = blush compact 105 calories, 14 grams of fat

10 things You May Not Know About Canker Sores | Health Guides Daily

There’s nothing quite like a canker sore to ruin a perfectly good day and even give you a temporary speech impediment if you get it on your tongue. Not to mention, they can make eating and drinking a most painful affair. Twenty percent of Canadians (one out of five people) suffer from cankers with the majority of cases occurring in women and those aged between 10 and 40 years old. Where do cankers come from? Why do we get them and what can we do about them?

Here’s a few facts about cankers you may not know:

1. These small white sores are quite mysterious in origin. Heredity is one suspected cause. So is stress, smoking, allergies (ie nuts, seafood, gluten, dairy) and vitamin deficiencies.

2. Canker sores occur when the skin lining is damaged exposing the more sensitive raw tissue underneath to the bacteria and germs in your mouth.

3. Cankers and cold sores are not related. Cold sores are viruses whereas cankers are not. The majority of medical data says that cankers are NOT CONTAGIOUS. Some doctors may recommend NOT KISSING with mouth sores because the bacteria from the other person’s mouth could cause infection.

4. Women are more likely to get cankers because of their menstrual cycles (as if bleeding for a whole week isn’t enough to deal with).

5. Your toothpaste can cause them! This is thanks to the foaming agent, sodium lauryl sulfate which dries up the oral tissue in your mouth making it more susceptible to damage. If you have a lot of break-outs, you might try mouth washes and toothpastes that are SLS-free such as Tom’s of Maine.

6. Mouth abrasions can also result in cankers whether it’s biting your cheek, brushing your teeth or piercing your mouth with a razor sharp potato chip.

7. Mouth sores can also be a sign of weak immunity or of other health problems. People with intestinal disorders like Crohn’s Disease are more vulnerable.

8. Diet can affect and prevent cankers. They can be exacerbated by all the good things in life like sweets, spicy food, wine, citrus or anything acidic.

9. Mouth rinses are most helpful, particularly good old-fashioned salt water or hydrogen peroxide with warm water. Debacterol is also supposed to be useful for soothing pain and promoting healing.

10. Vitamin supplements may be the cure if your cankers are out of control. You may be deficient in vitamin C, B12, folic acid or iron. Talk to you doctor before adding these to your daily regiment.

Source: Toronto dental hygienist Rosalie Shapiro and links listed above.

10 Questions About Shopping to Fill an Emotional Void | Health Guides Daily

Dr. April Lane Benson is an expert on compulsive shopping and the author of To Buy or Not to Buy. Here, she explains why people shop to fill an emotional void and what they can do about it.

Q: What is compulsive shopping?

A: It’s when you spend so much time, energy and money shopping and spending that it’s impairing your life in a significant way. Somebody could even be a compulsive shopper without even spending any money; they could just be obsessed with thinking about it.

Q: What are some of the symptoms?

A: As with any other addiction, they’re preoccupied with thoughts of spending, buying, returning and purchasing on the Internet. They often have interpersonal problems as a result of this addiction. They start fighting with their spouse, children get neglected, and they have occupational problems. Maybe they’re on probation at work because they’re shopping on the Internet all day long instead of working. Or they have to take two or three jobs just to pay minimum payments on credit cards for things they bought but don’t need and don’t use. For some people, it takes the form of compulsive gift giving, and they don’t see it as compulsive shopping if it’s not for themselves.

Q: Why do people shop compulsively?

A: They shop compulsively for the same reason they do anything compulsive. For some people, it has to do with an emptiness inside they need to fill up. For other people, it may have to do with a particular threshold – they shop because it makes them feel more alive or because it’s a way of calming them down. It can be a way to keep up an image of wealth and power or to keep up with the Jones’. It can be a way to express anger at a spouse they stick the bills with, or at parents. Others shop because they feel out of control in other parts of their life and it’s a way to feel in control. There are many reasons people do it.

Q: Why do we connect shopping with an emotional activity?

A: When we shop, we think that what we buy is going to make us feel better because advertising seems to suggest that. If you buy this Clairol hair colour, you’re going to drive that same car and you’re going to be surrounded by the same men showering you with Casablanca lilies.

Q: How big is this problem?

A: We have two studies from the last five years. The 2006 study done at Stanford suggests that 5.8 percent of the population could be classified as compulsive buyers; and, interestingly, it showed that the problem was equally divided among the genders. A more recent study that came out in the last six months, and the most conservative results suggested that 8.9 percent were compulsive buyers. We’re talking about a lot of people.

Q: It surprises me to hear that the problem was split between men an women. Don’t most people associate emotional shopping with women?

A: Yes. Men do image buying; they’re the ones who want a fancy car. And more men are now shopping on the Internet.

Q: Is there anyone who’s particularly vulnerable to this behaviour?

A: There are a lot of common family scenarios, like someone who’s grown up with things being used as substitutes for love. Love is shown by the buying of things. Rather than feel what it felt like not to get time and energy and attention, the child in the next generation will identify with the parent who did that and think that they’re showing love in that way. But it’s really a way to not feel the feeling.

Or, another scenario is someone who grew up with a lot of financial deprivation and has made a vow that they will never feel that way again – when they get a job and they get money, they want to spend to make up for lost time.

Q: What are some of the worst consequences if this behaviour gets out of control?

A: One terrible consequence is that you can end up in jail. We also know that suicide has been linked to debt. Families break up; there are a lot of divorces over money and spending.

Q: So how do you start to change this behaviour?

A: They should start by becoming mindful, and noticing when it happens. What triggers them? Maybe keeping a little notebook. In the back of my book, there’s a perforated card that people tear out; it has six questions on it: Why am I here? How do I feel? Do I need this? What if I wait? How will I pay for it? Where will I put it? That’s a way of exploring the impulse and giving the person time to think through the purchase and time to bear the impulse. If you’ve asked and answered those questions – especially in writing – you have a pretty good idea of whether this is going to be a compulsive purchase or not. And you’ve seen that you don’t need to go right ahead and buy the minute you have an impulse.

Q: Is it important to introduce substitute coping mechanisms for when you feel emotionally empty?

A: You have to look at what is the underlying authentic need that’s propelling the impulse. Are you feeling the need to take care of yourself? Are you feeling the need to reward yourself? Are you bored and in need of stimulation? Are you lonely and in need of company? Once you’ve figured out what you need, then you can tailor an activity to that need rather than just distracting yourself.

Bonus Q: How can shopping less improve our lives?

A: Because it helps us cultivate true wealth – which are those non-financial assets which are different for every person that enrich and enliven us, like connecting with community, communing with nature, spending more effort and energy on relationships, and the pursuit of ideas and experiences. We even have research that suggests that when people use their disposable income to purchase experiences instead of things, they have a lot more satisfaction for a number of reasons. One, experiences are not so subject to comparisons. Two, the memories tend to improve over time – whereas, when you buy a thing, especially one you don’t need and won’t use, you sure don’t feel good about it afterwards. And three, experiences tend to be done in a social context; compulsive buying is often done alone and furtively.

Effective help is available, and there is a lot on my website. I’d also like to add that you can never get enough of what you don’t really need.

10 Keys to a Healthy Sleep | Health Guides Daily

Getting the proper amount and quality of sleep is essential to your health. While most of us may think the worst effects of lack of sleep are crankiness and difficulty concentrating, chronic poor sleep may be something much more serious. The Washington Post quoted the ‘Harvard-Run Nurses Study’ as linking, Insufficient or irregular sleep to increased risk for colon cancer, breast cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Other research groups scattered around the country have subsequently found clues that might explain the associations, indications that sleep disruption affects crucial hormones and proteins that play roles in these diseases.”

According to Dr. Mark Hyman, “Your biological rhythms that keep you healthy produce cyclic pulses of healing and repair hormones, including melatonin and growth hormone. When those rhythms are disturbed by inadequate or insufficient sleep, disease and breakdown get the upper hand.”

Here are some suggestions for making sure you’re getting the quality and quantity of sleep you need to function at your best.

Keep a consistent schedule – Going to bed at a different time every night keeps your sleep-wake cycle erratic and can interfere with your ability to enter into the deeper stages of sleep that result in you being well-rested. Even changing patterns on the weekends can mess up your sleep cycle for the rest of the week. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.

Don’t eat a lot before bed – If your body is preoccupied with digesting a large meal, your quality of sleep will be affected. Even though you’ll likely feel sleepy after a heavy meal, sleep quality will be diminished. Combining protein with low glycemic-index foods at dinner time is a good way to increase your chances of getting a good night’s rest.

Avoid stimulants – Caffeine, nicotine and alcohol all have stimulating effects on the nervous system, which will interfere with sleep if taken too close to bed time. Alcohol might make you sleepy, but it leads to interrupted sleep cycles and a lack of restful sleep. Even if you’re able to fall asleep right after taking a stimulant, as some people are, stimulants prevent you from reaching the deep regenerative states of sleep necessary for feeling rested upon waking.

Regular exercise – Aerobic exercise routines in particular have been shown to help people fall asleep faster and have a more restful sleep. Although it may not be a good idea to do your workout right before bed as a raised heart rate increases nervous system stimulation and can actually interfere with rest.

Sleep enough – Most of us need 8 hours of sleep per night. Some naturally lean more toward 7 or even 6, but if you’re forcing yourself to get by on less than you need you will suffer in the long run. If you find you don’t naturally sleep for 8 hours, that’s fine, but don’t force yourself to get by on 6 hours when you should really be getting 8.

Clean your sleep environment – Electronic devices create electromagnetic fields (EMF). EMF radiation interferes with sleep. Chronic exposure to large doses of EMF radiation, such as living near power lines or sleeping in the same room where the power enters the house can cause chronic insomnia. Even doses of EMF radiation from working on a computer immediately before bed can interfere with sleep.

Make the bedroom ideal for sleep – Keeping your room cool, dark and quiet makes for an environment prefect for sleep. A comfortable bed and sleep attire are more important than you might think. Bright bedside clocks or loud fans can interfere with reaching deeper sleep states. The pineal gland needs darkness at night in order to produce melatonin – the sleep neurotransmitter. You may want to consider a sleep mask and earplugs if silence and darkness aren’t possible.

Start a relaxing bedtime routine – Dr. Mark Hyman recommends taking “a little ‘holiday’ in the 2 hours before bed”. Most people can’t turn directly from normal daytime activity to sleep on a dime, so lay off the Internet, TV and phone conversations in the hours before bed. Try reading (something relaxing, not doom and gloom or exciting thrillers), taking a warm bath, listening to soothing music or meditating. A regular bedtime routine signals the body when it is time for sleep, making the transition quicker and easier.

Go to bed when tired – It may sound obvious but trying to push yourself to stay awake when you’re clearly ready for sleep is detrimental to the natural sleep cycle. That “second wind” could end up interfering with your sleep when you do decide it’s time to turn in. And if you can’t fall asleep, experts recommend getting up and doing something else distracting until you do feel tired. Laying in bed agonizing over insomnia can cause stress that exacerbates the problem.

Supplements and aids – Prescription medications and over-the-counter sleep aids often cause drowsiness and inevitably lead to dependence and habitual use. Natural remedies like teas of valerian, passionflower, chamomile, linden, catnip and hops, essential oils like lavender, or relaxant nutrients like the amino acid treonine (found in green tea), calcium or melatonin offer more practical and natural sleep assistance. But remember, these supplements are not a cure and should only be used until the root cause of sleep disturbance is identified and eliminated.

Dr. Mark Hyman says, “When you are sleep deprived, your cortisol rises — and so do all its harmful effects, including brain damage and dementia, weight gain, diabetes, heart attacks, high blood pressure, depression, osteoporosis, depressed immunity, and more.” Lack of amino acids (protein), certain medications, too many stimulants in the diet; any of these things can be interfering with your sleep. Sleep apnea and snoring could also be a hidden element preventing a restful night’s sleep (this can be a dangerous condition, so if you suspect you suffer from sleep apnea you should get professional help). Overall, it’s important to find out the root cause of your sleep problem and not just try to cover it up with sleep aids for the rest of your life. Your health may be depending on it.

Author by Doug DiPasquale