Becoming a vegetarian? Organization and information could be the secret

We all have thought about that, either by curiosity, by interest, or by a legitimate decision to make changes. How is it to be a vegetarian? Reality is that every day thousands of people around the globe make the decision to start more than a new diet regime, a new lifestyle, as vegetarians.

The reason? Well, there are several. First, we can find those who refuse to consume animal protein in an attempt to preserve those lives and to set a precedent against what they can see as animal cruelty. Others have done their research to realize that they can get their protein intake just from plants and grains, and decide to go that way to avoid the cholesterol, antibiotics and other things that you could have while consuming animal protein. Finally, there is a whole group of people that follow the idea that all the animal proteins are not only bad but also a trigger for a good number of health conditions that kill thousands of people every year. We are talking about cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, just to mention a few ones.

Is all that true? It depends on who you talk to. It is true that well-known experts from around the world have studies and research that show a certain connection between the consumption of animal proteins and the risk of developing diseases like breast cancer and diabetes. It is true that there are documented cases of patients which have greatly improved their health by changing to a vegetarian lifestyle. It is true that most of the meat and chicken that we find at any supermarket in the country is plagued with antibiotics and other substances. It is true that animal cruelty has been a common practice in several farms where chickens, pork, and cows are hosted for production of meat, eggs, and milk. We all have seen the images, articles, and investigations around those topics. But the only truth that you should consider is your own one.

Every person is a unique universe. Only you can determine what is good or not for you. Only you can make the decision to try different things or to stay with what you already know. What’s important here, is to research, to read about the topic, to talk to different kind of people, to evaluate the pros and cons, to consult your doctor and to finally make a decision having in mind that you are who best know yourself.

In case you decide to become a vegetarian, start by reading about the benefits and the possible effects in your body. The internet is full of websites and pages where recipes, tips, and even coupons are available for those who have decided to start leaving behind the animal proteins.

Organize your menus, make a budget, look for easy recipes and plan ahead your meals, and take baby steps. Once you know what you are going to eat every day, it’s easy to continue. The struggle is to look for new dishes, but again, your cyber friends could be the key.

We always say that changes are good. If this is your case, enjoy it! You will discover a whole new world ahead of you. Just remember that balance is a good word to define whatever you do in life.

 

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Seniors and Exercise

By Dr. Juan Paolo Borja, DO Board Certified in Family Medicine
I am often asked if exercise is good for the elderly. While this question seems
like common sense, over eighty percent of Americans fail to do the recommended amount of activity on a daily basis.
Regular exercise can help prevent chronic diseases, improve emotional moods and lower risk of injury or falls, which can be catastrophic for an individual. Also regular exercise provides a multitude of health benefits, including improvements in blood pressure, diabetes, and osteoarthritis, among others.
Exercise is even more important for frail elderly as they are the most prone to falling and broken bones. Even for people whose physical abilities are limited by medical conditions – they can still be given guidance by their physicians to learn exercises that
can improve their mobility and strength.
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, almost all older people can
benefit from physical activity and a regular exercise program. A consistent exercise program can greatly decrease mortality and age related diseases in older adults. In a study by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, it was noted that elderly who exercise regularly were found to have improvements in functional reach and balance and reduced the seniors fear of falling.
The benefits of exercise are not just limited to improving physical limitations but are important in psychological health. Exercise improves circulation. It has been
associated with improved moods due to serotonin release in the brain. It improves neuroplasticity of the brain, which is important in maintaining memory and adaptability to new situations.
The ideal exercise program for seniors should include resistance training along with cardiovascular training. Resistance training, or weight training, helps with maintaining muscle mass and putting off the effects of sarcopenia. Sarcopenia is the natural decline in muscle tone that occurs with normal aging.
Muscle tone is important for maintaining good balance and strength to maintain independence. The recommended amount of exercise is thirty minutes of cardio endurance exercise each day for older patients. To start, I always suggest patients begin with a good walking program to acclimate their bodies prior to any increase in intensity.
With regular exercise, your ability to ward off infection and disease also improves. A strong body fights off infection and sickness more easily. Exercise has been proven to lower the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure, and protects against loss
of bone mass. Better bone density reduces the risk of osteoporosis and lowers the risk
of falling and breaking bones. Before beginning any new exercise program be sure to check with your physician.

The importance of friends as we age

At the end of the day, only the good ones, those who really care, those who know us best, are the ones that will stay. Friends are more than just company because now we know that as we age, they become an important part of our happiness equation.

It’s not like we didn’t know the relevance of good friends for every human being, but now there is new research that proves that the friends we keep as we age, will actually have a great impact on our health, and as consequence, in our happiness.

But, how is it that friends could play a bigger role in our wellness than family? Experts say that there are different factors and explanations.

We can start with the obvious reason. Friends are chosen people in our lives, while family members are not an option. It means that you choose people who you find an identity to, people who make you feel good,  and who you can trust.

While friends are only the people you decide to allow in your circle, it means that you have good times with them, you build positive memories around them and it grants you a wellness feeling. On the other hand, family relationships could be monotonous and intense. You can’t just leave or forget about your family, but the friends that are not your perfect fit, the superficial ones, or the ones who are there only to bring drama to your life, are usually left behind to let space only for the good ones.

So, is not crazy to hear now that as a natural reaction, older people tend to trust more their friends and very close family members, like a spouse or children, than any other family members, and is not crazy at all to know that they declare themselves happy and healthy people.

The research about this topic included chronic health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, and arthritis, and the specialists found that friendships had an impact on senior health levels related with this conditions. In conclusion, if you have good friends, cultivate those relationships, value them and remember that they could be your main support at the end of this road called life.

How’s Your Life Through Social Media?

It’s #SMDay!

Happy Social Media Day! Yes, there is a commemorative day for that. Actually, it’s a global celebration that today completes 8 years. If you think about it, is not crazy. After all, we basically live in two worlds simultaneously: the real one, and the virtual one. The virtual world is the one that helps us to escape from the real one and is a mix of social media platforms.

Thanks to social media we have our loved ones and life friends within the reach of a click. We know now what happened to old classmates we never saw again. We know who’s marrying, divorcing, having babies, dying or welcoming a new life era into this crazy world.

But social media is responsible also for the lack of personal communication between us and the people who live under our own roof. Social media is keeping us far away from our kids, our partners, our parents, and our siblings. A conversation is almost a rarity during a family meal because everybody is busy posting and eating…in that order.

Social media is the heart of the communication around the globe and there is nothing we can do to stop its accelerated and overwhelming growth. What we can do is to be conscious about its use and abuse. There is no reason why we can’t enjoy the benefits of social media and its speed, its immediate effects and its incredible flexibility to find or post content.

Every day is a learning process. Social media offers updates, tools, and developments made to facilitate our lives, not to hinder our interpersonal relationships. Itś in our hands, literally!

We carry the world in our hands, we can connect with whoever we want with a simple click, but we can also use those wonderful technological benefits only when we really need so.

Every app, every platform, and every site are there, always! We make the decision to use them or not, and how.

Let’s celebrate these great tools that modern times and technology are giving us thinking about the relationship we have with social media. We can commemorate this anniversary evaluating how healthy or not is our link to those platforms.

It is #SMDay and we can make it bigger and more important for our own sake. Again, it’s in our hands.

Traveling light is not only comfortable, it is healthy.

Planning a trip is a complex project that could be fantastic for you, or it can drive you crazy, depending on how you handle the situation.

The organization is the key. Is not a bad idea to write down every step of your plan, but overall, is never a bad idea to think ahead what you will need for your trip in terms of baggage, clothing, shoes, etc.

Yes, we all want to bring “all we need” to our vacation spot but, what is what we really need? That’s the first question you have to ask yourself, and please be honest while answering because you may end up carrying 4 suitcases instead of 2, or even 1.

What’s the difference between 1 or 4 suitcases if anyway all of them will go on the plane or the car? Well, every year thousands of people suffer from luggage-related injuries, and that’s a reality. In the simple act of lifting or carrying for a few minutes or even seconds your suitcase, you can get a painful injury that will ruin your trip before it actually starts.

Sports medicine physicians have a few tips for you so you can enjoy every step of your vacation without an unwanted injury caused by heavy or overloaded baggage. The process to avoid one of those injuries starts with the packing and the type of suitcase you use:

  • Large and heavy bags are difficult to control. Try using small or medium suitcases.
  • Wheeled luggage is the most comfortable and easy to move around.
  • Avoid buying a cheap suitcase. The wheels might not be strong enough.
  • It’s not only about how much you pack, but also how you pack it. Distribute the weight.

Once you are ready to check or carry your suitcases, have in mind these simple steps:

  • Bend your knees always.
  • Your knees and hips should be firmly engaged while lifting objects from the floor.
  • Keeping the suitcases close to your body will help you on the lifting.

Remember that your time off should be happy and enjoyable. Maybe you can live without that huge hair dryer, the dozen of high heels, or the 2 computers you plan to pack. After all, is vacation time, free time. Free yourself from that and enjoy a simpler, lighter and definitely healthier trip.

Napping is becoming a world trending

It’s not a luxury, but a necessity.

If you feel sleepy and tired after lunch, if your energy levels decrease to the point that you can’t even think or focus, you are not alone. The number of people suffering from sleep deprivation in the United States grows alarmingly due to a lifestyle that doesn’t give a break to rest.

Nappers were popular in the past, but modernity ended up almost extinguishing them in our country. Personalities like Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison were known by the appreciation they had for a good nap before the end of their day. Seems like they got great benefits from their breaks to sleep in the middle of their day, right?

So, if important people like them benefited from naps, why not us? Although naps don’t restore the lost sleep, if you have the chance to sleep for at least 20 minutes when you feel tired in the middle of your daily routine, it would represent a boost in your energy, and in your state of mind.

Now, according to Sleep Experts, the length of your nap determines the benefits you can get from it. Therefore, if you nap for 20 minutes, you will perceive benefits in your motor skills, attention, and alertness. It sounds good, right? Well, this will sound even better to you: A 60 to 90 minutes nap not only offers all we mentioned before, but it also makes new brain connections and refreshes your creative functions.

Napping is so important that there is a whole classification of naps:

  • Emergency napping: When you feel suddenly tired and your regular activities, like driving, or operating a heavy machine are affected, an Emergency Nap could help you to fight fatigue and to continue with your day without risking your wellness.
  • Planned napping: You know your body, and you probably know at what point of the day you will feel tired. Prepare yourself to rest with a nap before the fatigue takes control over you.
  • Habitual napping: Just like babies take a nap around the same time every day, adults can do the same. Taking a recurrent nap when you know you will need it, is an increasing practice.

If you still have doubts about napping, don’t feel bad. The guilty will disappear when you know that big companies like Google, Zappos, Capital One, Ben & Jerry’s and PwC allow their employees to nap at work.

It is real! Addiction to smartphones is not a fantasy.

Find out if you are addicted to your smartphone

Just like happens with alcohol, food, or drugs, if you overuse your smartphone you might be at risk of developing an addiction.

This is not a mom theory, or the typical adult speech to a teenager, it is a reality proved by science and medical experts.

The most recent warning came from experts at the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Behavioral Health, who have said that there are two warning signs we can detect for smartphone addictions. The first one is when your device is interfering with your life. The other one is when you get withdrawal symptoms when you try cutting back.

Now, as in any other addiction case, it’s not easy to accept we have a problem, and it’s even more difficult to take action to fight against it. However, there are certain things that we can start doing at least to determine if the use of the smartphone is already a problem or is on its way to become one. Here are some questions you should ask yourself, and be honest!

  1. Are you having concentration issues at work because of the use of your smartphone?
  2. If you don’t have your device at hand, are you constantly thinking about it and you get irritated?
  3. How often do you check your phone? Probably, more than it should be?
  4. Have you had comments or critics from friends and family about the overuse of your smartphone?

The first step is to recognize where are you on the addiction zone. If you are already there, or getting closer, it is time to do something.

Again, as in any other addiction problem, there is a process that might not be easy, but it could be your ticket to get out of a serious problem…because it is serious.

Let’s start by setting aside the phone for a few hours every day. It could be as soon as you get home, it could be during your lunch break, or at any time of the day, but it is important to be constant, to have goals and to keep those goals in mind.

Talk to your friends and family to establish together some rules of use while being on a social activity or at meals time. It will help all of you.

Once you start learning how to separate from your device for a few hours every day, you can go to the next step. Instead of charging the smartphone in your bedroom, do it in a different place of your home. It will help you to avoid the temptation to use it at night or early in the morning.

Nobody said it was going to be easy but it is definitely possible and it will be very positive!