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What is the DASH Diet

  Introduction The DASH eating plan is a Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension. It is a science based heart healthy diet and consistently found to be one of the healthiest diets along with the Mediterranean diet. With the DASH eating plan you… EAT: Fruit, Vegetables, Whole Grains, Fish, Poultry, Low Fat Dairy, Beans, Nuts and Vegetable Oils. LIMIT: Salt, Sugar and Full Fat. Servings As with any healthy eating program, portion control is important. With the DASH eating plan you aim to eat: Vegetables: 4 to 5 servings a day, Fruits: 4 to 5 servings a day, Grains: 6 to 8 servings a day, Lean meat, poultry and fish: 6 one-ounce servings or fewer a day, Dairy: 2 to 3 servings a day, Nuts, seeds and legumes: 4 to 5 servings a week, Sodium:  less than 1500mg/day, A serving size is about a cup or the size of a persons hand. A really easy way to stick to the servings is at every meal have 2 handfuls of vegetables, 1 handful of protein (poultry or beans) and one handful of whole grains. In

3 Habit Diet

  Like 40% of the American population I should lose some weight. As someone who likes to follow proven advice I started reading up on scientific studies concerning weight loss. I found that there are been THOUSANDS of studies in to weight loss with varying conclusions. The science suggests that there isn't one weight loss method that works for everyone. Some diets work brilliantly for certain people but when others follow the exact same diet they dont get the same results.  What they all the studies do generally agree on is people who are successful in losing weight eat more fruit and vegetables, consume fewer calories overall and exercise more. Seeing as this is a blog about habits, I have turned these findings in to 3 habits.  1. Eat primarily plants. The diet voted the healthiest year after year is the Mediterranean Diet. The primary ingredient in this diet is fruit and vegetables. The USDA's "My Plate" which was created by scientists and dietitians recommends fill

The importance of positive instructions

  "Don't touch the stove, it's hot." "Don't run in to the road, there are cars." "Don't mess this up." "Don't trip as you walk down the aisle with everyone watching." We have a bias for the negative. Partly it is your brain trying to keep you alive. The amygdala has two thirds of its neurons wired for negative inputs. Studies have found that people are more likely to make a decision based on avoiding something bad than to get something good. It is also partly social conditioning too. All our lives we hear negatives. Our parents tell us not to touch the stove. Our teachers tell us not to talk in class. Our bosses tell us not to be late. Here is the problem - after being told "don't do that" people don't actually know what they should do. You can't do a "don't." Telling someone "don't" isn't actually helpful. It is actually unclear. So what can you do? My first suggestion wou

25 things to be grateful for

  Numerous studies have shown that expressing gratitude on a regular basis will measurably improve happiness. When you start a practice of gratitude it can be hard to think of things to be grateful for. As with everything in life, the more you do it the easier it becomes. Here is a list of things you can be grateful for to help you get started.  1. Health.  If you are healthy, be grateful for that. If your health isn’t perfect, be grateful for the ailments you don’t have. 2. Hearing.  Be grateful you still have your hearing. 3. Sight.  Be grateful you can see. 4. Waking up.  Be grateful you woke up today. 5. Healthcare.  Be grateful you live somewhere with access to healthcare. 6. Children.  Be grateful for your children. 7. Friends.  Be grateful you have friends. 8. Parents.  If your parents are still alive, be grateful for them. 9. Pets.  If you have a pet, be grateful for the unconditional love they give you. 10. Weekends.  If you get the weekend off, be grateful for that. 11. Money

What is the Scandi Sense Diet?

  What is a good weight loss diet First of all, I don't like the idea of "going on a diet" because (lots of) studies show that people who "go on a diet" eventually "go off a diet" and end up weighing more. If you want to lose weight for the long term you need to make lifestyle changes. You guessed it - you have to change your eating habits. There are many, many, weight loss diets out there but the good ones, the ones recommended by medical professionals help you eat healthy food in reasonable amounts. There are many ways to make sure you eat healthy food in reasonable amounts. Weight Watchers uses a point system and Noom uses food colors and densities. The Scandi Sense Diet uses your hands. Incidentally, the best diet is the one you can stick to.  Scandi Sense Diet The Scandi Sense Diet is the simplest approach I have heard of. The one line summary is you eat three meals a day, each consisting of two handfuls of veggies, one handful of protein and one

The Big Why of all goals

  Goals Goalbits are GOAL-based habits. The goal part is as important as the habit. Your goal should give you a "why" or a reason to persevere with your habit. Your goal should be something YOU want to change not something someone else thinks you should change. Your goal could be to lose weight, or get fit, or save money. But why do you want to do these things? Because you think you are too heavy, too unfit or dont save enough. I would say these are the little "whys." They are certainly objectives you want to meet but weight, fitness or money are not the real “Big Why.” Bigs Whys Believe it or not, behind every goal is the same Big Why. That Big Why is to be happier. You think you will be happier then you are thinner. You think you will be happier when you are fitter. You think you will be happier when you have more savings. The truth is this may or may not be true. If you lose your goal weight and say, well I if I could just lose a little more weight then I will be

The importance of rewards in habit formation.

Every habit has 3 parts. The Reminder. The Routine. The Reward. The reminder is what triggers you to do the habit. The routine is the actual habit you want to do. The reward is what makes you want to do the routine again in the future. When designing a new habit it is important to include a good reward at the end. A good reward is something that makes you feel good. It’s the immediate payoff for completing your habit. Psychologists talk about instant and delayed gratification. Instant gratification is wanting immediate results. Delayed gratification is being able to wait for the results. Generally the results of delayed gratification are bigger. The results of your habit, for example doing pushups, usually wont be immediate. To help build your habit it is important to build in some form of instant gratification. The type of reward that will be most effective will depend from person to person. For some people the satisfaction of putting an “X” in a chart showing you have done your habit

A better alternative to New Years resolutions

Every January half of American adults create “New Years Resolutions.” They resolve to make good changes like going to the gym every day, losing weight or being happier. Sadly studies have shown that 90% of those people give up on their resolution by February! I believe the reason people fail is they are resolving to make a huge change for an entire year without a way to actually achieve the change. So, if you are one of the people who would like to make a change for the good, what should you do? My suggestion is that instead of making one big resolution you more than likely won’t stick to, resolve to make six smaller habits through out the year instead. Research has shown that at least 40% of our daily actions are based on habits and routines, not newly formed decisions. If you concentrate on forming habits throughout the year you can make changes that will stick. Researchers at MIT found that a habit has 3 parts – a reminder, the routine and a reward. The reminder is what triggers you

How to do the 5MX Moving Exercise routine.

5MX is a routine of 5 Mindful Exercises. It was inspired by the Canadian Airforces 5BX exercise program in the 1960s. Instead of focusing on cardio 5MX involves gentle stretching exercises and mindfulness however. I created the 5MX because I wanted something simple that I could do which would give me the benefits of yoga, tai chi and meditation but I could learn and do anywhere without going to a class. The 5MX routine only takes 5 minutes and its a great way to start the day. Anyone can learn 5MX and it can be done anywhere. Doing 5MX will help you feel calm and relaxed and ready to take on the day after doing 5MX. The exercises in 5MX combine physical movement and mindfulness. They help you be aware of your body and help with concentration. Mindfulness has been shown to measurably improve ones mental wellbeing. MX 1 1. Stand up straight, feet in a slight V and hands by side with palms facing forward. Close your eyes and slowly breath in through your nose paying attention to the sensa

How gratitude can help in challenging times

There is a saying - “every day may not be good, but there is good in everyday.” But is that true even during challenging times like a global pandemic? I’ll be honest, I used to think gratitude was some airy fairy rubbish. I want to share a personal story however that suggests there might be something to this gratitude thing. A personal story. In 2009, after our second round of Invitro Fertilization, my wife became pregnant with twins. (The first round a few years before was very successful and resulted in our daughter Grace.) At the 4 month ultrasound, the one where they tell you if you should paint the nursery blue or pink, we learnt that one of the boys was healthy but the other had a serious birth defect. If he lived to full term then he might only be with us for a few minutes or a few hours. We were referred to the High Risk Pregnancy Team at our hospital. We were also assigned a Genetic Counselor who explained my sons condition and what our options were. My son had a condition cal