Monday, May 27, 2013

Raw Food Diets: What's True, What's Not? -- Vesanto Melina, M.S., R.D.

Another recommended resource. Want to learn more about what good and bad things are in your food? Eating raw/healthy seem overwhelming? I found this video to be very instructive!

Dr. Esselstyn on a Plant-Based Diet- Recommended Viewing

I recommend watching the following video. Dr. Esselstyn talks about a ground breaking concept for a plant based diet. This information goes into depth about the down side of the typical American diet, as well as provides information as to a plant-based diet- one that could literally turn your life around. Part of happinizing is eating right, so I hope all these resources help you make more informed choices as to how you choose to live your life. May you happinize and thrive!

The 7-Minute Workout- source: Livescience


Adults should do 150 minutes of moderate exercise (or 75 minutes of intense exercise) weekly, and do muscle-strengthening exercises two days a week, according to recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People who follow these recommendations get two kinds of exercise:

• weight bearing (aka strength training), involving muscle contraction to build strength
• aerobic (aka cardio), meaning exercises meant to boost the heart rate and oxygen use

But a new workout plan from researchers at the Human Performance Institute in Orlando, Fla., recommends a seven-minute exercise regimen. The high-intensity workout combines both kinds of exercise, using body weight to provide resistance. Each exercise is done for 30 seconds, with a 10-second rest before going on to the next exercise (with breaks included, the routine totals eight minutes). The entire sequence of 12 exercises can be repeated two or three times if desired

The order of the exercises is:

• Jumping jacks
• Wall sits

• Push-ups
• Abdominal crunches
• Step-ups onto a chair
• Squats
• Triceps dips on a chair
• Planks
• High knees/running in place
• Lunges
• Push-ups and rotations
• Side planks

7-Minute Workout: Fact vs. Fiction
Bahar Gholipour, MyHealthNewsDaily Staff Writer

Date: 22 May 2013 Time: 05:53 PM ET

CREDIT: Workout photo via Shutterstock
The "seven-minute workout" is getting a lot of attention these days, and it sure sounds enticing. But experts say the express exercise routine is not as effective — or as short — as it sounds.

The workout consists of 12 high-intensity exercises that use only body weight as resistance. It is an efficient way to lose weight and improve cardiovascular and muscular fitness, according to a study on the workout published in the May-June issue of the American College of Sports Medicine's Health & Fitness Journal.

The article was covered by the national media, emailed among friends and discussed in the blogosphere. There are already apps available to help keep track of the time and the order of the exercises.

However, after taking a closer look at the workout, experts have clarified some of the questions surrounding the exercise routine.

Is it really 7 minutes?

A closer look at the original article reveals that the authors suggest repeating the routine two or three times in a row, to achieve at least 20 minutes of high-intensity exercise, as recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine's guidelines.

Seven minutes is a very small amount of exercise, said Cris Slentz, an exercise physiologist at Duke University. "Researchers have consistently shown that some exercise is better than none, but that more is better," he said. [Infographic: How to Do the 7-Minute Workout]

Slentz said he would expect minimal health benefit from a seven-minute workout, but perhaps a modest physical-function benefit. "Someone who does this workout will not burn enough calories to actually get metabolic benefits," he said.

Who should do the workout?

The authors don't recommend this program to people who are overweight, previously injured or elderly. Some of the exercises are not recommended for persons with hypertension or heart disease.

The workout can be dangerous for people whose bodies are not prepared, said Elsbeth Vaino, an Ottawa-based strength and conditioning specialist. "It is a good, quick option for an individual who is already really fit, and has other physical activities planned," she said.

The workout’s wide appeal seems to be based on how quick it is; according to the authors, it was designed for time-conscious individuals, such as busy professionals.

But Vaino noted that many of these professionals spend a lot of their time seated. "This means they would need a different set of exercises" than what the seven-minute workout provides, she said, adding that more attention should be paid to the upper back muscles and glutes.

Is it scientifically tested?

The workout is based on science, but it hasn't been tested on a group of people to measure its benefits. The authors reviewed studies comparing high-intensity exercise with less-intense exercise, and used the findings to design a workout routine that needed minimal equipment and time.

But there are differences between the protocols used in the previous research that makes the researchers’ claims about the benefits of the seven-minute workout sound far-fetched to some. Adam Bornstein, a fitness and nutrition author, wrote in his blog that "the studies used to 'prove' the concepts don't mirror the workout that is being lauded as the seven-minute fix for your body."

For example, in the previous studies, people used additional weights while exercising. And more importantly, the exercises were not done in seven minutes; in fact, they took three times that time to complete.

Is it difficult?

The seven-minute body fix is not supposed to be a pleasant experience. The authors write that "proper execution of this program requires a willing and able participant who can handle a great degree of discomfort."

This might sound discouraging. But for those who turn the workout into a habit, the discomfort may become less noticeable, said Wendy Wood, a professor of psychology and business at the University of Southern California.

"The trick with this — or any other exercise program — is to make it habitual … an unthinking part of your daily routine," she said. Although the workout may seem difficult at first, its short duration may ease some of that pain. "Once habits form, then the discomfort becomes relatively unimportant," Wood said.

Follow Bahar Gholipour @alterwired. Follow MyHealthNewsDaily @MyHealth_MHND,Facebook& Google+. Originally published on LiveScience.

Forks over Knives- Recommended Viewing

Here's another documentary that I highly recommend watching. If you have Netflix, you can just watch it as you cook or when you have some time to kill. Believe me, it's well worth the time! Happinize on!

Feat, Sick, and Nearly Dead- Recommended Viewing

For those that are not convinced about juicing, I highly recommend that you watch this documentary. All I know is that if Phil could go from weighing around 400lbs, having sleep apnea, being on all kinds of medication to shedding a crazy amount of weight as well as becoming much healthier overall, anyone is capable of doing the same. I can also add that since I started juicing and having more of a plant-based diet, I have loads of energy, am getting closer to having a completely flat tummy, and have never felt better in my life!

Now it's all on you to commit to adding more greens, and generally a plant-based diet to you life.

What are Super Foods- source: livescience

Source: livescience
So-called 'superfoods' — such as spinach, beans, sweet potatoes, salmon, fruits, nuts, whole grains and berries — are said to be rich in nutrients.
CREDIT: Robyn Mackenzie | Shutterstock

Superfoods are foods — mostly plant-based but also some fish and dairy — thought to be nutritionally dense and thus good for one's health. The term has no set scientific meaning, however, and any list of "top" superfoods is purely subjective.
Superfoods are healthful, for the most part, aside from possible contamination, added sugars or over-consumption of them.

Lists of superfoods are extensive on the Internet. Some websites list as many as 50 or 100. At this point, the term "superfood" becomes largely meaningless or, at best, synonymous with just about any fruit or vegetable. Another problem with the term is that some so-called superfoods fall in and out of favor with dieticians, such as coffee or eggs.

CREDIT: Stephanie Frey | Shutterstock
A generic list of superfoods
At a very basic level, superfoods are said to be rich in particular nutrients. This could be an antioxidant, thought to ward off cancer; a healthy fat, thought to prevent heart disease; fiber, thought to prevent diabetes and digestive problems; or phytochemicals, the chemicals in plants responsible for deep colors and smells, which can have numerous healthful benefits.
Blueberries often top many lists of superfoods. This is because blueberries are rich in vitamins, phytochemicals and soluble fiber. While blueberries are indeed healthful, so are about any kind of (non-poisonous) berry. Blueberries aren't necessarily better than cranberries or raspberries, but they are usually more readily available and are quite palatable as is.
Kiwifruit also tops many a list. Its benefits are similar, for the most part, to berries, melons, citrus fruit, apples and pears. Kiwifruit is labeled a superfood perhaps because it contains a wider range of nutrients compared to some other fruits.

Beans and whole grains are standard additions to the superfood lists. Beans are a source of low-fat protein. Beans have insoluble fiber, which lowers cholesterol; soluble fiber, which provides a longer feeling of fullness; and loads of vitamins and trace minerals largely absent in the typical American diet, such as manganese. Whole grains have similar benefits, although they are inferior in regards to protein. Quinoa is not a grain, but it cooks up like one, and this too is a remarkable source of protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.
Nuts and seeds contain high levels of minerals and healthy fats. Although these are common additions on superfood lists, the downside is that they are high in calories. Portion control is key. Shelled nuts and seeds, in this regard, are ideal because they take time to crack open and slow you down. A quick handful of shelled nuts or seeds could contain more than 100 calories. [Related: Reality Check: 5 Risks of Raw Vegan Diet]

Kale lives up to the hype of a superfood. But so do most dark, leafy greens: Swiss chard, collards, mustards (including radish greens), spinach (and others in the amaranth family), and cabbages. Add broccoli to that. It's in the cabbage-mustard family; the modern version is merely grown for its floret instead of leaves. These dark vegetables are loaded with vitamins A, C and K, as well as fiber, calcium and other minerals.
Sweet potato and squash also usually make the superfood list, for similar reasons. Both kinds of food are generally excellent sources of fiber, vitamin A, and much more. They are also naturally sweet and don't require the butter, cream, or salt typically added to potatoes.
Salmon, sardines, mackerel and certain other fatty fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, thought to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. Most doctors say the benefits of eating fish far outweigh the risk of harming your health from the mercury these fish contain. If you worry, eat lower down on the food chain, such as sardines, smelt, and anchovy.

The "exotic fruit of the year will surely be on any superfood list, too. This might be acai berry, noni fruit, dragon fruit, rambutan or pomegranate. These might be healthful but there is no reason to believe they are any more super than blueberries. They might be rich in one particular nutrient; pomegranate has ellagitannins, which have anti-cancer properties. But so do red raspberries.

One could just as easily include green tea, coffee, dark chocolate, yogurt, and olives to the superfood list for a variety of reasons mentioned above.
Criticism of the nomenclature
As healthful as superfoods might be, the use of the term is largely a marketing tool. Scientists do not use the term. For example, a search for "superfood" on PubMed, the repository of most peer-reviewed biomedical journal articles, yields fewer than a dozen results. And several of these studies actually warn of dangers of superfoods, such as arsenic and pesticide residue in imported foods.
The first general criticism of the use of the term "superfood" is that, while the food itself might be healthful, the processing might not be. For example, green tea has several antioxidants. But green tea sold in the United States is generally cut with inferior teas and brewed with copious amounts of sugar. The Japanese and Chinese generally do not drink green tea with sugar. Many kinds of super-juices — acai berry, noni fruit, pomegranate — can be high in added sugar.
Similarly, many whole grains are processed in a way to be more palatable and less healthful. According to research by David Ludwig at Harvard University, instant whole-grain oats is as unhealthy as overly processed white bread in that it quickly spikes the sugar levels in the bloodstream once consumed and promotes insulin-resistance, obesity and diabetes.
A second criticism is that, because the term "superfood" is not scientific, it can mean very little and prompt some consumers to eat one kind of food over another. Is broccoli really that superior to asparagus?
Research has shown that the ideal diet is one that is largely plant-based with a wide, wide, wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthful animal products. Superfoods might be a good entry into healthy eating, and understanding their nutritional value is enlightening, but other whole foods can be just as healthy.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Vegetarian Feijoada

Ingredients: -black beans
-yellow zucchini
-salt to season

This is my version of vegetarian feijoada. The dish is inspired from the Mexican idea of frijoles charros (which, my dad can make some amazing frijoles charros). 

Steps: boil the beans (you can add garlic if you wish), once they are soft (you may need to add more water as they boil) add all the chopped vegies and season to taste. I just heard of tofu cheese for the first time today, so next time I make my vegetarian feijoada I plan on adding some tofu cheese which promises to be amazing! 

#Happinize on   

Lentejas/Lentil Soup

-about 4 cups (one small packet) of lentils
-1 onion
-1 cilantro bunch
-4-5 roma tomatoes
-4-5 cloves of garlic
-salt to season

As a little girl, and even now, I love lentil soup! Not only is this easy to make and very nutritious, but it is also oh so yummy! 

Boil the lentils in water (let them boil on low heat) with the garlic cloves for about 30 minutes (until they start getting soft). At this point add the onion, tomatoes, and cilantro (I like adding as much cilantro as possible). Season to taste. Enjoy!  

Quinoa Salad

-about two cups of quinoa (for this recipe I used red quinoa) 
-1 apple (chopped)
-1/2 red bell pepper
-1/2 yellow bell pepper
-red grape tomatoes
-golden raisins
-dried cranberries 

Remembering that it is very important to have as many colors as possible in our diet, this little salad definitely gets the job done and is perfect for the summer! The quinoa provides the protein your body needs, you have your greens (arugula has a bitter taste), and you get some reds, yellows, and some fruit to spice things up! In the future I'll probably try to throw some nuts in the mix as well. 

As with all other recipes, feel free to make it your own and change the recipe as you wish. 

Happinize On      


There's been considerable interest in juicing and recipes that I make, so I'm going to be including ingredients and steps since I know that it can be really overwhelming knowing what steps to take in trying to become healthier (I've definitely been overwhelmed myself). I hope you guys enjoy! Happy happinizing :)

Jugo Verde

-Dinosaur Kal

There is no right or wrong way to do this. Basically, what I do is go to the store and buy as many leafy greens as possible as well as anything that is dark rich green in color. Then, things like carrots, beets, apples, and celery (and left-over veggie stems) I juice. I use that as a base and blend it together with other veggies and fruits. I add things like spinach, cilantro, different types of leafy greens, cucumber, mangoes, berries, kiwis, bananas... you get the picture. I don't have a lot of time for cooking or juicing, so I cook and juice once a week, and juice enough veggies and fruits to last me about a week. I have juice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Then, when I actually consume the drink I add different types of seeds to make it extra nutritious. I add ground flaxseed (linaza), chia seeds, sesame seeds, basically anything you can think of.  Also, when I'm craving something sweet I just add some of the drink to the blender, add some frozen mangoes, and there goes a delicious fruit smoothie with an ice-cream-like consistency.

And since I'm in CA Bar study mode, I need my brain and body to be in tip-top shape- and this definitely helps! I hope you find this to be useful! Happinize on!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Skin and Hair- The your Bathroom

I know that some of my friends have been most interested in my hair/skin inventions. So, now that I have time, I will include recipes for the things that have worked best thus far. This all is amazing! Once you start on the happinizing road, there is no way you'd ever go back to how you used to do things!

In thinking of changing the way I ate and starting to get serious about exercising every week, I started asking other questions. I started to think about everything that was going into my system. For how I drink water- I switched over to the glass water bottles- I am never going back to plastic. For my food, I try to eat 85-100% non-processed foods. Do I have a burger once in a while? Well, duh! But at least I know that it's only a small part of what I am putting in my system. Then I started thinking, well, I'm making all these other changes in other parts of my life, but have I thought of what is in my lotions? What about my make up? I have never even looked at the ingredients for these things, and when you look, many words are words that are hardly pronounceable and some even take up to two lines! So....clearly, this did not line up to my happinizing life change. Now my bathroom looks more like a kitchen and it's fantastic! Here are a few awesome tips from my new happinizing lifestyle. 

Facewash: I no longer use store-bought products to wash my face. I wash my face with honey. Yes honey! You know how honey gets once it's old...we usually toss it at that point. Why toss it?! It makes a great exfoliant! Ever since I started washing my face with honey my face has cleared up and it never feels crazy dry like it used to feel with the store bought stuff. Want to get a bit more fancy? Add oats, avocado, kiwi and yogurt. Seriously, it feels amazing! 

Face lotion: now I use glycerin and vitamin e oil (from Trader Joes- it's like $4 I think). A few drops of both, and boom! amazing skin! 

Shampoo: I tried the no poo method, but I am not convinced yet. So as soon as I use up the old shampoos I still have, I will use the Dr. Bronner shampoo. I should say that when I shampoo I use baking soda to make sure that the gunky shampoo feeling doesn't happen. Since I started to use baking soda I started growing more hair and it feels much healthier. 

Conditioner: ok, this stuff is miraculous!! I got creative and made a little concoction adding: Blackstrap molasses, honey, and vitamin e oil. I have never seen this before, my split ends are disappearing! You've got to try it! 

Deep hair conditioning: you can try a combo, or any of the following ingredients solo (my fave is the mayo): mayo, egg yolk, avocado, yogurt...feel free to add to the list

Body lotion: I use coconut oil and add a bit of the vitamin e oil. Again, great stuff! 

Bronzer: cinnamon 

Blush: beet, yes, I use a beet instead of blush. I feel SO much better about what is going on my skin! With the beet you can get a bit more fancy and dry the beet, use a coffee bean grinder to grind it and make your own powder, and then you can use the powder to make your own lip gloss and other cosmetics. I've yet to get to that point though...

Lipstick/color for lips: the beet!

Mascara: ok, I haven't found anything good for this one really. So I'm just buying "organic" mascara at this point...whatever that really means...Please send suggestions my way!

Deodorant: just using Dr. Tom's at the moment, same goes for mouthwash

See, it's really not that hard and I can assure you that you will be more than happy with the results

E^2 = Eat well and exercise (elaboration)

 My happinizing experiment thus far has been wildly successful! I have never had this much energy, felt so good about life and my relationships, my skin is healthier than ever, and I'm even starting to get a bit of a nicely defined and lean core (something I had never been successful at before)! I am sure that these changes have had to do with happinizing, and I thought it would be important for me to talk about what exactly I have done to also make happinizing easier for you. I will be including recipes and other useful information of the sort, and if you have anything to contribute, please send it my way! At this point I have all my friends happinizing, and even am starting to get my co-workers onto the idea. This is one of the best things I have ever done in my life for sure! 

So E^2 elaboration.....

Quick summary:

Eating well:
   -no processed foods
   -drinks at least 8 glasses of water a day
   -eat a variety of veggies and fruits every week

   -3 times a week (30 mins of cardio minimum)

   -variety of exercise

   -maintain flexibility

Eating well- in my happinizing journey eating well has meant specifically a few things. It has meant that I have tried to take out processed foods out of my diet as much as possible. That means that instead of adding sugar to my morning coffee, now I add honey. I don't eat cereal anymore, I eat oatmeal instead. It is also very important to have variety in your diet. Even if you have a very "healthy" diet, if you are eating the same thing everyday, your body can't possibly get the nutrients it needs to function at its optimum level, and so it is critical that you eat different types of veggies and fruits every week. Eat lentils and beans. Have some yogurt. Also, eating in a healthy way can be very delicious, so don't be intimidated by the idea of "eating healthy," I know it might seem daunting, but with time you will catch on :) 

Exercising- in order to meet your required dose of exercise for the week, I recommend that you work out a minimum of three times a week (each for a min. of 30 minutes of cardio). If you have a very busy schedule, make yourself go to the gym and take some work with you! Sometimes it is very easy when we have so much going on in our lives to think that exercise is the one thing that we can brush aside because we “don't have enough time,” but this comes at a detriment to your health. Your body needs exercise to recalibrate certain chemicals in your brain that make sure that you have a positive disposition for life and don't get depressed or too overwhelmed when times are tough. Also, exercise assures that your cells have the oxygen they need in order to get rid of harmful toxins. Here, I should add that really, another part of happinizing successfully is to make sure that you drink a lot of water. I will have a separate post on that. I recently started going to hot yoga, and I highly recommend it to everyone! I know it’s not for everyone, BUT it is amazing what a few weeks of yoga can do for your system. By sweating so much, your body is getting rid of harmful toxins as well as you get the necessary cardio and the breathing component of the practice assures oxygenation of your cells. Yes, I love the stuff! 

Also, it is important that you don't always exercise in the same way. Just like it is important that you have variety in your diet, it is important that you have variety in exercising as well. You need to make sure that as you get older you take care of all parts of your body. You want to make sure that your core is strong, make sure you are being conscientious in the attention that you give all body parts in maintaining their function. Make sure you take some time to maintain your flexibility, this will allow you to get hurt less often when you get older. This is where yoga is very helpful. When I go to yoga I know that not only am I getting more than my 30mins worth of cardio (and some meditation time), but I am working conscientiously to strengthen and maintain all parts of my body, as well as work on flexibility- an investment that I hope serves me well as I get older. Now, I am getting closer and closer to 27, but have never felt healthier or happier before! I think it helps knowing that happinizing is a purposeful activity that one pursues to invest in one’s physical and mental health. I hope you join me in this happinizing journey.

Maybe Isolation, Not Loneliness, Shortens Life (Source: NPR)

This article emphasizes the importance of the S factor in "SPY"- which stands for foster and maintain social networks. Do you make a concerted effort to maintain and foster your social relationships (whether it be with family, friends, co-workers, significant other, etc)?



Maybe Isolation, Not Loneliness, Shortens Life

People who are socially isolated may be at a greater risk of dying sooner, a British study suggests. But do Facebook friends count? How about texting?
Loneliness hurts, but social isolation can kill you. That's the conclusion of a study of more than 6,500 people in the U.K.
The study, by a team at University College London, comes after decades of research showing that both loneliness and infrequent contact with friends and family can, independently, shorten a person's life. The scientists expected to find that the combination of these two risk factors would be especially dangerous.
"We were thinking that people who were socially isolated but also felt lonely might be at particularly high risk," says Andrew Steptoe, a professor of psychology at University College London.
To find out, the team studied 6,500 men and women ages 52 and older. All of them had answered a questionnaire back in 2004 or 2005 that assessed both their sense of loneliness and how much contact they had with friends and family. The researchers looked to see what happened to those people over the next seven or eight years.
And Steptoe says he was surprised by the result. "Both social isolation and loneliness appeared initially to be associated with a greater risk of dying," he says. "But it was really the isolation which was more important."
At first, it looked like people who reported greater levels of loneliness were more likely to die, Steptoe says. But closer analysis showed that these people were also more likely to have other risk factors, like being poor and having existing health problems. Once those factors were taken into account, the extra risk associated with loneliness pretty much disappeared, Steptoe says.
But people who spent very little time with friends and family, or at social events, were more likely to die regardless of income or health status, the team reports in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
It's not clear why social isolation is linked to mortality. But one possibility is that having other people around has practical benefits as you get older, Steptoe says. For example, they may push you to go see a doctor if you are having symptoms like chest pain, he says. And if you were to lose consciousness, they would call for help.
Other researchers say they are surprised and not necessarily convinced by the new study, even though they say it's large and well-done.
"It doesn't negate the loneliness work that's been done to date," says Bert Uchino, a University of Utah psychology professor. He says this study may have reached a different conclusion than earlier ones because people's definition of loneliness is changing in the Internet age.
"People ... may think that they're connected to other people because they're on Facebook," Uchino says. So they may not report feeling lonely. But that sort of connection, he says, may not have the health benefits of direct contact with other people.
The different result might be because this study looked at people in the U.K., while many earlier studies looked at people in the U.S., says University of Chicago psychologist John Cacioppo. So in the U.K., where the culture values a "stiff upper lip," people who live alone may be "less likely to admit to feeling lonely than are residents of the U.S.," he says.
Whether or not loneliness raises the risk of dying, Cacioppo adds, it certainly reduces a person's quality of life.
And it's easy for people to do things that alleviate both isolation and loneliness, Uchino says. "Have lunch with somebody," he says. "Take a walk. Give them a phone call. I think those are all important ways that we need to stay connected with our relationships. And I think, in the long term, it can help us."

Monday, March 18, 2013

12 Things Happy People do Differently

Happinizing Factors Made Easy!

I have this right by my bed to remind me to happinize everyday. I invite you all to either make your own poster or print this little one out to make you you happinize consistently.