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The Truth About Your Health Habits

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Health habits

We are constantly being bombarded with news that praises some health habits one day, and disregards them the next. However, there are some health habits that industries desperately want you to believe are healthy, but have a negative overall effect on your wellbeing.

Drinking diet sodaCoca Cola

Multinational corporations like Coca Cola and Pepsi launch ad campaigns that promote diet sodas as zero calorie sugar free alternatives to traditional soda. However, the artificial sweeteners in diet soda like aspartame and sucralose have been shown to trigger the same insulin response that sugar triggers in the body. Recently, diet soda has also been shown in increase the risk of dementia and stroke. Instead of using sugary soda to satisfy your fizzy and sweet cravings, choose drinks like Kombucha, a fermented, sweet-sour fizzy drink filled with probiotics that are great for gut health.

Taking a daily multivitamin “just in case”

Vitamins

Over 50% of Americans take a multivitamin supplement daily. Yet, many studies have shown that a daily multivitamin is useless, and even harmful, for healthy individuals. If you eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains, a multivitamin has not been shown to prevent disease risk or extend your life. In fact, high doses of some supplements, like beta carotene, can increase cancer risk. However, taking specific supplements to plug nutritional gaps in your diet has proven beneficial. For example, people living in cold climates should take a vitamin D supplement since their skin cannot produce it without adequate sun exposure.

Consuming dairyCheese

Humans are the only animal on earth that regularly consume the milk of another mammal, and the only mammals that consume milk after infancy. Humans in central Europe began drinking milk only around 7,500 years ago. Because it is such a recent adaptation, over two thirds of the world is lactose intolerant. Europeans may be more adapted to drink milk than people from certain parts of Africa and Asia, where nearly 100% of people are lactose intolerant, but they still suffer health consequences. Milk comes from a pregnant or recently pregnant cow, so it is filled with mammalian estrogen, in addition to antibiotics, steroids, and pus (yes, really!). Instead, choose dairy free alternatives like almond, soy, oat, or rice milk.

Eating meatmeat

Did you know that calorie for calorie, broccoli has more protein than beef? Many people are surprised to hear that, since the meat industry spends millions of dollars on ad campaigns that try to change people’s health habits to believe that meat is a normal, natural, and healthy part of our diet. However, with the World Health Organization classifying processed meats as type 1 carcinogens (cancer causing substances), and blockbuster documentaries like “What the Health” making even the most dedicated meat eaters go plant based, the meat industry’s claims look more and more dubious by the day. The truth is that meat contains antibiotics, steroids, saturated fat, cholesterol, and hormones that wreak havoc on our gut bacteria, inflammation, and overall health. Organic meat sidesteps some of these health risks, but is not much better. Additionally, animal protein has been shown to raise IGF-1 levels in our body leading to accelerated tumor and cancer growth. Plant based sources of protein like beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh, and seitan pack as much or more protein than meat without the harmful side effects of animal protein on our bodies, the environment, and the animals.    

Avoiding carbohydratespasta

Bread, pasta, and rice get a bad rep for being high in carbohydrates which people fear will make them gain weight. It’s true that refined carbohydrates have been shown to spike insulin levels, but brown rice, and whole wheat bread and pasta are a great source of fiber and have been shown to stabilize blood sugar levels. Whole grains can even boost the levels of good bacteria in our gut.  

Eating gluten free processed foodsBread

The recent ‘gluten free’ craze is just that, a craze. It’s one of those health habits that got out of control. Gluten is a protein found in wheat and a few other grains that gives bread its stretchy, chewy qualities. A small percentage of the population has celiac disease where avoiding gluten is essential to their health. Some double blind studies have demonstrated the existence of ‘non celiac gluten sensitivity’, but the majority of people do not suffer from it. That means that hopping on this bandwagon, if you do not have a diagnosed disease or sensitivity, is pointless and could even be harmful. Avoiding gluten in and of itself is not unhealthy if instead of wheat, you center your meals around gluten free grains like; amaranth, buckwheat, brown rice, millet, quinoa, sorghum, legumes, and vegetables. Instead, many people start buying gluten free versions of their favorite processed foods which often compensate for their lack of gluten by increasing their sugar and fat content.

Juicing your fruits and veggiesjuice

A refreshing juice of fruits and vegetables every morning seems like the pinnacle of a healthy diet. However, most juice machines separate the fiber from the juice of the produce. By removing the bulk of the fiber, the sugars from fruits hit your bloodstream more directly and cause a high and a crash that does not happen when you consume whole plant foods. The cell walls of fruits and vegetables slow down the release of sugars into your bloodstream keeping insulin more steady. Juicing does provide your body with vitamins and minerals, so there is no reason to cut it out entirely. Aim for moderation and instead of juicing your produce, try consuming it whole. If you must drink your veggies, try using a blender instead to preserve the fiber in the produce.

Consuming oilsOlive oil

Many people believe that ‘healthy oils’ like coconut and olive oil are an essential part of a healthy diet. However, they are calorie dense and lack a robust nutritional profile. While it’s true that olive oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for heart health, the ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fats is more indicative of the health of fat sources, and this is where olive oil, and most oils, fail. A diet that is high in Omega-6 fatty acids but low in Omega-3 fatty acids promotes inflammation. Oils should be used sparingly, and you should adjust your health habits to consume more nuts, and seeds for your omega 3. Flaxseed are an especially high source of omega 3 fatty acids, and do not have the same health risks that animal based sources do like fish.

Aaditi Tamhankar is a student at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business. In her free time she can be found cooking healthy food, running, and watching too much Youtube.

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Lifestyle

Things You Should Never Say During A Presentation

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Many people have cold feet when they are asked to present something in front of a live audience. A sales presentation is a make or break situation for the companies. An excellent presentation can bring in a lot of new prospects for the company. Similarly, a bad presentation can also sour the relationship with an eager prospect. Public speaking is intimidating, but you can avoid the common mistakes and make a mark as a public speaker. You should be calm, confident and organized during the presentation. Here are some points you should remember during a presentation

“Hello! Can everyone hear me?”

You can feel very nervous before your presentation, but do not begin with this question. It is your responsibility to check the audio, but try to arrive early to check everything. When you are speaking at a large conference hall, the chances are high that someone has already checked the audio-visual facilities. Take a deep breath and smile at the audience. Begin with full confidence.

“I’ve got a lot of information to cover, so let me get started.”

This statement can make your audience lose all interest in your presentation. People believe that longer presentations are boring. Starting with this statement assumes that it’s going to be a long boring lecture instead of a captivating presentation. If your presentation happens to be long, do the work to shorten it in advanced, and come prepared to give a more condensed presentation without losing the overall message. 

“I’ll keep it short”

This is a promise no one keeps. You should not use this statement before the presentation. Your audience comes to hear something promising and get inspired. It does not matter if your speech is long or short. When you say “I’ll keep it short”, you’re also underselling your ability to maintain your audience’s attention. 

“I did not have much time to prepare”

You should not begin your speech with an excuse. People in the audience look forward that the presentation will be a well-prepared one. They invest their time and money to be prepared for your presentation. It’s only fair that you should be prepared to present. 

Fillers

Never use the words like “Umm”, “you know” or “like” in your presentation. Your audience will assume that you are not confident about what you are saying. The fillers in your speech can distract them from the main point of the presentation. If you need to think about something, you can take a short pause in between.

“In Future, we plan to…”

Never reveal anything about the products that is still under production. Make public announcements of your new products and offers. Your audience expects detailed information of your new and ready products. If you have something exciting on the way, wait for it to actually be ready to start talking about it. 

“Avoid reading through the pages”

Do not just read aloud the pages or slides. This can turn the session dull for your audience. Try to present your points in an interesting way. You can begin with a small story or show some examples.

“I’ll get back to that later”

The audience is always eager to interact with you. They can ask many questions after your presentation. Do not avoid their questions. It leaves a bad impression on your audience. Try to answer their questions politely.

“I guess that’s it”

You should not end your presentation with this statement. Prepare your speech in such a way that it becomes obvious it is the end. Your transition to your next point should come naturally.

Make your speech fit in the given time-slot. Do not come underprepared and prolong your speech. You should not completely depend on the prepared write-ups or slides. Try to conclude it with some interesting information. Keep some time to interact with the audience, but do not get stuck with irrelevant points or questions.

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Lifestyle

Beating The Post Holiday Blues

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holiday blues

The Holidays are always a rush of gift giving and food. We usually ride the season with a lot of adrenalin to help us get through the parties, vacations, and coming home to mom and dad’s. But, after you’ve opened all your presents and uploaded your holiday pics to social media sites, the adrenalin wears off and you start to feel down in the dumps. It is no surprise that holiday blues usually take place after the trimmings are taken down and the festivities have ended. During the crash, fatigue sets in, we don’t want to go to the gym and postpone opening and reading emails. All we feel is laziness usually due to over indulgence of food. But it does not have to be this way. Here are ways to kick the post holiday blues.

Stay Connected

Just because you’ve said goodbye to friends and family does not mean that you can’t communicate with them until the next holiday season. Drive away the doldrums by keeping in constant contact. Continue to update them on social media or send them emails from time to time. Call mom and dad on the phone even just to say hi. When you stay connected with the important people in your life, you feel less lonely and won’t miss them as much.

Exercise

Did you know that exercise is a good way to get rid of depression? Working out can actually make you feel better. Exercise releases dopamine into the bloodstream so you feel happier and content. As a bonus, you get to melt off pounds that you probably put on indulging in turkey and dessert during the holidays.

Plan Your Next Holiday

Nothing can get you more fired up than thinking about your next trip. Why wait for Christmas when you can plan another getaway during Valentine’s Day or any holiday? It can be something simple as a budgeted long weekend or even an overseas trip. Whatever your plan is, it will make returning to work easier and help you avoid thinking about the holidays. Cultivating something positive and forward thinking is also a good way to reset your brain.

Schedule Fun Activities

Drinking alcohol will only make you more depressed, so switch to scheduling fun activities instead. Research tells us that having things to look forward to makes us happy. You can host a President’s Day party with friends or a small tea party to catch up with friends you weren’t able to visit during Christmas. If you want to keep it simple, you can engage in movie night with your siblings, dinner with the family, or a relaxing massage.

Spend Time Outdoors

This might not be possible for some people but spend time outdoors every day. According to a meta-analysis of 10 studies, spending as little as 5 minutes outside everyday can help improve mood and self-esteem. Spending time outside is also recommended for people who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or winter depression.

Keeping these strategies in mind can help you beat post-holiday depression. The holidays have to end, but it does not mean to say that the fun has to stop. Think of these suggestions every time you’re battling post-holiday misery.

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Lifestyle

Meal Prep Ideas for Your Busy Work Week

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meal prep ideas

Here are some meal prep ideas for your busy work week. If you’re busy, then you may not feel like coming home and investing energy in cooking complicated meal prep ideas. However, with proper planning and doing the meal prep on weekends, this task can become easy and fast. If you prepare a menu for the week, you can buy all the ingredients at once and preserve them. Here are few steps to ensure that you get nutritious homemade food even during a busy work week.

Planning in Advance

Plan in advance for the meal prep ideas that you are going to prepare for the coming week – just pen it down. You should create a menu either for the week (preferable) or the month, and make sure that you have a list of the ingredients that you need for every meal. Make sure that you have a list for every meal that you will be preparing at home, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Make sure to have snacks available.

Preparation

Another way to save time is putting meals together, especially those that you’ll be baking or slow cooking. You can do this for as many meal prep ideas as you want, and store them in your freezer to pull out whenever you are going to cook them. Make sure you have all ingredients. Put all ingredients into the slow cooker and leave it to cook.  Set the timer correctly to avoid the food getting burnt.

Easy meal prep ideas

Prepare easy meal prep ideas such as salads, soups, sandwiches, and pasta. There are also other items that you can find in stores that are “ready to make” packs. Have them on the menu and leave the most complicated recipes for the weekend. Simpler meals will often suffice as long as you put some love into it. Just ensure that whatever you eat is healthy and nutritious.

Shop intelligently. You can have your menu ready and do the shopping all at once on a weekly or monthly basis. This saves time and money as well. Also, you can make it easier for yourself if you just plan in advance and ensure that nothing is left for the last minute. Here’s also some healthy ideas you could try with super foods

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