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10 Ways Your Social Life Could Be Trying to Kill You
Our day to day lives get busier and busier with each passing generation. While the ability to be in 10 places at once is becoming more of a necessity and modern day technology is giving us the ability to do so, it is not giving us a remedy to the side effects that come with this life style.
Below is a list of some of the most detrimental effects that come with the demands placed upon us today. If you notice your self falling prey to one of these, take corrective action immediately. These issues, when left unchecked can easily spiral out of control leaving you in a place you do not want to be.
To Much Stress
We will start with the most obvious and possibly the most dangerous which is the abundance of stress that our lives contain. With looming deadlines, crying children, frustrating traffic and annoying bosses you will be hard pressed to find someone who isn't affected by stress.
Stress is our bodies natural response to perceived dangers and it is designed to help us react quickly in order remove the issue. This works great in theory, the problems come in when this mechanics, which is designed to protect us from life threatening dangers, is triggered by mundane events that frankly don't require such an extreme response. Unfortunately, our minds can not tell the difference between the range of danger each event presents so if we fail to step in, we are constantly put on DANGER mode which you will see causes a whole host of medical issues.
The consequences of living a life run by stress are numerous and deadly, they include (1):
High Blood Pressure
Lower Immune System
Headaches / Migraines
Over-eating / Under-eating
With the many negatives that are attached to a stress filled lifestyle it is clear taking steps to reduce this health risk is desirable and necessary in order to live a fulfilling life. Here are some of the top suggestions we found to reduce the effect stress may be having on your body:
Adopting a Healthy DIet Plan
Taking Deep Breathes
Drinking Enough Water
Avoiding Known Causes of Stress
Inducing a Paradigm Shift (Seeing things from a different angle)
To Much Caffeine
Caffeine is a stimulant that almost every adult on earth has either tried or drinks on a consistent basis in order to function. It is so popular, that you can barely get by walking or driving in town without running into some kind of shop that specifically sells the most common form in which comes in which is coffee.
While caffeine can have plenty of beneficial effects and uses, this is only true when taken in reasonable amounts. If you up the intake to a level that is higher than what your body needs, you will simply adapt and require more and more until, like smoking, coffee just becomes an orally fixated habit that isn't doing you any good.
To much caffeine and cause your body to become addicted to the stimulant, "caffeine withdrawls" are very common among those who live off coffee 24/7. I know some people who have it so bad, if they miss their morning cup of joe then about an hour later they are suffering from a brain splitting headache. Is this you?
Here are some of the issues of that accompany the over use of caffeine to get through the day:
Dependency (Caffeine Headaches)
High Blood Pressure
Social Jet-lag is a side effect of our lifestyle that has been recognized in recent years as a potentially serious issue that needs to be addressed. Its cause stems from our bodies not getting enough sunlight, typically as a result of the demand placed on us from our work and social lives. When this occurs, we are operating in a time zone that is out of our norm by forcing our bodies to wake up earlier than when they are naturally designed to.
On the days you are not working, you tend to naturally slip back into the rhythm you were meant to as you have no expectations as to when you need to wake up. This switching back and forth is akin to constantly changing time zones which can be brutal on both your mind and body.
Some of the issues that are caused by social Jet-lag are:
Increased Risk of Obesity
Higher Chance of Alcohol & Nicotine Abuse
Keeps You Stationary
We live in a time that there is a good chance a computer performs at least part of your job if not the vast majority of it. Because of this, the need for manual activity has dwindled and the consequences of this is that we are burning less calories during work which is where we will, on average, spend NINETY THOUSAND HOURS.
Needless to say, spending 90,000 hours in a sedentary position is NOT GOOD for your health and can lead to serious trouble down the line. If your job falls into this category, take advantage of break-time to walk around and move your body, while your sitting you use a hand-strengthener while you have one hand free.
Less Money = Less Health
If you are among the 80% of American's who are considered "middle class" there is a good chance that you are living paycheck-paycheck and this could most definitely have a negative cascade effect on your health both mentally and physically.
As shallow as it may seem, the truth is money DOES equal happiness. While money itself may not make you happy, the opportunities that money can provide most certainly will. Not having enough money limits your options and takes away from your sense of self efficacy. This leaves you feeling powerless which leads to poor mental and physical health.
While it is certainly true that there are quite a few people out there who live perfectly content lives without enormous sums of wealth at their fingertips, I would argue that a vast majority of those never had the opportunity to fathom another lifestyle and as such, have grown accustomed with their lot in life.
If you live in a country that has access to media and entertainment, there is a good chance that you are constantly being bombarded with examples of opulence that make it pretty hard to remain content being without.
Keeps You Addicted To Screen Time
In this world where technology is ever increasing in presence screen time addiction has become an all too common occurrence. Whether it be the smart TV, smart phone, smart computer or smart tablet, not giving your body a rest from the effects of the screen is a dumb idea and can eventually develop into a nasty addiction; especially in your children.
The signs your are addicted to screen time are actually pretty easy to spot because they are the same as if you were addicted to a substance such as alcohol or nicotine.
Some of the signs of screen addiction:
Loss of Interest In Outside Activities
You Find Screentime is the Only Way To Relax
To Much Alcohol
This one is somewhat of a no brainer but we would be remiss if we failed to include it. Social drinking is fairly normal among most adults and as long as it is done in moderation it typically does not pose too much of a health threat, however, if you can avoid it all together you are going to be better off.
What tends to make drinking the most damaging in the long run is our lack of awareness of how dehydrated we become. Alcohol acts as a diuretic causing us to urinate constantly, by failing to replenish our bodies with much needed water the long term damage done to the internal organs can be devastating.
High Transfat Diet
Trans-fats are considered by most doctors some of the worst kinds of fat that you can consume, and the FDA suggests you keep your daily consumption to less than 1% of your total calorie intake (in other words, for a 2000 calorie diet you should have less than 2 grams). Our humble opinion is that you can do away with trans-fat all together.
Although companies have been working on limiting their use of trans-fats in their products, the problem is that most foods that have trans-fat in them are also the most convenient to cook and consume.
Because of our go-go life-style, snacks that require little to no preparation are extremely tempting as they appear to be a quick source of energy. Unfortunately, this
Here are some examples:
Pre-packaged Pastries, Cookies and Cup Cakes (especially with frosting)
Fried Fast Foods
For a great list of foods that contain trans-fats we suggest you check out this article.
Lowered Self Esteem
Although friends and family can and should be a source of inspiration and encouragement, to often other people's fears and insecurities are spread through "opinions" that, while having good intentions, are actually detrimental to your ability to achieve your goals.
The hard truth is that the majority of people out there are not equipped with the right knowledge to succeed and instead are working of a play book that is designed to keep them "safe" which is code for average and miserable.
We at HTTM firmly believe in limiting the damage that bad company can bring. When you recognize that people in your environment are a source of negativity, give them the courtesy of having a serious discussion about how they are effecting you. Should they refuse to make a shift, than it is up to you to decide if it is worth it to allow them to potentially ruin your chances at achieving your goals.
Overuse of Recreational & Prescribed Drugs
In this day and age, it is overly common to see someone addicted to something, we just don't always see it that way. Wether it be illicit drugs found on seedy street corners or the ones you get from your local pharmacist, both have addictive qualities that if left unchecked, can have serious consequences in the long run.
Of all the legal drugs, the most susceptible to be abused are of course pain killers. Those who are prescribed these powerful narcotics are often in serious pain, and they are absolutely necessary at the time. The problem arises when your body begins to develop a resistance to the drugs and you need to consume higher amounts to just feel "normal".
The Next Step:
Now that you are aware of the potential pitfalls of today's lifestyle check out some diet choices that are sure to get you on the right track. Remember that it is not just what you do that makes the difference but what you consume. A healthy life begins with healthy habits, these diets are the first step.
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Your Child's Nutrition And Their Brain
From the moment we are conceived all throughout our entire lives what we put in our body plays a huge role in the level of happiness we experience along with the accomplishments we will be able to achieve. Today we are going to focus on a specific body part that is highly susceptible to the dietary choices you make, which is your brain.
As a fetus, what the mother consumes and eventually passes on to the child has a vital role in deciding how well the babies brain will form. During the 8th-12th weeks in pregnancy the brain is going through rapid growth and as such it is imperative the mother consumes the adequate amount of nutrients during this time. (1) Some children who have been born to mothers who have failed to maintain proper nutrition have shown signs of mental retardation and behavioral problems. (2) While this damage has not always been shown to be permanent, there are times that failure to maintain proper nutrition can have devastating effects on the nervous system and glial cell development. (3)
Some of the nutrients your child is going to need in order to promote healthy brain growth are:
We wanted to give you a brief background as to how diet choices can effect your child in the beginning of life just to give you a foundation however now we are going to skip about six years to when your child is going to school.
If you would like some more information we encourage you to check out this study (pre-warning it is LOOONG)
How Breakfast And Lunch Can Effect Your Child's Grades
In order to be able to keep up with the long list of demands that our placed on your child's brain it needs the proper fuel. Paying attention and learning takes active brainpower and studies have shown this is no less taxing on the body than doing physical activity. (4)
In our day to day lives that are becoming more and more hectic and fast paced it is common and at times necessary to look for ways to make things a bit more efficient. Unfortunately, one of the first things to get cut is making sure our gets are getting a nutritious breakfast and lunch and instead opting for "snackpacks" or relying on school food to provide the proper nutrients your child needs (While schools have stepped up to make lunches healthier, they have failed to make them no more appetizing and they can't force your child to eat).
Both breakfast and lunch should have a balanced portion of proteins, fats and slow burning carbohydrates. (5) This will ensure your child has enough energy to get through the day and avoid the after lunch "crash" that a majority of kids experience (I remember the second period after lunch being designated as a "nap" period when I was younger).
Below we list out different drink and food choices you have the option of providing your children and whether they may have a positive or detrimental effect on your child's ability to perform in school. Follow this list and you will be potentially setting your little one up to have a distinct advantage over his peers.
Foods To Include That Will Help Your Child Learn
Eggs are extremely versatile and a great source of protein and nutrients that will help your little one concentrate throughout the day. They also have Choline which forms acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that carries messages to and from nerves. (5) In order to get the most benefit, we suggest serving them hard boiled however, we understand that some kids are not a big fan of this, so if that is the case the next healthiest way to prepare them would be scrambled.
Although traditionally not the favorite food choice of kids, broccoli is abundant with Vitamin K and Choline which are both extremely important for healthy brain growth. To get your kids to eat broccoli one good way is to cover it in cheese, this way they get a healthy dose of calcium along with their serving of vegetables. One of the healthiest and easiest ways to prepare broccoli is in the oven, simply toss in a small coat of olive oil and season with salt and pepper, then cook until crisp.
Foods You Should Avoid
Although we depict soda as our main example, any drink that is high in fructose can be harmful to your child's ability to perform in school. Sugary drinks are full of simple carbs which are easily burned throughout the day leaving your little one feeling drained before the end of the school day. If you are looking for a good alternative your best bet is going to be water or tea (with a little bit of surgar added). Don't get tricked by the advertising of sports drinks companies claiming their drinks are "healthy". Many of them have just as much surgar as sodas.
Refined carbohydrates such as sugar and white flour can have a high GI index when consumed in large amounts. The GI is a measurement of how fast your body digests food, eating to much food with a high GI can cause spikes in your child's sugar and insulin levels which has been shown to impair memory and learning. (8)
In order to ensure you are not harming your child's ability to learn, switch to whole wheat bread and try and stay away from sugary snacks.
Fish with a high mercury content should be kept to an absolute minimum as mercury has an extremely damaging effect on your child's growth and their ability to learn. Luckily, there are a lot of fish that are low in mercury content and the ones that are dangerous tend to not be favored by children (if your kid likes fish at all).
Here are the ones you want to stay away from:
Foods that are high in trans-fats, according to some studies, have been shown to harm the brains ability to process information, especially when it comes to memory. While natural occurring trans-fats are not necessarily alarming, it is the trans-fats that are created as a result of the mass production of foods that need to be avoided.
These types of trans-fats are typically found in frostings, ready made snacks, fried fast food and vegetable shortening.
If you are wondering about saturated-fats, the verdict is still out on that one. While some studies have shown a possible risk others observational studies have shown the opposite effect. Our suggestion is to err on the side of caution and keep the consumption of fats to what is currently recommended for your child's age.
Drinks That Will Help Your Child Learn
Good ole, delicious, hydrating H2O! Nothing beats it, and you should be teaching your kids to love it as early possible. Since a large percentage of our brains are made up of water, it makes logical sense that this would be the key liquid to better cognitive performance.
Studies have shown that dehydration wreaks havoc on memory and performance, and this is especially true for your little one's developing minds. If you live in an area where it gets especially hot, your children are much more susceptible to the debilitating effects of dehydration and drinking fountains just aren't enough as there is no guarantee kids will use them
Personal Note: As a child I absolutely detested drinking fountains and would choose dehydration over using one. If you think about the mechanics, the water hits the persons mouth and then part of that water drips back onto the part where the water comes out....I mean would you drink out of another persons glass if they took a drink and you saw half of the contents spill out of their mouth and on the glass??? I don't think so...just saying.
If they are really adverse to waters lack of taste, a little spritz of lemon may help make it more manageable.
One GREAT way to pack in a bunch of essential nutrients in one shot is to throw it into a delicious smoothie. Smoothies are great for picky eaters and by letting your little ones be a part of the creation process you will be attaching positive experiences to healthy diet choices which is always a plus!
Make sure you are packing these smoothies with berries, oatmeal, and vegetables to give your kids that boost they need to be able to perform their best in school!
For an amazing list of ideas that go over healthy smoothie ideas we highly encourage you to check out this article.
When it comes to tea, our favorite would have to be Peppermint, hands down. Mainly because research has shown it may potentially help with cognitive function. Although it is best to limit this drink to every couple of days, it is a great substitute for sugary juices or worst of all soda, which has absolutely no nutritional value and simply sets your child up to crash.
For little ones, it is always suggested to brew the tea a bit weaker than you normally would, adding a little lemon or sugar can also make it just sweet enough to be irresistible.
Photo by Glenna Rankin on Reshot
Helping Your Kids Make The Switch
If you have been living a lifestyle that incorporates a lot of junk food and excess sugars than chances are your child is going to be in for a rude awakening once you start implementing these changes. Even at a young age, our bodies can easily become accustomed to that "dose" of sugar and when we don't get it "withdrawals" in the form of irritability, drowsiness and headaches can occur.
If you are worried that your child is going to have an issue adjusting to the change, we have found taking these steps can help with the transition:
Talking to Your Kids Before Hand:
Although the initial shock of a diet change on your body can be frustrating, the mental aspect can be just as bad if not worse. Most children are too young to understand that these feelings are stemming from their bodies craving simple sugars and that it is simply an adjustment period that will pass. By sitting your kids down and explaining to them what might occur, you will be helping them be one step ahead and also giving them an important lesson on being aware of what their bodies are communicating to them.
Making Changes Gradually:
Going from a lunch-able, Capri-sun and Oreo to a whole-wheat sandwich, water and banana chips is going to blow your child's mind (and not in the good way). While we at HTTM advocate taking things to the MAX, if you drop this type of bombshell on your kid without any type of preparation, their first reaction is probably going to wonder what is it they did wrong that you are obviously punishing them for.
We suggest starting with one item every couple days to a week, and perhaps even doing a test run at home to make sure they like it. This way you are ensuring that the food isn't ending up going in the trash during lunch time, and also leads us to our second point...
Allowing Your Kids To Choose:
It has been proven time and time again that we tend to stick by what we have chosen for ourselves, even when the decision isn't necessarily rational. Utilize this principal to your advantage by giving your child multiple options to choose from for their lunch. By doing so you will get them excited about eating healthier and begin building great habits that will benefit them long into the future.
7 Meal Ideas That Are Tasty AND Healthy
We scoured the internet for what we felt were some of the best lunch ideas that are both healthy and appetising and compiled a list of our top seven. Mix these with a healthy drink and side and your kids will have a distinct advantage over their peers in terms of nutrition.