How to Add Sweetness to Your Meals – With Little or No Added Sugar

Sugar is everywhere. It’s in our cereal, milk, crackers, jelly, even our kids’ vitamins! You’ll even find sugar under different names such as maple syrup, molasses, agave nectar, coconut sugar, corn syrup, and many more. Sugar serves many purposes; in food, it’s used to give color, texture and flavor to baked goods. In our bodies, sugars fuel red blood cells and the brain.

However, there’s a downside to sugar. It’s not bad per se, but most of us consume too much of it. According to survey data, the average person in America gets up to 20 teaspoons of the sugar every single day. The medical community is up in the arms about this because the daily recommended amount if 9 teaspoons for men and 6 teaspoons for women.

No one is telling you to cut your sugar intake completely, but there’s no harm in cutting back especially if you are having more than the recommended amount. Don’t fret; there are ways to sweeten your meals without adding sugar. For instance, unsweetened cocoa powder is a great addition to coffee and it provides a boost of antioxidants at the same time. Sweet vegetables and fruits like melons, peaches, sweet corn and sweet peas are great for sweet salad dressings or as a quick snack. Add a few dried figs or dates to smoothies for added nutrition, fiber and sweetness. Cinnamon is also a great way to add calcium, fiber and sweetness to things like baked goods, oatmeal and even coffee. It also has the added health benefit of slowing down the rate of digestion, which prevents blood sugar spikes.

Pink grapefruit or ripe tomatoes are great salad toppers, but they could also be blended down into a sour-sweet salad dressing. For more sweetness, ripe bananas are a baking favorite because they also add moisture to baked goods. Simply wait until the peels are showing black spots and they are good to go.

Dried fruit with no sugar added is another great snack option and sweetener for foods like granola, Greek yogurt and cottage cheese. Simply soak some raisins or dates in water and puree before adding to a smoothie, or munch on them as is. Presto—you have vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients in one.

A New Alzheimer's Test is on the Rise

Detecting the early onset of Alzheimer's disease will be able to help hundreds of thousands of patients around the globe, and it's a lot more easily done than you'd think. All doctors will need to do a test is a patient's saliva, it's that easy.

The Progress with the New Test

Doctors are already able to look at the difference between a brain that is affected by the disease and a healthy one, but they were never able to determine whether or not the disease would onset early.

During the 2015 Alzheimer's Association International Conference located in Washington, this saliva test was presented. During initial research, the test using saliva is representing a future of diagnostic tools when it comes to the development in detection for the neurodegenerative disease.

Heather Snyder, the director of both scientific and medical operations in the Alzheimer's Association, had this to say on the topic of the saliva test;

"As the field has continued to mature over the last decade or so, we now have research and evidence that suggests that the underlying biology of Alzheimer's disease is changing a decade or more before someone experiences the memory or function changes associated with Alzheimer's. This test examines saliva samples and looks at changes in saliva as the potential way to detect changes in Alzheimer's."

Shraddha Sapkota, a graduate student in neuroscience from the University of Alberta, Canada, had this to say when the study was presented;

Salivary metabolomics analyses will advance the cause of early detection of Alzheimer's disease, and promote our understanding of the mechanisms from normal aging to Alzheimer's. Saliva is very easy to collect and transport, which will enhance participation in remote centers and diverse populations. In science, the key is replication. The study has to be replicated, and it has to be replicated in a larger population."

The Bountiful Benefits of the Test

Because this progressive brain disorder affects approximately five million Americans, and is the sixth leading cause of death, this test is exciting for the science world and will save lives. Though there are no tests to determine fully if a person will get Alzheimer's disease, the saliva test will be the perfect place to start, as a screening tool.

It will indicate whether or not a patient should receive more invasive testing, and will be the perfect test to bring into community and clinical settings.

4 Quick Fitness and Nutrition Hacks

When it comes to working out and eating healthily, whether you want to tone up for an upcoming vacation, or lose a little fat, it can be difficult to know what exactly you should be doing to get the best results. Here are a few easy fitness and nutrition hacks that you can use to make sure that you get the most out of working out and eating healthy.

1. Strength Training

If you want to get stronger and tone up quickly, and vastly improve your heath, then strength training is one of the best options. Whether it’s the barbell, kettlebells, or even a sandbag, using weights to train boosts your strength, builds muscle, strengthens your bones and it also increases your metabolic rate. This is because when you strength train, you build more muscle and people with more muscles burn more calories, even at rest, than others.

2. Make sure you’re getting Enough Carbs

Over the past couple of decades, low carb diets have become incredibly popular. People see them as a quick-fix way to lose weight. But, whether it’s the Atkins diet or the Paleo diet, low carb diets aren’t good for your health.

From mood swings to constipation, low carb diets cause a whole range of health problems and they can impair your performance in the gym. Carbs are your body’s main source of energy, so if you want to get the most out of your workouts, you need definitely need them.
Make sure that you choose unrefined carbs and whole grains, like whole-wheat pasta and oats, rather than refined carbohydrates like white bread and white pasta.

3. Drink more Water

It’s common for people to mistake feelings of thirst for feelings of hunger. This leads to people eating more than they should, but not getting enough fluids. Drinking plenty of water ensures your body is healthy and energized. So, make sure that you are getting enough of it.

To get a rough estimate of how much water you should be drinking each day, take your weight in pounds and half it and that is the number, in fluid ounces that you should be drinking. For example, a person that weighs 170 pounds would need to drink 85 fluid ounces of water per day

4. Workouts don’t need to be Long

Often, people are put off of the idea of working out, because they feel like they don’t have enough time. But, a good, effective workout doesn’t have to take long, especially if you are doing the right types of exercises. A quick, 20 minute workout that includes lots of full-body exercises, like squats and deadlifts is an effective, but quick way to get in shape.

So, make sure that you use these quick and easy tips to get more out of your workouts.

Scientists: Your Coffee Habit Doesn’t Affect Your Weight

Scientists say that your daily coffee habit may not affect your weight. This is great news for almost 60 percent of the adult population in the U.S. who drink coffee everyday. Research over the years has shed more light on the health benefits of drinking coffee. One study in particular found that drinking this delicious beverage does not increase your chances of developing obesity or type 2 diabetes.

Some experts are surprised by the findings, saying that increased coffee intake was found to be strongly associated with diabetes. However, even they admit that genetics play a big part in determining how much a person is drinking and how it affects them. Even exposure to caffeine has been linked to improved brain performance in women, particularly older women.

Additionally, coffee has been shown to be beneficial for heart healthy. In one study, results showed that drinking moderate amounts of coffee was linked to lower risk of developing heart failure. Another study showed that coffee may be associated with a reduced risk of developing liver cancer by as much as 40 percent. That’s a significant amount especially for those who are genetically predisposed to have liver problems.

Remember to moderate your intake

Coffee without the unhealthy additives, sugars and hydrogenated oils is a great beverage with many health benefits. Black drip coffee is the best way to have it, but a cappuccino or latte can be okay too. Just avoid the empty calories that usually come with dressed-up coffee drinks. Those can end up canceling out any potential health benefits from your favorite cup of Joe.

How much coffee is safe to drink?

It’s best to limit your coffee intake to about three cups a day. More than that will jack up your caffeine intake, which in turn will have a mild diuretic effect on the body. This can leave you feeling dehydrated and can even cause energy crashes or withdrawals.

Have your coffee, black if possible, and don’t be afraid to enjoy it. You could be doing your heart and liver a huge favor in the long run.

Try The Quickest Hangover Cure Ever

When meeting people, you will find that each has his or her own individual quirks. Some like to travel in flip flops; others only like to sit in the front passenger seat otherwise they get very car sick; there are also those who only like to eat white chocolate otherwise they won’t eat chocolate at all. Then you’ll meet those who like whisky over wine, or vodka over beer. However, those who belong in the latter examples have one thing in common: they all have a hangover cure of choice.

After a night of fun, it can be a bit hellish to wake up to bright sunshine due to what we call a hangover. This can mean migraines, nausea, dizziness, fatigue or a general feeling of crappiness. Queue the best natural hangover cure ever (or so they say): The Magic Tonic.

The Magic Tonic

2 tablespoons of Lemon Juice
½ tablespoon of finely ground coffee (must be organic)

Mix these two together until they are well incorporated. It should resemble a puree. If the mixture is too thick, add a touch more lemon juice.

What makes it so effective?

Lemon juice is similar in structure to the body’s natural digestive juices, meaning it will go down easily and be processed relatively easily. It also acts as a powerful liver cleanser for those who drink pretty heavily, filtering out toxins and promoting better nutrient absorption. Coffee on the other hand, contains caffeine. That’s pretty self-explanatory, right? We all love caffeine; it makes us feel human. But what you probably don’t know is that coffee is abundant in antioxidants, which help repair damage caused by free radicals.

Ramp it up further

Need something stronger? You can take it up a notch if you so choose. Here’s the recipe for the Pre-Magic Tonic

Pre Magic Tonic

12-16 ounces of filtered water
1 teaspoon of sea salt

Dissolve the sea salt into the water and drink this before the Magic Tonic. This solution stimulates the adrenal glands, waking you up and supplying you with more energy.


While these hangover cures may be effective, it’s not an excuse for you to go binge-drinking. Moderate your alcohol consumption and be safe, always.

Maximize Your Menu for Glowing, Luminous Skin

The skin is our body’s largest organ. Whatever we ingest is going to have an effect on our skin.

Our diet—food and beverages—can radically change how our skin looks and feels. Eating the right foods can nurture glowing, clear, and youthful skin. Eat the wrong foods will cause a lack of elasticity, puffiness, redness and wrinkles. Choose foods that will enhance the texture, pigment and firmness of your skin.

Here are some good food and beverage choices:

Foods high in protein nurture a firm, luminous skin. Good protein choices include: chia seeds, eggs, wild salmon, black cod, herring and sardines.

Other great food choices are: dark green vegetables like kale, broccoli, spinach, Swiss chard, beet greens, rabe, and collard greens. These detox your body.

Yellow fruits and vegetables contain carotenoids that help control cell turnover that generates clear, clean skin. Excellent yellow fruit and vegetable choices include: papaya, peaches, pineapple, sweet potato and spaghetti squash as well as avocado and raw seeds such as sunflower, pumpkin and hemp.

 Think of your skin as a sponge. It soaks up whatever you ingest and whatever is around you. The sun’s UV rays are hard on your skin so you need to protect it from the sun’s drying rays with sunscreen and hydrating lotions. Smoking is hard on your skin. Avoid firsthand, secondhand and third-hand smoke, smog and air pollution.

You can never drink too much clean water for your skin. Water flushes toxins and keeps skin hydrated. Drink at least sixty-four ounces of water per day. First thing in the morning, drink clean hot water with lemon and cayenne pepper.

If you want great looking skin include, bad food choices include: pizza, pasta, cakes, pies, cookies, granola bars, fruit smoothies, sweetened yogurts and cereals!  Anything that is made with refined flours and sugars. Other bad choices for your skin are gluten foods, dairy and soy. These cause inflammation of your skin. 

Avoid alcohol and coffee. They will dry your skin. The toxins will also accumulate in your liver. A single glass of wine must pass through your liver 100 times to remove the alcohol. Limit coffee, sugars, gluten, dairy and soy to a maximum of once or twice a week. If you want radiant skin for a special day, cut out bad-for-you foods and beverages two weeks before the event.

Scientists Say No Dietary Limit on Fat Intake Necessary

Low-fat diets caught on for a while as the best diet out there, but like many others before it, it has since been forgotten and now belongs in the “just okay” list. It’s not bad, but not extraordinary either. However with mounting evidence that supports the consumption of dietary fat being better for weight loss, it’s probably going to die down for good.

Full-fat options may be better than low-fat or non-fat options

In one study published by the American Medical Association, they found that healthy fats such as those in fish, olive oil and nuts, can protect us from diseases. Furthermore, fat-free or low-fat options may be even worse for us health-wise than full-fat options. This is a complete 180 from what scientists were preaching just a few years ago.

Another point they made in this study was that carbohydrates are to blame for the rising numbers of obesity, not dietary fat. This prompted the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee to revise their current guidelines of 35% of our total daily calories from dietary fats to no restriction at all.

Is this a wise decision?

Ketogenic dieters are nodding their heads in affirmation, but not everyone is welcoming this change with open arms. Some experts are wary that this may not be the best choice in light of the current situation in the U.S. where the vast majority are either obese or overweight.

Fat is calorie-dense

Removing the guidelines and basically telling everyone to eat as much fat as they want could spell disaster in many cases. Even if one were to only consume good fats, calories still matter. If you were to consume 10,000 calories of good fats but only require 2,300 calories per day to maintain your weight, you would gain a lot of weight by eating 10,000 calories a day regardless of the food source.

Further education needed

Before making such a broad recommendation, more education is needed to inform people of dietary fat intake. It’s not as simple as telling them that they can eat as much fat as they want as long as it’s “good” fat. There should be more information available so that people can adjust their fat consumption based on their recommended caloric intake.

Diabetes and Bladder Control

Diabetes is a disease that causes a wide range of symptoms. But some of these symptoms are more well-known than others. A lesser known, but still fairly common symptom of diabetes is bladder problems. Those with diabetes often have issues with their bladder, which can go unnoticed for months. These bladder problems are often caused by problems with the muscles and the nerves that control the bladder.

Overactive Bladder

People with diabetes often develop an overactive bladder. The main symptom of an overactive bladder is frequent urination. If you have an overactive bladder, you will often urinate more than eight times per day, and you will have to get up during the night to visit the bathroom.

Other symptoms of an overactive bladder include a sudden and strong urge to urinate and urine leakage after this sudden urge. Diabetes causes an overactive bladder because it can damage the nerves that control your bladder.

You can treat an overactive bladder. Your physician may suggest exercises to strengthen the muscles that allow you to hold in urine. A health care professional may also be able to provide you with medication and other treatment options.

Urine Retention

People with diabetes can also have issues with urine retention. As diabetes can damage the nerves that control bladder function, sometimes the muscles don’t get the message from the nerves that the bladder is full and that it needs to be emptied. Also, the muscles can become too weak to fully empty the bladder.

When the bladder retains too much urine, it can cause the urine to back up and put more pressure on the urinary system. As a result it could cause damage to the kidneys. Urine retention can also contribute to urine leakage and if it remains in the body too long, it can lead to a urinary tract infection.

The cause of bladder problems in people with diabetes can be quite complex to determine, as these bladder problems can occur in those who do not have diabetes. So, that’s why it’s important to see a doctor to determine the cause of the problem and to determine the right treatment.

This OTC Drug Could Hurt Your Chances of Conceiving

Some people get pregnant without even meaning to, while others try for months and months but to no avail. They then look to hormone doctors and all sorts of fertility-boosting measures to somehow correct the process and improve their chances of conceiving, but could the problem stem from something as simple as an over-the-counter painkiller? Some experts think so.

NSAIDs can keep you from conceiving

In one study, results showed that taking NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can temporarily affect a woman’s chances at conceiving. Just 10 days of regular consumption of NSAIDs saw a drop in progesterone which is one of the hormones involved in the process of ovulation. Those

The study examined women who were of childbearing age and had back pain. They all took varying dosages of NSAIDs of different brand names for 10 days. After the 10-day period, they were tested for fertility.

These preliminary findings are not entirely new. Previous studies have shown that NSAIDs to be the only type of painkillers to affect a woman’s ovulation. Drugs that cause a similar effect as NSAIDs are said to have the same effect on ovulation.

Effects are temporary

Don’t panic; if you have been taking NSAIDs, you can breathe easy because these effects on fertility are said to be temporary. More research must be done to prove or disprove the hypothesis that regular consumption of NSAIDs causes permanent infertility. Men do not seem to be affected by this.

What’s in your cabinet?

Before you purchase more over-the-counter drugs, do an inventory if your medicine cabinet. Acetaminophen does not have the same effect as NSAIDs so you may want to look into that instead of the usual Aleve or Advil.

Be wise in your choices and try to heal yourself from the inside with the use of whole foods. Certain whole foods such as green vegetables and fruits also have anti-inflammatory effects but without the infertility. Try supplementing with green juice instead of popping a pill. You might be surprised at how well mother nature provides. Maybe a trip to the grocery store won’t require you to visit the OTC drugs aisle after al

High-Calorie Dishes: These Restaurant Meals Take the Cake

Eating is fun. Eating high-calorie meals is even more fun. But you know what’s not fun? Not fitting into your pants; developing heart disease; not being able to walk your dog without feeling out of breath—those are not fun.

Think those so-called “healthy” restaurants serve good meals that will benefit you? Perhaps not. Let’s have a look at some of their popular dishes.

1.     IHOP Chorizo Fiesta Omelette

IHOP isn’t known for health fare, but they do have “lite” options for those who are watching their figures. You would think an omelette would be a safe bet because it has eggs, cheese and chili. Chili contains capsaicin which boosts the metabolism so it shold be good for you right? Chorizo and cheese are protein sources, right? Yes on all accounts, but let’s have a look at the numbers.

At 1900 calories, that’s a hefty, hefty plate that doesn’t provide much satiety. Also, at 121 grams of fat, that’s easily 10 tablespoons of butter. Can you imagine eating 10 tablespoons of butter? Fortunately, you just have to clean your house from top to bottom for eight solid hours to burn it off. Yay!

2.     Dickey's Barbecue Pit 3 Meat Plate

Ah the fatty meats—a man’s meal as they say. Beef brisket, pork ribs and polish sausage… what’s not to love about this trifecta of protein and fat? The calorie count. If you think the IHOP omelette is bad. This is much worse. Try twice as worse—calorie-wise anyway. At just over 3,800 calories, there’s no redeeming factor in this dish other han the fact that it probably has very little carbs. Oh wait, scratch that. It has 149 grams of added sugar on top of the 190 grams of fat. No matter; just run for five hours to burn it off.

3.     Outback Steakhouse Herb Prime Rib

Everyone’s been to Outback at least once in their lives, maybe. But have you ever ordered the Prime Rib? No? Don’t. At 2,400 calories, it’s not the worst but it’s certainly not the best either. With hefty sides and the warm bread rolls, you’re sure to leave the place with a smile on your face. That is, until you have to do 10 hours of yard work to burn it off.