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Over the years, I’ve allowed myself to be a guinea pig when it comes to diet trends; I’ve gone pescatarian, vegetarian, vegan, and most recently, Paleo. Based on the dietary habits of our cave-dwelling ancestors, the Paleo diet has continued to gain popularity within health circles, especially CrossFit enthusiasts. This high-protein, low-carb diet strictly prohibits foods like grains, beans, wheat, and dairy and has been linked to story after story of successful weight loss and the elimination of digestive issues. After months of wavering back and forth, I decided to take the plunge, clean up my diet, and embark on a short Paleo project.

Each stint in a different diet has taught me something, but I can say with complete sincerity that my Paleo experiment had profound effects on my relationships with food and my body . . . but I couldn’t stick with it forever.

What I Loved

I Stopped Stressing About Calories
As someone who had been a slave to counting calories in the past, I found new freedom in taking the focus off of the numbers and on to the ingredients. By default, I was consuming higher-quality, whole foods on the Paleo diet. Not only did I lose weight, but I felt energized from the inside out. Today, I still consider calories when making food choices, but going Paleo helped me realize that calories are not always king - and they’re certainly not the only thing you should be considering when planning meals.

I Achieved a New Level of Body Awareness
As an avid yogi, I always considered myself to be hyperaware of how food relates to my energy levels and mental clarity. But it only took one week on the Paleo program to see just how strong of a connection exists between diet and workout performance. Before going Paleo, dairy and grains were part of most meals, leading to major belly bloat every day. Yes, different foods do different things to different people, but after going through a small elimination period, I was able to scale back on the foods that were weighing me down.

I Started Treating Food as Fuel
In my teenage and college years, I had a serious love-hate relationship with food. Meals regularly felt like battles, and I achieved a false sense of control wavering back and forth all day between periods of fasting and binging, wreaking havoc on my health, my energy, and, not to mention, my metabolism. I’ve come a long way from those days, but taking on a rigid clean-eating program helped me embrace my food in a whole new way.

For the first time in my life, I was not a member of the clean-plate club. During my Paleo experiment, I never left a meal feeling stuffed and started finding smaller portions more satisfying. The project also forced me to take stock of just how much of my diet had relied on wheat, grain, and dairy products – and how my body feels different when I scale back those foods. Almost out of nowhere, it happened. I was practicing what I had been preaching: I officially grasped the concept that food is not standing in my way; it’s helping me function at my top potential.

I Got Back in the Kitchen
I’ve always loved cooking, but with a full-time gig and a serious workout schedule, all of my social engagements and catch-up sessions with friends revolved around dinners out. Taking on a Paleo experiment meant I was going to have to spend a lot more time in my kitchen to prepare Paleo-friendly meals, but I was up for the task.

The first day I went overboard. I decided to prepare four over-the-top, labor-intensive recipes I had spent hours looking for on Pinterest . . . on one Sunday afternoon. Once I got that stressful experience out of my system, I learned how to prep meals in advance and throw together an easy breakfast or supper at home. While I still enjoy the occasional meal out during the week, a lot more of my weeknights are spent cooking with friends in my kitchen.

Why I Stopped

I have many friends who have found success with a Paleo lifestyle, but most of them take an 80/20 approach to the program; 80 percent of the time you follow all Paleo rules, and 20 percent of the time you have the freedom to indulge as you please. Some people thrive in this system of clear-cut rules, but my Paleo experience solidified a fact I’ve known about myself for a long time: I am just not one of those people.

When someone tells me I can’t eat something, it’s all I can think about, and then I would eat it. A lot of it. Since I’ve struggled with food in the past, it’s important for me to feel like I have options. While eliminating certain food groups from my diet helped me achieve a new sense of body awareness, I didn’t like that some foods were strictly off-limits in the Paleo diet. According to trainers Chris and Heidi Powell, “Anytime you deprive yourself of food . . . all you want is what you can’t have,” and for me, this could not be more true.

Now, I’m eating in a way that supports my needs, tastes delicious, and keeps me satisfied. I don’t eat bread, pasta, and pizza every day, but when I’m craving it or it’s a special occasion, I eat what I want - when I want! – in moderation instead of binging later. Without all the strict diet restrictions comes a more relaxed and balanced relationship with food that naturally aligns with the rest of the relationships in my life. My days of mindlessly scarfing down a big baguette with butter or a huge pizza are long behind me, and I credit my Paleo experiment with this newfound natural balance. It’s a priceless and delicious gift I never anticipated receiving from the cavemen.

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Fenugreek is often claimed to be a testosterone booster, but is this claim backed by adequate scientific evidence? Presently, the evidence available is not convincing enough to consider fenugreek to be capable of increasing testosterone.
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Buzzle: Health & Fitness

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Recent studies fail to provide solid answers on benefits or drawbacks.


WebMD Health

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One of my favorite drinks is the strawberry agua fresca sold every Wednesday at my neighborhood taqueria. A simple but oh-so-smart blend of fresh strawberries, water, and sugar, the traditional Mexican drink makes hot days bearable. I love buying mine right before closing after the strawberries have been soaking in the water for hours and I get bits of the fruit in my glass from getting one of the last servings.

Depending on where you go, aguas frescas can be filled with more sugar than a can of soda, but this recipe from NYC-based juicery Love Grace allows for the natural sweetness of the fruit to take precedent. It’s everything you love about a great Summer farmers market in one glass, but with a secret weapon: the chia seed. Aside from giving the recipe a fun texture - almost like mini tapioca balls - it adds omega-3s and fiber to the drink.

Berry Chia Fresca

Ingredients

2 cups water

2 teaspoons chia seeds


1/2 cup strawberries


1/2 cup raspberries


1 tablespoon fresh lime juice


1 tablespoon raw honey or agave

Directions

  1. Mix the chia and water together in a bowl and set in the fridge to plump for 15 minutes. Remove, mix again, and combine all ingredients in a blender. Puree until well combined and adjust the sweetness if needed.


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The crimson-colored mace covers the nutmeg kernel. Both mace and nutmeg are known for the divine aroma and flavor they impart to the food when added. Read this Buzzle article to know the culinary uses and nutritional benefits of mace.
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Leading Doctor in Ebola Outbreak Dies From Disease


WebMD Health

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The following post was written by Nicole H. who blogs at Fitful Focus and is part of POPSUGAR Select Fitness.

It’s summertime in NYC, and warm air and beautiful sunshine are beating down on the concrete jungle. It’s a magical place, and yet, every Friday when 5 p.m. hits, everyone rushes away to the beaches, the shore, and the mountains. Can you blame us? NYC is awesome, but nothing really beats fresh air and cool waters. 

I’m a lake girl myself. You get all the benefits of the beach without the crowd, waves knocking you down, or sand getting stuck in your unmentionables. Just smooth waters, kayaking, and dock-side living. So what’s a gal to bring for a weekend at the lake? I’m glad you asked!

Besides the obvious swimsuit, which you can pretty much live in all weekend, you only need a few essentials to make your weekend complete. 

A colorful beach towel: There’s so much to do on the water that you’re bound to get wet! Jump in the water, go for a swim, kayak around the lake, fly through the waves on a jet ski, and let the water whip around you. Whichever water sport you fancy, don’t let the fun end when you return to dry land. A fun, poppy “beach” towel is a lake-girl must and the perfect way to keep the adventure going on the dock. They’re fun, cozy, and add a nice pop of color to your natural surroundings. Plus, they’ll distract anyone looking too closely from your lake-girl sweat! In need of some towel inspiration? Check out some of these.

An easy, girlie read: The lake is a great place to get your sporty on, but after a day of hiking, biking, and fun and fitness in the water, it’s nice to recover and relax with an easy read. You should bring something that keeps you entertained that you can also put down when it’s time for a race across the lake or a run with the pup. If you have a guilty-pleasure category (romance novels or young adult novel perhaps?) the lake is the time to crack that bad boy open! Some of my recommendations are In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner and Divergent by Veronica Roth. Not a big reader? Your favorite fitness magazine will also do the trick!

Sunglasses: What’s Summer without sunglasses? Shield your eyes from the rays and the glare of the gorgeous waters with some polarized frames. I suggest two pairs, a fun and fashionable pair for relaxing (like these) and a sporty-chic pair for fitness-oriented activities like a trail run or a stint on the speedboat. I’m a huge fan of these Under Armour Marbella shades

Sunblock: Lobsters don’t belong at the lake. Remember to reapply after a sweat session or a dip in the water!

Water: Hydration is always important, but it’s especially necessary when you’re spending all day in the sun. Bring some on the kayak with you, keep a cooler at the dock, or hike with a water bottle in hand.

Sporty sandals: If you’re a lake girl, you probably enjoy all sorts of activities like kayaking, boating, hanging out on the dock, and exploring little lake islands. Make sure you bring a pair of comfy, easy-on-easy-off sandals to ensure you’re ready for any activity. I’m in love with these Nike flip-flops. They’re cushion-y, pink, and sporty-chic!

Bonus: The Perfect Lakeside Margarita

  • 1 1/2 ounces tequila
  • 1/2 ounce Triple sec
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • Lime wedge for garnish
  • 3 to 4 ice cubes
  • Salt or sugar to rim the glass

It doesn’t get much better than some libations after a long day of activity on the lake! Just be sure to be safe, and don’t forget to hydrate and drink plenty of water.
 
Now what are you waiting for? Pack that bag and enjoy that lakeside living! 

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Maltitol is a sugar alcohol that is used as a sugar substitute. This Buzzle write-up provides information on the properties of maltitol and side effects associated with its use.
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Buzzle: Health & Fitness

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When the weather is hot, the last thing I want to think about midday is nuking my food or turning up the stove. All seven of these no-heat lunches can be made in advance and enjoyed the next day at the office, since they’re easy to pack up and bring to work and they taste delicious straight from the fridge. See all the healthy goods on the menu, and make one of these easy and healthy options ASAP.

Source: Healthful Pursuit

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If your grandma had ever forced you to drink castor oil for stomach pain, you may want to run away from the very site of the bottle! But the oil is making a comeback as it has several uses and is easily available. This Buzzle article explains how the oil can improve your health and tells you the difference between regular and Jamaican black castor oil.
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Buzzle: Health & Fitness