Monthly Archives: February 2017

Stress – How Perceived Stress Vs Actual Stress Affects Your Health

Stress affects your health in a variety of ways, all negative. Without going into all the biochemical specifics, suffice it to say stress, perceived or actual, floods your body with powerful stress-related chemicals that would be very useful if you were literally fighting or running for your life, and are very health-destructive otherwise.

Effects Of Stress On The Body

  • Stress cause blood platelets to stick together, which raises blood pressure.
  • Stress causes your body to burn essential nutrients at a rapid rate, which can lead to nutrient deficiency leading to poor organ and gland function.
  • Stress interrupts digestion, which means food goes partially undigested and you get only a fraction of the nutrients from the food you would get otherwise.
  • Stress floods your system with homocystine and cortisol, which are linked to high blood pressure, heart disease and a tendency to gain weight.

Types Of Stress: Actual And Perceived

Actual stress, which is largely unavoidable, includes environmental stress such as air, water and noise pollution, and other environmental factors including extreme temperature, dangerous weather and so on.

Actual stress, which is fully avoidable, includes things like smoking, excessive drinking, a junk-food, fast-food, high-sugar, nutritionally deficient diet, lack of sleep, pushing yourself physically beyond your limits, and doing anything that obviously works against your health and well being.

Sources of psychological stress, most of which is avoidable or certainly capable of being modified, may include things like relationship issues with a spouse, child or anyone;  job-related issues; financial issues; self-esteem issues; goal and achievement related issues, personal integrity issues and so on.

When something happens that directly, physically impacts you, it is an ACTUAL stress.  Drinking polluted water, dropping a hammer on your foot, eating a bag of cookies and washing it down with a quart of sweet tea; these are sources of actual, real stress.

Perceived stress is not actual, perceived stress has to do with the story you tell yourself about what something means.  If your spouse runs late without calling, and you get all upset because you decide that means he or she is having an affair, then you upset yourself abut something that may or may not ever happen, and being upset about the thing you IMAGINE produces the SAME negative cascade of powerful stress-chemicals that flood your system as if an actual physical stress had occurred. 

Perceived Stress May Be More Health-Destructive Than Actual Stress

If you think about something that has not happened, and your thoughts upset you, the stress response to those imagined events is a REAL STRESSOR that affects your health.  This is how someone can use their mind to destroy their health, and while the stress is imagined, the damage is real.

A study published in The Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine reports that perceived stress is more destructive to your immune system response than actual stress.

Using blood samples taken over a 16-month period from study participants who had been vaccinated against meningitis C, researchers determined that people with high levels of PERCEIVED STRESS consistently measured fewer protective antibodies than all other groups.

Participants were divided into 3 groups;

1) Group one had Low ACTUAL Stress with no stress conditions beyond the ordinary. 2) Group two had High ACTUAL Stress with unusually high stressful circumstances. 3) Group three had High PERCEIVED Stress.  Most participants in group three had low to normal stress levels, however, they perceived their lives as being highly stressful.

The group with high-perceived stress frequently had very low actual stress.

The group with HIGH PERCEIVED STRESS tested 80% fewer protective antibodies in their blood than either of the other two groups.

Discussion: The message here is clear; there is a DIRECT and MEASURABLE connection between your immune system strength and the way your react to the world around you.

The most notable thing about this study is the clear distinction made between ACTUAL STRESS and PERCEIVED STRESS.

Several of the study participants experienced the loss of a parent during the 16-month study period.  By any standard, the death of a loved one is a highly stressful event, yet even those in this highest stress group had perfectly normal levels of protective antibodies.

Twenty seven percent of the participants reported high levels of perceived stress during the study and, to a person, this 27% had up to 80% fewer antibodies, even though in most cases, their ACTUAL stress was far less than other participants.

The message is clear.  If you think you are stressed you get the negative health consequences whether or not the stress is real.

How does perceived stress weaken your immune system?

When you feel stressed your brain produces a cascade of powerful bio-chemicals called neurotransmitters.  There are many different kinds of neurotransmitters, but the long and short of it is that stress related neurotransmitters can be HIGHLY DESTRUCTIVE to your health.

Constantly feeling stressed means you are constantly flooding your body with powerful chemicals that weaken your immune system and leave you more vulnerable to illness and disease.

Practical Application: The practical application of this information is obvious.  Take control of your emotions and never let little things, (or big things), get you down.

Stressful situations occur, but ACTUAL STRESS, stress that you recognize, deal with and move on, will not harm your health.

Monitor your feelings and emotions.  If something is bothering you, DEAL WITH IT.   Your health is too important to let things bother you for very long, and besides that, (to quote my dad), what difference will it make in a hundred years?  And to quote my wife, what difference will it make in an hour?

Remember this . . .

Stress-related bio-chemicals damage your health and those chemicals are made IN DIRECT RESPONSE TO YOUR PERCEPTIONS, not in response to the actual situation, and that means, simply controlling your response to things may go a long way to helping protect and preserve your health.

Remember, excellent health is a choice you can make, and you make that choice every day with your diet, nutrition and lifestyle decisions.  So learn everything you can… and choose wisely.

Internet Cookies – Are They Harmful?

Many people ask the question of whether cookies are harmful for their computers. The answer is generally no, but it is not nearly as straightforward as it sounds. While cookies are often stored in text files, only used to track information that is already provided to various websites, and are set to expire in short periods of time, they can be used for malicious purposes in certain instances. You will need to work with cookies – however, if you know when to delete them and when not to, you can still enjoy the conveniences they provide.

When Cookies are Good

Cookies are used by websites and browsers to store basic information about your Internet use. If you visit a pet store online and commonly look at cat products, the store will install a cookie that saves your preferences and tracks which pages you look at, not only telling the company what their customers are viewing, but giving you targeted results on the front page.

Additionally, browsers use cookies to store login information that you may not want to enter repeatedly. If you ever click the “save password” button below a login form, you are installing a cookie on your computer that will automatically insert your password into the fields. For those with multiple logins, this can be convenient and time saving.

In addition, bulky information such as IP addresses and browser preferences for a website can be stored in a cookie, saving time when loading a website you often visit. Generally, cookies are used as a shortcut to load information that you have already provided to a website, presenting no security risk on well known, established websites.

When Cookies are Bad

It is on websites that are not well known and established that cookies may become a concern. Because they can be installed without your knowledge, cookies can be installed by a third party from a website that is less than desirable. If you enter login information on a website that installs a cookie on your computer for malicious purposes, that individual can then take the information stored in that cookie and try to use it to steal other pieces of your information. This is easily solved in most cases by setting a higher security level for cookies, requiring that the browser ask you before saving any cookies to your browser or hard drive.

Another possible way in which cookies can negatively affect your computer is when they are stored on your hard drive for too long. Generally, the information there is safe because it is non-executable text files. However, if malware or spyware is installed on your computer, it may be possible for it to access those cookies and start retrieving your login, email, and personal information and sending it back to whomever installed the spyware.

Being Safe with Cookies

Cookies are necessary to run an Internet browser. They make it possible to visit most websites and can actually speed up and make your browsing experience safer. To feel more at ease and safer with them on your computer, you should set your browser to delete cookies on a more regular basis. Some may save up to 30 or 60 days automatically. With a third party privacy tool or by setting the browser to delete them every day, you can remove them from your hard drive before anyone can access and use your information. In combination with a good spyware removal tool and sensible browsing habits, you can overcome the possible negative effects that cookies might have on you and your PC’s privacy.

Brown Rice and Brownie Points for Health

When you see a weight-conscious person or a diabetic turning away reluctantly from a ladle of rice, you can’t help but sigh with sympathy. After all, rice has the unfortunate reputation of being on the other side of health.

However, modern lifestyles and improved information about food categories, sourcing, processing, and distribution have enabled us to make smarter and not-so-harder choices.

Take the case of brown rice. When you shop for a reliably-organic and health-oriented brown rice, you make an informed decision about going for something that works better than other rice forms for its variety of factors. It has a lower glycemic index than many others to start with, which makes it a better choice for those concerned with glucose and carbohydrate levels.

Since brown rice is mostly constituted of both the bran and germ along with the endosperm part of the grain, its fibre component and therefore the health advantage goes up a notch. Its nutrition value is better and being a slow carb or a complex carbohydrate allows it to make sure that when you eat it the sugar levels will not spike immediately.

It is also a relatively slowly-digestible form of rice, so it helps with other fitness concerns. The presence of adequate fibre, as well as minerals like magnesium, selenium, manganese assigns many other health points to this category. When it is hand-pounded, like in the case of sonamasuri raw rice, the richness and organic impact rise manifold. Other rice forms come from rice mills and hence their chemical component is higher for obvious reasons.

It is encouraging to see growing adoption of both organic brown and sonamasuri white rice in the culinary communities of India. The ease with which a varied range of preparations can be also be made, makes it stand equally high on taste as it does on the health plank.

Because of its processing specifics, and organic growth, the nutrients are kept intact in a richer and a more absorbable form. The presence of cholesterol and Trans fat is also notably low in this group. Further, the difference in prices when one compares the medium/short grain variety to a basmati variety makes for an extra factor for this choice.

It is very easy to use and often experts recommend soaking this rice for a few hours to ensure good cooking and to get the desired taste. The absence of stickiness and difference in softness as compared to a long grain are also worth noting. The taste and texture of this rice may vary considerably and hence it would be advisable to allow oneself some time before getting used to its consumption.

However, experts recommend shopping in reasonable quantities as brown rice may have a smaller shelf or storage value than its precedents. One can refrain from buying in bulk.

One can also find a number of new recipes that are now possible with brown rice and organic varieties of rice.

Now, even a health-wary person can walk towards a pot of rice without guilt or worry. Rice when grown organically, processed for nutrition maximization and cooked in the right way is as much of a healthy food as the other alternatives out there. Just make sure that the next time you think rice, you have all the information and alternatives before you buy or cook something from what your habit dictates.

Join the organic food revolution and be a part of a new tribe that is spreading health, fitness, and longevity in the world. Welcome to the revolution.

How Long Does It Take For No Bake Cookies To Set?

I made a batch of no bake chocolate oatmeal cookies and they didn’t set. I ended up with lumps of gooey mess.

Does this sound familiar?

Although most no bake cookie recipes are fairly easy, it is important to follow the recipe, specifically for the amounts of ingredients and the cooking time. When a recipe says ‘boil’ it means that the mixture should have rolling bubbles for the recommended time. Because we are so used to bringing food to the boil and then simmering it, many no bake cookies fail if you turn the heat to simmer before it has boiled long enough.

Another reason for the failure of no bake recipes occurs when ingredients are left out yet other ingredients are not increased. It’s all about volume. For example, if a recipe calls for 8 ounces of milk, but you only have 4, your mix will be to dry to set and may end up being a crumbled mess. The missing 4 ounces of liquid needs to be made up with another liquid, such as water, or, juice.

It’s perfectly acceptable to reduce, or, avoid, ingredients you don’t like, but unless you also cut down the same proportions with the other ingredients, you may run into problems. So, if you want to reduce the amount of oats by 1/2 cup, try making up the volume with 1/2 cup of cereal and your cookies will turn out just fine.

Not letting your cookies set for the recommended time can also lead to failure. Even though you have made a fabulous batch of cookies, if they don’t get enough time to set firmly, they will fall apart. Some cookies can be ready to eat in as little as 30 minutes while others require an hour or two before they are ready to eat. It’s hard to leave cookies to sit when they look good enough to eat, however, it’s the difference between eating a perfect cookie and having a handful of goo or crumbs.

Swasthavritta – The Preventive Therapy in Ayurveda and Its Relevance in the Present Era

The word swastha means calm or unperturbed by diseases or emotions. Vrtha means observation of rules. So swastavrtha is observation of the rules for a healthy life.

Each scientific discipline has its one basic aim and ways. The science of ayurveda is one that is intended to give instructions for protecting and preserving ayu or life. But is can not be taken simply as one that give instructions for treatment alone.

Generally speaking, ayurveda has two sections – swasthavrtha (regimen for a healthy life) and athuravrtha (on the studying of diseases and treatment). That is ayurveda give more stress on the importance of prevention of diseases – on prophylaxis. Swasthavrtha is the section which expounds on the necessary observance for preserving a healthy life. Athuravrtha is a section which presents remedial measures when diseases attach us.

Since we are today facing with the problem of meeting with so many new diseases, the necessity of awakening the people to be conscious of their own way of life, is more. Hence the guideline of ayurveda as presented in the form of instructions on swasthavrtha is very useful and hence more relevant to the times.

Now, we have before us the Alma-ata declarations of the World Health Organization (WHO); the essence of which is the insistence on the cooperative activity of various medical systems so as to bring to utilization of the facilities of all of them as per the suitability regarding the time and place. Since the health problems of the present times is so varied and complex, which can not be tackled by the efforts of any one single systems alone, however advanced it may be.

If we have to work out this plan for such utilization, we must have a clear knowledge of the fundamental approach of each of these systems, their aims and meaning and methods of their treatment techniques. We have also to endeavor to improve them by modernizing them but without giving a chance to shed away any of their basic qualities in the light of new knowledge promoted by advanced systems. Now it is to be noted that the up to date researches now going on in the advanced fields of modern science has proved to be a justification of the approaches of the old medical systems and aimed at developing new perceptions and new techniques for investigation, research and treatment methods.

Generally the term sastra in sanskrit is translated as science in western vocabulary. But the aim of the approach to the old sasthra towards men and universe, and the motivation of the new sciences that took shape and flourished along with the developments of the industrial era are directed towards two aspects. Of course they are not opposed to each other. The sastra stand for presenting precise instructions on what we have to do and not to do for the promotion for our progress in material and spiritual fields as to have freedom from diseases and a secure life of happiness. The word sastra means that which is commanded. Here the topic of discussion is concerned with the relationship of man and universe. How the acts of men and the changes of nature are interrelated and what are to be done to correct the aims and ways (methods) of our actions to make them orderly.

Here in this approach the knowledge of the basic structure and changes of the universe is essential. But that study has to depend primarily on the nature of the reactions to actions. The science that advanced in the industrial period had tried to study and promote science with the interest and outlook of a consumer. Study of nature by analysis was done with the intention of examining them structurally. So the material particulars taken from them can be used for producing commodities that can increase material amenities and pleasures and for luxurious life. So the term Exploration of nature had come in do vogue.

But the outlooks of the old medical systems as the hypocatic medicine of Europe (Grease) the traditional medical systems of Egypt, India, China etc are all based and developed with the former out look. While the Europine medicine that advanced later has progressed with the later outlook (industrial out look) of course. By adopting such an outlook they could make a major advance also. Because this science provided immense help to improve the number and quality of medicine for treatment and also the instruments the location and their environment. The successes gained in controlling and conquering the epimimics of infectious diseases is no doubt a great boon for the world. The advancement gained in the field of surgery is also impressive. But some serious omission and weaknesses also were noticed.

It is true that the developments of the branches of sciences as physics, chemistry and others (inert sciences) helped to produce articles and conveniences for the luxurious pleasure seeking life of people. But the study of man who has to make use of these articles of enjoyment was not promoted. The main reasons for the unprecedented spread of serious, even lethal diseases, as degenerative diseases, diseases due to mental stress and other stresses, is realized as due to the failure of science in helping citizens on the necessity of carrying life without alienating themselves from nature and society.

Realizing this, today modern, western, scientists also are now on the way of rethreading; understanding the importance of the old out look of the sasthras which give weight on the importance of the relationship of man with the universe. So they also are know proceeding with research activities, giving prominent to such old out look.

According to Ayurveda body and mind are an inseparable integral whole, related and responding to the environment mental diseases affects the body also and physical diseases the mind too. Mind and body are therefore taken only as two seats of disease as the purity of the body makes the mind also pure. So man with a pure mind only is healthy is equally true.

Since ayurvedic concepts are based n functions it insistences is that maintenance of health of mind and body is possible only is we realize that it is primarily dependable on our way of life. It is that which is not properly responsive to the environment that becomes the cause of disease. When we speak of environment we mean two types of environment nature is ever changing as daytime can be distinguished as of three periods so night also. Day has dawn noon time and evening as three periods. Night also has dusk, mid night, and termination period of night. These diurnal changes influenced our body and mind. Our physical activities and mental moods also.

Similarly the stages of age as childhood, youth, and old age, also create differences in the nature of our responses. When take food the reactions inside the body, at the beginning stage of digestion at its middle stage and end stage are different, when the season change. There are corresponding changes in the body responses also. Our internal conditions and function also undergo changes when we are affected with emotions of happiness, sorrow, anger etc. It is known that the food taken in, when accepts by passions does not digests easily and properly. So if we do not adopt our ways of life our life also to accord with the changing natural environment.

The irreconcilable conditions upset the internal balance of the body also. Then the natural activities of the body intended for nutrition, elimination of unwanted wastes, and similar once of a self-protective nature are upset. In these condition of increased wastes and impurities in the body impairing the internal functions create diseases. So in order to avoid the occurrence of diseases the main attention is to be paid for critical examination of the study of our environment and our waste of life for correcting the anomalies ourselves. All ayurvedic texts start with advices for following a course of life which is in harmony with nature, set up with due understanding of nature and the society in which we life. What are the protective steps or duties to be performed on all days and as per the changes in different climates in the alternatives to be made in the menu and other routine the precautionary duty to be performed to avert diseases and similar topics are given preference in these texts. But here what is worthy of special attention is the insistence given on performing the moral duties, which is deemed absolutely essential for a reconciled harmonious life with the society in which we live. These are instructions for a disciplined life governed by rules of self control. For the affliction of diseases can be avoided only if we proceed with self control. Being aware of the changing conditions of times and guided by rules to harmonize the activities of our sensory and motor organs and mind with self control and understandings.

Here insistence is on the importance of prevention of diseases. It is racer wiser than treating a diseases after allowing it to occur. The cause for all disease is the violation of these rules of conducts.

How we have to manage life properly as per the changing times is the theme more orderly discussed by ayurvedic preceptors what is presented in Ashtangahrdaya of Vaghbata is one that deserves our main attention.

Diseases never affect any one who is careful in dietetics matters and behaviours and carried a nature controlled and thoughtful action, owns a mind which does not become slavish to passion one who cherishes a selfless noble generous nature, truthfulness, patience and firm wisdom. Such a person is not affected with any disease.