5 Reasons You Maybe Losing Quality Sleep

Do you think that you sleep well enough at night? Chances are, if you are reading this right now, you suspect that you aren’t sleeping as well as you would like. But worry not, as there are simple things you can change tonight that will greatly improve your quality of sleep. While overall amount of sleep is important, it is equally important that your time asleep be truly restorative.

Itching to find out some hidden sleep traps that are possibly affecting the quality of yours? Then let’s check them out!

Not Sleeping In The Dark

The number of people sleeping with the lights on has consistently increased, with their reasons ranging from one thing to another. However, what often coincides with this exposure to light is disruption of your body’s natural circadian rhythm. In the dark, the neurotransmitter/hormone melatonin is produced, which promotes deep restful sleep.

However, artificial exposure to light breaks down this chemical, so that you are not truly experiencing the restorative effects of deep sleep. The simple fix to this is to ensure you sleep in a room as dark as possible. You should notice a difference in the way your body feels following a week of good sleep.

Sounds Wake You Often

Let’s say that your room is perfectly dark, but you are still tossing and turning due to the tiniest annoying noise. Let’s just say true silence is deafening. What can be done about that? Obviously sound proofing is a viable option, but there is one thing that is superior to that. Introducing white noise- a controlled, consistent low “hum” that tends to drown out other minor nuisances.

Take for example a fan running in the room. It is not noisy enough to be acutely annoying, but is still soothing with its ever present whirring. There also exist specialized white noise machines, which can mimic sounds such as rain, or waves gently crashing on the shoreline. This can contribute to a truly serene sleep experience.

Eating Too Much Before Bed

Those it might sound straightforward that eating too close to bedtime is a bad plan, a staggeringly large number of people still do so religiously, night after night. This poses a problem for a couple reasons.

Firstly, eating a large meal causes food to rest on your stomach for a longer time, which can cause discomfort and inability to sleep.
Secondly, with food in your stomach, the likelihood of experiencing reflux is much higher when you lay down. Many people experience nocturnal acid reflux, which can be serious if inhaled into the lungs unconsciously.

Consuming Stimulants Too Late Into The Day

Most of us drink some sort of stimulant based beverage during the day, whether that be coffee, tea or something of the sort. These are generally accepted to be safe, but can be troublesome when taken too late in the day. While caffeine is common in many of them, it does take about 4 hours to be completed eliminated by the body. So, if you go to be at 10PM every night, stay clear of 6PM if you must have one last booster.

Your Mattress Is Sub-par

When a bout of sleeplessness ensues, the first thing people seem to turn to is some sort of sleep aid. While there are good and bad sleep aids, other avenues should be explored first. Your mattress is one such avenue. If you’ve had your mattress for more than a few years, chances are it’s less efficient than it was yesterday. Springs go out of place, sponge sinks in and bed bugs accumulate- making sleep less restorative and instead a nightly battle.

Comfort Food Alert: Mary’s Magical Mexican Cornbread

Glover Gardens

A friend posted a picture of his Mom’s Mexican cornbread on Facebook, and started something. Dave’s peeps (including me) took notice of this good-lookin’ comfort food, with loads of comments, like:

That looks heavenly ~ I’ll be right over ~ Can almost smell it from here ~ Moms make the best food because they really don’t want us to move out!

fullsizeoutput_166d Doesn’t that meat-studded cornbread in a cast-iron skillet just call out: “Comfort Food! You need this now!” photo credit to Dave Smith

So of course I begged for the recipe. And lucky for all of us, Dave’s Mom shared! We decided on Mary’s Mexican Cornbread as its moniker. But now that I’ve made it, I’ve changed it to Mary’s Magical Mexican Cornbread. Why? Well, I’ve had lots of really good Mexican cornbread in my day, but never one with meat in it. The ground beef is added as a filling between two layers…

View original post 768 more words

What Makes it Whole 

 

If you are just learning about the whole foods lifestyle, it might seem a bit confusing. Like many people, you have likely had healthy foods in the past that you are no longer able to eat. The first thing you should know is that you are not alone. Many people have been in your shoes. It is downright hard to start this journey and then realize that you have to adjust to a completely new way of eating. And it can be even harder when you have been thinking that you were making healthy choices for yourself and your family all of this time only to realize now that you were not.

For example, you can go into almost any grocery store and find vegan frozen meals. Sure, these meals look healthy from the surface. Many times they promote vegetables and have all of the right ‘healthy words’ on the box. What’s even more confusing is that these foods can also be found in your local health food store, the one place where you would expect to find truly healthy products.

If you are starting on your whole food journey, you don’t need all of that frustration. Instead, you just need to follow a few simple guidelines to determine if something is whole or not. Once you have these rules memorized you will easily be able to go through your grocery store and pick the foods that are truly healthy for your body.

The first rule is to always buy organic. This is a bit more expensive and is usually one of the hardest things for new whole food eaters to wrap their minds around. The reason is because we are always taught that fruits and vegetables are good for us, it wasn’t until the last few decades when people started making a fuss about eating organic. But in truth, whatever cost you spend on eating organic will be well worth it in the long run. When you are not eating organic you are often exposing yourself to a variety of chemicals that are used to ‘beef up’ and preserve those fruits and vegetables. Add that to the fact that you have no way of knowing exactly what has been done with the food that you are choosing, and eating organic becomes a whole lot more important.

If you are a meat eater, you want to be sure that you are choosing grass fed meat. Like with organic foods, when you are eating grass fed meat you are eating meat that has to be treated a certain way. From humane treatment to the way they are fed, grass fed meat tends to have a better life and be better for you. Additionally, it is important to remember that we are technically eating whatever our meat has eaten, so if your meat is not being fed properly you will be impacted by that.

The third rule is to look for foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. While this doesn’t mean that you have to forage through the woods, it does mean that you should be reading labels whenever possible and looking for foods from online sources like ‘Primal Kitchen’ and ‘Thrive’, or foods approved by the Whole30 program.Remember, even if you aren’t following a Whole30 program, Whole30 followers have strict rules about what they can and cannot eat. And if you ever have any questions on your whole food path, it is better to err on the side of caution.

Even though this journey may seem a bit confusing now, with a little time it will all start to become second nature. Yes, in the beginning you may feel like you are spending a lot of time looking for recipes and finding supplies in the grocery store, but over time you will have a ‘go to’ list of things that will be easy for you to use.

 

What Kind of Whole Are You? 

 

There’s something wonderful about eating whole foods. Knowing that you are eating foods that are fresh from nature and as close to their natural state as possible is a very rewarding thing. Not only do you know that you are doing .something good for your health in the moment, but you also know that you are making food choices that are going to help you to heal your body from any lingering effects that it might have from poor past food choices.

But there is one thing that you need to know before you begin your whole journey, and it is crucial for your whole eating success. You need to make the decision about what kind of whole food path you want to take.

With most diets, you begin your eating journey with a clear set of rules that you have to follow. You know right out of the gate what you can and cannot have and you are easily able to find new recipes with a quick Google search. So let’s say that you have decided to follow a paleo diet. A simple Google search of paleo recipes will give you a lot of options that you are safe to eat. Sure, you will still have to do your due diligence to be sure that the recipe truly follows your paleo lifestyle, but other than that you will have nothing else to worry about and you can easily find your fill of recipes this way.

But when it comes to eating whole, things aren’t always so simple. There are many variations to the whole food lifestyle, but the basically it can be broken down into three categories. You are either a whole food meat eater, a whole food plant based eater, or a a whole food clean eater.

Whole Food Meat Eater – Essentially, this follows the same guidelines as the paleo diet. You will not be eating any grains or anything that is processed. But if you are doing a program such as the Whole30 you will have a few more restrictions. For example, the Whole30 does not promote making any desserts, even healthy desserts, while on the program. However, a meat eater who is not part of the Whole30 program will be able to find paleo donuts, paleo brownies, and other paleo treats to eat.

Whole Food Plant Based Eater – Unlike the whole food meat eater, if you are eating plant based then you will be relying heavily on grains while avoiding meat. The popular ‘Forks Over Knives’ movement would fall into this category.

Whole Food Clean Eaters – This is a group of people who are dedicated to eating foods that are healthy and not processed, but typically these people will allow themselves to eat both grains and meat. If you are unsure where to start with your whole journey, this is typically the best place as you will be able to start healing your body from the inside out while figuring out which foods work best for you.

Even though your journey into a Whole Food life will be an amazing one, it is important that you choose your path before you start. This way there won’t be any confusion for you down the road and you are more likely to stick with the path that you have chosen.

 

 

What are the Benefits of Eating More Fiber?

 

It’s advertised on cereal boxes, bread and other foods, and it’s something we’re always trying to eat more of on a regular basis, but how many of us really understand what’s so great about eating more fiber?

It helps you to have regular bowel movements
Constipation is a huge problem for many people, and even those who eat a good diet often aren’t exempt from this problem. Adding more fiber to your diet will help to stabilize your bowel movements and make it much easier to go to the toilet regularly. Apart from discomfort, constipation can cause many problems within your body. Not only will your digestive system not work as effectively as it could, but you could end up developing hernias and other painful issues.

It helps to achieve a healthy weight
If you’re trying to lose weight or maintain your current weight, adding extra fiber to an already-balanced diet can really help you to reach your goals. Apart from losing weight, you’ll also feel less bloated and more energetic throughout the day, which will encourage you to continue eating healthier and will also provide you with the energy that you need to work out and exercise.

It lowers cholesterol
High cholesterol can be extremely dangerous, and people often don’t take it seriously because of how common it is and how many people suffer from it around the world, particularly in the West. A poor diet is usually the cause of high cholesterol, and if it’s left untreated for a long time, your arteries can become blocked and clogged, causing you to suffer from heart disease and other serious problems. Fiber helps to lower your cholesterol and maintain a healthy cholesterol level, thus preventing future health issues.

It helps to maintain blood sugar levels
While retaining blood sugar levels, it also helps with either improving or preventing diseases such as diabetes. Type 2 diabetes often develops in older people, especially if they are overweight or have had a diet of sugars and fat for most of their lives. Adding fiber to your diet while you’re young and eating it as part of a healthy and balanced diet can help to prevent the development of diabetes later in your life. If you are middle-aged and worried about developing diabetes, you can add fiber as one of the precautionary measures to try and prevent it from developing in the near future.