Saving My Mental Health From Fad Diets

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I come from a long line of thick women. And when I say thick, I mean thiccc. Whenever we went shopping, we never stayed around the store’s front sections, where sizes 0 to 12 were located. Instead, we would go straight to the back where the plus-size section was. Even in middle school, I was already a size 14, while my mother and sisters ranged from sizes 16 to 18.

Given that my family members had always been thick, you would think that I was already used to it. However, I was not always at home – ever since I started going to school, I had been surrounded by average-sized kids who called me everything from “fatty” to “porky” to “beluga.” Some would go as far as yelling, “Hey, Jane! How many of our clothes do you think you would need to make one shirt?” Others would sit down and cover their heads in the hallways when I was passing – just like you would do during a drill – and someone would say, “The earth shaker is walking!” 

If you have never been the subject of much ridicule, I could tell you now how hurtful that was. Of course, I would not give those kids the satisfaction of seeing how much they affected me, so I would always act like I did not see or hear anything. But once I closed the door of a bathroom stall, the waterworks would start. Throughout middle school, I could only count the number of times when I did not cry once a day. 

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The turning point in my life was when I became a junior in high school, and it was time for the prom. Many girls in my class had already been asked out by senior guys on the first week of its announcement, but I still hoped that someone – anyone – would take a glimpse of me and think, “Hmm, I should ask Jane to go to the prom with me.” And so I waited. And waited.

On the prom day, the teachers gave us half the day off to prepare for the event. I thought of sticking around the school a little bit, still hoping to get asked out. When I went into the bathroom to pee, I heard a couple of girls from another class talking about me. 

One of them said, “Poor Jane. No one wanted to take her to prom.”

Her friend replied, “Who would want to bring a bus to the prom?”

As both of them laughed, I cried in the cubicle silently. 

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Paying Attention To Fad Diets

I went home that day, unable to hide my tears from my mother. When she found out what happened, she wanted to go to school and hunt all the bullied. I tried to tell her not to bother because everyone was a suspect, but I just uttered, “Please help me lose weight instead, Mom.”

Out of pity for her youngest daughter, Mom let me look for a diet program and promised to cook whatever it asked for.

The first thing I tried was the four-phased Dukan diet, which became popular in 2013. According to a book about it, it was “in” among the French people. So, I followed the rule of eating only protein in the first week, protein and vegetables in the second week, fruits and bread in the third week, and anything except for too many carbohydrates in the fourth week. But this diet did not work because of the high level of imbalance among the food groups.

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I also tried a gluten-free diet, even though I did not have Celiac disease or any condition that required me to get rid of gluten in my life. Mom began baking bread and pastries using different flour types to support my weight-loss goal, but my efforts were still futile as it made me crave other junk foods.

During the summer, I jumped into the liquid diet. I genuinely thought it would work better than the others because I would not eat solid foods for an entire week. Unfortunately, two days into the program, and my body could not take it anymore. My mother had to bring me to the doctor, who scolded us for letting me follow a fad diet.

Saving Myself From Fad Diets

I fell asleep as soon as we got home from the doctor that day. When I woke up the next day, I was surprised to see my entire family around the breakfast table, waiting for me. It turned out that they wanted to stage an intervention for me.

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No one blamed me for wanting to lose weight, but they said that it was time for me to embrace my plus-size body. My eyes got misty when Dad said, “So what if those guys cannot appreciate you now? Those are mere boys – you will find a real man when you are older, and he will love everything about you.”

Ever since then, I stopped looking for fad diets to try. I eventually hit the gym and lost ten pounds of fat, but I was still and forever will have a thick, curvy body. And I am more than okay with it.


Incorporating Herbs And Spices Into Your Family Dinners

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A few years back, I, too, was among those who hated to eat food that had a smell of spice or herb into it. I just thought that it was destroying the natural flavor of my diet. But when a friend introduced me to this wonderful blend of scents and flavors from the spices that she was incorporating into the food she prepares for her family, I began to love everything about them. And that was when I was determined to make it a habit of teaching my husband and children about the many benefits of herbs and spices to our minds and bodies.

I started opening this up to them by telling them about a certain study that I read. It said that consuming foods that are rich in spices and herbs decreases the tendency of the body to respond to foods that are high in fat content. In that particular study, the experimental group that ate food with a few tablespoons of herbs and spices – including oregano, turmeric, rosemary, black pepper, paprika, and garlic powder – has at least a 30% of reduction in fat content levels in their blood compared to those who had the same meals without the herbs and spices. It also revealed a 13%-increase in their antioxidant levels in their blood, which showed a tremendously positive effect considering the relatively small addition to the meals.

While I was telling them this, I, myself, was amazed by the information I was reading out loud. My husband was almost convinced right then and there that we should try doing this in our meals. I further read to them that herbs and spices are what they often call antioxidant powerhouses. Would you believe me when I say that just a teaspoon of cinnamon powder can equal the number of antioxidants that are found in one-half cup of blueberries? Or that a tablespoon of oregano contains the same number of antioxidants as a cup of sweet potatoes? That is astounding, considering that you only need to mix it into your daily meals and don’t have much trouble in doing so! Plus, they add taste, aroma, and color to every dish that you make for your family.

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From then on, I did just that. I add a dash of white pepper to our morning eggs or a teaspoon of cinnamon to the kids’ cereals. I add them to just about anything that I cook. Here are some of the herbs and spices and some ways that you can use them for.

Allspice. Allspice can be bought ground or whole, although you will often find it in stores packed ground. Like cinnamon and nutmeg, it can be mixed with sweet or savory meals. It can do wonders when you mix it with a beef recipe, like stew or steak. And mind you, it is also great with fruit puddings, just as I did when I made apple muffins. This spice is quite strong compared to the others, so you might want to start with a dash first, and then get a taste of what you’re cooking so you’ll know how much more you’ll need.

Basil. I so loooove basil! I use it in almost all my pasta recipes, and my kids have learned to love its taste and smell as well. I usually use the dried basil, as it is a lot cheaper than the fresh ones. I’m now trying to grow them in my garden with the hopes that I will be the green thumb that I’ve always dreamed of and so I can use as much basil as I want. I’ll know for sure in the weeks to come. Anyway, basil is great with cheeses and tomatoes. It is a popular ingredient that is used in pesto, which is a staple in Asian and Mediterranean recipes. My family loves it when I add a lot of basil in my baked pork ribs, especially when it’s basted with extra (and extra) butter.

Cardamom. This herb has a strong spicy yet sweet flavor. It’s very aromatic, and those who love it, including me, agree that simply smelling cardamom feels like eating a bowl of your familiar comfort food. Unfortunately, my children don’t like it as much as I do, so I limit my use of it, as it can come really strong when it’s mixed with the simplest kinds of food. Cardamom is an Indian staple and is used in curries, baked goods, and even in tea. An Indian friend of mine prepared kheer for me. It is an Indian rice pudding, and it was the most delicious rice pudding I’ve ever tasted.

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Peppers. Red, black, and white pepper, I believe, are something that our family cannot live without. They are in almost everything that we eat – from meals to snacks and even down to the shakes and teas that we have. Peppers are the most commonly used spices in the world because they are full of flavor and add fragrance and beauty to every recipe. My pork, chicken, beef, and fish recipes are all loaded with black peppercorns that not only increase our appetite but also boost our immune system. Our soups are not complete without a few dashes of white pepper to add a kick to the flavors. They are just among the things that I must have in the kitchen.

How about you? Do you love herbs and spices? Do you have a great herb and spice story? Why don’t you share it with us?


Multivitamins To Prevent Coronavirus

There have been concerns about staying healthy with so many people choosing to stay home during this Coronavirus crisis. Individuals are now moving less because there is not much physical activity available at home compared to daily school and work routines. Some do not go to the gym, and may not be keeping up with healthy habits due to stress and anxiety. With all these pandemic factors, how can supplements help individuals? Let us try and understand how multivitamins work.

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Vitamins And Its Function

What people want to do right now is to keep their health intact. It is essential to give it all the nutrients it needs to optimally boost the function of the immune system. With that, it is essential to start eating a wide variety of produce instead of processed ones because they have nutrients and minerals and abundant carbohydrates that help balance the immune system. But what about multivitamins?

Multivitamins or supplement is a tricky thing to address sometimes. Vitamins are compounds people need to ingest to promote overall health. It is the body’s defender and builder that properly make use of nutrients for energy and brain development. Some, like many of them, the best vitamin is vitamin C. It helps in building collagen that helps promote healthy teeth and bones. It also helps in fighting infectious diseases.

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Are Multivitamins Good For You?

Most of the time, it is entirely an individual’s choice to take it or not because many things need considerations. These include a person’s medical problems and its history. And even the medical prescriptions one is already taking can entirely play a role. However, in general, if a person believes he needs to take some multivitamins or want to try something for their health without even consulting a medical expert, that is okay.

A multivitamin once a day is not going to cause harm nor put someone’s life in danger. Multivitamins, however, are not regulated by the government. Therefore, an individual should require additional information on what types or brands to take in particular. And if a person is not sure about what to choose, that is the time they might want to consult with a physician.

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There are tons of multivitamins to choose from to help boost the body’s immune system. The reason to take multivitamins is to prevent vitamin deficiencies. However, taking supplements when the body doesn’t entirely need it can somehow cause a significant problem. That is because multivitamins contain more than the recommended dietary allowance (RDA). There is only a maximum amount of nutrients that the body can take. Therefore, taking too many supplements can damage the immune systems estimated nutrient requirements, making it weak instead of becoming healthy.

Again, since there are different types of multivitamins that contain more than the required RDA, it doesn’t guarantee a health upgrade. Individuals regularly taking supplements might be digesting and absorbing it all. Thus, it leads to the problem of the body taking megadoses of vitamins, which eventually causes internal toxicity and other health complications.

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So even though the body needs multivitamins to survive, taking it frequently doesn’t guarantee the best results. Therefore, there is no need to overload the body because it is generally well-stocked with enough nutrients from the food we eat. It is essential to note that supplements may boost the immune system, but it doesn’t replace the nutrients one can get from eating a healthy and balanced diet. In some unfortunate instances, it can even be harmful when an individual overdo it. Therefore, the key to keeping one’s health is not only dependent on supplements alone.


Importance Of Taking Supplements In This Pandemic Situation

Aside from disinfection and social distancing, one of the best measures you have to do is secure your health. You need to be physically, emotionally, and mentally fit to have a chance to stand the test of the COVID-19 virus. Let’s say you get all the right amount of sleep and allow yourself to get hydrated. Do you think that’s enough? Of course, not. Even if you feed your body fruits and vegetables every meal and exercise regularly, it is not enough. No matter how healthy you think your lifestyle is, there is no assurance that you get all the vitamins and nutrients you need every day. That is why it is essential to take supplements, especially now that there’s the necessity of requiring you to be healthy.

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Why Should You Take Nutritional Supplements?

To Fill Nutritional Gap – With all the things that keep you busy every day, you do not get a chance to complete a healthy routine. And no matter how much you try and fit everything in your plan, poor appetite can have a massive effect. Supplements intend to bridge the nutritional gap since your food consumption needs are changing continuously. Taking a prescribed amount will help you maintain a proper balance of vitamins and minerals. Food supplementation enhances your daily dose of nutritional density and allows you to get all the benefits you should from your dietary needs.

To Avoid Harmful Chemicals – Coronavirus is a deadly disease that weakens the immune system. So imagine if your body contains a lot of harmful chemicals in it. Yes, it allows the virus to penetrate deeply within each cell because the immune system is incapable of protecting itself from the damage. But with supplements, you can have a chance to fight those harmful radicals. It contains antioxidants that increase the immune system’s need for extra vitamins and minerals.

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To Deal With Poor Eating Habits – Disclaimer: Nutritional supplements are not health medicines that fight diseases. However, these can help prevent the damage of an individual’s poor eating habits are causing to the body. With all the excessive and erratic eating of unhealthy food, supplements contribute an internal change in the extraction of nutrients from what people are supposed to eat. No, supplementation cannot substitute a poor and unhealthy diet. However, it can help in eliminating unwanted substances in the body to process better digestion.

To Support Nutrient-Needs For Exercising – We all know that exercising is one of the best ways to keep our systems healthy. However, working out requires a lot of energy. And as you exercise, the body is taking too much of it. No, replenishing it with water is not enough because it only supplies they need for dehydration. To fuel up your energy levels, you need to get a proper amount of vitamins and minerals to take care of the ones you lose during an intense workout. Honestly, there are lots of exercise supplements that you can choose depending on your preference. Just do not forget to take the right amount.

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To Prevent Health Issues – The primary reason why you should take supplements is to avoid unnecessary health issues. You might not notice it, but the more you age, the lesser absorption you get from the food you eat. That is because the digestive enzymes that break down food in the body decline over time. Meaning, your body will soon reach its limit in nutrient absorption. Therefore, you can only expect it to gather not-so-enough nutrients to keep you going. In some unfortunate situations, you might also suffer nutritional deficiencies due to medications. Though taking supplements will not stop the digestive depletion, at least it can restore the imbalance of vitamin and mineral distribution.