Is Sugar Toxic?
Just take a moment to realize how often you consume sugar.
You add sugar to your morning cup of tea or coffee. You add it to your fruit or oatmeal to give it that “flavor.” How about the sugar that you consume without even realizing in ketchup, sodas, and candy?
Many experts say that sugar is one of the most harmful substances we can ingest. Take a look at western culture, where obesity and diabetes are on the rise. According to the American Heart Association, the limit for added sugar should be no more than six teaspoons of sugar for women and nine teaspoons for men (1) (One teaspoon is 5g). In the United States, the average person consumes more than 126 grams of sugar per day (2)!
What is sugar?
Sucrose is the scientific name for sugar. Sucrose is naturally made by plants, through photosynthesis. During the refining process, we remove the sugary sap from the plants to produce that beautiful white, crystal, sweet sugar. The sucrose molecule is made up of two parts: glucose and fructose. For this blog post, we will focus on fructose.
Glucose comes from starches like potatoes, rice, and bread. Every cell on the planet has glucose in it. It’s vital to us. Glucose is the primary source of fuel for every cell in your body. On the other hand, fructose is not needed. Fructose can only be metabolized in the liver; any excess is converted into fat, which is then stored in the liver (3). A prevalent form of fructose is high fructose corn syrup.
What does sugar do to our bodies?
We know that the average western diet brims with excess sugar and that we are overloading our bodies with it. The bad news is that our body is not made to process excessive amounts of sugar, especially in the form of fructose. Here’s what you get when you consume too much sugar:
Zero nutritional value
Added sugar is empty calories. I’m sure you’ve heard it a hundred times, but it’s worth repeating. There are no nutrients – like proteins, vitamins, and minerals – in sugar that are needed by the human body. Feeling fatigued? Maybe you’re nutrient-deficient and need more iron.
A damaged liver
Overconsumption of excess sugar or fructose produces effects much like those of excess alcohol consumption. When fructose is not used up, the liver turns it into fat in the form of cholesterol. Over a prolonged time, this leads to Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (4). Studies show that individuals with this condition consume 2-3 times as much fructose as the average person (5).
Fructose doesn’t stimulate the body’s appetite-control hormone, so it fails to excite insulin, which turns off ghrelin, the “hunger hormone.” This has a domino effect that fails to stimulate the production of leptin, the “starvation hormone.”
The bottom line is that different foods have different effects on our brains, which control our hunger and the number of calories we consume (6).
Type II diabetes
Consistently high levels of blood sugar make our pancreas work harder to produce insulin. Eventually, the pancreas can’t keep up with the demand; the result is insulin resistance. Western culture loves just to take a pill and “fix things,” but insulin resistance only gets worse, and patients typically move from using tablets to insulin injections.
So stop being lazy – and make a long-lasting change by making healthier food choices!
Increased cancer risk
Cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide, with 8.8 million deaths in 2015 alone (9). Cancer is an uncontrollable growth of abnormal cells in the body. Many scientists believe that consistently elevated insulin levels, due to excess sugar consumption, can contribute to cancer (10).
Eating a lot of sugar over time can cause you to gain weight gradually. Sugar isn’t indirectly tied to cancer, but there is evidence showing that overweight people have an increased risk of 13 types of cancers (11).
Other effects of fructose
- Increased levels of uric acid in the blood, which leads to gout and high blood pressure (12).
- Sugar addiction (13).
- An urge to over-consume and gain weight (14).
You get the point by now. SUGAR IS BAD. Acknowledge that sugar is your real enemy and that it isn’t necessary to your enjoyment of life. Sugar is keeping you from living a vibrant life by endangering your health.
The health world can sometimes be a confusing place. Take time to digest all this information and gradually start making healthier eating habits. Can you put a price on health and happiness?
What is Mindfulness?
How can mindfulness benefit your life?
Let’s first understand the opposite, Mindlessness.
Have you ever driven your car to a destination only to realize you can’t recall how you arrived there? Most of us have!
According to research, by psychologists at Harvard University, the average person is on autopilot 47% of the time. These mind-wandering most people perform is a daydreaming state. In this busy hyper-connected world we live in we fail to notice the true meaning of being alive. This mind-wandering is always thinking about the past or the future. Mindlessness makes us susceptible to anxiety, stress, and depression.
A wandering mind is an unhappy mind.
So, what is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the state of being consciously aware, to be aware moment-by-moment of our thoughts, feelings, and surroundings. It is the fundamental human ability to be fully present, no matter what we are doing or where we are.
If you take time to realize where your mind is throughout the day, you will realize it’s stuck in the past or future. Our minds are filled with worry and planning, being upset about what happened or didn’t happen. We are blasting through the day, squeezing the present moment to make time someplace else. Day to day we rush to work, school, shopping, eating, and checking our phone. When do you take time to be grateful, be in peace, and be with the present?
Mindfulness is a natural quality we all have. When we practice mindfulness we’re practicing the craft to form space for ourselves. Quieting your loud mind gives you space to think, breath, and not excessively be overwhelmed by what’s happening.
- Decreased stress
- Enhanced performance
- Gain insight/self-awareness
- Increased attention to others
- Increased clarity and perception
- Lowered anxiety level
Things to keep in mind:
Remember, being mindful is available to you at all times. Your mind is always with you; you just need to choose when to become aware. Start small, for example, take time out of your busy life to find a small area, silence your phone, and just breathe. Focus on your breathing and become aware of it. Breathing deeply and smoothly is an easy, effective way to be more present. Think of it as a quick reset in your day.You will immediately feel calmer and less stressed. Eventually, you will become aware of your thoughts and without any judgment allow them to float, like a cloud out of your mind. Commit to taking time each day to sit and be still. Make it a habit!
Whatever practice you do develop, practice it! Be mindful not mind full.
Healthy Start to Your 2021
No one likes a bad beginning. Have the start of 2021 be a healthy one.
Start your morning off with water
The first thing in your body should be water; it’s refreshing. Drinking water flushes out any leftover toxins from the night and day before. It wakes up your gut and organs, and it lets the body know it’s time to start working. Drinking water in the morning also aids in weight loss by making you feel fuller. After all, we are 60% water.
Exercise workout, gym, & weights
The best way to get into shape is to work out. Incorporate strength training along with your aerobic exercises, including lifting weights and cardio into your daily or weekly routine. Now is the best time to start and progress through 2021. If you work out, now is a good time to change up your routine and get out of that plateau.
If you’ve been slacking on your nutrition now is the best time to get back on track. It’s January, and it’s winter, the adhesion to unhealthy carbs is at an all-time high. Cold weather makes you want to stay in and eat. Make sure that hunger is satisfied with plenty of nutritionally dense foods. Try and increase the number of fruits and vegetables this year and lay off the sugars, if you’re looking for a challenge try going vegan for 30 days or even intermittent fasting.
Never tried it? Make this year be the year of change and try it out. It’s quick and easy. Just relax, breathe, and calm your mind. Try and clear your thoughts, it’s hard in the beginning because your mind is full of racing thoughts. Give yourself a few minutes of silence and ease your tension.
See Your Doctor or Dentist
When you seek financial advice, you see a Financial Advisor. To evaluate your health and well being you need to see a Doctor and Dentist. These people are medical professionals and can assist you with almost anything health-related. Don’t make this a chore, make this a way to evaluate your health and progress.
I’m still trying to figure out why cigarettes exist and how they are still legal. Quitting smoking is one of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself. Not only will it make your body healthier it will also teach you how to break bad habits, promote determination, and self-control.
New year, new goals. Make this year be the year that brings out the healthy in you. You will have a healthier body, a more attractive physique, and a better outlook on life.
Can You Have Multiple Passions?
When you find your passion, you tend to have a career that you’re happier in. This passion allows ejecting more positive emotions, leading to becoming more satisfied with life compared to people that haven’t found their passion. Discovering your passions in life is a beautiful gift.
Is it possible to tackle multiple passions at once?
A lot of people might tell you that you need to pick one.
I spoke to someone over a cup of coffee, and the topic of careers came up. I explained how I found my passion for medicine and became a nurse, but I recently discovered another passion towards entrepreneurship. That individual responded with “Wow I think you are in the wrong career.” During that point in time, I decided not to argue. I asked myself why can’t we have multiple passions?
I disagree with society’s assumption that each individual has to follow one career/passion to find success. In the past, I have always considered the notion of being involved in multiple passions as a good thing. I followed medicine into becoming a nurse as a career. I created a blog on self-improvement to help cultivate your own perspective in life. In this tech-savvy society pursuing multiple-field passions, even careers are attainable and can bring future advantages.
Embrace your path.
Two important words: crossroads
Pursue: meaning GO FOR IT. Commit and be persistent.
Passion: Compelling feeling towards interests. Figure out why you love it. Passion is the fire that lights your way.
Why is Passion so important?
I believe everyone in the world has a purpose. It takes human intelligence and time to understand your purpose. You just can’t travel to Paris and have a light-bulb moment to find life’s purpose. This is why passion is needed. Without passion, it is impossible to progress in life. Human excellence begins when your heart beats to something you’re passionate about. The discovery of this passion absorbs you, challenges you, and gives you a sense of meaning.
Passion and satisfaction go hand in hand. Without true passion, your happiness will become temporary because there isn’t enough meaning behind your happiness to make it last. Pursuing your passions will lead to a higher feeling of fulfillment. Fulfillment will create lasting well-being.
Why people should begin being open-minded on multiple passions:
You’ll open more doors
Millennials are not cursed like our parents with the challenges that they had to face. If you are in your 20s, 30s, and 40s, your parents faced being stuck to one career path and committed to a lifestyle of one job. You are not faced with the same plague, so why not change your perspective? This may sound cheesy but follow your heart; the sky’s the limit.
We compete in a tight job market, and a college diploma isn’t as valued as it used to be. Passion leads to broader experience or possibly multiple careers; both are an advantage that will lead to fallback options. The vast spectrum of knowledge will make you a more valuable asset. An example would be an individual; “Susie” with a career in business but also branching out and following her passion for photography and art. Susie in the future can take that career and passion and land a gig at an animation tech company. This opportunity would never be possible for Susie if she did not have two distinct passions.
Ever since I’ve started blogging, just a few years ago, I took one passion of mine and it has opened doors to many other passions. I have a career in nursing, love it, and nursing has opened other doors for blogging and traveling. I always have nursing to fall back on, but I currently want to explore my passion for blogging. Maybe in the future, I will take all three passions and branch off to something greater. It has yet to come to me, but in the meantime, I will continue to be optimistic.
With a single field “career,” one can say that over time people tend to develop tunnel vision. The benefit of having a lot of different interests is that you’ll train your brain to create new patterns. The patterns picked up in various passions will help you acquire new rich applicable ideas. Like taking photography, writing, and design and becoming an innovative magazine creator.
Take, for example, Albert Einstein. He was an outsider of the physics community with multiple passions in areas such as; human rights, democracy, and educational reform. Einstein was successful because with a broad interest he stimulated lots of growth in the physics community, leading to being an innovator of his time.
Listen, my message to you is; don’t focus on yourself from the outside but rather the inside. Give yourself a chance to listen to yourself, instead of listening to others. Explore your inner passions/interests and follow those thoughts to see where that thought “seed” will take you. Eventually, that seed can sprout, grow, and branch off into multiple passions.
Should We Always Think About The Future?
Is thinking about the future a good thing or does it just cause a lot of anxiety?
This is something everyone will be able to relate too. The future, we always think about what will be. I guarantee within hours of waking up in the morning you are thinking about the next day and sometimes we even think about tomorrow before we start planning for today.
Why do we think about the future so much?
Thoroughly answering this question alone can easily take a few pages, so here is a synopsis. The future is great; we need to think about the future. If we do not then what is the point of trying to progress as an individual or society. Imagine if Thomas Edison didn’t look to the future and said “candles are fine,” or if Nikola Tesla didn’t see a future with electricity. Simply thinking with a sense of tomorrow gives us the ability to create, learn, and dream. Imagine where we would be as a society without looking forward. In my eyes, tomorrow means progress, next year means progress, and the future is progress. We look to the future to evaluate the accomplishments of today.
Why the Present is just as important.
The here and now is ultimately what counts. What you do not create today will not be part of what is to come. As individuals, we get consumed by what the result will be. We think about every situation and its possible outcomes, what actions will lead to positive results, and which acts lead to negatives. That is just how our brains work. Like a math equation we plug in numbers until we find the desired result; likewise, we do walkthroughs of life in our minds. This is, however, where many people get lost and discouraged.
No matter how many times you play it in your mind, no matter how long you think, doing nothing ultimately leads you to nothing. Take any number, and you have two great ideas, maybe even 20. Guess what? 100 great ideas with no action get you a big fat 0. That is why overthinking about the future is not always a good idea. Think back for a moment how many times have you overanalyzed and ended up putting things off or not doing it at all? I bet within a few seconds you can come up with something.
There is a quote I read, and it goes “Today is a gift, that’s why they call it a present,” so I’d like to add “With any gift, you don’t know until you open it.” You need actions today to make something happen. If you don’t start today how can you expect progress for tomorrow.
“With the present, you have a past, without the present, you have no future”
Daily Habits for Success
Based on personal experience, these are ten useful habits to incorporate into your life to bring on more success. I understand life is busy, this is by no means a guideline, protocol, or college textbook. This post is merely something to think about and digest.
What are the daily habits of success?
1. Look Something up
I’m not saying do molecular research. Simply, google something. A word, a recipe, future vacation spots, it doesn’t matter what it is, just look it up. Why? Because you’ll learn something. Pyramids were built one stone at a time. Your knowledge will be developed one word at a time.
2. Make Eye Contact and Say Hello
Seems simple? OK, good, now do it. Eye contact makes you look engaged and confident. Saying “hello” makes you friendly and social. Not only will it make someone feel appreciated but it can also help you meet a friend or engage a simple conversation.
3. Be Active, be Healthy
Yes, yes life is busy. How will you ever find time or money to be fit or eat healthily? Can’t go to the gym? Go outside, don’t go for a walk, go for a run. Don’t buy a frozen pizza, buy some Greek yogurt and fruit. If you don’t have time every day, that’s OK. How about a few times a week, or a month? Everyone starts somewhere.
4. Go Out in a Group
Everyone always says the best way to get to know someone is to spend time with them. You can meet multiple people this way. You can expand your social and peer group. Going out in a group can also help you find out a lot about yourself and the individuals around you.
5. Try Something New
This goes along with the first point “looking Something Up.” Maybe you looked up an original recipe. Now, how about you do something with it? Perhaps you looked into ways to invest money. Great, now start putting some aside and make it happen.
6. Be Optimistic
As bad as the weather can get and as rough as life can be, there will be another day. Can’t have good days without bad ones, right? If you always have good days, please share your secrets with the rest of society on how you accomplished this. Otherwise, take what you can get out of every situation.
7. Relax and Find Time For Yourself
Times can get tough and stressful. Always try and find time for yourself. Take a bath, maybe all you need is a longer shower. It is entirely okay to set time aside for yourself. Meditation is getting popular, try it for a few minutes, plus you can knock off a few things from this list.
8. Dress Up
Maybe not for all of you, but in my career I wear scrubs so dressing up is not something I do on a daily basis. If you don’t usually dress up, try it. It can quickly boost your confidence and put some pep in your step. Plus, who doesn’t enjoy looking in the mirror and saying “Damn, I look good.”
9. Be in the Moment
As hard as this sounds and as much as you heard about what I’m going to tell you, just try it. If you’re at work, try not to think about what you could be doing or what you have to do at home. Likewise, try not to have work be the central concept in your mind when you’re out and about. Certain situations are unavoidable; those are the exceptions, not excuses.
10. Goals, Golas, Goals!
Think about where you are and where your next step will be. Don’t be stagnant, keep achieving, keep believing. Start small and aim big. With disappointment will come excitement to try again, with today’s failure will come future success.