Friday, April 16, 2010

Happiness makes for a healthy heart

- by Kate Kelland

(Reuters) - People who are usually happy and enthusiastic are less likely to develop heart disease than those who tend to be glum, scientists said on Thursday, and boosting positive emotions could help cut heart health risks.

U.S. researchers said their observational study was the first to show an independent relationship between positive emotions and coronary heart disease, but stressed that more work was needed before any treatment recommendations could be made.

"We desperately need rigorous clinical trials in this area. If the trials support our findings, then these results will be incredibly important in describing specifically what clinicians and/or patients could do to improve health," Karina Davidson of Columbia University Medical Center wrote in the study in the European Heart Journal.

Heart disease is the leading killer of men and women in Europe, the United States and most industrialized countries. Together with diabetes, cardiovascular diseases accounted for 32 percent of all deaths around the world in 2005, according to the World Health Organization.

Over 10 years, Davidson and her team followed 1,739 men and women who were taking part in a large health survey in Canada.

Trained nurses assessed the participants' heart disease risk and measured negative emotions like depression, hostility and anxiety, as well as positive emotions like joy, happiness, excitement, enthusiasm and contentment -- collectively known as a "positive affect".

The researchers ranked the "positive affect" across five levels ranging from "none" to "extreme" and found that for each rank the risk of heart disease fell by 22 percent.

Davidson, who led the research, said her findings suggested it might be possible to help prevent heart disease by enhancing people's positive emotions.

"Participants with no positive affect were at a 22 percent higher risk of ... heart attack or angina ... than those with a little positive affect, who were themselves at 22 percent higher risk than those with moderate positive affect," she wrote.

"We also found that if someone who was usually positive had some depressive symptoms at the time of the survey, this did not affect their overall lower risk of heart disease."

Smoking, being overweight, a history of heart problems in the family and high blood pressure are traditionally seen as major risk factors for heart disease, but studies have also linked such things as intelligence and income levels to heart risks. Research published last week found intelligence is second only to smoking as a predictor of heart disease.

Ellen Mason of the British Heart Foundation (BHF) advocacy group said Thursday's study echoed previous findings which had prompted the BHF to delve deeper.

"The BHF is funding science to unravel the biology that underlies this link," she said.

Davidson's team said one possible reason for the link between happiness and heart risk could be that people who are happier tend to have longer periods of rest or relaxation, and may recover more quickly from stressful events and not spend as much time "re-living" them.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

What is Gourmet Nut All About? The Amazing Health Benefits

What is Gourmet Nut All About? The Amazing Health Benefits: brings you the highest, freshes..

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Documenting Your Goals and Listing Your Reasons to Lose Weight

Documenting Your Goals and Listing Your Reasons to Lose Weight: Right now I'm looking at my three lists th..

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tweets From The Twitterverse

Yesterdays tweets with news and microbloggings

√ My weight loss plan has worked so well that I decided to start a blog about it. Hope you'll join me there and comment.
√ Use this Free Report and System to get clients with Any Business. Social Media training included
√ I earned the Movie Buff(50) sticker on @GetGlue!
√ Valentine's Day is almost here! Now through February 7th, receive 15% off everything with code: AFFTXVDY
√ As Seen on Oprah! Save 20% off + Free Shipping on the Bob Greene: Total Body Makeover DVD. Now Only: $11.49

Connect with me on Twitter at @goodlifegrspc and/or @props4WAH

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

7 Ways to Supercharge Your Weight Loss Resolution

by Mr. Bad Food

Starting a diet is easy. Heck, I’ve started at least two dozen diets over the past 30 years. You want tough? Try sticking to a diet through thick and thin! Oh… I see… you have tried sticking to a diet.

There are many reasons we fall off the diet wagon. I think the biggest reason has to be a lack of perceived progress. It could be a stuck scale needle or a dress or pants size that refuses to drop.

So here we are. It’s early in the New Year and we’re determined to make this the last diet we’ll ever need. So far, so good… right?

Mr. Bad Food will be with you every step of the way this year. And this time things will be different. Why? Because you and I will be armed with this list of 7 ways to supercharge our weight loss resolution.

Consider these doable tips as belated holiday gifts from your pal Mr. Bad Food, the Santa Claus of Slimming!

Find Time for Fitness

I know… I know… Life is busy and it takes time to work out. True. But it doesn’t have to take a lot of time to fit in some exercise on a regular basis. I am doing a 10-minute-a-day workout program that I got from my friend Dave Hubbard, America’s Fitness Coach.

We find time for our favorite TV shows so why can’t we find time for fitness? If you do it right, you can work out while you watch your show! Or if that isn’t possible, try rising a half hour earlier and working out before you head off to work or roust the kids for school.

A healthy diet is the best way to lose weight BUT adding exercise to the mix gives you a weight-loss boost by burning extra calories and pumping up your metabolism!

Hire a Personal Chef

Oprah does it. So too do many other weight-conscious celebrities. What’s that? You don’t have the money to hire someone else to shop and cook for you? You do… if you let a trusted food delivery company like Diet-to-Go be your personal chef!

The prices are super competitive and they send you honest-to-goodness food that’s both healthy and delicious. Check out their pricing comparison chart at

Why use a meal delivery service? There are several good reasons. One great reason is that you and I too often underestimate just how much food we eat on any given day. Diet-to-Go provides perfect portions – and our meals meet the guidelines of the major health organizations.

Having your food delivered also frees up the time you would need to spend food shopping and cooking! You’ll eat better AND you’ll have that extra time to work out!

For the next five tips I turned to my dear friend Susan Burke March, author of Making Weight Control Second Nature: Living Thin Naturally. Susan has helped thousands of men and women to achieve their desired weight and get healthy for life.

Make it a New Year's Revolution!

Resolve to make 2010 the year that you break out of the negative thinking that leads you to bemoan “oh, it's so hard to diet” or “I hate to diet!” Instead, release your inner intellectual power to choose to behave in a way that leads to a healthier weight. Revolt against your usual "I can't" comments and replace them with "I can!" Rebel against the huge portions in restaurants, resign from the clean plate club, seek out more fruits and vegetables, and get active every day.

Retrain Your Brain

Your brain is a muscle so work it out every day. Rethink the meaning of the word "diet." A diet is simply the way you eat; it’s not about deprivation and it’s not something you start and stop. Throw out the old way of thinking, "Oh, I have to go on a diet and lose weight!" Instead, tell yourself "My diet allows me to enjoy my food, and leaves room for the occasional treat."

Sleep it Off

Studies show that people who get fewer than 6 hours of sleep nightly are more likely to struggle with weight. Sorry, but you can't make up for lost sleep by sleeping in later on the weekends. By making 8 hours of sleep a priority, you’ll gain time for healthy living. Make a vow right now to turn off the cable TV and hit the hay no later than 11 p.m. Good sleep rejuvenates and reenergizes.


Savvy business people know that any project worth doing needs a plan of action. For your weight-loss resolution to work, think Specific, Measurable, Achievable and Realistic Timetable. For example, instead of saying "I want to lose weight," say “I will lose 2 pounds a week and 50 pounds by next January 1!” Make that goal doable by meeting with a registered dietitian, creating a personalized plan to eat better, and by clipping on the pedometer and working your way up to 10,000 steps daily. Measure your progress online or in a journal you keep by your bed. Review your progress regularly and revamp as needed to stay the course.

Eat Lower on the Food Chain

Swear off ground beef entirely and resolve to eating less saturated fat and cholesterol overall. When you eat more plant-based meals you increase your fiber and phytonutrients – and that helps lower your risk for heart disease. Replace the ground meat with canned salmon and sardines and you’ll boost your intake of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Another quick tip for better nutrition: Add a quarter-cup of nutrient-dense chopped walnuts, almonds or pecans to your salads and casseroles.

For more of Susan’s dieting wisdom, check out her website

And for more great tips and advice throughout the year, stick with Diet-to-Go. Our mission is to help you shape up and get healthier by getting you to eat better and work out regularly.

*** "Reprinted Courtesy of"

John McGran has been a writer/editor for about as long as he's been battling his weight. During his 25 year-career, John has written for several newspapers, tabloids and Web sites. You may recognize his name and style from the seven years he spent writing a Worst of the Worst Foods column as Mr. Bad Food. If you have any topics you'd like John to tackle, feel free to write him at

Monday, November 23, 2009

How to Safely Detoxify Your Body

by Monica Reinagel, The Nutrition Diva

Today’s show is the second of two parts on cleansing and detox regimens, something that many of you have written to ask me about. In last week’s podcast, I talked about colon cleansing. This week, I want to talk about products and programs that are designed to detoxify your liver, kidneys and other organs.

To listen to me speak about this subject, check out my How to Detoxify Your Body podcast.

Do You Need to Detoxify Your Liver or Kidneys?

There’s no doubt that we live in a somewhat toxic world and a lot of people believe that you need to periodically “detoxify” your liver or kidneys. These organs are, of course, on the front lines of the body’s detoxification campaign, so this would seem to make sense. But let’s stop and think about how these organs actually work.

Many people think of the liver as a sort of filter which traps toxins, much the way a lint filter traps lint. But actually, the liver isn’t so much a filter as a converter. It detoxifies foreign compounds or chemicals by converting them into harmless substances that can be eliminated or recycled.

The kidneys don’t trap toxins, either. The kidney filters the blood and sorts compounds into those that are worth keeping, which are returned to the bloodstream, and those that need to be gotten rid of, which are dumped into the urine and eliminated.

So toxins don’t really build up in your liver or your kidneys. Yet many detox programs include herbal supplements that are supposed to support these organs. Are these helpful?

Are Herbal Detoxification Products Helpful?

Detox formulas often include milk thistle and other herbs and nutrients that are said to support the liver--although the hard science on the benefits of these ingredients is fairly thin. Many of the other herbs you find in these products are simply diuretics. Diuretics don’t make the kidneys any more efficient at eliminating toxins, they just make them more efficient at eliminating water, which, last I checked, was not considered a toxin.

These herbal formulas can also include ingredients that act as laxatives. Laxatives and diuretics may create the impression that you’re getting rid of a lot of toxins, but in the long run, all you’re really getting rid of is extra water--again, not a toxin--and minerals, which can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.

Also, keep in mind that just because herbs are “natural” doesn’t mean that all herbal products are safe. Ironically, some herbs can actually put stress on your liver and kidneys. I strongly recommend that you research the ingredients in any herbal products you are considering taking.

How to Detoxify Your Body

The liver and kidneys are pretty good at dealing with harmful substances. That’s not to say they can’t be overwhelmed or even damaged by too many toxins. But seeing as we can’t really speed up the rate at which our organs detoxify these chemicals, I think it makes more sense to do what you can to take in fewer toxins in the first place:

Here are some ways to reduce the burden on your detoxification systems:

1. If you drink alcohol, do so moderately--no more than one or two drinks per day. If you can’t drink moderately, don’t drink at all.

2. Avoid breathing engine exhaust, wood smoke, or tobacco smoke, all of which contain carcinogenic compounds.

3. Avoid inhaling fumes from gasoline and other volatile liquids. Wear a respirator mask when working with paint, varnish, and paint thinners and make sure to ventilate your workspace.

4. Air out dry cleaning before bringing it into the house or, better yet, switch to an environmentally-friendly dry cleaner.

5. Take prescription and over-the-counter medications only as directed and only when necessary.

6. Avoid exposure to pesticides on fruits and vegetables by buying organic whenever possible and peeling non-organic produce.

7. In your home and garden, use non-toxic pest control but remember that you can’t control what other people apply to their lawns and grounds. To reduce your exposure to lawn and garden chemicals, avoid going barefoot out of doors and get in the habit of leaving your shoes at the door when you come inside.

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to completely avoid exposure to toxins. But these steps can greatly reduce your toxic burden, and that--along with eating healthy, nutritious foods--is really the best way to detoxify your body.

Have a great day and eat something good for me!

"Reprinted Courtesy of"

About Monica Reinagel, The Nutrition Diva
Monica Reinagel is a board-certified Licensed Nutritionist and a professionally-trained chef. She is the host of the Nutrition Diva podcast which is part of the Quick and Dirty Tips network. She has authored three books on health and nutrition, developed recipes and diet plans for websites and other publications. Monica's professional affiliations include the American Dietetic Association, the International Association of Culinary Professionals and the American Guild of Musical Artists.

Reprinted by arrangement with Quick and Dirty Tips, a division of Macmillan Holdings, LLC.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Hot Stuff: Warming Up

When you have to fit an exercise routine into your already busy schedule, you might be tempted to simply skip the warm up routine, even though you’ve heard horror stories about people getting injured while working out. Three words: don’t do that. When you skip your warm up, you are not only putting your body as risk for personal injury, but you are also making the workout more difficult and less effective. For the best results, it is important to warm up every time you work out.

Warming up doesn’t have to eat up the time you allotted for exercise into your day. In fact, a decent workout only has to be 5 minutes long to do its job. It doesn’t have to be boring either—you can mix up a number of great moves to make your warm up as fun as the rest of your exercising. Remember that a good warm up gets all of your muscles moving, even if you don’t think that you’ll be intensely working out a set of muscles on any particular day. Warming up is also important regardless of if you’re doing cardiovascular exercises or lifting weights.

The moves you do for a warm up shouldn’t necessarily be difficult or make you break a sweat. The main goal of the warm up isn’t to become a part of your workout, but simply to slowly move muscles that you haven’t really thought about all day to wake them up. Good moves, therefore, include things like jogging in place, doing jumping jacks, lunging, and jumping rope.

A good warm-up can also including slowly stretching your muscles in a variety of ways, although this is usually more effective for a cool-down. Also consider exercises that work on balance and form in order to prepare you for the exercises you will be doing in the workout.

If you’re really short on time, why not try warming up before you even get to the gym. Slowly jog or power walk to the gym, park as far away as possible and lunge to the door, and take the stairs instead of the elevator. That way, when you get to the gym to workout your warm up routine is already half way done.

A good workout always builds in intensity. This is the best way to shed pounds and maintain a healthy weight. Weight loss workouts are only risky if you don’t warm up, because otherwise your body will respond to prevent injuries. Although you may be tempted to skip this step, that is never a good idea.

There are several safe and gentle ways to warm up, and you can even extend your warm up for a nice and thorough low impact workout as well, you’ll feel like you’ve done an hour of yoga and you’ll always be glad you did. Power Walking is very popular even with joggers. A quick search on the web will assure you that you’ll find several types of recumbent bike options and low cost stair steppers. You don’t have to buy a big treadmill or elliptical machine to get the same workout.

Maintaining your routine is definitely the safest way to success with exercise. Some personally useful workouts I’ve tried are an affordable personal trampoline that is nice on the joints and provides resistance training much the same way as swimming. You can use it for less time than a treadmill and get a better workout. Also kickboxing moves are a great way to workout all the body parts and warm up the important muscles and ligaments necessary for workouts because many of the moves use abs, thighs, gluts, arms and shoulders.

I’ve made your search a little easier by putting many options together to browse through. So take a look at my health, fitness, and wellness niches here.

Organix Hope

Friday, October 16, 2009

Walk This Way for Happier Knees

Here's a good way to keep moving but take some of the pressure off your knees.

Just put one foot behind the other. Yep, walking backward puts less strain on your patellofemoral joint -- an important kneecap-to-thighbone connection.

Backward March

Okay, you won’t want to do this in an area that is highly trafficked, unlevel, or unfamiliar. But under the right (read safe) circumstances, walking in reverse gear will make your quadriceps muscles contract differently than they do when you're walking forward. It will cause a concentric contraction -- a movement that's gentler on your anterior cruciate ligament, a knee ligament professional athletes routinely injure. Guess some NFL running backs could use this trick . . .

Backward Benefits

If you want to try backward walking, go slow until you get the hang of it. Maybe invite a spotter along. And don't try it for the first time on a treadmill. If you've got knee problems of any sort, check with your doctor first. And consider these other ways to stay active while staving off knee trouble:

* Sweat it out. Cardio exercise can actually increase the amount of protective cartilage in your knees. Here's what we recommend.
* Buffer your joints. Strength training bolsters more than your bones and muscles. Find out how it helps strengthen the connective tissue in your joints.
* Move your hips. Hip muscles are key to helping prevent knee pain. Here's why.

RealAge Benefit: A physical activity program that builds stamina, strength, and flexibility can make your RealAge as much as 8.1 years younger.

Good Moves for Bad Knees

Knees can end up Tin Man creaky or Bionic Woman supple. It's your choice.

The secret to avoiding knee arthritis: Don't sit on the sidelines. Just ask a group of midlife adults who already had knee problems -- a virtual invitation to osteoarthritis. After doing basic weight-bearing exercises 3 times a week for 4 months, they'd squatted, lunged, and stepped their way to real rewards. The evidence: fewer aches, stronger muscles, and measurably healthier cartilage.

It's no news that challenging muscles and bones with weight work makes them stronger. Now there's evidence that cartilage -- the tough yet flexible tissue found in joints -- also becomes stronger in response to weight-bearing exercise. And healthier cartilage lowers the odds of osteoarthritis.

The exercisers wound up with more glycosaminoglycan (GAG), a key component of cartilage, in their knees. And the more GAG they had, the less pain they experienced -- and the easier it was to move. So if you've avoided even basic exercise classes because of a bum knee, sign up! It could keep that iffy joint comfortable, flexible, and arthritis-free.

RealAge Benefit: Exercising regularly can make your RealAge as much as 9 years younger.

Another low impact on the joints method of exercise is a new home gym product that's really gaining popularity recently. It's called the Wave and you stand and rock back and forth having similar effects of an eliptical machine or treadmill, walking forward or backward. The Wave is put out by the Firm of Gaiam as seen on TV products.

As Featured in Shape Magazine, THE WAVE Personal Home Gym. Save Over 80% off, a $350 value, yours for only 2 easy payments of $29.95, plus receive $40 in FREE Bonus Products. Get started today and see results in 10 workouts guaranteed!

The Wave Personal Home Gym

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

BistroMD in the Media

I wanted to let you know that, Health, a leading women's health and lifestyle magazine, named BistroMD Best Diet Support in September’s issue. The article, which is a comparison of popular meal delivery companies, highlights Bistro MD’s big portion sizes and impressive taste. The program revolves around a 1,500-calorie plan designed by bariatric physician Dr. Caroline Cederquist, based on her practice with overweight patients.

Your Diet Food, Delivered

This is a comparison of 4 meal diet-delivery-systems and each part has a vote in the begginning of it's part of the article for the best of the top four plans discussed. This is the full article below.

We compared the top diet meal services and created this list to help you decide which plan is best for you.

√ Best taste

Healthy Chef Creations Organic Weight Loss

$65 per day nationwide*, $48 per day* in Florida

The Diet
Spa-inspired cuisine made with organic ingredients. The owner, a former Walt Disney World spa chef, worked with a registered dietitian and holistic doctor to create this 1,100- to 1,800-calorie plan.

The menu
You get three innovative meals (from a wild sockeye salmon burger to an Asian wrap with edamame, shiitake, napa cabbage, and rice noodles), a snack with green tea, a minidessert (like strawberry tofu cheesecakes), and a spa energy detox drink daily; meal choices rotate seasonally.

Kosher, gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, and other options available at no extra charge; sub-stitutions are free. Family plans are available, too. One session of counseling with a dietitian is complimentary every 30 days you’re on the plan.

Online or by phone; minimum one-week order; 30-day orders discounted.

Our take
Pricey, but incredibly tasty. We were impressed that lettuce, raw mushrooms, and shredded carrots in salads and wraps stayed fresh and crisp even after shipping.

√ Best customized plan

Optimal Nutrition

$165 to $310 per week, depending on plan

The Diet
Eat every two to three hours, for a total of 1,200 calories daily or more, depending on your needs. Meals are made with organic ingredients.

The Menu
You get three small meals and two or three snacks every day; customers choose their own meals from a weekly list. There’s a mix of familiar-sounding picks like Pepper-Jack Mac and Cheese, and world-inspired dishes like Filipino Chicken Adobo and Pancit (stir-fried noodles). Bars—one of your daily snacks—are like rich mini-loaf cakes, in flavors like peanut butter chocolate.

The nutritional content of meals—calories, carbs, protein, and fat—is customized based on your age, height, weight, activity level, and weight goal. Vegetarian, dairy-free, and gluten-free meals are available at no extra cost. For support, subscribers can buy consultations with staff dietitians.

Online or by phone; minimum four-week order.

Our Take
It’s a balanced combination of good nutrition and great homemade taste.

√ Best diet support

Bistro MD
Dieting is Easier When You Love the Food. Delicious meals shipped to your door. It's a proven strategy that works!

$130 to $180 per week,* depending on plan

The Diet
A 1,500-calorie plan designed by a doctor, based on her practice with overweight patients.

The Menu
Three meals and two snacks daily. The portion sizes are big, and the taste ranges from good to impressive. Meals include everything from a sesame bagel with eggs and ham to blackened tilapia. Menus change weekly.

Allergy-specific, vegetarian, or kosher meals available at no extra cost; substitutions free.

Online or by phone; minimum order is a five-day week.

Our Take
Subscribers get educational materials, plus access to staff dietitians. The vacuum-sealed food was a hassle, though. You need scissors and a plate to prepare entrées and sides.

It's a proven strategy that has worked for thousands of others. It's easy, it's delicious ...Get your own Personal Chef!

√ Best value

Chefs Diet

$105 to $280 per week*, depending on plan

The Diet
Chefs Diet is based on The Zone Diet: 40 percent carbs, 30 percent protein, and 30 percent fat. Meals average 1,600 to 1,800 calories daily.

The Menu
Three meals and two snacks a day. Some meals taste great: We wanted to lick the dish after we ate the ricotta cheese–filled lasagna sandwich. But the breakfasts tended to be a bit bland. Meal options rotate every 120 days.

Vegetarian, kosher, diabetic, gluten-free, low-carb, heart-healthy, and children’s plans are available; there are additional fees for swapping meal choices.

Online, by phone, or via live chat; minimum one-week order.

Our Take
Great bang for the buck: Weekly delivery plans start at $15 a day for two meals a day.

*Does not include shipping.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

3 Super Spices for Your Blood Sugar

If you could jazz up your cooking and protect yourself from high blood sugar with a sprinkle of this and a dash of that, it’s a no-brainer, right?

Certain spices could help control high blood sugar or minimize the damage it causes. The kitchen roll call? Cloves, allspice, and cinnamon -- three holiday favorites.

Undo Sugar Damage

A recent lab study revealed that the antioxidants in cloves, allspice, and cinnamon may inhibit the formation of bad-for-your-body high-blood-sugar compounds -- the very compounds that can lead to a host of diabetes-linked problems, like heart disease, nerve disorders, and eye and kidney damage. Other spices seemed to have a similar -- though weaker -- effect: sage, marjoram, tarragon, and rosemary. Cinnamon may not only inhibit high-blood-sugar damage but also help lower blood sugar.

Spice Advice

Of course, the real keys to blood sugar control are eating right, exercising, and keeping your weight down. But it’s nice to know there are some little things you can do -- like cooking with low-cal, fat-free spices -- that may support your efforts.

RealAge Benefit: Reducing your risk of diabetes by losing excess weight can make your RealAge half a year younger for each year you have tight control of blood sugar and blood pressure.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Weight Loss—When You Need It and When You Do Not

Weight loss is a tricky subject in America, where so many young girls (and boys) are turning to anorexia, bulimia, and other eat disorders. While weight loss can be a very good and necessary thing, it can also turn into something horrible that affects millions across the nation and can even cause death. Knowing when you need to lose weight and when you do not is important in the fight against both your personal poor health and the terrible disease that are sweeping across the United States.

You can know that losing weight is often a very personal option. However, if you are more than 20 pounds overweight, losing the pounds is important for your health. Look at the recommended weight for someone of your size as a start. However, because everyone’s bodies are different, because of fat and muscle ratio to body weight, you should really see your doctor if you feel like you need to lose weight. A doctor can confirm this or put your mind to rest by telling you that your weight is normal. This is the best way to make sure that you are being healthy.

There are also times, however, when you definitely do not need to lose weight. First, if you aren’t as thin as your favorite actor or model, that doesn’t mean you need to lose weight. Often, models and actresses are airbrushed in photos to look more toned and they have personal trainers that work with them for hours every day in order to help them stay in shape. If your body weight is normal, you do not need to lose weight, even if you are a pants size bigger than your ideal celebrity.

You also don’t need to lose weight just because you gain it. People gain weight for a number of reasons, and this is especially common during puberty and for the few years after. If you gain weight check out the rest of your body—are you going through a growth spurt in height as well? Also, don’t worry about gaining weight when you are lifting at the gym. As you tone your muscles, you will look better, but because muscles are heavier than fat, you may actually gain weight.

Lastly, you don’t need to lose weight simply because someone else makes a rude comment about your looks. People are cruel, but everyone has a different body make up. If you are happy with your weight and it is within the normal range for someone of your age and height, than chances are that the rude comment is stemming from other issues, not because you actually do need to lose weight. Be happy with yourself and eat a healthy diet and you shouldn’t need to worry about losing weight.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Risks and Rewards of Skipping Meals

By Tara Parker-Pope

Think before you decide to skip your next meal.

People often miss meals because they get busy or are trying to lose weight. But how you skip meals, and the amount you eat at your next meal, can affect your overall health.

The scientific data on skipping meals has been confusing. In some studies, fasting has resulted in measurable metabolic benefits for obese people, and in animal studies, intermittent feeding and fasting reduces the incidence of diabetes and improves certain indicators of cardiovascular health. Even so, several observational studies and short-term experiments have suggested an association between meal skipping and poor health.

In recent months, two new studies may help explain how skipping meals affects health.

The most recent study, published this month in the medical journal Metabolism, looked at what happens when people skip meals but end up eating just as much as they would in a normal day when they finally do sit down to a meal. The study, conducted by diabetes researchers at the National Institute on Aging, involved healthy, normal-weight men and women in their 40s. For two months, the study subjects ate three meals a day. For another eight-week period, they skipped two meals but ate the same number of calories in one evening meal, consumed between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

The researchers found that skipping meals during the day and eating one large meal in the evening resulted in potentially risky metabolic changes. The meal skippers had elevated fasting glucose levels and a delayed insulin response — conditions that, if they persisted long term, could lead to diabetes.

The study was notable because it followed another study earlier this year that found that skipping meals every other day could actually improve a patient’s health. In that study, published in March in Free Radical Biology & Medicine, overweight adults with mild asthma ate normal meals one day. This was followed by a day of severely restricted eating, when they ate less than 20 percent of their normal caloric intake, or about 400 or 500 calories a day — the equivalent of about one meal. Nine out of 10 study participants were able to stick to the eating plan.

After following the alternate-day dieting pattern for two months, the dieters lost an average of 8 percent of their body weight, and their asthma-related symptoms also improved. They had lower cholesterol and triglycerides, “striking” reductions in markers of oxidative stress and increased levels of the antioxidant uric acid. Markers of inflammation were also significantly lower.

The conclusion, say the authors of the more recent meal-skipping study, is that skipping meals as part of a controlled eating plan that results in lower calorie intake can result in better health. However, skipping meals during the day and then overeating at the evening meal results in harmful metabolic changes in the body.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

How We Became a Society of Gluttonous Junk Food Addicts

Junk food is killing us slowly with diabetes, heart disease and cancer. But we can't stop because we're hooked, and the food industry is the pusher.

Every chef is said to have a secret junk food craving. For Thomas Keller, chef-owner of Per Se and The French Laundry, two of the most acclaimed restaurants in the country, it's Krispy Kreme Donuts and In-N-Out cheeseburgers. For David Bouley, New York's reigning chef in the '90s, it's "high-quality potato chips."

"Father of American cuisine" James Beard "loved McDonald's fries," while Paul Bocuse, an originator of nouvelle cuisine, once declared McDonald's "are the best French fries I have ever eaten." Masaharu Morimoto is partial to "Philly cheese steaks," and Jean-Georges Vongerichten confesses a weakness for Wendy's spicy chicken sandwich. Other accomplished but less-famous chefs admit to craving everything from Peanut M&Ms, Pringles and Combos to Kettle Chips and Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Having attended culinary school and cooked professionally, I can wax rhapsodic about epicurean delights such as squab, Beluga caviar, black truffles, porcini mushrooms, Iberico Ham, langoustines, and acres of exceptional vegetables and fruits. But I also have an unabashed junk food craving: Nacho Cheese Doritos. Sure, there are plenty of other junk foods I enjoy, whether it's Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream or Entenmann's baked goods, but Doritos are the one thing I desire and seek out regularly. (Not that I ever have to look that hard; I've encountered them everywhere from rural villages in Guatemala to tiny towns in the Canadian Arctic.)

For years I wondered why I craved Doritos. I knew the Nacho Cheese powder, which coats your fingers in day-glo orange deliciousness, was one component, as were the fatty, salty chips that crackle and melt into a pleasing mass as you crunch them. I figured there was a dollop of nostalgia in the mix, but an ingredient was still missing in my understanding. Then I read a spate of articles about "umami," designated the fifth taste, along with sweet, sour, salty, and bitter, means "deliciousness" in Japanese and is described as "a meaty, savory, satisfying taste."

I knew some foods -- parmesan cheese, seaweed, shellfish, tomatoes, mushrooms and meats -- were high in umami-rich compounds such as glutamate, inosinate and guanylate. (Most people know umami from the much-maligned MSG, or mono sodium glutamate.) And I knew combining various sources of umami -- such as the bonito-flake and kombu-seaweed broth known as dashi, the foundational stock of Japanese cuisine -- magnified the effect and delivered a uniquely satisfying wallop of flavor.

What I didn't know was that "Nacho-cheese-flavor Doritos, which contain five separate forms of glutamate, may be even richer in umami than the finest kombu dashi (kelp stock) in Japan," according to a New York Times article from last year.

Mystery solved. Now I knew that whenever the Doritos bug bit me, I was jonesing for umami. I had to admit it: I am a junk food junkie and Frito-Lay is my pusher-man.

I am hardly alone. Frito-Lay is the snack-food peddler to the world, with over $43 billion in revenue in 2008. The 43-year-old cheesy chip is a "category killer," dominating the tortilla chip market with a 32 percent share in 2006, and number two in the entire U.S. "sweet and savory snacks category," just behind Lay's potato chips.

$1.7 billion in annual sales in the U.S, is big business. Behind the enigma of Doritos’ dominance, and the lure of junk food to even the most refined palettes in the world, are the wonders of food science. That science, in the service of industrial capitalism, has hooked on us a food system that is destroying our health with obesity-related diseases. And that food system is based on a system of factory farming at one end, which churns out cheap, taxpayer-subsidized commodities like corn, vegetable oil and sweeteners, and the giant food processors at the other, like Frito-Lay, that take these commodities and concoct them into endless forms of addictive junk foods.

Steven Witherly begins his book, Why Humans Like Junk Food, by noting in studying the "psychobiology" of Doritos he consumed the "food intake and chemical senses literature -- over five hundred research reports and four thousand abstracts -- in order to discern the popularity of Doritos." Witherly coined the term "Doritos Effect" to explain its popularity and in his book outlines 14 separate ways in which Doritos appeals to us.

There’s the "taste-active components," sugar, salt and umami; ingredients like buttermilk solids, lactic acid, and citric acid that stimulate saliva, creating a "mouth-watering" sensation; the "high dynamic contrast" of powder-coated thin, hard chips that melt in the mouth; a complex flavor aroma; a high level of fat that activates "fat recognition receptors in the mouth … increases levels of gut hormones linked to reduction in anxiety … activates brains systems for reward, and enhances ingestion for more fat"; toasted, fried corn that triggers our evolutionary predilection for cooked foods; starches that break down quickly, boosting blood levels of insulin and glucose; and so on.

Witherly explains that some umami sources like MSG don’t have much taste by themselves, but when you add salt,"the hedonic flavors just explode!" And Doritos has plenty of both. The tiny 2-oz. bag of Doritos I'm holding, which in the past would be a warm-up to a Nacho Cheesier dinner, lists MSG near the top, before "buttermilk solids," along with nearly one-sixth of my recommended daily intake of sodium.

One aspect of Doritos that whet my curiosity was, how much does Frito-Lay spend on goods like corn, oil and cheese? Not surprisingly, this data was nowhere to be found in the annual report of Pepsico, Frito-Lay’s parent company. But I gleaned a clue from a 1991 New York Times article. In it, a Wall Street analyst stated that Frito-Lay’s profit margin, around 19 percent in those days (which is close to its margin of late), approached that of Kellogg's. The analyst, an expert on the food industry, said: "Kellogg buys corn for 4 cents a pound and sells it for $2 a box." That's a markup of nearly 5,000 percent over the base ingredient.

I’ll save you the math, but Frito-Lay may do even better than Kellogg's. If it uses two ounces of cornmeal in my 99 cents bag of Doritos, it apparently costs the snack-food giant less than one measly penny. And here’s a critical point about the food industry. The more they can process basic food commodities, the more profits they can gobble up at the expense of farmers. In The End of Food, Paul Roberts writes that in the 1950s, farmers received about half the retail price for the finished food product. By 2000, "this farm share had fallen below 20 percent."

This is the result of the global food system constructed by the U.S. and other Western powers under the World Trade Organization. Countries that once strived for food security by supporting their domestic farmers are now forced -- in the name of free trade -- to open their agricultural sectors to competition from heavily subsidized Western agribusinesses. By the mid-1990s, according to rural sociologist Philip McMichael, 80 percent of farm subsidies in Western countries went to "the largest 20 percent of (corporate) farms, rendering small farmers increasingly vulnerable to the vicissitudes of a deregulated (and increasingly privately managed) global market for agricultural products."

The WTO-enforced system and government subsidies enables food giants -- such as Pepsico, Kraft, Mars, Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Burger King and Wal-Mart -- to source their ingredients globally, giving them the power to force down prices, which drives more and more farmers off the land in the global North and South alike. Then the food companies turn around and manufacture high-profit products that seem like an unbelievable bargain to us. In fact, they make this a selling point, and not just with "Dollar Menus."

Last year, in the wake of the economic meltdown, KFC launched the "10 Dollar Challenge," inviting families to try to recreate a meal of seven pieces of fried chicken, four biscuits and a side for less than its asking price of 10 bucks. Of course this is a virtually impossible feat, apart from dumpster diving. But KFC isn’t hawking alfalfa sprouts and a plate of mashed yeast at that price. Witherly, in Why Humans Like Junk Food, writes that "high energy density food is associated with high food pleasure." The corporate food's revenue model is based on designing products oozing with fat, salt, sugar, umami and chemical flavors to turn us into addicts.

While food companies can trot willing doctors, dieticians and nutritionists who claim that eating their brand of poison in moderation can be part of a balanced diet, the companies are like drug dealers who prey on junkies. As Morgan Spurlock explained about McDonald's in Supersize Me, the targets are "heavy users," who visit the Golden Arches at least once a week and "super heavy users,” who visit ten times a month or more. In fact, according to one study, super heavy users "make up approximately 75 percent of McDonald's sales."

Fast-food Addiction

Perhaps no company better exemplifies the intersection of factory farming, fast food and food addiction than McDonald's. It pioneered many of the practices of standardized, industrial food production that made it into a global behemoth. In 1966 McDonald's switched from about 175 different suppliers for fresh potatoes to J.R. Simplot Company’s frozen French fry. A few years later, McDonald's switched from a similar number of beef suppliers to just five. Within a decade, notes Eric Schlosser, McDonald's had gone from 725 outlets nationwide to more than 3,000.

Tyson did the same with chicken, which was seen as a healthy alternative to red meat. It teamed up with McDonald's to launch the Chicken McNugget nationwide in 1983. Within one month McDonald's became the number two chicken buyer in the country, behind KFC. The McNugget also transformed chicken processing. Today, Tyson makes most of its money from processed chicken, selling its products to 90 of the 100 largest restaurant chains. As for the health benefits, Chicken McNuggets have twice as much fat per ounce as a hamburger.

The entire food industry, perhaps best described as "eatertainment," has refined the science of taking the cheap commodities pumped out by agribusiness and processing them into foodstuffs that are downright addictive. But food is far more than mere fuel. It is marketed as a salve for our emotional and psychological ills, as a social activity, a cultural outlet and entertainment.

Faced with little time to cook, bland industrial meat and drawn to exciting and addictive processed foods, most Americans gorge on convenience food. In 1900, the typical American woman spent six hours a day in food prep and cleanup. By last year, Americans on average took 31 minutes a day. For many, "cooking time" consists of opening up takeout containers, dumping the contents on a plate and throwing away the trash.

To get us in the door (or to pick up their product at the supermarket), food companies stoke our gustatory senses. The food has to be visually appealing, have the right feel, texture and smell. And most of all, it has to taste good. To that end, writes David Kessler in The End of Overeating, the food industry has honed in on the "three points of the compass" -- fat, salt and sugar.

One anonymous food-industry executive told Kessler, "Higher sugar, fat and salt make you want to eat more." The executive admitted food is designed to be "highly hedonic," and that the food industry is "the manipulator of the consumers' minds and desires."

This food is even designed to be pre-digested. Factory-farmed meats are ground up, injected with salt, water, a multitude of flavorings and chemicals, reconstituted and often processed with extra fat (like the McNugget). Speaking to an expert in "sensory stimulation and food," Kessler explains how food is engineered to deliver pleasing flavors, aromatic and textural sensations and dissolve easily in the mouth. He writes: "in the past Americans typically chewed a mouthful of food 25 times before it was ready to be swallowed; now the average American chews only ten times." Even the bolus -- the wad of chewed food -- is designed to be smooth and even. It's "adult baby food."

Referencing studies with either humans or lab animals, Kessler shows how varying concentrations and combinations of fat and sugar intensify neurochemicals, much the same way cocaine does. One professor of psychiatry explains that people self-administer food in search of "different stimulating and sedating effects," just as is done with a "speedball" -- which combines cocaine and heroin.

Kessler deconstructs numerous restaurant chain foods to show they are nothing more than layers of fat, salt and sugar. A reoccurring item is "bacon-cheese fries," a coronary event on a plate that displays dazzling engineering precision. One food consultant calls it "cheap filler" in which "20 cents' worth of product gets me $5 worth of wow." The expert in sensory stimulation explains, "Adding more fat gives me more flavor. It gives me more salt. And that bacon gives me a lot more lubricity." A food scientist for Frito-Lay describes the textural appeal: "You've got some pieces that are crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. It's warm. It's probably gooey, stringy, so you have to use your fingers a lot to eat it, and you have to lick your fingers. It's all multisensory."

Or take the McGriddle, which can be deconstructed along the "three points of the compass." It starts with a "cake" made of refined wheat flour, essentially a sugar, pumped with vegetable shortening, three kinds of sugar and salt. This cradles an egg, cheese and bacon topped by another cake. Thus, the McGriddle, from the bottom up, is fat, salt, sugar, fat, then fat and salt in the cheese, fat and salt in the bacon, finished off with fat, salt and sugar. And this doesn't indicate how highly processed the sandwich is. McDonald's bacon, a presumably simple product, lists 18 separate ingredients, including what appears to be six separate sources of umami.

The success of the McGriddle and sandwiches like Wendy's Baconator, which mounds six strips of bacon atop a half-pound cheeseburger and sold 25 million in its first eight weeks, has inspired an arms-race-like escalation among chain restaurants. Burger King has a near-identical imitation with the French Toast Sandwich. In 2004 Hardee's went thermonuclear with its 1,420-calorie, 107-grams-of-fat-laden "Monster Thickburger." And people are gobbling them up.

Perhaps you feel smug (and nauseated) by all this because you are a vegetarian, a vegan or a locavore, or you only eat organic and artisanal foods. Don't. Americans are under the thrall of the food industry. More than half the population eats fast food at least once a week; 92 percent eat fast food every month; and "Every month about 90 percent of American children between the ages of three and nine visit a McDonald's," states Schlosser.

We know this food is killing us slowly with diabetes, heart disease and cancer. But we can't stop because we are addicts, and the food industry is the pusher. Even if can completely opt out (which is almost impossible), it's still our land that is being ravaged, our water and air that is being poisoned, our dollars that are subsidizing the destruction, our public health that is at risk from bacterial and viral plagues.

Changing our perilous food system means making choices -- not to shop for a greener planet, but to collectively dismantle the nexus of factory farming, food corporations and the political system that enables them. It's a tall order, but it's the only option left on the menu.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Maria Shriver: A Woman's Nation

On Tuesday, April 15, 2009, Maria Shriver announced a new project called, "A Woman’s Nation", which will take a new, empirical look at American women, who for the first time in our nation’s history, make up half of all workers and are becoming the primary breadwinners in more families than ever before.

This is a multifaceted project in partnership with the Center for American Progress and the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy. TIME magazine will also be involved in research and reporting, as well as co-presenting discussions and roundtables around the country.

“We will take a hard look at how women are doing in the United States today and consider the central question of the role government, business, and faith organizations, as well as individual women and men should play in supporting women’s role now in the workforce and the U.S. economy,“ said John Podesta, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress. “We look forward to teaming up with Maria Shriver on this important work.”

A Woman’s Nation will include roundtables, a national poll, and interviews with icons of the women’s movement and other prominent leaders. The preliminary report will be released in the fall, to be followed by a book.

“Examining ways to improve the lives of women in this country is a noble cause, and I congratulate Maria Shriver and CAP on launching this new venture,” said White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett. “As a true leader in this area, Maria brings the perspective of a professional journalist, a working mother, and a caretaking daughter. Maria’s contributions to better understanding American women today are invaluable, and we look forward to the results of this work.”

Read Maria Shriver's blog on The Huffington Post.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Is RSS Reading Dead?

what is the future of RSS? Is social media a better alternative?Using a reader keeps all your favs in one place, and makes an easy way of organizing content too.

read more | digg story

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Make Money Online From Home Through ProfitMart

New product from empowers users to make money online. 1stPromotion is the trusted source of ClickBank utilities and premium work-at-home opportunities, announced today the re-introduction of their newest web mall and affiliate income portal the 1stPromotion Pro2 Affiliate Income System.

Toronto, Ontario (PRWEB) September 28, 2006 -- Two years in development, the 1stPromotion Pro2 System employs cutting-edge technology that not only builds confidence in even those new to the web, but for many brings the possibility to make money online and establish multiple streams of income from home closer to a reality than ever before.

Anchored around 1stPromotion's powerful ClickBank portal, 1stPromotion's Pro2 System is an independently hosted income portal that gives each owner total power and flexibility over the look, feel, and content of their site. The ClickBank portal offers customers instant access to over 11,400 instantly deliverable information products and services. Each of these products pay up to an amazing 75% commission.


Customization of each site is accomplished through a simple interface in the 1stPromotion Pro2 member's area. With a simple click here and a click there, members select the products they wish to display and promote through their website from the library of products in the Member's Area.

The WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor makes even those with no html knowledge or previous web-experience looks like real pros. As simple as using a word-processing program like MS Word, members can add graphics, text, tables, their logo and more to their site.

The 1stPromotion Pro2 System also empowers members with the integrated "Suggest A Product" and "Suggest A Program" feature. This simple form allows members to suggest products (ClickBank or otherwise) & income programs for inclusion in the 1stPromotion library. ClickBank products are automatically approved and added to the library.

ClickBank vendors whose product may not yet in appear in the Pro2's library of featured products can get premium exposure through the Pro2 system by simply becoming a 1stPromotion member and then using the "Suggest A Product" feature.

New ClickBank vendors, and vendors with new products could potentially ignite an instant flow of ClickBank sales by doing likewise.

Products and other affiliate programs outside of the ClickBank spectrum which are not already in the 1stPromotion Pro2 System library will be reviewed for suitability. Once approved, 1stPromotion will join through the referring member's affiliate link, presenting the possibility of many 2-tier affiliates for the referring member thus establishing multiple means for each member to earn income.

The 1stPromotion Pro2 System is the ONLY ClickBank mall and income system that is specifically targeted to allow each owner to optimize their sites for search engine positioning. From the Member's Area, each store owner can select their page name, meta tags, meta description and website content to assist them in achieving favorable search engine placement and a perpetual flow of targeted traffic (potential customers) to their store.

Other custom features about the Pro2 store is the ability to input custom infomration including site owner contact information, Google AdSense serving, and selecting color templates.

Owned and operated by brothers Rick and Ron Davies, 1stPromotion continues to develop serious tools for those looking to establish a primary or secondary means of income from home.

1stPromotion is committed to developing serious tools for those looking to establish a primary or secondary means of income from home.

A tool to use and pass on that works very well with ProfitMart

Click here to get Got Viral Widgets- Viral Marketing - Instant Ads

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Green Business or a Green Purpose?

One of the benefits of green choices is the rewarding feeling of connection with our world and those we are surrounded by.

Building a home business can be difficult at best, so slowly realizing our dreams of family business is a goal to work toward. Modern marketing has opened new doors and I encourage faith and persistence because many avenues have made possible things we haven't been conditioned to accept.

Knowledge is a great tool if it's used correctly. In many ways we are alike in our nature and identities. When considering organics and holistic practices we normally look at our standard beliefs and the foundation already set by experience. And we can build on that by staying informed and continually learning.

One thing I've learned from organized sports is that teamwork requires extra effort to improve the standard of performance. Our conditioned responses don't do this themselves, but our increased awareness makes new possibilities evident and change is one vehicle that can bring us together in unity.

Hopefully, most of us have learned that success is an individual thing. It is really a gift that we have talents, abilities, and thoughts to communicate for people and by people that encourage and bring us closer. It is within each of us to hope and realize that hope. My goal today is helping each person with edification to improve for themselves and those who know them. To look inside themselves for the energy and motivation to bring about change for the better.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Why is Organic Better?

Organic Thought:

Going organic may boost your intake of cancer-fighting antioxidants.

Researchers who recently tested the antioxidant content of corn that had been grown with and without the use of pesticides found that the corn grown without the chemicals had almost 60% more flavonoids compared to the corn grown with pesticides. Flavonoids are a type of antioxidant nutrient associated with reduced cancer risk.

Researchers speculate that organic produce may have more flavonoids because plants use flavonoids to defend themselves against pests and diseases. Produce grown with pesticides has less need for flavonoids and thus may produce less of them. However, organically grown produce will need to produce more flavonoids to protect itself from bugs and diseases. More research needs to be completed to confirm test results regarding the association between organically grown produce and increased flavonoid content.

RealAge Benefit: Eating a diverse diet that is low in calories and high in nutrients can make your RealAge as much as 4 years younger.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

10 Ways to Keep an Eco-Friendly Home

A Green Home

Environmental problems like climate change and air and water pollution may sometimes seem unsolvable, but there are many simple and inexpensive things you can do every day to help. The best place to start is your home. The average home in the United States causes twice as much greenhouse gas emissions as the average car, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), so there's a lot of room for improvement.

"It was the sum of billions of little actions that got us to this point," says Patrick Gonzalez, a climate change scientist at the Nature Conservancy. "It's really only the sum of a billion small solutions that will solve the problem."

1. Replace Your Lightbulbs

If every American household replaced just one incandescent bulb with a compact fluorescent one, the carbon savings would be the same as taking more than six million cars off the roads, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. Talk about a small change with a big impact! "We could cut our nation's electric bill by several billion dollars a year and prevent the need for two dozen power plants," says Jennifer Powers, a spokesperson for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

To maximize efficiency and savings, opt for lightbulbs approved by the EPA's Energy Star program, which have passed rigorous quality tests.

2. Maximize Heating and Cooling Efficiency

Heating and cooling account for roughly half of a home's energy use, on average. "Most homes have enough leaks and cracks — it's the equivalent of leaving a window open all year," says Maria Vargas, a spokesperson for the Energy Star program. To counteract this, she recommends air-sealing and insulating your home. Vargas also recommends changing the filters in your heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems regularly. Other easy tweaks? Insulate your hot water heater with a special insulating blanket and use a programmable thermostat to minimize the use of energy while you're sleeping or away from home.

3. Eat Local and Organic

The NRDC estimates that the average American meal includes foods from five different countries. The shipping of these foods carries a heavy burden of increased air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Buying local foods is an easy way to help the environment and your local economy. Check out the NRDC's Eat Local Web site to see what's growing near you.

Also, make an effort to eat organic foods. "Not only is there a health benefit to you and your family, but pesticide production is very energy intensive and damaging to the environment," says Powers.

4. Unplug Energy Vampires

You may not know it, but vampires are lurking in your home. Electronics that are left plugged in, such as cell phone chargers and computers, constantly use energy. "We suggest people in home offices plug their computers and printers into a power strip and turn the power strip off when they're not using them," says Powers. "This cuts off the vampire power that continuously leaks into the socket."

You might think a screen saver cuts down on your computer's energy consumption, but the computer is actually still running at full speed. If you can't turn your computer off completely, be sure to put it in "sleep" or "hibernation" mode.

5. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

It's nearly impossible to overestimate the environmental benefits of reducing waste and recycling. For example, if every household in the United States replaced just one 250-count package of virgin fiber napkins with 100 percent recycled ones, one million trees would be saved, says Powers.

"You have multiple benefits from recycling paper — you not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions but you actually conserve forest ecosystems," adds Gonzalez.

Cans, bottles, computers, cell phones — anytime you recycle something, it helps reduce the amount of energy needed to produce and transport new products. It also saves space in our limited landfills.

6. Choose Nontoxic Products

For your own health and that of your family (pets included) and the environment, use nontoxic products whenever possible. It's a quick and easy way to keep toxins out of your home, the air, and the water. Even seemingly harmless things like flea collars can be dangerous, especially for children, "Little kids touch the collar and put their hands in their mouths — it's just a mess," says Powers.

Companies such as Seventh Generation offer a wide variety of eco-friendly products. Or you can make your own cleaners using common ingredients — white vinegar and baking soda, for instance.

7. Purchase Energy Star Products

According to the EPA, its Energy Star program helped prevent the equivalent of 27 million cars worth of emissions in 2007 by setting efficiency standards for more than 50 products, including washing machines, refrigerators, and CD players. And the list continues to grow — new Energy Star specifications have just been announced for televisions. These Energy Star–approved televisions use less energy, even when they're not on, and became available in November 2008. "We spend about a billion dollars each year in this country powering TVs and VCRs when they're turned off," says Vargas.

Many Energy Star products cost the same as their less efficient counterparts, and those that are more expensive make up the difference in price in energy saved within less than five years.

8. Drink Filtered Tap Water

Once the ubiquitous sign of health-conscious and active consumers, bottled water has more recently been accused of helping to cause climate change. What happened? People realized the excessive cost in energy of creating portable plastic bottles and transporting them to stores across the nation. Also, according to the EPA, bottled water is not necessarily better for you than tap water. So switch from bottled to tap water when you can. If you don't like the taste of your local water or want to improve its health profile, the EPA provides information to help you select the best home water treatment system for your family.

9. Shorten Your Shower

If Americans shortened their showers by just one minute, we could save 180 billion gallons of water each year, according to the EPA's WaterSense partnership. So cut back on your shower time, even if it's just a few minutes. Want to double those savings? WaterSense says the same amount of water could be saved if people switched to efficient showerheads with flow rates of less than 2.5 gallons per minute. To determine whether you need such a showerhead, make note of how long it takes your shower to fill a bucket with a gallon of water. If it's less than 20 seconds, it's time to go for a slower-flowing showerhead.

10. Choose Sustainable Seafood

We've all heard that eating fish is part of a healthy lifestyle, but it's important to think about the environmental impact of our seafood selections. A surge in the demand for fish, along with factors such as habitat destruction and pollution, has severely damaged the health of our oceans. Buying seafood, whether wild-caught or farmed, from sustainable sources is one way you can eat healthfully while helping to preserve and protect our oceans. For information on choosing seafood, check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program, which provides tips and pocket guides for sustainable options.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Getting Web Traffic For Clickbank Affiliate Programs

An Afffiliate Giant in IM - Stone Evans

Stone tells his story about where he began in internet marketing:

When I got online looking for ways to supplement my income back in 1999 I didn't have my own product(s) to sell. Even if I would have had my own products, I didn't have the knowledge required to know how to sell them online.

So the FIRST thing I did after reading Robert Allen's Multiple Streams of Income book was get on his conference calls to learn about OTHER ways to make money online since I didn't have my own products. That's when I first discovered affiliate programs.

I learned that there are a bunch of companies on the Internet that will allow you to fill out a short application and INSTANTLY become their affiliate. These companies provide the products for you to sell, give you websites and marketing tools to sell them with, follow-up with any prospects you send their way, close the sale, ship the products, handle customer service and complaints, and do virtually all the stuff you would have to do if you were selling your own products.

Then whenever someone you send to that company buys something, you get paid a commission for it. It's a win-win situation. The company is looking for more people to promote their products and they only pay a commission when an actual sale is generated. As an affiliate, you don't have all the burden of providing the product or service, following-up, closing the sale, handling customer satisfaction issues, dealing with "problem people", etc. You just get people to the company's website and the company takes care of all that for you.

So being an affiliate is really a mindset thing. Would you rather run a company that is responsible for providing the product or service, starting relationships with prospects, following up relentlessly to close the sale, shipping the product, handling returns, dealing with all the customer service issues including people who only want to give you a hard time... Hey, a lot of people love doing those things and that's great. We need those kind of people and I'm deeply thankful for them myself.

Or would you rather simply focus on bringing prospects to the table and letting the company do all the "dirty" work for you? This is the choice of an affiliate.

The amazing thing about affiliate marketing is that you can often earn a lions share of the profit. Yes, many companies are willing to pay you more than they earn themselves for making a sale.

Clickbank is one of the programs that offers the highest in commission ranging from normally 50%-75% on each product sold.

Clickbank affiliates promote products through websites. The more visitors the affiliates can draw to their site, the better their chances of selling a product. A well made website is an affiliate's dream. It draws visitors, some of whom click on the promotional ads on the web pages.

This is why it is important to draw as much traffic as you can to your website. This helps you sell more Clickbank products. Even if you do not close a sale right there, you can always make extra money through the clickthroughs. Also, the visitor may come back to your website later to see the ad, or make a purchase.

How To Get More Web Traffic

Greater amount of traffic to your website increases the chances of getting positive responses. Here is how you can increase the web traffic to your site.

Offer goodies, freebies and discounts to people who respond within a certain time. You could also send newsletters and information about the latest on your site if they sign up with your site.

Keep updating your website. Search engines do not rank sites that are not updated regularly. Also, updating your site assures visitors that you are still in business and interested in what you do.

Besides putting up ads related to your Clickbank product, you can also put up advertisements to other products if you are sure they will not draw away visitors from your own ad. Cross promoting also works well. You can cooperate with other affiliates to put their ads as well as your ads on each others' websites.

Clearly headline all your webpages. This helps visitors to sort out the pages they want to visit. It also helps them retrace their path to your page if they want to visit your page again.

Try to build a unique brand for your website. Put up logos, slogans and colors that make your site stand apart. Easy recognition by repeat visitors can translate into sales.

Your website should be informative. A page on frequently asked questions will help a lot of visitors, and save you the trouble of answering the same queries personally through emails. Also, it makes the affiliate look more business like. Put in a note about the privacy policy and any terms and conditions the Clickbank vendor or affiliate might have for the buyer, as well.

Link the pages of your website to each other so they show up more often on search engines. The better page rank the website has, the more it will show up on search engines such as Google. And the more visitors will visit your website. This will translate into more sales for your Clickbank products.

These are just some of the methods through which you can draw traffic to your webpage where ads for Clickbank products are displayed. It is advisable to learn a bit about SEO techniques so that you can optimize your website to receive the maximum possible visitors. Once you have learned how to get more web traffic, you will be amazed by the publicity you can generate for your product.

Become a Clickbank affiliate today!

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2nd half of article by: Millard Gibson