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The Skinny on Smaller Portions
10 tips on getting rid of the unwanted gift of holiday weight gain I am here to tell you that most of weight loss gimmicks will only result in you losing weight in your wallet

May 17, 2009

Laugh Your Way To a Healthy Long Life

For years humans have personified animals. But, have you ever seen a dog laugh? Just the thought of it brings a chuckle. You should be smiling by now. The fact is humans are the only creatures on this planet that actually laugh. It is spontaneous and of course joyous. But, it also has amazing health benefits.

Dr. Lee Berk and fellow researcher Dr. Stanley Tan of Loma Linda University in California have been studying the effects of laughter on the immune system. To date their published studies have shown that laughing lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones, increases muscle flexion, and boosts immune function by raising levels of infection-fighting T-cells, disease-fighting proteins called Gamma-interferon and B-cells, which produce disease-destroying antibodies. Laughter also triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers, and produces a general sense of well-being.

Laughter Activates the Immune System

In Berk's study, the physiological response produced by belly laughter was opposite of what is seen in classical stress, supporting the conclusion that mirthful laughter is a eustress state -- a state that produces healthy or positive emotions.

Research results indicate that, after exposure to humor, there is a general increase in activity within the immune system, including:

  • bullet An increase in the number and activity level of natural killer cells that attack viral infected cells and some types of cancer and tumor cells.
  • An increase in activated T cells (T lymphocytes). There are many T cells that await activation. Laughter appears to tell the immune system to "turn it up a notch."
  • An increase in the antibody IgA (immunoglobulin A), which fights upper respiratory tract insults and infections.
  • An increase in gamma interferon, which tells various components of the immune system to "turn on."
  • An increase in IgB, the immunoglobulin produced in the greatest quantity in body, as well as an increase in Complement 3, which helps antibodies to pierce dysfunctional or infected cells. The increase in both substances was not only present while subjects watched a humor video; there also was a lingering effect that continued to show increased levels the next day.

Laughter Decreases "Stress" Hormones

The results of the study also supported research indicating a general decrease in stress hormones that constrict blood vessels and suppress immune activity. These were shown to decrease in the study group exposed to humor.

For example, levels of epinephrine were lower in the group both in anticipation of humor and after exposure to humor. Epinephrine levels remained down throughout the experiment.

In addition, dopamine levels (as measured by dopac) were also decreased. Dopamine is involved in the "fight or flight response" and is associated with elevated blood pressure.

Laughing is aerobic, providing a workout for the diaphragm and increasing the body's ability to use oxygen.

Laughter brings in positive emotions that can enhance – not replace -- conventional treatments. Hence it is another tool available to help fight the disease.

Experts believe that, when used as an adjunct to conventional care, laughter can reduce pain and aid the healing process. For one thing, laughter offers a powerful distraction from pain.

In a study published in the Journal of Holistic Nursing, patients were told one-liners after surgery and before painful medication was administered. Those exposed to humor perceived less pain when compared to patients who didn't get a dose of humor as part of their therapy.

Perhaps, the biggest benefit of laughter is that it is free and has no known negative side effects. So... Go laugh it up!

Thank you for your patronage.

Have a sensational week!

Thom King
Steviva Brands, Inc.


Gaining Strength By Overcoming ObstAcles
Max Steingart

Sooner or later you'll encounter a crisis in your life, and how you meet it will determine your future happiness and success. Since the beginning of time, everyone has been called upon to meet such a crisis.

Close scrutiny will show you that most "crisis situations" are opportunities to either advance or stay where you are.

Indeed, most people make changes in their life out of either "inspiration" or "desperation."

Personal growth is the process of responding positively to change. Whatever comes your way, give it meaning and transform it into something of value.

A precious stone cannot be polished without friction, nor humanity perfected without trials.


Lift Weights Lose Stress!

There are numerous popular techniques for relieving stress, and exercise naturally incorporates many of them. A combination of regular aerobic exercise and strength training:

Relaxes the muscles. One of the more time-tested stress alleviation techniques is known as progressive muscle relaxation. Progressive muscle relaxation calls for systematically tensing and relaxing all of the muscles in the body. "Maximum relaxation follows a maximal contraction. If you want a relaxed muscle, tense it first," says Jim Vicory, Ed.D., director of sports coaching with the U.S. Sports Academy, a graduate school in sports coaching, medicine and management in Daphne, Alabama. In the long run, progressive relaxation teaches you the difference between physical tension and relaxation so that you can consciously choose to relax whenever and wherever you wish. Weight training and aerobic exercise can do the same. "Lifting puts you more in touch with your body and that gives you greater control over your mind," says Vicory.

Improves breathing. Exercise deepens the natural pattern of breathing, countering the shallow, quick breathing pattern that is characteristic of stress. Often deep breathing alone is recommended for combating anxiety. Exercise just a little and you'll find yourself naturally taking deep, refreshing breaths.

Refreshes your body. Exercisers enjoy greater relaxation even at night. The sheer expenditure of energy allows for better sleep. And people with a higher proportion of lean body mass, research shows, sleep best of all. A number of studies show that regular exercisers both fall asleep faster, and sleep more deeply. Studies of athletes and physically fit older men reveal that they awaken less frequently during the night and spend more time in deep delta sleep than inactive guys. "Those who enjoy good delta sleep wake up the next morning feeling more relaxed, refreshed and alert," says psychologist Gregg Amore, Ed.D., director of counseling at Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales in Pennsylvania, and 1997 AAU Grandmasters Mr. America.

Enhances circulation. Weightlifters have a special advantage when it comes to alertness: As you know if you've ever spotted anyone on the bench press, faces turn red after a few good reps, an indication of increased blood flow to the extremities. Inside your head, that means more blood, carrying more oxygen-rich blood cells to the brain.

Heightens alertness. Research shows that exercise increases secretion of chemicals in the brain, such as norepinephrine, that serve as neurotransmitters, sending signals from nerve to nerve. "The combination of the added oxygen, the boost in neurotransmitters, and better sleep sets up the chemistry that allows for greater mental sharpness, more rational thinking and the ability to cope rationally with life's stressful challenges," says Amore. He sees it as an axiom that "the stronger you are, the greater your concentration and clarity. And the less likely you are to be captive to wild emotions."

While working out drink a lot of water. What I suggest is adding the juice of half a lemon or 4 tablespoons of unsweetened cranberry juice to 32 ounces of water with a sprinkle of Steviva Brand Stevia Powder . Aside from being less than 2 carbs, you will get the health benefits that the stevia provides along with the vitamin C and electrolytes that lemon have. You can substitute limes for lemons if you get bored. Click here to order stevia powder.

This information and other information on this site is intended for general reference purposes only and is not intended to address specific medical conditions. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice or a medical exam. Prior to participating in any exercise program or activity, you should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional. No information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition.


Passive Aggressive Behavior
Claiming Our Feelings

If you’ve ever found yourself repressing your anger and behaving in other ways to get your point across, you may be someone who is adept at engaging in passive-aggressive behavior. Although passive-aggressive behavior is recognized as a psychological disorder, it also describes the behavior that many people use to cope with confrontational situations. Such behavior has the outward appearance of being peaceful, yet it is really an attempt to express oneself in seemingly passive ways—usually without accepting responsibility for doing so. For example, someone who doesn’t want to attend an event with a partner might engage in behavior that causes them to be late or miss the event without ever admitting to their partner that they never wanted to go to the function at all. Procrastination, inefficiency, stubbornness, and sullenness are some of the many ways that anger can be expressed indirectly.

It is important not to judge ourselves when we engage in passive-aggressive behavior. You may want to consider that you are not owning your feelings or your expression by indirectly expressing yourself. Perhaps you are judging your feelings and needs as wrong—which is why you are expressing yourself indirectly. You also may be worried that others will judge you for feeling the way that you do. Remember that anger and every other emotion are never good or bad. They can, however, become toxic of you don’t express them in healthy and proactive ways. When we express ourselves directly, we are more likely to be heard by the other person. It also becomes easier for us to ask for and get what we want.

Once we learn to be honest with ourselves about our feelings, we can begin to directly express ourselves to others. By learning to express ourselves directly, we prevent misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and resentment from cropping up in our relationships. We also learn to communicate with others in healthy and productive ways. It is never too late to start working on ourselves and our behaviors, just take it one day at a time.


Low Glycemic All Natural No Sugar Add Iced Chai Tea
Serves: 8
Carbs Per Serving: 5.5g
Prep Time:<10 minutes

Skill Level: Easy

On a nice sunny day like today was for us, I like to take an afternoon break with a tall glass of iced Chai Tea. Chai's roots come from the 5,000 year old Indian Science of Ayurveda, healing with food.

You'll find that the ingredients in Chai are used to promote healing and strengthen various parts of the body.

  • Cinnamon strengthens the blood and teeth. Ceylon Cinnamon is soft and light tan colored. Hard, red-brown cinnamon is actually Cassia Bark. Has a real strong flavor. Use what is available to you and adjust the recipe accordingly.
  • Black Pepper stimulates digestion, brings heat, circulation, breaks a sweat, breaks down calcium deposits.
  • Cloves stimulate the appetite.
  • Cardamom opens the nerves, helps digestion.
  • Ginger strengthens the nerves, circulation.
  • Tea catalyzes the spices. Opens the lungs, circulation, anti-oxidant. Lots of new research!
  • Milk helps buffer the digestive tract from the spices and relax the muscle system.

Here's a recipes that is naturally low in sugar and will kick your day off on the right foot!

2 Tb sp Darjeeling tea
1 Tb sp fennel or anise seed
6 green cardamom pods
12 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1/4" ginger root, sliced thin
1/4 tsp black pepper corns
2 bay leaves
7 Cups water
4 Cups whole milk
6 Tb sp
Fructevia, Steviva Brand Stevia Blend or 1/8 Teaspoon Steviva Brand Stevia Powder

Add spices and herbs, bring to a boil, and simmer 5 minutes then add 2 Tb sp Darjeeling tea and let steep for 5 minutes.
Add 6 Tb sp
Fructevia, Steviva Brand Stevia Blend or 1/8 Teaspoon Steviva Brand Stevia Powder and 1 Cup milk. Let cool and then add ice Stir and serve ice cold.

Nutritional Facts
Total Calories: 596
Calories Per Serving: 74.5 (1.5 cups)
Total Fat: 32.1g
Saturated Fat: 20.9g
Cholesterol: 136 mg
Sodium: 486mg
Total Carbohydrates: 44g

Carbohydrates Per Serving: 5.5g
Dietary Fiber: 09g
Sugars: 44g
Protein: 32g

Try All Natural Steviva Brand Stevia Blend, Fructevia and Steviva Brand Stevia Powder!


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