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Activate Your Metabolism with the Right Foods

All calories are created equal where the numbers game of weight loss is concerned, right? Wrong, according to a new eating plan, The Active Calorie Diet. Based on new research, this plan works off the premise that certain types of food can affect metabolism and appetite. Eat the right ones, and you’€™ll be able to boost your body’€™s weight-loss abilities.

What makes those foods stronger for getting slim? Certain foods take more work to eat and digest, making your body work harder to process. This means your body burns more calories in the digestive process. Even something as simple as chewing fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains can up your calorie burn by as much as 30 percent.

Here’€™s a look at the diet’€™s four “active calorie”€ groups and how each gets your body burning calories:

  • Chewy -€“ These foods make your body work from the moment they cross your lips, chewing items like lean meats, nuts, and whole produce. The foods with the greatest impact are those in a whole state, like apples instead of applesauce, or peanuts instead of peanut butter. The higher the protein, the better the effect -€“ high-protein foods take more effort to chew and more time to leave your stomach, which means you’€™ll eat more slowly and feel full sooner than with empty carbohydrates.
  • Hearty -€“ Fiber is your friend in the quest for weight loss. While that’€™s nothing new, categorizing it in this way is a fresh take. Fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, brown rice, whole grains, and cereal take up more space in the stomach, leaving less room for seconds. They also tend to take more effort to chew and to burn, increasing the food’€™s thermic effect.
  • Energizing -€“ Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, and this boost carries over to your metabolism. Coffee and black tea include enough of this energizer to ramp up your metabolism by 5-8 percent. Green tea has less caffeine, but it offers the benefit of catechins, an antioxidant that ups your resting metabolism by about 4 percent. Dark chocolate boasts of both caffeine and catechins, making it a sweet addition to any diet -€“ but in moderation, of course, since it also has plenty of sugar and fat.
  • Warming -€“ Spice up your diet with peppers, cinnamon, vinegar, bay leaves, mustard, cloves, garlic, and ginger. Not only do these add tons of flavor, but they also include chemicals that boost the body’€™s calorie-burning ability. For instance, capsaicin, the chemical that provides peppers’€™ heat, has been found to double dieters’€™ energy expenditure for several hours after eating. Adding these spices will fully activate the calories from all of the chewy, hearty, and energizing foods you’€™re consuming.

For more information about The Active Calorie Diet, visit www.activecaloriediet.com.

 

Cinnamon: A Power-Packed Spice for Diabetics

Cinnamon is known for its spicy taste and comforting, warm scent, but did you know it also holds medical power for diabetics?

A study in Diabetic Medicine showed that cinnamon is a powerful natural agent for stabilizing blood sugar by controlling blood glucose. Just half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day has been shown to significantly reduce blood sugar levels, triglycerides, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and total cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Combined with proper nutrition and exercise, cinnamon can help diabetics improve their health.

Here are five ways cinnamon can help your metabolism:

  1. Cinnamon improves the effectiveness of your body’s insulin while slowing the stomach’€™s emptying of food, thereby reducing sharp spikes in blood sugar following meals.
  2. Cinnamon includes a bioflavonoid called proanthocyanidin that may alter fat cells€™ insulin-signaling activity. Cinnamon also has “€œinsulin-like effects”€ thanks to a bioactive compound, making it a potential natural substitute.
  3. Cinnamon improves blood sugar regulation by increasing glucose metabolism by 20.
  4. Cinnamon enhances antioxidant defenses. According to a 2009 study, polyphenols from cinnamon might act as both insulin sensitizers and antioxidants, making them of special interest to overweight individuals with impaired fasting glucose.
  5. Cinnamon also supports digestive function, stimulates circulation with blood-thinning compounds, and relieves pain and stiffness in muscles and joints, among other health benefits.

Adding cinnamon to your diet is a cheap, healthy and flavorful way to prevent or combat type 2 diabetes. Holding diabetes at bay never tasted so good!

 

Clean Green with Four Home Remedies

Everyone wants to save money, and if you can save money and help the environment that’s a win/win. I ran across these tips which I thought would be a great idea to pass along.

While “going green” may be all the rage these days, there’€™s no need to purchase fancy chemical-free cleaners at the store. Green cleaning can be as easy as opening your cupboards and unleashing the cleansing power contained in these four ingredients you probably already have at home:

  • Lemon Juice -€“ The citric acid in this fragrant fruit has a natural ability to cut through hardened food spills. Just add lemon juice to water, bring it to a boil, and then wipe down the messy surface with a rag soaked in the lemon water. This works especially well in the microwave after boiling the water in it. Make your own furniture oil by mixing one part lemon juice to an equal part of olive oil. Apply the solution to wooden furniture, let it soak for a few minutes, and then wipe dry with a clean cloth.
  • Baking Soda -€“ This powdery white substance’€™s domestic benefits extend far beyond baking and absorbing odors. A hardened crust on a pot or pan can come clean by filling the pot with 2 Tbsp. baking soda per quart of water and boiling. After turning off the heat and letting the pan cool, the crust should lift right off. Baking soda also works to clean a greasy stove by soaking drip pans in a solution of ½ cup of baking soda per gallon of water.
  • Table Salt – To get coffeepots and percolators clean, fill them with water and add 4 Tbsp. of salt. Bring the water to a boil, let it cool, and then pour it out and rinse well. Salt also does wonders for common household metals. Rust will come off of tinware when it’s rubbed with a peeled potato dipped in salt. When mixed with vinegar, salt can polish brass; mixed with lemon juice, salt cleans copper.
  • White Vinegar -€“ When it comes to cleaning, white vinegar has been proven to work just as well as chlorine, minus the harmful chemicals. To combat soap scum, apply hot vinegar to it with a rag or sponge and then scrub with a stiff-bristled brush. Mopping the floor can be done with a bucket full of hot water, 1 cup vinegar, and a drop of dish soap or Murphy Oil. Dusting is a cinch when you dampen a dust-cloth in a solution of ¼ cup vinegar plus a few drops of olive oil. Adding white vinegar to the rinse compartment of your dishwasher will guarantee a spot-free clean.

 

Shake up the grocery shopping routine

Tired of the same old, same old? Here are some out-of-the-box eats to incorporate into your diet, along with some stand-byes with benefits just too good to ignore:

WATERMELON If you need an excuse to load up on this summer favorite, here’€™s one: watermelon contains lots of nutrients and cancer-fighting antioxidants like lycopene and vitamin C. As if that wasn’€™t enough, it’€™s 92 percent water, meaning it will full you up with minimal calories.

JICAMA €“ While this Mexican turnip may look like a fuzzy brown lump, beneath the surface is a fiber-packed snack that can work wonders for weight loss. With a high fiber-to-sugar ration and plenty of potassium (which the body requires for maintaining its water balance) -€“ not to mention a delicious, light taste and crispy crunch -€“ jicama is a winning snack to work into your diet.

NUTS There are few foods smarter than nuts. Not only are nuts like almonds and pistachios packed with monounsaturated fatty acids, which help you control your appetite while lowering your risk of heart disease and diabetes, but they also contain protein that will keep you full AND increase your calorie burning potential for up to three and a half hours. Other nut benefits include increased vitamin E levels along with improved memory and performance. Not all nuts are created equal, so be sure to check out what’€™s best for your goals.

PURPLE CARROTS If you think regular ol’€™ carrots are a healthy eat, just wait until you try their purple cousins! In addition to the beneficial phyto-chemicals contained in the orange variety, purple carrots contain anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants with anti-aging properties.

MANGOES These delicious fruits hold a number of benefits in their juicy orange flesh. Sweet enough to curb sugar cravings, mangoes are also high in fiber, iron, magnesium and antioxidants. They also aid in digestion, so make sure you opt for the fruit over just the juice.

EGGS The incredible, edible egg is making a comeback among fitness circles. Several studies have shown that egg protein outperforms other proteins in boosting muscle strength and development, thanks to its high concentration of the amino acid Lucine. Egg protein also helps curb hunger over a sustained period of time while providing plenty of energy.

MULBERRIES Change up the summer berry routine with this power-packed fruit. Like most berries, mulberries are low in calories, but these winners also contain plenty of vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and the phyto-nutrient resveratrol, which has been shown to protect the heart.

WHOLE GRAINS€“ While whole grains aren’€™t news, this research is: after analyzing the diets of more than 27,000 people across an eight-year span, Harvard University researchers found that those who ate whole grains daily weighed an average of 2.5 lbs less than those who ate only refined-grain foods. Researchers at Penn State University additionally found that those who ate whole grains lost 2.4 times more belly fat than their refined-grain-eating counterparts. This makes sense when considering how whole grains favorably affect blood-glucose levels, keeping your body from blood sugar spikes. Whole grains’€™ antioxidants help control inflammation and insulin (which the body uses to store belly fat).

 

Supporters Raise $50K for Wheelchair Accessible Van for Woman in South Bend

A recent social media campaign that began some time ago has finally paid off, as hundreds rally behind Heather Smith, a South Bend woman with multiple sclerosis.

With the assistance of social media campaigns like #HeatherNeedsAVan, supporters have successfully raised more than $50,000 for a wheelchair accessible van. Something Heather was unable to afford on her own as a single mother with MS.

Before, Heather had to rely on her friends and family to help with loading and unloading her scooter, a task not easy by any means, and on May 20, 2014 it became a thing of the past, as she regained her independence.

Smith’s family said, this had been an overwhelming and emotional experience; the outpouring of support received from friends and strangers alike has been nothing short of a miracle.

As the amount climbed, Smith just couldn’t believe her dream was about to become a reality. In fact, it came a little sooner than she expected. Smith was actually about $5,000 short of the goal, but received a surprise from the owner of Superior Van & Mobility, Sam Cook, who came through at the end to cover the rest. Putting Heather into her mobility van much sooner than later.

Congratulations Heather on your new found independence!

Heather Smith of South Bend Receives Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

http://www.wndu.com/home/headlines/Supporters-raise-50K-for-wheelchair-accessible-van-for-South-Bend-woman-260029271.html

Get Ready for a Huge Change in Disability Employment

While the American Disabilities Act ensures that employers can’t discriminate against people with disabilities, this doesn’t mean that discrimination has been wiped out from the workforce completely. In fact, ask any person with a disability what their experience is like finding employment, and you’ll hear a litany of horror stories ranging from inaccessible offices to outright discrimination.
Fortunately, big changes are about to happen in the world of disability employment—and it’s considered to be a huge coup in the Disability Rights Movement.
The Obama Administration is pushing forward with legislation that will require federal contractors and government businesses to increase the number of people with disabilities in the workplace. Many federal contractors will be required to have a disabled workforce that makes up at least seven percent of the total number of employees within an organization. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that as many as 585,000 jobs could be introduced to the disabled community within the first year of this bill going into law.
According to Patricia Shiu, director of the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is too high to be acceptable. That’s why the new legislation would require specific measures to demonstrate that they’ve complied with federal law. Previously, legislation only required businesses to make a good faith effort to employ people with disabilities—an effort, it seems, that wasn’t enough.
Businesses that have more than $50,000 in federal contracts and at least 50 employees are required to actively recruit, train and retain people with disabilities. Contractors who fail to show proof that they’ve met the seven percent requirement could lose these government contracts.
While some businesses are rallying against the legislation (many are even considering legal action), it’s an important step that the government is taking to ensure that people with disabilities are given the same employment opportunities and protection as women and minorities.
What do you think about the new legislation?

New Hope for Reversing the Effects of Spinal Cord Injury

We are getting Closer!

Mar. 12, 2013 — Walking is the obvious goal for individuals who have a chronic spinal cord injury, but it is not the only one. Regaining sensation and continence control also are important goals that can positively impact an individual’s quality of life. New hope for reversing the effects of spinal cord injury may be found in a combination of stem cell therapy and physical therapy as reported in Cell Transplantation by scientists at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

“Our phase one/two clinical trial had one goal: to give patients who have no other treatment options some hope,” said Hatem E. Sabaawy, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of medicine in the molecular and regenerative medicine program at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. “Early findings have concluded that we have met our goal and can improve the quality of life for individuals with spinal cord injuries by providing a safe treatment that restores some neurological function.”

Dr. Sabaawy led a clinical trial that included 70 patients who had cervical or thoracic spinal cord injuries and were previously treated for at least six months without response. The patients were randomized into two groups, both of which were given physical therapy treatment. One of the groups also received stem cells derived from their own bone marrow injected near the injury site. Using the American Spinal Injury Association Impairment (AIS) Scale, patients received neurological and physical evaluations monthly for 18 months to determine if sensory and motor functions improved.

“Of primary importance, there was a notable absence of side effects in patients treated with stem cells during the course of our investigation,” added Dr. Sabaawy, who also is a resident member of The Cancer Institute of New Jersey at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

None of the patients in the control group who received only physical therapy showed any improvement in sensory or motor function during the same time frame. Although the scale of injuries differed, all patients who were treated with a combination of bone-marrow derived stem cells and physical therapy responded to tactile and sensory stimuli as early as 4 weeks into the study. After 12 weeks, they experienced improvements in sensation and muscle strength, which was associated with enhanced potency and improved bladder and bowel control that eventually allowed patients to live catheter-free. Patients who showed improvement based on the AIS scale also were able to sit up and turn in their beds. Continue reading

Transportation for the Disabled – Top This!

Most of us don’t have to think too hard about getting from point A to point B. We just get up and go. We drive, we take a bus, we take an airplane. The disabled get up and go too, but their transportation from A to B can require some planning.

Sometimes transportation for a disabled person begins with just getting into their car. Some can use their upper body strength when they transfer into their car, and then lift their chair and toss it into the backseat. But many people just don’t have the upper body strength to do this with their manual chair. In this case, a BraunAbility Chair Topper might be a good option for your car. It’s designed for the person who might not have the muscle strength necessary to load a chair every time they transfer. It automatically folds and stores a folding wheelchair inside a weather-resistant car-top compartment. Before you invest in a new car, call your local to Superior Van & Mobility to find out if a BraunAbility Chair Topper is a good to solution for you and your mobility needs.

 

Cold Weather Advice For Wheelchair Vans

When inclement weather sets in, you have to pay special attention to certain parts of wheelchair vans. This is just as true in the winter as in the summer. Low temperatures, snow, wet or icy roads and other cold-weather concerns affect vehicle performance. They also make driving difficult and dangerous. Follow some basic cold weather care advice for your van to help prevent vehicle damage and accidents.

Tire Tips for Wheelchair Vans in Cold Weather

Properly inflated tires are essential to maintaining control of your vehicle. Check the tire pressure every week or two, or have someone do it for you if you can’t. Inspect tire tread, too. If you have normal tires, make sure the tread isn’t worn down to less than 2/32 of an inch; if you have snow tires, make sure it’s not worn down below 5/32 of an inch. If the tread on any tire is this worn down, it’s time for a replacement.

Cooling System Tips for Wheelchair Vans in Cold Weather

Replace antifreeze at least once every two years. Even if levels are still acceptable, the chemical balance of the antifreeze probably isn’t right anymore. If you don’t know when yours was last changed, have it done at the start of the winter. Also have your thermostat, water pumps, and radiator checked. Hoses and belts should be inspected for wear and cracks. Replace your radiator cap at the beginning of cold weather, too. Seek repairs at the first sign of problems with your heater or defrosters.

Other Cold Weather Tips for Wheelchair Vans

Have your oil changed when winter arrives. Use the lowest recommended oil grade. This is identified in your owner’s manual. Particularly cold weather diminishes a battery’s charge and ability to crank the vehicle’s engine. Get a battery test and have the battery fluids measured. If your battery is at least three or four years old, replace it.

When it’s really cold out, turn the electricity on in wheelchair vans first and wait 30 seconds before starting the engine. Also, keep your gas tank at least half full during the winter to prevent frozen gas lines. Don’t forget to keep some rock salt and an ice scraper in your van. Never use windshield wipers on frost or ice, as this easily damages them.