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The two most important things you can learn from Brooks Koepkas diet, according to his personal chef –

Posted: July 3, 2021 at 1:49 am

By: Rachel Bleier June 27, 2021

Brooks Koepka keeps it simple when it comes to his diet and nutrition.

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Big, bad, strong.

These are all words that have been used to describe Brooks Koepka in the past, and they all have their merits.

Big: The numbers dont lie. Koepka is 60 tall and weighs 205 pounds. Thats the opposite of small.

Bad: On the course, Koepkas no-nonsense attitude has resulted in an incredible resume including four majors and six Top 5 finishes in majors.

Strong: Its a bird! Its a plane! No, its Koepkas smashed golf ball flying 309 yards on average off the tee. It takes serious strength to mash drives and chop out of thick rough the way he can.

While all of this is impressive no doubt, especially to us mere mortals, it wouldnt be possible without the right fuel.

One of the most under appreciated aspects of any Tour players success is their diet. And for Koepka, his diet and nutrition on and off the course are essential for his ability to train, recover, and perform when he needs to most.

Thats where his personal chef, Noel Grob (a.k.a. Chef Nogee) comes in. Armed with a license in Health and Dietetics, Grob has worked with Koepkas team to produce a diet that is tailored specifically to him.

Whats surprising is that Koepka doesnt eat as much as youd think. He doesnt have a big appetite, Chef Nogee told He really doesnt snack that much on the course at all.

So what is his roughly 2100-2300 calorie diet comprised of?

Its a high-protein, low-fat diet that is broken down as follows:

Protein: 200 grams

Carbs: 200 grams

Fat: 60 grams

Although we regular weekend hackers dont have private chefs, there are still a few things we can learn from Koepkas carefully crafted diet.

When it comes to cooking for Koepka, Chef Nogee knows her audience. Koepka isnt a big on huge meals, so she cooks up lots of healthy meals and snacks to meet his goals. She keeps the ingredients simple: lots of salmon, chicken, and other high quality protein sources.

He doesnt eat a lot of sugary snacks, but that doesnt mean Koepka cant indulge every once in a while either. Brooks pretty much has a very balanced diet, she said. Its simple. Its not overcomplicated. We dont really refrain from much. He doesnt really have sugar, but every now and then, hell have pizza.

All of this to say that balance and simplicity are key to any good diet, and are things you should incorporate into the way you eat as well.

Chef Nogee was pretty adamant about her second piece of advice: Add more protein to your diet.

She actually recommends eating one gram of protein per pound of body weight, which is why Koepka who weighs about 205 pounds, eats 200 grams of protein a day.

Eating more protein, while good for helping your body recover after a long day on the course, will also help you feel full for longer. That means youre less likely to overindulge in the bad stuff we all are guilty of eating too much of at times. It also means it can help you maximize your gains and help you trim down a bit if thats your goal.

If youre serious about adding protein to your diet you can even give Koepkas favorite protein-packed snack a try. Just follow Chef Nogees recipe below:

Gluten free quick cooking oats

Powdered peanut butter mixed with just enough almond milk to form a loose peanut butter mixture

1/4 cup maple syrup or gave nectar

1/2 cup collagen

Lilys white chocolate chips

Mix all these ingredients together, form the mixture into spheres and refrigerate until solid.

While you probably wont be able to hit 300+ yard drives like Koepka, you can adopt his simple yet balanced approach to nutrition to help you feel and play your best on the course.

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The two most important things you can learn from Brooks Koepkas diet, according to his personal chef -

Will latest craze in personalized ‘microbiome’ diets finally solve America’s weight problems? | TheHill – The Hill

Posted: July 3, 2021 at 1:49 am

If one analyzes the microbiome, the trillions of microorganisms living in the digestive system, can a person construct the ultimate weight-loss diet?

Thats the promise of several new startups, which say the microbiome knows what the body wants and needs to optimize its chances for the healthiest lifestyle, The Wall Street Journal reported.

America is changing faster than ever! Add Changing America to your Facebook or Twitter feed to stay on top of the news.

In determining the perfect nutritional plan, everyone has a uniqueset of microbiomes that respond to food differently, the companies say.

To study your own microbiome, acquire a home kit with a companion application. Companies like Zoe, which explains to each customer how different foods affect their own blood sugar, blood fat and the gut microbiome, need stool samples or blood samples and may require subjects to take individualized diet supplements.

The companies, which also include Viome, Biomes and DayTwo, say the kits can reduce inflammation, enhance dissolution and resist autoimmunity, all in conjunction to weight loss.

The companies collect genetic information they say they hope will one day be used to study diseases.

Its really important to break the mold about what weve been told about nutrition, Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at Kings College London and director of the Twins U.K. study, told the Journal.He is also the founder of Zoe.

Low-calorie, low-fat and "eat-this-not-that" approaches arent working, Spector says. When it comes to nutrition, weve had a lot of amazing advice thats gotten us nowhere.


Will latest craze in personalized 'microbiome' diets finally solve America's weight problems? | TheHill - The Hill

On A Diet? Try These 5 Healthy Chocolate Dessert Recipes To Indulge In Sweetness Without Guilt – NDTV Food

Posted: July 3, 2021 at 1:49 am

Standing in a bakery and looking at all the delectable desserts? There are tons of pastries, biscuits, macrons, and chocolates that come in so many flavours which you would love to try. While we look at all the delicious options, trying one piece of a new flavour won't do much harm. Still, we control our urge to buy these desserts to manage our weight loss and calories. If you also miss indulging in your favourite sweets, then we have just the fix for you. So, when you have sweet cravings next time, try making these easy and healthy chocolate desserts that might not do much harm to your body and give you a healthy alternative.

(Also Read:Healthy Ways To Include Chocolate In Your Diet: Here're 4 Options For You)

Chocolates have had a bad reputation for a long time since people associate them with weight gain, high blood pressure, acne and whatnot. But according to a study, published in the Netherlands Journal of Medicine, recent studies have shown that cocoa is active in many biological phenolic compounds and may have positive effects on stress, ageing and blood pressure regulation.

So for you to indulge in some healthy goodness of chocolate, make these super easy recipes in no time.

1. Banana Chocolate Bites

Bananas are known to be rich in proteins, magnesium, fibre, copper and vitamin B. With these benefits, banana chocolate bites will be a nutritious choice for you. To make this, you can take any kind of chocolate, melt it in a microwave or double boiler and then dip banana pieces in the chocolate. Refrigerate and enjoy!

Bananas are known to be rich in proteins

(Also Read:Boosting Immunity: How White Chocolates Can Be Enriched With Antioxidants Like Dark Chocolate - Study Discovers)

2. Ragi Chocolate Cake

Missing a chocolate cake while dieting? Don't worry; we have you covered. This ragi chocolate cake is delicious and chocolaty; you can indulge in this sweet goodness without feeling guilty, and it might aid in weight management. For the recipe, click here.

Missing a chocolate cake while dieting? Don't worry; we have you covered

3. Coconut Chocolate Balls

Coconuts are high in nutrition and antioxidants that may help control high blood pressure. To make these coconut chocolate balls, you only need to mix unsweetened coconut, cocoa powder and softened dates. Mix these well and then form into balls. Freeze them and enjoy them at any time.

Coconuts are high in nutrition

4. Chocolate oats

This oats bowl is packed with nutrition as it contains oats, cocoa powder, maple syrup, chia seeds and honey. The natural sweetness of these ingredients makes this chocolate oat bowl heavenly in taste. See the full recipe here.

This oats bowl is packed with nutrition

5. Chocolate Bar

Ever thought of customising your own chocolate bars? If not, then we have just the idea for you. To make this, first, melt a part of the chocolate compound and then add dried fruits of your choice like berries, orange or strawberries. Then, you can top it off with nuts and decorate them with edible flowers.

Make these easy recipes, and let

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On A Diet? Try These 5 Healthy Chocolate Dessert Recipes To Indulge In Sweetness Without Guilt - NDTV Food

Late-Night Snacks That Wreck Your Diet (and Sleep) – Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic

Posted: July 3, 2021 at 1:49 am

Youre hungry. Dinners in the past and sleep is just ahead. What do you do?

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services.Policy

Making the wrong late-night snack choices can add to your weight and subtract from your sleep, and no one wants all that serious trouble to come from a momentary lapse, or two, in hunger weakness.

It works both ways. A healthy diet improves the quality and duration of your sleep. And adequate sleep improves the quality of your diet by curbing hunger hormones, explains registered dietitian Julia Zumpano, RD, LD.

Here, our dietitians list go through the types of snacks to avoid when youre looking at options late in the day.

Having something to do while you watch TV is not a good reason for eating, says Zumpano. Youre only addressing your boredom.

Ideally, to maintain your waistline, its best to eat all your meals before 6 p.m., she notes.

If youre not truly hungry, a late-night snack is a waste of fuel at the end of the day, she says.

One of the worst offenders is cereal and milk. Thats because its hard to control how much you eat.

Cereal is loaded with carbs, especially if sweetened and lets be honest, it typically is, she says. Add 1cup of any type of cows milk, and you get 8 grams of protein plus 12 grams of carbohydrate.Using whole milk also gives you extra fat calories that you certainly dont need at the end of the day, she notes.

If you must have cereal, look for a brand thats very low in sugar and high in fiber, and measure out 1 cup, she suggests. Then pair it with an unsweetened milk alternative such as almond, soy, flax, hemp or coconut milk.

Limiting your night-time calorie intake is good for the waistline. But thats hard to do with easy-to-binge-on salty snacks like potato chips and dip or tortilla chips and queso.

These foods are not nutrient-dense. Theyre calorie-dense every little bite packs a ton of them, notes Zumpano.

Whats worse, she finds that salty snacks dont satisfy her cravings. Instead, they trigger my sweet tooth, so that I end up eating another (sweeter) snack!

Late-night snacks should focus on foods that calm your body and prepare you for sleep, says Zumpano.

Steer clear of anything sugary or containing caffeine or alcohol, she advises. It will stimulate your body. Cookies, candy bars and anything high in refined sugar will reduce your serotonin levels, making it harder for you to fall asleep, she notes.

Caffeine and alcohol disrupt sleep patterns, making it harder to fall asleep, stay asleep and enjoy the deeper stages of sleep.

Remember these tips the next time late-night cravings hit. Youll appreciate making healthier choices when you hit the pillow and the scale.

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Late-Night Snacks That Wreck Your Diet (and Sleep) - Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic

Jennifer Aniston is eating bread again and thats a good thing, say experts. Heres why. – Yahoo Life

Posted: July 3, 2021 at 1:49 am

Jennifer Aniston on the red carpet. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Jennifer Aniston says bring on the bread basket.

In a recent interview with People, the Friends star shared that she is changing up her longtime lower carb diet in favor of cutting herself some slack.

"[I] started to give myself a break, allowing yourself to have pasta, a sandwich," Aniston told the outlet. "Everyone's very afraid of the bread basket, and I'm no longer afraid. As long as it's all done in moderation."

Anistons protein and vegetable-heavy diet is one shes talked about at length before. In a 2016 article for ELLE, she spoke about how a typical day of eating includes salad, egg whites and avocado. She admitted that it was her then-husband, Justin Theroux, who finally convinced her to indulge in pasta as a rare treat. "I don't know whether I should thank him or hate him for that, she joked at the time.

That same year, she explained to Yahoo of her diet, Im good at keeping my starches to a minimum. I dont like white foods, and Ill always cut back on some breads if Im trying to slim down for something special.

Now, however, pasta and bread arent the occasional treats they once were and experts gave a thumbs up to Anistons decision.

Its important to eat a variety of foods that contain protein, carbs and fat because each macronutrient plays a unique role in helping our bodies and brains function optimally, Alissa Rumsey, MS, RD, nutrition therapist, and the author of Unapologetic Eating, tells Yahoo Life. Plus, carbs are satisfying, and they taste good! If you try to avoid carbs, youll likely find yourself constantly craving them, which is distracting and leads to an unhealthy relationship with food. On the other hand, when no food is off-limits, any intense cravings or obsessive thoughts you have about food will likely fade. Chances are, youll end up eating a balanced diet without overthinking it.

Dr. Amy Lee, Head of Nutrition for Nucific, adds, Carbohydrates are our bodys main source of energy, but you need to feed your body the right carbs in order to fill it with the right fuel. Returning to a more balanced diet can help you feel more energized and ensure youre getting the right amount of nutrients every day, but understanding portions is important to actually have a balanced diet.

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While theres certainly no reason to fear the bread basket, Dr. Lee points out that in order to get the most satisfaction out of eating carbs, you should focus on ones that are high in fiber.

There is nothing wrong with bread in general, she notes, but sometimes, it is the type of bread we end up eating that is the issue. Bread made from white flour and sugar which makes up the majority of our meals isnt the healthiest option. And when we are at a Mexican restaurant, we may end up eating the basket of chips and salsa followed by three to four more tortillas that come with our entre. It is this mindless eating of carbs that gets us in trouble.

Still, Rumsey warns that its never a good idea to cut out any food group completely.

She tells Yahoo Life, While someone may be able to restrict carbs in the short term, eventually this restriction causes a boomerang effect and our body's starvation response wins out, typically leading to binge-type behavior on carbohydrate-rich foods.

Fortunately, Aniston doesnt have to worry about that anymore: There are no food rules in place for this star.

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Jennifer Aniston is eating bread again and thats a good thing, say experts. Heres why. - Yahoo Life

This diet is the healthiest for you heart – FOX31 Denver

Posted: July 3, 2021 at 1:49 am

This diet is the healthiest for you heart

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This diet is the healthiest for you heart - FOX31 Denver

Is intermittent fasting or calorie restriction better for weight loss? – Medical News Today

Posted: July 3, 2021 at 1:49 am

Intermittent fasting is an umbrella term for diets that restrict food intake to certain time windows. These diets can include fasting for several hours, or even days, at a time.

The dietary practice has become increasingly popular in recent years as a way to lose weight and improve health. The reason for its popularity may be that people consider it easier to maintain than some other diets.

Findings from studies show that intermittent fasting could help reduce weight, blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, and cholesterol.

However, so far, studies investigating the dietary practice in humans have found that although it is safe and effective, it is no more effective than other diets that restrict calorie intake.

A major challenge for researchers is being able to distinguish between the health and weight loss benefits specific to fasting and other diets.

Scientists from the University of Bath in the United Kingdom recently headed an international collaboration between research institutions in the U.K., Switzerland, and Taiwan to conduct a study investigating the specific effects of intermittent fasting.

Echoing previous research, the teams findings suggest that alternate-day fasting and daily energy restriction are similarly effective for weight loss.

However, while weight loss from daily energy restriction mostly came from reducing body fat, for those who were fasting, just half of the total weight loss came from body fat. The other half came from fat-free mass.

The researchers published their findings in Science Translational Medicine.

The scientists recruited 36 lean, healthy adults in the U.K. between 2015 and 2018 for the study and monitored their baseline diet and physical activity for 4 weeks. They then randomly allocated the participants to one of three groups of 12.

The participants in the first group, the energy restriction group, consumed 75% of their normal energy intake each day.

The second group used two methods of weight loss: fasting and energy restriction. They fasted on alternate days and consumed 150% of their regular calorie intake on their eating days.

The third group did not face any energy restriction. They fasted on alternate days and consumed 200% of their regular calorie intake on their eating days.

The fasting groups consumed no energy-providing nutrients during their fasting periods. This ensured that their dietary interventions were standardized and allowed enough time for fasting-related bodily functions to activate.

The participants underwent various lab tests before and after the 3-week intervention. The researchers also monitored the participants diet and physical activity levels throughout and extracted fat tissue samples from some individuals.

Those on energy restriction diets lost an average of 1.91 kilograms (kg) at the end of the study period. Meanwhile, those fasting with energy restriction lost an average of 1.60 kg, and those fasting without energy restriction lost an average of 0.52 kg.

To explain their results, the researchers say that the difference in body mass between the energy restriction groups may be partly due to a reduction in physical activity, and thus energy lost from heat production, in those who fasted.

They did not observe decreased physical activity among those who fasted without energy restriction, however.

The researchers also noted that all of the groups lost similar levels of visceral fat over the study period. Visceral fat is fat that the body stores around the abdomen, and it is linked to type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

No short-term changes in metabolic health such as blood sugar levels, cholesterol, and blood pressure or fat tissue gene expression occurred among the study participants. This, say the authors, may be because the participants were not overweight at the start of the study.

The researchers conclude that reduced physical activity during calorie-restricted fasting may limit weight loss and that people should include physical activity as part of alternate-day fasting diets to get the best weight loss results.

They note, however, that they cannot completely explain weight loss from fat-free mass in fasting diets, as no participants chose to provide skeletal muscle samples. Another limitation, they explain, is that their dietary intervention only lasted 3 weeks.

Many people believe that diets based on fasting are especially effective for weight loss or that these diets have particular metabolic health benefits even if you dont lose weight, senior study author Prof. James Betts commented on the teams results.

But intermittent fasting is no magic bullet, and the findings of our experiment suggest that there is nothing special about fasting when compared with more traditional, standard diets people might follow, he continued.

Most significantly, if you are following a fasting diet, it is worth thinking about whether prolonged fasting periods [are] actually making it harder to maintain muscle mass and physical activity levels, which are known to be very important factors for long-term health.

Prof. James Betts

Though intentional calorie restriction is not always feasible long term, eating nutrient-dense foods those high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, adequate protein, and healthy fats will often fill you up better than foods that are not nutrient-dense, Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RDN, who was not involved in the study, told Medical News Today. The more you feel full, the less you eat. If you eat without limit, you may not be as successful as someone not fasting but restricting calories.

Given this, I am not that surprised about the findings. However, its important that the benefits of intermittent fasting are well-documented in the data. You just need to pay attention to nutrition as well, she added.

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Is intermittent fasting or calorie restriction better for weight loss? - Medical News Today

Is your food safe to eat? Grilling tips for 4th of July weekend – WAOW

Posted: July 3, 2021 at 1:49 am

WAUSAU, Wis. (WAOW) -- It's the most popular weekend for grilling out, 4th of July weekend.

But do you know how to do it without setting off fireworks in your gut?

One thing to keep in mind, the internal temperature of your meat.

"We plan on grilling out and making sure the meats the appropriate temperature. My husband is always a stickler about using a meat thermometer, and then probably taking everything inside as soon as we're done eating. And make sure that we get it in the fridge and we're safe about what we're eating," said Melinda Pauls of Wausau.

Experts say, safety begins before you start cooking.

If you plan on making both chicken and burgers do so one at a time, especially if you like your burgers rare.

"So you want to make sure you do your chicken first and then clean up your area before you bring out your burgers. That burger isn't going to reach 165 temperature which is going to kill anything that would've got on it from the chicken," said Matt Adams, Zillman's Meat Market.

Meats aren't the only concern, those side dishes pose hazards of their own.

Especially if they're made with mayonnaise, for example, potato salad can spoil in less than two hours.

"Depending upon your overall health it could put you into the hospital and there are a number of deaths that happen nationwide each year. We're hoping to avoid all of that by properly handling things and it can be addressed that way," said Dale Grosskurth, Director of Environmental Health & Safety, Marathon County Health Department.

Just to keep it safe, experts say you should put everything on ice as soon as you're done eating.

More food safety tips can be found here.

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Is your food safe to eat? Grilling tips for 4th of July weekend - WAOW

How to Lose Water Weight: What Is Water Weight, and How Can You Lose It? – Parade Magazine

Posted: July 3, 2021 at 1:49 am

While its normal for your body to retain water, if youre holding on to too much, it can cause unwanted bloating and discomfort. And if your goal is to shed extra pounds, water weight can make it difficult to measure your progress. Believe it or not, water can make your weight fluctuate anywhere from two to four pounds per day!

If youre trying to lose water weight, the good news is that there are many healthy and safe ways to do it. Heres what to know.

Also known as water retention, water weight is extra water stored in your bodys tissue.

Water weight is the amount of ones total body weight that is attributable to the water within the body, says Dr. Uma Naidoo, nutritional psychiatrist, professional chef, nutrition specialist, and author of the bestselling book This is Your Brain on Food. Under healthy conditions,about 50-60% of our total body weight is estimated to be water, which can fluctuate in response to a variety of factors. These include diet, hormones, cardiac health, kidney function, exercise, body temperature, and more.

Related: Are You Gaining Weight Despite Regular Exercise and a Healthy Diet? This Might Be Why

Ironically, dehydration is a very common cause of water weight, says Dr. Tricia Pingel, NMD. When youre dehydrated, your body lacks the water it needs to function, so it retains the water you do consume at a higher rate. In addition, water helps flush out your kidneys, which are responsible for maintaining proper water balance in the body.

Mineral deficiencies can also cause excess water weight. A very common deficiency is magnesium. In fact, consuming magnesium has been successful in reducing water weight is associated with premenstrual water retention, Dr. Pingel explains.

Stress also affects water retention. Long-term stress increases cortisol, the stress hormone, which has an impact on your fluid retention, Dr. Pingel states. Cortisol triggers the release of Anti-Diuretic Hormone (ADH), which signals your kidneys to manage water balance differently.

Another culprit of water retention? Diet. High sodium intake is a common cause of water weight.

The body holds onto the water if needed to balance out what we eat, or will excrete water when such dilution isnt needed. The bodies of those who consume a high salt diet will retain more water in efforts to neutralize theexcess sodium, Dr. Naidoo explains.

A diet high in sugar and carbohydrates can raise sodium levels. High sugar/simple carbohydratediets may increase insulin levels in the body which can also lead to increased sodium and, thus, water retention, Dr. Naidoo states. It is also worth noting that for every gram of carbohydrates that our bodies store as glycogen for energy later on, it also stores three grams of water.

For women, it could also be that time of the month.

Women, specifically, experience water retention duringcertain stages of the menstrual cycleas high estrogen and low progesterone levels can influence the body to hold on to excess water, says Dr. Naidoo.

Underlying medical conditions could also be to blame. There are also medical causes for water retention such as heart disease, problems with kidney function, imbalance in hormone levels, and more, Dr. Naidoo explains. These underlying causes need to be assessed by a medical professional.

Related: PMS Diet: Foods That Help PMS & PMDD

The first step is talking to a healthcare professional. Always speak to your doctor before trying to rid yourself of what you think is excess water weight, sometimes called edema, says Dr. Naidoo. For example, individuals with early heart failure may have swelling around their ankles and feet. Individuals often also feel some relief when their doctor prescribes a diuretic pill that forces the body to excrete excess water.

In terms of lifestyle changes, there are many ways to reduce the amount of water our bodies retain, some of which may be healthier than others.

Dr. Naidoo explains, A simple step is to take a look at your diet and remove excess salt or added sugars. Following a diet specifically rich in potassium and magnesium, as well as fiber-filled vegetables, healthy fats and clean proteins is an ideal way to promote not only optimal gut health and mental health, but healthy cellular environments throughout the body which are conducive to normal proportions of water weight.

Dietary changes can be a powerful tool in helping you create a sense of balance. Other lifestyle changes include exercise, adequate hydration, and sleep, Dr. Naidoo adds.

It depends on the underlying cause of the water weight.

If youre concerned about water weight, speaking to your doctor is a key factor in case there is an underlying medical cause. For those dealing with chronic or excess water retention, this may be related to your heart, and you may need medication to help rid your body of the excess water. Early signs of kidney disease can be detected by blood tests your doctor can order, Dr. Naidoo states.

However, if youre on a low sugar or low carb diet, you will lose water weight first, which could make you dehydrated.

Related: The Importance of Proper Hydration

Oftentimes when individuals go on weight-loss diets, such as low-sugar or low-carb diets, and they lose a lot of weight fairly quickly which could lead to dehydration if fluids or electrolytes are not replenished, Dr. Naidoo explains. They lose water weight first because for every gram of carbohydrates that our bodies store for energy later on, it also stores three grams of water.

The same principle applies to consistent extreme exercise. Without proper recovery and hydration, you will become dehydrated, Dr. Naidoo adds.

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Over time, dehydration can lead to low blood pressure, muscle damage, cardiac issues, urinary and kidney problems and seizures, all of which can be detrimental to brain health and physical health, says Dr. Naidoo. Of note, too, is that someone who is dehydrated may experience higher levels of anxiety.

Next, read about 20 drinks that can help you lose weight (its not just water!)

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How to Lose Water Weight: What Is Water Weight, and How Can You Lose It? - Parade Magazine

Eating small perch takes time and patience – Times Record

Posted: July 3, 2021 at 1:49 am

Louise Finney| Fort Smith Times Record

Eating a 3-inch perch is about like looking for lice in a head of long, thick hair. Ive done both. My childrens father, Papa Gary, missed crappie season in Keota this spring because of excessive rain. He resorted to pond fishing, driving 60 miles to Sister Patsys pond in Parks. She keeps a swath of meadow bush hogged to the pond from Keener Road to accommodate family fishers there are many. During the 1950s and '60s, during my years at home in Parks, everyone fished. Today, acquaintances talk about football; then we talked about fishing.

Uncle A.B. often reminiscenced, Nowgirls, fish we catch today in Fourche River are nothing compared to those Jim, Sethand I caught years ago. Why, we pulled carp and buffalo out of the river this long. I cant vouch for exactly how long those fish were, but they looked mighty big to my little eyes. Do bear in mind that Mamas three brothers were big-time fishermen and big storytellers. If they couldnt pull fish out on a hook, they knew alternate methods of taking home fish for supper. I will not describe these methods. We all understand that times have changed. I recognize that everyday accepted practices during my childhood in rural Arkansas are now considered to be insensitive andinhumane even downright barbaric.

Shortly before Son Clayton and Daughter Lee Annas last visit, Papa Gary caught a nice string of fish from Patsys pond. As always, he froze the fish to cook during their visit. Papas pond catches weremostly perch that most would have been thrown back,or in todays jargon would have been "caught and released. On the other hand, in our family every fish at least 6 inches long is a keeper. I learned to eat 3-inch perch (length after the head is removed) at Uncle A.B.s table. Uncle A.B. scraped the fish, contending that the skin sealed in natural oils, improving its taste and nutritional value. Even on the rare occasion that he caught a fish large enough to filet, he would never think of wasting that sweetest meat around the bones. Eating fish demanded the art of picking out the bones, either before or after taking a bite before swallowing.

I do not remember an adult ever picking fish off the bone for me. Uncle A.B. demonstrated his technique while explaining, Now watch carefully, girls. Hold the fishs tail with your left hand like this. With your right thumb and index finger, carefully pinch the meat next to the tail. Gently pull the meat away from the tail. With practice, you will be able to remove the meat from the bones in one solid slab. See? It is now safe to eat the fish without worrying about bones. Here, you turn the fish over and practice removing the meat like I showed you.

Eating small perch takes time and patience, thusyoung children were taught how to eat safely without assistance. After all, adults were hungry too. Wisely, Uncle A.B. told us what to do just in case a bone escapesdetection and becomes stuck in your throat. His cornbread was made with homegrown yellow corn, stone-ground in Waldron, providing a coarse-textured meal. A big bite of cornbread swallowed deliberately never failed to clear my throat, eliminating the need for further intervention, for which I am grateful. I shudder to imagine the intervention Mamas four siblings may have used. Perish the thought!

Sitting at Papa Garys table eating 3-inch perch, I began a continuing contemplation of life. For the first time in 20 years, my nuclear family sat alone together, carefully picking meat from the bones of miniscule fish; quietly, painstakingly, peacefully in the process of transferring the crisp brown fish from the platter to the plate to the bone pile bowl in the tables center. I found the intentional act bound us in reverie of a time and place embedded deep within, feelings ever present, even if not perceived. Such feelings of family unity, complacency, contentmentand peace seem rare in todays fast paced, electronic world. Screens and activities distract us from knowing ourselves and those around us. We move robotically through a maze of sights, soundsand business, determined to move to the next game level or next step up the corporate ladder, oblivious to the authenticity of ourselves and others.

As I continue to contemplate life, I dream of family from the days of simple mundane tasks performed together, laughing and talking about nothing, yet everything. Last night I dreamed about Mothers paternal uncle, O.K. Gilbreath, whose daughter Joy was my age. Sitting around their kitchen table in Mena, long after finishing a meal, Uncle O.K.s soft, gentle voice teased and shared stories of his boyhood in Parks with his feisty, widowed mother, three brothersand two sisters. As an aside, one evening he smiled as he drank sweet iced tea and asked, Have you ever considered that we boil water to make tea and then add ice to make it cold?We add sugar to make it sweet and then lemon to make it sour? Wouldnt it be fun to sit around a family table long enough to think of such useless yet invaluable trivia?

I compared eating 3-inch perch to looking for lice in a head of long, thick hair. I do speak from experience. The morning of Lee Annas kindergarten Halloween party at Woods Elementary School, Mrs. Furlow called from the school office. Mrs. Finney, the nurse informed me that Lee Anna has head lice. You will need to come pick her up immediately. Horrified, I called Dr. Watts before getting Lee Annafor instructions to rida childs head of lice, which involved a bottle of clear, vile liquid. Lee Anna was undoubtedly the only little witch at a school party whose black hat concealed a pile of long, blonde hair saturated in lice killer. Unfortunately, my precious daughter was forced to endure the scourge twice more during kindergarten. I mastered the art of spotting and removing head lice, which requires the same careful attention as eating a 3-inch perch.

Im glad Papa Gary missed crappie fishing. Just think, had I not eaten those 3-inch perch, I would not have connected with the time and place that established my core values, my authentic self. I would not have begun the continuing contemplation of life that is restoring my balance and bringing me peace.

Read more:
Eating small perch takes time and patience - Times Record

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