Nothing makes me happier than tucking into a delicious treat. For years I have battled willpower and temptation, for with every mouthful of heavenly sweetness, came great responsibility and time on the treadmill I had to pay. So when I discovered my first "healthy" treat I thanked the heavens for the guilt free indulgence that has been bestowed upon me and literally ran around like Homer Simpson in the land of chocolate.
There's a healthy answer to virtually every vice in the book of vices, but are they as healthy as we are lead to believe they are?
The answer is no. Raw, vegan, gluten free, healthy, guilt free, "sugar" free, whatever your hash tag, one thing a lot of people forget when indulging in the amazing and oh so delicious array of "healthy" treats out there is that at the end of the day they are still considered a "treat". Why?
Because at the end of the day all the wonderful organic and activated nuts and dates combined add up to in excess of 500 calories per little piece which is a quarter of an average person's daily caloric need.
Now I know we have all been lead astray to think that counting calories is bad, and that we should focus on nutrition instead. This I still agree with but it must be within reason.
Your body and digestive system is there to break down all food in a bid to extract energy. The body uses the energy-yielding nutrients to fuel all its activities such as regulating temperature, synthesize body compounds, move muscles etc.
IIf the body does not use the nutrients, it re-jigs their structure to form storage compounds (much like a vacuum sealed bag to store all your winter woollies and pillows) and pops them out of the way for a rainy day.
If more energy is consumed than expended, the result is, you guess it, an increase in your reserves which turns into weight gain.
But they're full of good fat and protein I hear you scream. This is true, however you can have too much of a good thing. Protein is only useful when your body needs to make muscle (such as hard and heavy resistance training), when your body is not using that much protein, protein will also be broken down and stored.
There's more! The influx of not so healthy treats like donuts and ice cream sandwiches making a come back has people lining up for hours to get a fix. Word of warning, some of these donuts actually have more than 2000 which is your whole daily calorie consumption in one sitting.
While fast food companies such as McDonald's have been forced to display calorie content of their foods, these healthier alternatives are still flying under the radar. I feel if people knew the calorie content, they would be more conscious of how many bliss balls, acai bowls and raw, vegan cakes they consume.
A high sugar consumption will lead to insulin resistance and ultimately diabetes or other diseases. And although not all sugar is the same, it is all broken down to glucose, your body's preferred energy source. When blood glucose levels are high, insulin is secreted to lower them to a normal range because sugar is toxic to the body.
If you're having "sugar free" products you are not off the hook, the sweet sensation in your mouth still signals the same process in your body, however because there is no glucose present your body will end up creating "rebound hunger" which actually makes you eat more.
So the moral of this story is that you can treat yourself, but in moderation especially if you spend most of your time sitting down. Healthy treats are better than a processed chocolate bar, but you can always have too much of a good thing.
If you suffer from a sleep disorder (or you have kids) you are not alone. According to the Sleep Health Foundation 1.5 million Australian adults now suffer from sleep disorders. with one in three regularly having difficulty either getting to sleep or staying asleep. Chronic sleep disorders can be frustrating, debilitating and may even lead to other health problems. While there are plenty of medical options available to treat sleep disorders, the best are always found in nature. Here are 15 natural remedies to help you get some solid shut eye.
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