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Before You Try A New Diet Read This

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Spring is in the air – and with it, comes the excitement of knowing that summer is just around the corner. But for many, that excitement is accompanied by stress, because it’s almost time to don that dreaded swimsuit. There are a plethora of diets out there, all appealing to the universal quest for the perfect plan that will produce the best results.

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So how do you choose? How do you know which one will deliver on its promise to give you the best bikini body ever?

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Having personally spent over a decade being unhappy with my body, and relentlessly trying new diets and reading countless books on the subject to find the “perfect plan” for me, here’s what I’ve learned: that perfect plan isn’t out there ANYWHERE.

It’s a fruitless search. Don’t believe me? Just look at the statistics: 95% of dieters regain their weight (and more) within 5 years of losing it. I was one of those.

Today, I have a body that I’m proud of – but it didn’t come from the perfect diet. It actually didn’t come from losing weight at all (my body’s very close to the weight it was when I hated it – just a significantly healthier and stronger version now). It was not a quick fix, but it’s given me results to last a lifetime: I didn’t achieve a bikini body; I achieved my forever body.

I learned three crucial lessons throughout the process that I feel compelled to share with you – things that really aren’t promoted by the diet industry because a) these facts don’t cater to a quick-fix approach, and b) if everyone had their forever body and no longer felt the need to lose weight, diets would become obsolete.

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So before you take on yet another diet, here’s what I want you to know:

1) The Most Critical Thing To (Re)Learn Cannot Be Found In A Menu Plan

Knowing when you are hungry enough to eat (but not too hungry) and full enough to stop eating (but not too full), is one of the most important things to learn, or rather re-learn, if you want sustainable results. Menu plans don’t tell you how to do this.

We are all born with the innate ability to know when and how much to eat – we actually have specific hormones whose sole functions are to give us these cues (babies pick up these cues effortlessly: crying when they’re hungry, and pushing away the breast when they’re full), but somehow throughout our lives, we begin to “unlearn” how to listen to them – usually beginning with dieting. Luckily, there’s an easy method for becoming reacquainted with your body’s cues.

First, you need to become familiar with the hunger scale, a scale by which you rate your hunger/fullness:

  1. Starving – weak, grumpy (a.k.a. “hangry”)
  2. Uncomfortably hungry – you could eat everything in sight
  3. Very hungry – food is preoccupying your mind
  4. Hungry – feeling the urge to eat
  5. Not hungry, not full – you are thinking about other things than food
  6. Satisfied – you could eat more, but you’re no longer hungry
  7. Full but comfortable – you could be sustained for 3-4 hours
  8. Too full – you feel like you ate more than you needed
  9. Uncomfortably full – indigestion and serious gas could be kicking in…
  10. “Thanksgiving” full – you’re unbuttoning your pants and getting ready for a nap

Next, start journaling your levels of hunger (before eating) and fullness (after eating) – do this for at least a week and you’ll notice patterns. If you’re waiting until you’re at a 1-2 to before you eat, most likely that’s when you’ll stop at 9-10 (counterproductive to the goal, obviously). Aim consistently to eat when you are at 3-4, and stop when you are 6-8.

If you do nothing else this spring, but commit to tuning in to and recording these cues, you will be well on your way to achieving your forever body.

2) The Math Is Seriously Outdated

Burning more calories than you consume is simply not enough anymore – at least not for a long-term sustainable plan. Perhaps back when our food was not so processed, refined, and genetically/chemically-altered, the calories in/calories out equation would have been much more relevant. Today, a calorie is not just a calorie. There’s so much more to the equation now.

So here’s an updated one, far more relevant to our modern food system:

Quality > Quantity

This equation applies both to food and to fitness, and the first step to applying it is to learn what quality really is: educate yourself, find reputable resources (don’t just rely on marketing/package claims), and most importantly – listen to and trust your body!

For your fitness:
Don’t underestimate the power of 30 minutes/day. You don’t need an hour or more to get your fitness on and get results! There are plenty of effective, high quality workouts you can get done in a short amount of time (hint: it’s probably not on the elliptical machine).

For your food:
Opt for choices that nourish you, satisfy you, and give you sustained energy – and when you do this, along with obeying your body’s natural hunger and satiety cues (which by the way are clearer when you’re eating more nutrient-dense foods; when the body’s well-nourished, everything functions better), you won’t have to worry about counting calories – or fat grams, or carbs – at all.

Don’t buy into the myth that you can eat “everything in moderation”! Why? Because you could end up eating your entire day’s worth of calories in moderate amounts of crap-food – and starve your body of critical nutrients in the process. Even if the calories are low enough to allow you to lose weight in the short-term, I guarantee the weight-loss won’t be sustainable because you’ll be starving.

Go for the 80/20 rule instead: 80% of the time, choose quality foods; and the other 20%, choose whatever would fall into your “everything in moderation” category – and choose that 20% wisely. I personally like to evaluate these foods for their “worth-it-ness”: i.e. if the pleasure (taste, comfort, etc.) of eating them is, without-question, worth claiming a portion of my precious 20%, then I eat it. If it only scores a “meh,” then I don’t. It’s that simple.

3) The Number Really Isn’t The Goal

Hitting that number – on the scale, the dress tag, or the tape measure – won’t really make you happy. Believe me. So if you’ve been waiting until you hit that number to start being truly happy, to live your life out fully, to cease thinking/obsessing over your body, stop waiting. The number isn’t the goal; the feeling is. Happy is. And you can decide to be happy now – before you even lose an inch!

How? Each and every day, be grateful for your strengths and all that you have in your life; take pleasure in the process of committing to your health; take care of your body because you love it, not because you hate it; set incremental goals that are realistic and attainable for your body and your life; and acknowledge and reward yourself for your progress along the way.

You can instantaneously hit your ultimate goal with one decision.

These three things took me years to discover – but I’m not saying that it needs to take you that long to achieve a body that you’re proud of. In fact, I hope I’ve helped to save you some time. The bottom line is, you’re never going to find that “perfect plan,” no matter how long and hard you search; it’s not out there, it’s in you.

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Positive Association Found Amongst COVID Deaths & Flu Shot Rates Worldwide In Elderly

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A recently published paper has found a positive association between COVID-19 deaths and influenza vaccination rates in elderly people worldwide.

  • Reflect On:

    Why does vaccine hesitancy continue to grow worldwide? What's going on? What information/factors are contributing to this hesitancy?

What Happened: A recently published study in PeerJ  by Christian Wehenkel, a Professor at Universidad Juárez del Estado de Durango in Mexico, has found a positive association between COVID-19 deaths and influenza vaccination rates in elderly people worldwide.

According to the study, “The results showed a positive association between COVID-19 deaths and IVR (influenza vaccination rate) of people ≥65 years-old. There is a significant increase in COVID-19 deaths from eastern to western regions in the world. Further exploration is needed to explain these findings, and additional work on this line of research may lead to prevention of deaths associated with COVID-19.”

To determine this association, data sets from 39 countries with more than half a million people were analyzed.

The study was published on October 1st, and two weeks later a note from the publisher appeared atop the paper emphasizing that correlation does not equal causation, and that this paper “should not be taken to suggest that receiving the influenza vaccination results in an increased risk of death for an individual with COVID-19 as there may be confounding factors at play.”

The paper provides evidence from others which have recently been published that ponder if the flu shot could increase ones chance of contracting and dying from COVID-19.

For example, this study published in April of 2020, reported a negative correlation between influenza vaccination rates (IVRs) and COVID-19 related mortality and morbidity. Marín-Hernández, Schwartz & Nixon (2020) also showed epidemiological evidence of an association between higher influenza vaccine uptake by elderly people and lower percentage of COVID-19 deaths in Italy, which directly contradicts the author’s own findings and suggests that the flu shot may help prevent COVID-19 related deaths.

He goes on to mention another study:

In a study analyzing 92,664 clinically and molecularly confirmed COVID-19 cases in Brazil, Fink et al. (2020) reported that patients who received a recent flu vaccine experienced on average 17% lower odds of death. Moreover, Pawlowski et al. (2020) analyzed the immunization records of 137,037 individuals who tested positive in a SARS-CoV-2 PCR. They found that polio, Hemophilus influenzae type-B, measles-mumps-rubella, varicella, pneumococcal conjugate (PCV13), geriatric flu, and hepatitis A/hepatitis B (HepA-HepB) vaccines, which had been administered in the past 1, 2, and 5 years, were associated with decreased SARS-CoV-2 infection rates.

So, its important to mention that correlations between the flu vaccine have also found that it may decrease ones chance of deaths from COVID-19.

But are there studies that have shown an increased chance of death or contracting other respiratory viruses as a result of getting the flu shot? Yes.

That’s also discussed in the paper. For example, he mentions a paper published in 2018:

In a study with 6,120 subjects, Wolff (2020) reported that influenza vaccination was significantly associated with a higher risk of some other respiratory diseases, due to virus interference. In a specific examination of non-influenza viruses, the odds of coronavirus infection (but not the COVID-19 virus) in vaccinated individuals were significantly higher, when compared to unvaccinated individuals (odds ratio = 1.36).

The study above found the flu shot to increase the risk of other coronaviruses among those who had been vaccinated for influenza by 36 percent. The study was conducted prior to COVID-19, so it’s not included and only applies to pre-existing coronaviruses. The study also found an even higher chance of contracting human metapneumovirus amongst those who had received the flu shot.

Below are some more studies regarding the flu shot and viral infections that hint to the same idea.

  • 2018 CDC study (Rikin et al 2018) found that flu shots increase the risk of non-flu acute respiratory illnesses (ARIs), including coronavirus, in children.
  • A 2011 Australian study (Kelly et al 2011) found that flu shots doubled the risk for non-flu viral lung infections.
  • 2012 Hong Kong study (Cowling et al 2012) found that flu shots increase the risk for non-flu respiratory infections by 4.4 times.
  • 2017 study (Mawson et al 2017) found vaccinated children were 5.9 times more likely to suffer pneumonia than their unvaccinated peers.

Why This Is Important: We live in an age where vaccinations are heavily marketed. We’ve seen this with the flu shot time and time again and we are also living in an age where a push for more mandated vaccines seems to be growing.

Dr. Peter Doshi is an associate editor at The BMJ (British Medical Journal) and also an assistant professor of pharmaceutical health services research at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. He published a paper in The BMJ titled “Influenza: Marketing Vaccines By Marketing Disease.”  In it,  he points out that the CDC pledges “to base all public health decisions on the highest quality of scientific data, openly and objectively derived,” and how this isn’t the case when it comes to the flu vaccine and its marketing. He stresses that “the vaccine may be less beneficial and less safe than has been claimed, and that “the threat of influenza seems to be overstated.”

This is a touchy subject that dives into medical ethics and the connections that big pharmaceutical companies have with our federal health regulatory agencies and health associations. Vaccines are a multi billion dollar industry.

At a recent World Health Organization conference on vaccine safety, it was expressed that vaccine hesitancy is growing at quite a fast pace, especially among doctors who are now becoming hesitant to recommend certain vaccines on the schedule. You can read more about that and find links to the conference here.

We have to ask ourselves, why is this happening? Is it because people and professionals are becoming aware of certain information that warrants the freedom of choice? Should freedom of choice with regards to what we put in our body always remain? Are we really protecting the “herd” by taking these actions?

In a 2014 analysis in the Oregon Law Review by New York University (NYU) legal scholars Mary Holland and Chase E. Zachary (who also has a Princeton-conferred doctorate in chemistry), the authors show that 60 years of compulsory vaccine policies “have not attained herd immunity for any childhood disease.” It is time, they suggest, to cast aside coercion in favor of voluntary choice.

When it comes to the flu shot, I put more information and science as to why so many people seem to refuse it, in this article if interested.

The University of California is currently being sued for mandating the flu shot for all staff, faculty and students. A judge has prevented them from doing so as a result until a decision has been made. You can read more about that here.

In South Korea, 48 people have now died after receiving the flu shot this season causing a lot of controversy. You can read more about that here.

The Takeaway: There are many concerns with vaccines, and vaccine injury is one of them. The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act has paid more than $4 billion to families of vaccine injured children. A 2010 HHS pilot study by the Federal Agency for Health Care Research (AHCR) found that 1 in every 39 vaccines causes injury, a shocking comparison to the claims from the CDC of 1 in every million.

Should these statistics alone warrant the freedom of choice? Should the government have the ability to force us into measures, or would it simply be better for them to present the science, make recommendations and urge people to follow them? When the citizenry is forced and coerced into certain actions, sometimes under the guise of good-will, there always seems to be a tremendous amount of uproar and people who disagree. Why are these people silenced? Why are they censored? Why are they ridiculed? Why don’t independent health organizations receive the same voice and reach that government and state “owned” or organizations do? What’s going on here? Do we really live in a free, open and transparent world or are we simply subjected to massive amounts of perception manipulation?

When it come to the flu shot there is plenty of information on both sides of the coin that point to its effectiveness, and on the other hand there is information that points to the complete opposite. When something is not 100 percent clear, freedom of choice in all places should always remain, in my opinion.

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Some South Korean Doctors & Politicians Call To Stop Flu Shots After 48 People Die

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The number of South Koreans who have died after getting flu shots has risen to 48, but health authorities in South Korea have found no link between the vaccine and the deaths.

  • Reflect On:

    Is the flu shot as safe as it's marketed to be?

What Happened: It’s that time of year and flu shot programs are rolling out across the globe. The number of South Koreans who have died after getting the flu shot has now risen to 48 and some South Korean doctors and politicians have called to stop flu shots as a result, according to Reuters. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) has decided not to stop the program, and that flu vaccines would continue to be given and will reduce the chance of having simultaneous epidemics in the era of COVID-19.

Health authorities in South Korea have explained that they’ve found no direct link between these deaths and the shots. KDCA Director Jeong Eun-kyung said, “After reviewing death cases so far, it is not the time to suspend a flu vaccination programme since vaccination is very crucial this year, considering…the COVID-19 outbreaks.”

According to Reuters, “Some initial autopsy results from the police and the National Forensic Service showed that 13 people died of cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and other disorders not caused by the vaccination.”

The South Korean government is hopeful to vaccinate approximately 30 million of the country’s 54 million people.

Concerns Some People Have With The Flu Shot: One concern many people seem to have is the worry of a severe adverse reaction.

Dr. Alvin Moss, MD and professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine emphasizes in this video:

The flu vaccine happens to be the vaccine that causes the most injury in this country. The vaccine injury compensation program, 40 percent of all vaccinations in this country are flu shots, but 60 percent of all the compensations are for the flu vaccine. So a disproportionate number of  vaccine related injuries are the flu shot.

Moss is one of many who believe that the flu vaccine is not as effective as it’s been marketed to be. For example,  A study recently published in Global Advances In Health & Medicine titled “Ascorbate as Prophylaxis and Therapy for COVID-19—Update From Shanghai and U.S. Medical Institutions outlines the following:

Recently outlined A recent consensus statement from a group of renowned infectious disease clinicians observed that vaccine programs have proven ill-suited to the fast-changing viruses underlying these illnesses, with efficacy ranging from 19% to 54% in the past few years.

Dr. Peter Doshi is an associate editor at The BMJ (British Medical Journal)  published a paper in The BMJ titled “Influenza: Marketing Vaccines By Marketing Disease.”  In it,  he points out that the CDC pledges “to base all public health decisions on the highest quality of scientific data, openly and objectively derived,” and how this isn’t the case when it comes to the flu vaccine and its marketing. He stresses that “the vaccine may be less beneficial and less safe than has been claimed, and that “the threat of influenza seems to be overstated.”

These are just a few examples out of many claiming that the flu shot has not really been effective, opposing others that claim it is.  Mercury that’s still present in some flu shots also seems to be a concern.

The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act has paid more than $4 billion to families of vaccine injured children. A 2010 HHS pilot study by the Federal Agency for Health Care Research (AHCR) found that 1 in every 39 vaccines causes injury, a shocking comparison to the claims from the CDC of 1 in every million.

Professor Heidi Larson, a Professor of Anthropology and the Risk and Decision Scientist Director at the Vaccine Confidence Project stated at a World Health Organization (WHO) conference that more doctors are starting to be hesitant when it comes to recommending vaccines.

The other thing that’s a trend, and an issue, is not just confidence in providers but confidence of health care providers, we have a very wobbly health professional frontline that is starting to question vaccines and the safety of vaccines. That’s a huge problem, because to this day any study I’ve seen… still, the most trusted person on any study I’ve seen globally is the health care provider…

This is no secret, and actions against mandates are being taken. The University of California was recently sued for making the flu shot mandatory. That trial will begin soon, and you can read more about it here, and find information regarding the claim that the flu shot can help in the times of COVID-19.

The Takeaway: We are living in an age of extreme censorship of information, no matter how credible or how much evidence is provided, information that goes against the grain always seems to receive a harsh backlash from mainstream media as well as social media outlets. Why is there a digital fact checker patrolling the internet? Should people not have the right to examine information openly and freely and determine for themselves what is and what isn’t?

As far as vaccines are concerned, despite the fact that there are many safety issues the scientific community  is bringing up, a push for vaccine mandates continues and the idea that we are protecting other people is usually the narrative that’s pushed hard. Vaccine skepticism is growing at a fast pace among people of all professions, and people aren’t stupid. There’s a reason why more and more people are starting to question what we’ve been told for years, and those reasons should be acknowledged and openly discussed amongst people on both sides of the coin.

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University of California Sued For Making Flu Shot Mandatory: Latest Updates

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A hearing will take on November 4th as to whether or not the University of California will be allowed to mandate the flu vaccine for all staff, faculty and students. This comes after they were sued after announcing the mandate this past summer.

  • Reflect On:

    Why has vaccine hesitancy grown so much amongst scientists and doctors?

The University of California is one of many in the United States that have made the flu shot mandatory for all students, staff and faculty. Originally, Flu shots were required to be taken by November 1st of this year, according to UC, but Judge Richard Seabolt has halted their ability to do that until November 4th, when he will determine whether or not UC can or cannot mandate the flu vaccine.

Due to the growing amount of evidence that vaccines are not completely safe for everyone, let alone completely safe, attorney’s Rick Jaffe  Robert F. Kennedy Jr, renowned attorney and Chair of Children’s Health Defense are sued the University of California for mandating the flu shot. You can read a bit of their reasoning here.

According to Greg Glaser., general counsel at the Physicians For Informed Consent (PIC), “In this lawsuit against the UC Board of Regents over their new flu vaccine mandate, some of the world’s top experts have provided declarations opposing the flu shot mandate…Their declarations will have a s significant impact on decisions made regarding public health.”

Dr. Shira Miller, founder and president of PIC says “there’s data showing that the flu shot increases one’s chances of non-flu illness by 65% – meaning that not only does this mandate lack scientific justification, but it puts UC students, faculty and staff at a greater risk of other respiratory illnesses…The studies referenced in the UC Regents’ flu vaccine mandate suggest positive effects of the flu vaccine on the incidence of illness caused by flu viruses; however, that benefit may be outweighed by an increase in non-flu respiratory illnesses. And although the possibility has been studied, there is no evidence that the vaccine prevents the spread of influenza.”

UC will not take adverse action against any employee or student who comes to campus who has not had a flu shot. We will see what happens during the trial.

Jaffe states: The judge is obviously taking this motion very seriously, and that is a very good thing. He wanted more time to consider all the papers and write an opinion that will have enormous implications. Judge Seabolt gets to be the first judge in the country to weigh in on whether the state can mandate a vaccine during a pandemic where the vaccine doesn’t treat the pandemic disease and where there is reason to believe that the flu shot could actually increase COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths. That’s alot to think about. It seems like he’s trying to get it right, and that is certainly extremely encouraging, since in my view, the more anyone reasonable thinks about it, the worse the mandate looks because of the lack of proper procedure in its issuance, and the lack of proof that the vaccine won’t cause much more harm than good. So I am all for the judge taking all the time he needs on this.

There are many concerns with vaccines, and vaccine injury is one of them. The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act has paid more than $4 billion to families of vaccine injured children. A 2010 HHS pilot study by the Federal Agency for Health Care Research (AHCR) found that 1 in every 39 vaccines causes injury, a shocking comparison to the claims from the CDC of 1 in every million.

Professor Heidi Larson, a Professor of Anthropology and the Risk and Decision Scientist Director at the Vaccine Confidence Project stated at a World Health Organization (WHO) conference statesd that:

The other thing that’s a trend, and an issue, is not just confidence in providers but confidence of health care providers, we have a very wobbly health professional frontline that is starting to question vaccines and the safety of vaccines. That’s a huge problem, because to this day any study I’ve seen… still, the most trusted person on any study I’ve seen globally is the health care provider…

Some Science:

A study published in the journal Vaccine found a greater risk of contracting coronavirus among individuals in the study who received the influenza vaccine. These studies were conducted prior to COVID 19, and apply to already circulating coronaviruses prior to the novel coronavirus.

  • 2018 CDC study (Rikin et al 2018) found that flu shots increase the risk of non-flu acute respiratory illnesses (ARIs), including coronavirus, in children.
  • A 2011 Australian study (Kelly et al 2011) found that flu shots doubled the risk for non-flu viral lung infections.
  • 2012 Hong Kong study (Cowling et al 2012) found that flu shots increase the risk for non-flu respiratory infections by 4.4 times.
  • 2017 study (Mawson et al 2017) found vaccinated children were 5.9 times more likely to suffer pneumonia than their unvaccinated peers.

A study recently published in Global Advances In Health & Medicine titled “Ascorbate as Prophylaxis and Therapy for COVID-19—Update From Shanghai and U.S. Medical Institutions outlines the following:

“Recently outlined A recent consensus statement from a group of renowned infectious disease clinicians observed that vaccine programs have proven ill-suited to the fast-changing viruses underlying these illnesses, with efficacy ranging from 19% to 54% in the past few years.”

I’ve put more information and science about the flu shot that goes more in depth and provides more sources in an article I published last year: “Reasons Why People Refuse The Flu Shot”

The Takeaway: Why do federal health authorities and state health affiliated organizations and institutions have a right to mandate a vaccine. What about the opinions of independent health organizations? Why do their voices constantly go unacknowledged and in some cases, ridiculed?

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