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The Ultimate Guide to Reducing Added Sugar in Your Diet

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One of the best ways you can live healthy and decrease your risk of heart disease later in life is by simply cutting down on the added sugar. While it’s found naturally in many foods, especially in fruits, your body doesn’t need a lot of it in order to function properly.

In fact, added sugar should make up no more than ten percent of a person’s daily caloric intake, and an unhealthy diet could potentially put you at risk of conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.  

Finding Added Sugar

The first step to cutting down on the added sugar in your diet is knowing where you can find them. However, there’s more to it than simply substituting for healthier options.

Aside from the obvious sources, such as cereals, beverages, candy, chocolates, and baked goods, you can also find sugar in the following foods:

  • Pasta sauce
  • Frozen foods
  • Preserved fruit (dried, canned, or as fruit juice)
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Condiments

The good news is that you don’t have to be overly concerned when you do find sugar in the contents label, since nearly everything you’ll find in the grocery store or supermarket will have some amount of sugar in them.

Cutting Added Sugar

The simplest way to cut down on added sugar is to not use it in your meals or actively look for it, and make healthier choices that involve lots of fruits and vegetables.

However, if you’re having trouble doing so, try these handy tips for cutting down on your sugar cravings and reduce your overall intake:

  • Cut back on the amount of sugar you add to food and drinks, such as pancakes, coffee, or even tea. Instead of your usual amount, try adding only half. For baked goods, try cutting down on the recipe’s sugar by ¼cup.
  • Read nutrition labels! Sugar isn’t just “sugar”, but also comes in all kinds of names, such as maltodextrin, fruit juice concentrate,
  • Buy fresh fruits as much as possible. Avoid buying fruit canned in syrup.
  • Add fresh fruit to cereals or oatmeal or yogurt.
  • Use spices instead of sugar to enhance flavor, such as allspice and cinnamon, to name a few.

Dealing with Cravings

The initial cravings for sugar will last for a certain period of time, but these will eventually subside as your body gradually adjusts to your new dietary habits.

When you do experience a craving during this period, keep in mind that you may simply be looking for a good source of protein, which, plays an important part in digestion, hormone production, and muscle build-up.

You should also drink more water and get enough sleep, since you’re more likely to make unhealthy food choices when your body feels tired.


How to Deal With Sugar Cravings While on a Diet

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It’s easy to forget that sugar can cause different health problems in the long run because it tastes good. So when you decide to cut down on your intake, you’ll find that these cravings can flare up.

But the good news is that you can make a compromise between your decision to live healthy and your penchant for the good stuff.

Here’s how you can keep your sweet tooth satisfied while still living a healthy lifestyle:

  1. Balance your blood sugar

Your blood sugar is important – it’s okay to have a small candy bar or cookie when you’re cutting down to live a healthier lifestyle. It also lets you steer clear from the feeling of being denied the things you love, which lets you steer clear of guilt-eating.

The key is not to not consume sugar altogether, but to balance the amount of sugar in your bloodstream.

  • Eat more fresh fruits

With your busy schedule, there’s a good chance that you’re not eating enough of them as you should.

You just can’t go wrong with fresh fruits. They’re naturally sweet and healthy at the same time, with the fiber and nutrients your body needs to clear out toxins and perform its daily functions normally. You should also stock up on nuts, seeds, and dried fruits as a trail snack.

  • Hydrate

Water is more important than you think – it improves digestion, fuels cells, and transports neurochemical signals throughout the body. It even enhances kidney function and helps you feel energized throughout the day.

Drinking water before meals also helps you feel more full, which is a great trick to keep yourself from overeating.

  • Get enough sleep

“Ghrelin”, which is known as the body’s “hunger hormone”, is produced more when you don’t get enough sleep. This is because your body tries to compensate for the lack of sleep with easily accessible energy from junk foods that are rich in sugar.

These cravings usually disappear once you’ve had enough sleep – between seven and eight hours in a night.

  • Get up and get moving

The best way to get your mind off an intense craving is to do something that will actually get you to stop thinking about it. So when the sugar craving hits, just walk away. Take a hike and do something that will give you a change of pace or scenery.

Even something as simple as a quick jog down the block or heading over to your local gym for a short workout session can put your mind off your cravings – and help you lose weight to boot!


5 Things You Should Never Do During a Power Outage

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When the power goes out, there’ll be no more AC. And if the outage lasts longer, there goes your perishables in the fridge.

Power interruptions causes more than just inconvenience—they can also be dangerous. The next time it goes dark, keep your home and family safe by avoiding these mistakes.

  1. Touching downed wires

It may be obvious, but people forget that any dangling or downer power line may still be ‘live,’ even if it doesn’t look like it is. Even if these lines are not sparking, they could be energized and still very dangerous. Keep a minimum distance of 30 feet from utility lines and downed wire. If the ground is wet, stay at least 60 feet away.

  • Using candles

You can find so many cheap, battery-powered flashlights and LED lights that can run for hours, so there is really no excuse for using candles, which can be a potential cause of fire. Buy yourself one of these battery-powered lights and save the candles for romantic dinners. If you must use a candle, look for stubby ones that will not tip over and place it in a lantern.

  • Opening the freezer or fridge

During a power outage, you want to preserve the coldness of the fridge as much as possible. Therefore, opening it too often will let the cold out, which can potentially spoil the food inside. Keep the freezer full and avoid opening it frequently, and it will stay cold and frozen for 48 hours even without power.

  • Forgetting to unplug electronics

It is easy to forget to unplug during a blackout. But if you do not turn off electronics and appliances during an outage, surges and spikes that happen when the power goes back on can potentially damage them. The moment the power goes out, unplug everything. Just leave one light on, so you know when the power comes back.

  • Putting the generator in the garage

Hopefully, you already know that generators give off toxic carbon monoxide, so make sure to keep it at safe distance form your home. But even if you store it in your garage with the garage door open, the space is still too close to your house. As recommended, keep it at least 20 feet from your house to avoid inhaling the fumes. It may be colorless and odorless, but it does not take long for someone to succumb to the poisoning.  

Generally, it is easy to cope with a power outage. However, if it lasts longer than a few minutes, it can cause some serious problems. It is always better to be ready by knowing what to do and what NOT to do during these unexpected circumstances.


5 Mature Reasons to Love Your Enemies

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Perhaps, every person in this planet has enemies. Sometimes, we cause conflict with these people because of differences in opinions and personalities, or sometimes it just happens that people hate us (or we hate them) for no clear reason.

But regardless how you got your enemies, consider the following reasons on why it’s a smart idea to not be bothered by these people and even foster a good relationship with them.

  1. Their negative comments will help you improve

Enemies don’t have so much good things to say about you. However, even if they talk about you out of hatred, some of the things they say could be true. Whenever you hear an enemy speak of something bad about you and you know in yourself it’s true, take it as an opportunity to improve and encourage personal growth.

  • They help practice anger management

To be honest, our enemies are the best people to teach us anger management and self-restraint. Although it’s true that enemies always have effortless ways to rile us up, this is exactly what helps us control our emotions better. After all, it isn’t good to stay angry at someone forever, and oftentimes this anger is what leaves us feeling guilty afterwards.

  • They serve as an opportunity for healthy competition

You may not be aware of it, but your enemies are great rivals that can help you harness the competitor in you. They give you the motivation to compete and this helps a lot in achieving your goals in life. However, while you’re on it, it’s important to remember not to let hunger for victory dominate in you, which can cause harm to yourself and to your morals.

  • They give you the chance to be optimistic

In the midst of negativity, a speck of positivity always shines through. Sometimes, just the thought of having enemies will help you focus on the positive things in life. Oftentimes, when we’re so concerned of what our enemies might think of us, we take for granted what really matters to us. However, having enemies also gives you the chance to step back and see the picture in a larger perspective, making us see the good things (and people) around you.

  • You deserve peace of mind

Enemies are toxic to your emotional and mental health. Since we all want to live a prosperous and peaceful life, leave the extra baggage behind. Hate is never good, so try to get rid of it. You’ve worked hard to where you are now and you know you’re not causing harm to anyone, so forget the haters and enjoy the perks of your heavy labor without carrying emotional baggage around.

Be mature enough to be the first one to let go. If you can make friends with your enemies, the better. But if you can’t, at least don’t feel the same hate and poison yourself with anger like how these people see and treat you.


Reasons You Should Try Drums

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The drum scene in Singapore is overall thriving and very active because of the promotion of arts. There are also a lot more drum students and teachers because of the many music schools. But drumming, more than the musical aspect, can really give us many advantages and benefits- more than you would expect.

Can be another form of exercise

Running primarily engages the legs and lower body, and rowing mostly involves the upper body. But using drum kit requires you to utilize both facets of the body. When played with enough intensity, drumming can be a great exercise for the whole body. Even when just playing 30 minutes of hand drums, you can already burn 200-300 calories. 

Stress reliever

Having an extremely stressful day and you just want to hit something? Let it all go with the sticks and the drum kit. The feel of vibrations that you get from the impact of the sticks and the drums can leave a meditative effect hence lowering blood pressure and reducing stress hormones. It’s also a fun physical activity that can divert our attention from all the stress.

Improves your coordination

As said earlier, drumming requires the use of both our lower and upper bodies. Adding to the difficulty, both arms and legs are engaged in different movements at the same time. This is why playing the drums can be difficult at first. But as you get better, you will notice that even the coordination between your eyes and limbs are improving.

Helps the brain

In most of our daily activities, only one or a few parts of our brain is used. But playing the drums employ different parts of the brain that usually isn’t utilized in other activities. In addition, reading the notes, checking the rhythm, and putting it all in practice requires an intense and well-organized train of thought. This is said to benefit and increase our IQ.

Helps you build confidence

Drummers have the ability to distinguish complex tasks, like the ones mentioned above, and manage them and do them with ease. This contributes to developing confidence, even with other aspects of life. You may think that guitarists are always on the spotlight, but there are also times when drummers shine.

A very social activity

Drummers like most musicians are always engaged in social interactions. You can be a part of one band or go around joining different bands and meeting new people. Also, because there are music schools in Singapore like Yamaha Music School, Academy of Rock, and Trinity Music School among the many, you have opportunities to learn and grow with others.

Makes you a better musician

The drums are basically the backbone of music. Drums are reliable for the rhythm and without it all other instruments will not have a basis for timing and melody. Knowledge of the drums, both theoretical and practical, can help you recognize rhythm easier and maybe even help you in producing your own music.


Jogging: Morning or evening?

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Many people choose to take a run either in the morning or the evening. Obviously, there are differences between both and many would argue for either side. But either way is still better than having no exercise at all. So here are some pros and cons of running on either time of the day.

Morning

Safety

It could be safer to run in the morning because if you’re running by the road, for example, you are more visible to approaching vehicles hence lowering the chance of getting an accident. Plus, you might pass through a dark alley at night and encounter a robber. Even with the low crime rates in Singapore, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Muscle development

Testosterone, the hormone liable for muscle building and development, is highest mid-morning. So if your trying to develop quads and calf muscles while jogging, it’s best to do it mid-morning when there is an increase of testosterone in the body.  

Boost

To some, a jog in the morning can be a great energy booster to start the day. It can help improve mental strength because you’ll have to fight that “I don’t want to get up yet” feeling. Jogging before any other major activity for the day could also prompt us to make healthier choices on food throughout the day.

A disadvantage of jogging though, especially early in the morning, is that your body temperature is still low and that you don’t have enough nutrients from food yet (if you didn’t have breakfast). In the morning, naturally the body’s temperature is still cold therefore the muscles are still tight. Exercising in this condition could give you a risk of injury. 

Evening

The body is warmed up

The body, temperature-wise, is at its top condition later in the day. This means that because the muscles are warmed up, you’ll have an easier run and won’t have to worry too much about injuries. The activities you do throughout the day could also contribute to this.

Avoid the heat

One of the reasons some run in the evenings is to avoid the heat, especially in Singapore where it’s almost always hot and humid. Moreover, you get to enjoy a cool breeze late in the afternoon and maybe even catch a scenic sunset.

Stress relief

Jogging in the evening gives you the chance to unwind and relieve the stress you’ve built up from work. Jogging, like other forms of physical exercise, can also promote a meditative state because of the increased release of endorphins that we get. This, as a result, improves our mood and helps us feel better.

The problem with running in the evening though, is that you might be too tired from your day that you won’t be able to do it anymore. The idea of exercising after an exhausting day at work can be too unmotivating. In addition, like what was said earlier, there could be issues regarding safety you should consider.


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