Rheumatoid arthritis dominates my life, I could end up in a wheelchair

Forced to give up her studies, take part-time employment and rely heavily on her husband for everyday tasks, such as dressing herself, Aoife Weller tells our reporter what it’s like living day-to-day with rheumatoid arthritis

When I called to interview Aoife Weller in the middle of the day, she was in bed; something not unusual for the 28-year-old, who was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) at the age of 18.

“Although people think of arthritis as one disease that affects older people it is really a variety of conditions which affect a variety of people at different ages,” explains Grainne O’Leary, Arthritis Ireland’s head of service development. “We have children as young as one or two years of age with arthritis.”

For Aoife, life went from normal to agonising overnight.

Now married to Alan and living in Mullingar Co Westmeath, where, thanks to effective medication she’s able to work part-time in administration, Aoife recalls how, just two weeks after her 18th birthday, she woke up one morning unable to move.

“It literally came on overnight. It was agonising to move and from my toes to my neck. Every joint in my body was angry and swollen and painful,” says Aoife.

After three weeks in hospital the pain and swelling lessened. However, it later returned and eventually her condition was diagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis.

At that time Aoife had just started college where she was studying for an Arts degree. She eventually had to first give up her studies, and then a variety of jobs, because of the overwhelming fatigue which accompanies the condition and which, according to Aoife “is worse than the pain and swelling combined”.

“I’m currently working part-time but each day after I work I have to have a lie-in,” she explains.

There is no history of the disease in her family and doctors have told her arthritis may have been triggered by a viral infection – Aoife had a bout of tonsillitis a few months before the onset of the arthritis.

Husband Alan is a huge support. He collects her from work, helps out with the chores and assists her in dressing when she is in pain.

“Rheumatoid arthritis dominates my life,” she says simply.

Over the past five years Aoife has benefited from effective medication which, although it has allowed her to engage in part-time employment, does not completely eliminate the symptoms which will come without warning: “I have flares and hit a wall, and my joints swell up,” she says.

As a result she finds it impossible to plan ahead and has been forced to learn how to effectively pace herself. The condition is life-long and unpredictable.

“I could get worse – I could be in a wheelchair – or it could go away,” she says, adding that Arthritis Ireland has been a great support. She completed the organisation’s Living Well with Arthritis programme, which she found extremely helpful.

The organisation also offers a strong social outlet which helps sufferers combat the inevitable feelings of isolation – she has a good social network through AI, and volunteers with the group.

The term arthritis actually covers a multitude of conditions, explains Dr Gerry Wilson, Professor of Rheumatology UCD, consultant rheumatologist at the Mater and St Vincent’s Hospitals, and on the board of Arthritis Ireland.

In fact, he explains there are more than 100 different types of the disease, which affects nearly a million people in Ireland, and is categorised into inflammatory and non-inflammatory conditions.

Inflammatory-driven arthritis includes conditions like lupus, RA, ankylosing spondylitis or scleroderma while the most common form of non-inflammatory arthritis is osteoarthritis.

“There is a genetic factor to inflammatory-driven conditions but we also suspect that there may be something in the environment, either exposure to pollution or even smoking or being overweight can increase the severe of inflammation. It is here that the immune system and genetics play a part,” says Professor Wilson.

The other main type of inflammatory arthritis is caused when uric crystals gather in the joints – these occur when an excess of uric acid in the tissues transform into crystals – causing conditions like gout.

“These conditions can all occur at any stage in life, including in very young children. People don’t always realise this,” says Professor Wilson, who explains that rheumatoid arthritis for example, can affect anyone from infancy onwards – it affects some 50,000 people in Ireland alone.

The second category of arthritis is non-inflammatory.

“Probably the most common type of this is osteoarthritis,” he says, adding that while experts believe that there is probably a genetic cause to this condition, it is also very age-related.

“However it can occur in young people. There are possible links to environmental factors such as injury to the joints, for example a sports injury, or being overweight,” he explains, adding that damage caused by RA can also lead to osteoarthritis.

The good news is that treatment for most types of inflammatory arthritis treatments has been revolutionised over the last 20 years – but the bad news is, it’s cripplingly expensive, costing up to €14,000 annually per patient.

Three of the world’s top 10 selling drugs are for arthritis, says Professor Wilson.

“However, there are signs that the cost of these drugs will fall and it would be a very welcome development if they did,” he says.

Public awareness of the variety of impact of the various arthritic conditions is changing, says Grainne O’Leary, head of service development at Arthritis Ireland.

However, she says, there is still a belief that it usually only affects older people. Yet she points out, there are approximately 1,200 children under the age of 16 in Ireland with arthritis.

It can come as a shock to families – after all, arthritis is not necessarily the first thing a mother will think of when a child complains of joint pain or appears reluctant to engage in running around.

“This is a long term and unpredictable condition,” she says. “Children coming into adolescence may try to hide the fact that they have arthritis. They don’t think their friends will understand because they may be aware that people think children don’t get arthritis.”

Similarly people in their 20s may not reveal the fact that they have arthritis when they are in college or starting a new job.

“They may fear it might be seen as a black mark against them,” she says, adding that the perception is that if you inform employers or potential employers you might be out of work as a result of arthritis it could be viewed “negatively”.

“The fatigue can come as a shock. There is a never-ending feeling of being incredibly tired and that can make day-to-day functioning very difficult for people.

“We are working to increase awareness that this is a serious condition, but the message for people with arthritis is to stay a healthy weight, eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, and exercise,” says O’Leary.

“Exercise is one of the best things you can do for arthritis. Staying physically active is great if you have the condition, but it can also prevent the onset of certain conditions such as osteoarthritis.”

How to manage your arthritis

Take control of  your own health

According to Laura Hickey, youth and family officer with Arthritis Ireland: “Arthritis is a lifelong condition. It’s really important that you are able to approach your consultant and not be afraid to ask for help. You need to find out about your condition and don’t delay in getting treatment. Having a good relationship with your doctor really helps. We do a lot of self-management courses so matter what age you are, you can learn what helps manage your condition. It’s one of the best things you can do to learn to be your own advocate,” says Hickey.

Know about your treatment options

Many people with arthritis find that having surgery brings about a dramatic reduction in their pain, and an improvement in their mobility and quality of life. A wide range of types of surgery can help people with arthritis, from small procedures (such as operations to remove cysts or nodules), to major surgery (which includes total joint replacement).

Physiotherapy also plays an important role in treating arthritis by providing you with improved mobility, strength and flexibility.

If you are experiencing difficulty with day-to-day tasks like washing, dressing, cooking and cleaning you may benefit from visiting an occupational therapist.


“Keeping your weight down has so many health benefits including preventing cancer and diabetes,” says Professor of Rheumatology at Trinity College Dublin and Consultant Rheumatologist at Tallaght Hospital David Kane. “Weight is also going to put a strain on the joints of the lower limbs so we try to encourage people with arthritis to exercise up to four times a week.”

Take your Medication as prescribed

Missing a dose of your arthritis medication will mean that there is a gap in your arthritis pain control. It’s easy to skip a dose if you are feeling good at any given moment, but you might pay later in joint pain and aching knees. Whether your medications are prescription or over-the-counter, you should take them exactly as your doctor directed.

Pace Yourself

“With arthritis you can get really fatigued so it’s a good idea to break down things you have to get done,” says Laura Hickey from Arthritis Ireland. “For example, if you have a wedding at the weekend and you’re going to be busy in work next week, take it easy in the run up to the wedding. Break down the tasks you must do.”

Make food choices that count

You should aim to eat a variety of foods, eat a morning meal and eat regularly, eat a minimum of five fruits and vegetables a day and choose foods lower in fat.

Learn about equipment

Laura Hickey says there are a variety of aids and equipment that aim to protect joints by reducing the effort you have to put in. Examples of these include utensils that allow for easier gripping, equipment to make showering and dressing easier, and tools to help with opening jars or bottles or turning on taps.

Source: http://www.independent.ie


New Drug Developments for Bipolar Mania

Bipolar disorder (BP) is a chronic, debilitating illness that affects 0.4% to 4% of the US population.1,2 The first nosological efforts describing BP appeared in the early 2nd century ad and culminated in Kraepelin’s eloquent description of its phenomenology in his 1921 textbook on manic-depressive insanity.3 Nevertheless, the course and underlying pathophysiology of BP remain elusive.

The disorder is frequently unrecognized, misdiagnosed, and not optimally managed. Moreover, no agent has been specifically developed on the basis of an understanding of the pathophysiology of the illness or mechanism of action of effective treatments.

The current gold standard treatment for BP is lithium, whose mood-stabilizing effects are believed to occur via distinct cellular signaling pathways/targets, such as glycogen synthase kinase 3 inhibition (considered to regulate cellular apoptosis), and other potential downstream cellular mechanisms. In addition to lithium, valproate, and carbamazepine, several atypical antipsychotics (including asenapine) are FDA-approved for the treatment of acute bipolar mania (Table).

While these drugs have certainly provided relief for many individuals with BP, significant issues with tolerability and efficacy remain. For instance, clinicians may find themselves in situations in which better-tolerated agents are less effective, and vice versa. In addition, balancing efficacy with adverse effects that affect adherence, such as sedation and weight gain, underscore the urgent need to develop novel and more effective treatments.

Recent clinical findings

Findings from a meta-analysis indicate that the following agents were more effective than placebo for mania: aripiprazole, asenapine, carba­mazepine, cariprazine, haloperidol, lithium, olanzapine, paliperidone, quetiapine, risperidone, tamoxifen, valproate, and ziprasidone).4 Limited data suggest large effect sizes for carbamazepine, cariprazine, haloperidol, risperidone, and tamoxifen.

Another large meta-analysis evaluated the comparative efficacy of aripiprazole, asenapine, carbamazepine, valproate, gabapentin, haloperidol, lamotrigine, lithium, olanzapine, quetiapine, risperidone, topiramate, and ziprasidone at therapeutic doses for treatment of acute mania.5 The study concluded that antipsychotic drugs were significantly more effective than mood stabilizers; olanzapine, risperidone, and quetiapine were better tolerated than haloperidol. Risperidone, olanza­pine, and haloperidol were particularly efficacious. Most of the trials were short (typically 3 weeks), and therefore caution is needed when extrapolating the results to clinical practice. It is also important to note that because of informed consent and general enrollment issues with manic patients, more severe cases were invariably excluded.

Because strong evidence exists for the use of lithium—and to a somewhat lesser extent, lamotrigine and valproate—as a maintenance treatment for BP, antipsychotics may be increasingly used to treat the acute manic phase of the disorder and mood stabilizers (particularly lithium) may be used for long-term treatment. Nivoli and colleagues6 reviewed the major guidelines for the treatment of manic/hypomanic and mixed episodes and found that all guidelines agreed that concurrent antidepressants should be stopped during a manic/mixed episode.

Recent drug developments in BP

Improved pharmacological strategies with pronounced and sustained effects would have an enormous impact on public health, particularly given the high mortality associated with BP. A variety of compounds are now being tested that offer mechanistically different approaches for the treatment of BP. Some of the drugs we will discuss target partic­ular pathways specific to lithium, while others focus on more novel targets, such as N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) and opiate receptors. Evidence also suggests that older agents used to treat other diseases can be “re-purposed” if they show promise in reducing manic activity.7 While the focus of these compounds is on the treatment of mania, some may also be beneficial during the depressed phase of the illness.

Tamoxifen. Tamoxifen is a protein kinase C (PKC) inhibitor and antiestrogenic drug that crosses the blood-brain barrier and is relatively well tolerated (up to 200 mg/d). Lithium is thought to regulate the PKC signaling cascade, and findings suggest that PKC activation enhances the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter implicated in mania.8 A recent genome-wide association study also implicated diacylglycerol kinase eta (DGKH) in the pathogensis of BP; DGKH is a key protein in the lithium-sensitive phosphatidylinositol pathway and a precursor to PKC.9

A number of studies evaluated the effects of adjunctive tamoxifen treatment for mania, with encouraging results. The most recent of these was a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, 6-week study (N = 40) that evaluated the efficacy and safety of tamoxifen with adjunctive lithium in the treatment of acute bipolar mania.10 Combined tamoxifen/lithium therapy was superior to lithium alone for rapidly reducing manic symptoms; results were apparent as early as day 7. In that study, all psychotropic medications except benzodiazepines were discontinued at least 48 hours before randomization.

Lorazepam (1 to 2 mg/d) was stopped after the initial 10 days and was not dispensed within 8 hours of the administration of the mania rating scale. The starting dosage of tamoxifen was 20 mg twice daily (40 mg/d). Daily doses were subsequently increased by 10 mg to achieve 80 mg/d in twice-daily divided doses. This dosage of tamoxifen was well tolerated, and no clinically significant adverse effects except fatigue were observed. Despite these clinically encouraging results, long-term safety data are limited, and tamoxifen is associated with increased risk of endometrial carcinoma and uterine sarcoma.

Memantine. This selective NMDA glutamate receptor antagonist is approved for the treatment of moderate to severe Alzheimer disease. Preclinical studies found that memantine was associated with antimanic-like properties, such as decreased locomotor hyperactivity.11


FDA-approved treatment for bipolar disorder in adults

In an open-label, multisite, pilot study (N = 33), 20 to 50 mg/d of memantine as monotherapy was well tolerated, and patients with acute mania responded by day 21.12 The study evaluated 3 cohorts who received either 20 to 30 mg/d, 30 to 40 mg/d, or 40 to 50 mg/d, with an allowed increase or decrease of 10 mg/d based on tolerability and response. The greatest response occurred in the group that received 20 to 30 mg/d. The most frequently reported adverse effects were nausea, headache, and constipation.

Unfortunately, no randomized placebo-controlled trials to date have demonstrated the antimanic efficacy of memantine in either manic or mixed-state patients. However, it is interesting to note that a recent 8-week, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, proof-of-concept trial found that memantine augmentation (20 mg/d) of lamotrigine conferred no statistically significant benefit to patients with bipolar depression. Nevertheless, post hoc results suggest that depressive symptoms did improve in these patients during initial titration (5 mg/wk) and for the first 4 weeks but that no sustained effects were evident at 8 weeks.

Valnoctamide. Valproic acid is widely used to treat BP; however, its teratogenicity limits its use in women of childbearing potential. Valnoctamide is an analogue of valproic acid, but it does not undergo biotransformation to the corresponding free acid. It also lacks key structural groups (eg, free carboxylic groups) implicated in valproic acid’s teratogenicity. In preclinical studies, valnoctamide was markedly less teratogenic than valproic acid, with no significant changes regarding embryolethality.14 The drug has anticonvulsant properties similar to those of valproate and has been marketed as an anxiolytic and sedative in several European countries.

A recent double-blind, 5-week, add-on (with risperidone up to 6 mg/d), controlled trial (N = 32) of valnoctamide was conducted to measure its efficacy in treating mania.15 Patients were given valnoctamide 600 mg/d, increased to 1200 mg/d after 4 days, or placebo. Valnoctamide was significantly more effective than placebo across all efficacy measures beginning at week 3 through week 5. Adverse events included abnormal liver function test results (less than 3 times normal) in 1 patient; the test results normalized after the patient was switched back to valproate.

No other clinical trials with valnoctamide have been conducted to date, nor are any such trials currently pending. Nevertheless, valnoctamide may be a promising alternative to valproate for treating mania in women of childbearing age. Additional surveillance data in humans are required to make definitive claims regarding this agent.

Pentazocine. Opiates that primarily target μ-opiate receptors have been given in the past to patients with BP16; however, specific κ-opiate receptor (KOR) agonists have not been tested in patients with mania. In animal studies, direct activation of KORs caused depressogenic or dysphoric effects, while blockade of the same receptors produced antidepressant-like effects.17,18 Although no specific KOR agonist is currently approved for human use, the analgesic agent pentazocine functions as a partial KOR agonist, with weaker affinity for μ- and σ-opiate receptors.

In a recent proof-of-concept, open-label, add-on, 3-day, acute-dose study, 10 inpatients with BP-I who were hospitalized for mania received two 50-mg doses of pentazocine 2 hours apart.19 Manic symptoms were reduced 1 hour after each dose (44% after the first dose, and 41% after the second dose). Participants initially received standard treatment for BP. Efficacy measures used in the 3-day trial included the Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS) and the Mania Acute Change Scale7—scored at hourly intervals for 6 hours.

No psychotomimetic, dysphoric, or adverse events occurred. Patients’ vital signs were stable throughout the study, and light-headedness and sedation were noted to be minimal. Limitations included the design and small number of patients in the study and questions as to whether the effects of this agent were sustained or transient. Nevertheless, these promising initial results may provide the impetus to conduct larger trials. An ongoing study is currently evaluating the effects of pentazocine versus those of lorazepam or placebo on manic symptoms.20

Allopurinol. Kraepelin was the first to associate manic symptoms with hyperuricemia, uric acid excretion, and gout. (Machado-Vieira and colleagues21 provide a thorough review of purinergic dysfunction in mania.) Allopurinol is a xanthine oxidase inhibitor approved for the treatment of gout. Results from initial add-on studies with allopurinol in refractory mania were positive; however, sample sizes were small and allopurinol was used in conjunction with a variety of medications, including antipsychotics.22,23

A recent 4-week, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study (N = 180) evaluated the efficacy of allopurinol (600 mg/d) or dipyridamole (a nucleoside inhibitor; 200 mg/d) in combination with lithium.24 A linear model analysis found that allopurinol resulted in greater mean reductions in YMRS scores from baseline to day 21 (P < .001) and day 28 (P = .003) compared with placebo. Remission rates were also more favorable for persons who received allopurinol than for those who received dipyridamole or placebo (P = .008). Furthermore, decreased plasma uric acid levels were significantly positively associated with antimanic effects in the allopur­inol group. Overall, allopurinol was well tolerated; the most common adverse effects were dizziness and di­arrhea. An ongoing clinical trial is evaluating allopurinol as a maintenance strategy for mania in BP.25

MEM 1003. L-type calcium channels affect several organ systems and are widely expressed in the CNS, thus influencing neuroplasticity and neuronal excitability. Lithium is known to act on calcium signaling pathways, and recent genome-wide association studies support an association between a common variation on the α 1C subunit of the L-type voltage-gated calcium channel gene and BP.26-28

In 2007, Memory Pharmaceuticals Corporation conducted a phase 2a study of MEM 1003, a novel L-type calcium channel antagonist, for acute mania in BP. Study participants (N = 84) were randomized to receive either MEM 1003 or placebo for 3 weeks. Despite positive tolerability and safety data, both primary and secondary outcome measures showed that MEM 1003 was ineffective in treating bipolar mania.4 These results, unfortunately, are in line with earlier failed studies that investigated calcium channel antagonists in the treatment of BP.29

N-acetylcysteine (NAC). While it is beyond the scope of this article to offer an intensive review of all agents, we do wish to briefly mention NAC, which affects the glutathione antioxidant system. In patients with BP, a subgroup analysis found that NAC led to remission of manic symptoms.30 Most studies, however, suggest that NAC has more robust effects on depressive symptoms.31

Adjunctive nutraceuticals. The expression “nutraceutical” was coined in 1989 and was defined as “a food (or part of a food) that provides medical or health benefits, including the prevention and/or treatment of a disease.”32 Nutraceuticals differ from dietary supplements because they are intended to not only supplement the diet but also to prevent and/or treat a particular disease or disorder. Many patients with BP (60%) who adhere to pharmacological treatment continue to experience recurring manic or depressive mood episodes while taking medications at recommended therapeutic doses. Thus, adjunctive neutraceuticals can act as agents with either super-additive or multi-target biologic effects or as agents with the potential to minimize adverse effects by reducing the necessary dose of conventional drugs.

Note that despite active research, no substantive evidence exists to support these notions. However, Sarris and colleagues33 recently conducted a systematic review of human clinical trials of nutraceuticals used adjunctively with standard pharmacotherapy in BP. Inclusion criteria (eg, open label, controlled, sample size greater than 10) narrowed 1710 studies to 18 that evaluated ω-3, NAC, inositol, and vitamins and minerals in combination with standard medications to treat BP (either mania or depression). Several nutraceuticals were found to improve bipolar mania, including a chelated mineral formula, l-tryptophan, magnesium, folic acid, and branched-chain amino acids (eg, leucine, isoleucine, and valine).

In contrast, the evidence did not support the adjunctive use of ω-3 in bipolar mania, although it may be useful in bipolar depression. Given that many of the trials involved small sample sizes and did not account for baseline dietary patterns, these positive results should be interpreted with caution. Likewise, significant heterogeneity between studies also prevented a meta-analysis of the findings.


While challenges in treating mania persist, the future discovery of novel therapeutic agents will likely expand our understanding of this devastating illness and provide key insights into future drug development.

Acknowledgments—The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, and thank the 7SE Research Unit of the NIMH-NIH for their support.

Source: http://www.psychiatrictimes.com


ADHD Med Okay With Mood Stabilizer in Bipolar Patients

For patients with comorbid bipolar disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the psychostimulant methylphenidate (multiple brands) can be used safely without increasing the risk for manic episodes if combined with a mood stabilizer, a large observational study suggests.

Comorbid ADHD has been observed in up to 20% of people with bipolar disorder.

“The clinical question is whether central stimulants can be safely used to mitigate ADHD symptoms in bipolar disorder, or if this class of drugs should be avoided because of the risk of triggering manic symptoms,” first author Alexander Viktorin, PhD, of the Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden, told Medscape Medical News.

“Our findings suggest that risk of treatment-emergent mania should not be a reason to withhold methylphenidate medication in bipolar disorder patients with comorbid ADHD, provided that a concomitant mood stabilizer is prescribed,” said Dr Viktorin said.

Dr Alexander Viktorin

The study revealed an increased risk for treatment-emergent mania when methylphenidate was prescribed without a mood stabilizer, he noted.

The findings were published online October 3 in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

New, Unbiased Data

Using linked Swedish national registries, the researchers identified 2307 adults with bipolar disorder who initiated methylphenidate therapy between 2006 and 2014. The cohort was divided into two groups: those who did and those who did not undergo concomitant treatment with mood-stabilizing medication.

“We cross-linked the methylphenidate prescription with the mood stabilizer prescription with the diagnosis of bipolar disorder and found that when patients were taking mood stabilizers, they could be prescribed methylphenidate without any hazard, and in fact, it seemed as if they might do even better,” coauthor Michael Thase, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, told Medscape Medical News. “When patients were prescribed methylphenidate without concomitant mood-stabilizer therapy, they were significantly more likely to have a manic episode.”

The hazard ratio for treatment-emergent mania with methylphenidate monotherapy was 6.7 (95% confidence interval [CI], 2.0 – 22.4). By contrast, the hazard ratio was 0.6 (95% CI, 0.4 – 0.9) when methylphenidate was administered concomitantly with mood-stabilizer therapy. “So the treatment then is either very dangerous or safe, depending on the context,” Dr Thase said.

His advice: “If you’re going to prescribe a psychostimulant to somebody with bipolar disorder, you better make sure they are also taking their mood stabilizer, because without it, there is an increased risk of provoking a mania.”

“Given the markedly increased hazard ratio of mania following methylphenidate initiation in bipolar patients not taking mood stabilizers, careful assessment to rule out bipolar disorder is indicated before initiating monotherapy with psychostimulants,” the authors write.

“A significant chunk of people with bipolar disorder have ADHD,” said Dr Thase. “And there is controversy over whether it is easy or not easy to treat ADHD in people with bipolar disorder, and I would say that [clinicians] who don’t have extra experience in this area are probably overly cautious and hesitant.

“These new data, which are without bias or commercial influence, really do indicate that if you are able to have your patient on a reasonable mood-stabilizer regimen, you can treat ADHD with a psychostimulant without additional worry.”

The study had no commercial funding. Dr Thase has financial relationships Alkermes, Allergan, AstraZeneca, Shire, and other pharmaceutical companies. The original article contains a complete list of other authors’ relationships with industry.

Alter Your Diet To Reduce Your Breast Cancer Risk

Cancer is one of the most widespread diseases across the world. For many decades, scientists have tried to come up with a remedy to eradicate this disease for good. The only real solution for breast-cancer reduction among the masses is simply a change in diet. According to WebMD, your diet plays a major role in your overall health and possibility of developing breast cancer in the first place. Take a look at the foods that you can use as tools to prevent the chance of developing breast cancer in your lifetime.

Alter Your Diet To Reduce Your Breast Cancer Risk

Plant-Based Foods

Breast cancer often occurs in patients who have diets high in saturated fats, such as red meats and fried foods. These fats contribute to obesity which gives rise to breast cancer as the body fails to fight off the mutated cells. As a preventive measure, add plant-based foods to your diet. Incorporate more vegetables and fruits into your meals too. You don’t have to live on salads alone, however. Look for alternative plant-based foods, such as soy or tofu. It’s possible to have a satisfying diet with mainly plants on your dinner plate.

High-Fiber Selections

High-fiber items, such as whole grains and beans, are smart choices for breast-cancer reduction because of their appetite-suppressing attributes. You feel fuller for a longer time period with high-fiber items so you’ll eat less in a given day. When you have a healthy weight, cancer has more difficulty of developing in your body. Less estrogen is produced when you’re slimmer which directly relates to a lower chance of breast cancer. Try to switch out your white bread with a high-fiber wheat product tomorrow. You’ll notice a marked change in your appetite with this clever change.


When you drink a comforting cup of tea, you’re also benefiting from its cancer-fighting attributes. Flavonoids within tea contribute to ample antioxidants in your body. Drinking several cups of tea every day may help your body fight against cell mutation that’s distinct in cancer patients. Green tea, in particular, offers some of the strongest benefits against breast cancer.

Fatty Fish

You may have heard about the benefits of fish when it comes to breast-cancer reduction. It’s important to choose specific fish when you want to benefit the most from your meal, however. Look for fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Examples of omega-3 fish include cod and salmon. These fatty acids are critical at the molecular level within your body. Your immune system gains a strong supporter in order to fight off developing cancer cells.

Consider Fish-Oil Supplements

If you’re not a fan of fish, it’s possible to achieve some cancer-fighting effects by taking a fish-oil supplement. Read over the supplement’s label, and verify that it contains ample, omega-3 fatty acids. There are other fatty acids, such as omega-6, that might be confused with omega-3. Omega-6 fatty acids are found in vegetable oils, and these molecules aren’t as healthy for your cancer-fighting needs as omega-3 types.

Limits to Fish-Oil Intake

Although omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial to the human body, avoid eating fish every day. Ideally, create two to three meals each week that center around a fatty fish selection. If you have any ailments that are currently being treated by a doctor, you may want to limit your fish intake as dictated by your doctor. Pregnant women should also be wary of a high intake of fish. Most fish have certain levels of mercury that can be harmful in large volumes.

Speaking to your doctor about your diet is one of the many steps you can take to reduce breast cancer chances, reports CNN. Doctors can’t prescribe a miracle pill, but they can suggest foods that are beneficial to your particular needs and sensitivities. Ideally, your diet should be as natural as possible with ample nutrients available for bodily repair and rejuvenation.


The Holy Grail Of Low Carb Pizzas – Fat Head Pizza

Fat head pizza is famous in the low carb world. If you miss pizza since going low carb, then Fat Head Pizza is for you. It is grain free, gluten free, low carb and incredibly filling. The base is made from cheese, cream cheese, an egg and ground almonds/almond flour – that’s it! My children now prefer this to regular pizza, and they make it themselves. One of the best things we can do as a parent, is to teach our children to cook, bake and experiment with eating new and exciting recipes. It is a gift we can pass to our children for the rest of their lives. Cooking is a life skill, ordering pizza from an app isn’t – although you may beg to differ on that one 😉

Does an entire pizza normally disappear before your eyes? When you eat traditional pizza with a wheat base, do you eat and eat and eat and cannot stop at just 1 or 2 slices, well no way with Fat Head Pizza. Add a side salad and you’ve got a great Friday night movie meal. This is incredibly rich, but that’s the point, you cannot overindulge.

For anyone who doesn’t know, Fat Head Movie is a comedy-documentary by Tom Naughton (comedian and former health writer). The documentary explains how low cholesterol is unhealthy, saturated fat does not cause heart disease but instead sugars, grains, starches and processed vegetable oils do. This is one of his short clips titled “Saturated fat and Cholesterol Lies”.

How To Make The FatHead Pizza Base

Add All Your Favourite Toppings such as –

  • Tomato paste (unsweetened)
  • Mushrooms
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Salami/pepperoni
  • Sausage meat
  • Spinach and crack an egg on top
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Rosemary, oregano, thyme, sage
  • More cheese


Fat Head Pizza – The Holy Grail

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Author: Libby
Recipe type: Dinners
Cuisine: Low carb: Gluten free; Wheat free; Primal; Sugar free
Serves: 6 slices
  • 170g / 6 oz / 1¾ cups (approx) pre shredded/grated cheese (mozzarella is the best or Edam/mild cheese)
  • 85g / 3 oz / ¾ cup almond flour/meal
  • 2 tbs cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • +/- salt to taste
  • ½ tsp dried rosemary/ garlic or other flavourings (optional)
  • your choice of toppings such as pepperoni, peppers, cherry tomatoes, olives, ground/mince beef, mushrooms, herbs etc
  1. Mix the shredded/grated cheese and almond flour/meal in a microwaveable bowl. Add the cream cheese. Microwave on HIGH for 1 minute.
  2. Stir then microwave on HIGH for another 30 seconds.
  3. Add the egg, salt, rosemary and any other flavourings, mix gently.
  4. Place in between 2 baking parchment/paper and roll into a circular pizza shape. Remove the top baking parchment. If the mixture hardens and becomes difficult to work with, pop it back in the microwave for 10-20 seconds to soften again but not too long or you will cook the egg.
  5. Make fork holes all over the pizza base to ensure it cooks evenly.
  6. Place the baking sheet with the pizza base on a baking tray or pizza stone, and bake at 220C/425F for 12-15 minutes, or until brown.
  7. To make it really crispy and study, flip the pizza over once the top has baked to a golden colour. I turn the pizza onto the baking parchment I used to roll out the pizza base, then slide it back onto the baking tray lined with baking parchment.
  8. Once cooked, remove from the oven and add all the toppings you like. Make sure any meat is already cooked as this time it goes back into the oven just to heat up the toppings and melt the cheese. Bake again at 220C/425F for 5 minutes.
Nutrition panel is for base only as toppings will vary widely depending on what was added and how much.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 slice (base only) Calories: 203 Fat: 16.8g Carbohydrates: 4g Sugar: 1g Fibre: 1.6g Protein: 11g



Compare the nutrition panels of a wheat based pizza crust with the Fat Head Pizza base (in brackets)

Carbs 27g (4g) – Protein 3.8g (11g) – Fat 3.4g (16.8g) – in addition the regular pizza will contain gluten and if store bought, preservative, artificial flavourings and probably some trans fats. Also remember you will only eat 1 or 2 slices of Fat Head Pizza compared to half to 1 regular pizza.

Have you tried low carb pizzas yet? Do you have another recipe to recommend? What are your low carb topping ideas? Have you tried the FatHead crackers?


Harvest Cannabis Like A Pro With These 5 Simple Steps

One of the best things about growing your own cannabis is watching the plants move through each phase of the lifecycle. And if you’ve ever grown pot you know that the most exciting part is when your baby plant is all grown up and starting to produce flowers. When your plants reach this stage, it might seem like all the hard work is done. But you have to know how to harvest marijuana properly if you want to end up with the smokeable herb you’re looking for.

If you follow the five steps outlined below you’ll get the most out of your plants, and you’ll end up with a pretty sweet little stash of homegrown ganja.

Step 1: Knowing When To Harvest

Harvest Cannabis Like A Pro With These 5 Simple Steps


Harvesting is a crucial step. And it takes a little familiarity with trichomes to get it right. A couple of weeks after flowers first show up on your plants they’ll start producing short hair looking things. These are called trichomes, and they contain a lot of the resins, chemicals, and compounds that make cannabis such a potent plant.

The key to harvesting your buds at the right time is to watch the growth of the trichomes. They’ll go through 3 main stages:

  1. The trichomes will swell, and the tips will sort of flatten out into a mushroom looking shape.
  2. The trichomes will change from clear to milky white.
  3. The trichomes will turn from milky white to amber or brown.

Most people like to harvest when the trichomes are all white. At that point, the flowers have essentially maximized their THC production. If you’re looking to get buds for recreational uses, harvest when the trichomes are white.

But if you’re looking to produce cannabis for medical purposes, you may want to wait until the trichomes are amber or brown. At that point, some of the THC has degraded, but the CBD will be peaking. And in general, CBD is the stuff you’re looking for in medical cannabis.

Step 2: Flush Your Plants

Harvest Cannabis Like A Pro With These 5 Simple Steps


As cannabis plants grow, they can sometimes get build ups of nutrients, salts, and other minerals. Most growers like to flush all these build-ups out of the plant’s system shortly before harvesting.

If you’re growing in soil, run clean water with a pH around 6.2 through the plants. Let it completely drain, then run more water through it.

If you’re growing in a hydroponics system, simply run clean water through the system for a few days. Be sure the pH is right around 5.8.

Step 3: Cut Off The Flowers

Harvest Your Cannabis Buds Like A Pro In 5 Simple Steps

The Cannabist

The key here is to be gentle. The less you disturb the flowers, the more you’ll preserve the trichomes. Begin the cutting process by trimming away all the big leaves around the flowers.

Leave the smaller leaves that are packed in closer to the buds. You’ll get rid of them later. For now, get rid of the biggest leaves first. Then use sharp garden scissors or shears to cut each branch away from the plant.

Cut well below the flowers so there’s no risk of accidentally damaging them. When you handle your cuttings, be sure you don’t bang them into each other or harm the flowers in any way.

Step 4: Dry The Flowers

Harvest Cannabis Like A Pro With These 5 Simple Steps

Leaf Science

Hang each branch upside down in your drying space. Be sure they don’t touch each other or bang into each other.

Your drying space should be relatively dark and should have a good supply of circulating fresh air. For the best final product go for a slow dry. Let the buds hang where they are until you can easily crack small stems and branches in your fingers.

At that point, everything should be dried out enough to move on to the final step.

Step 5: Cure Your Bud

Harvest Cannabis Like A Pro With These 5 Simple Steps


As soon as your flowers are dried, you can smoke them. But if you want to maximize flavors and potency, you need to cure them first.

Use sharp, clean scissors to cut out any remaining small leaves carefully. Don’t throw this trim away! There’re tons of trichomes all over them so save them and use them to make edibles, oils, or extracts.

Now carefully pull apart each nug. Place them in a clean glass jar. Store the jars in a dark and dry location and just let them sit. Open the jars twice a day for 15 minutes to let them air out, then re-seal them. After a week or two of this, the buds will be dried, cured, and ready for the best smoke of your life.


Keto Taco Bake Recipe Low Carb High Fat

My kids love tacos, and this Keto Taco Bake had them raving last night. Now I will say this thing is like a fat bomb explosion so if you having a hard time reaching your fat goals each day, wow, add this to your diet and you will NOT have that problem anymore.

Seriously, this recipe weighs in at 47 grams of fat. If you’re new to keto, while the actual fat won’t give you a heart attack hearing that number just might! 😉 Remember, we don’t count calories around here, and this has worked for us. My entire family has managed to lose the weight and keep it off thanks to keto. We really don’t even have to worry about our numbers anymore because as long as we keep an eye on the foods we eat we are always in maintenance mode, which is an awesome place to be in.

Keto Taco Bake Recipe:


It’s amazing when you finally reach your goal, and you no longer have to be as strict as you once were. It’s also awesome when you do slip up, and you start to see the horrible side effects for yourself, and you can prove both to yourself and others that this lifestyle does work. For example. If I eat any kind of bread at all, I will break out every single time. I can go months without one pimple. Not one. The moment I decide to cave and try the pizza my carb loving husband tells me will change my life (he’s always wrong, it taste boring and plain every time) I break out. One slice, that’s all it takes for my body to show the signs that beg me not to mistreat it again.

I appreciate that to be honest and I love that I can eat one slice and say this tastes like crap and it has no control over me. Back in the day, I loved pizza. I can honestly say I don’t love any food. Okay, maybe I still love ice cream. It’s cream; I can’t stop loving cream.

Keto Taco Seasoning:

Oh, and before we move on, you have to buy this taco seasoning right now. If you don’t already use Flavor God’s Taco Tuesday, GET IT! Flavor God has 0 carbs, people. ZERO. Did I mention it’s also gluten-free, sugar-free, chemical and filler free? It’s awesomesauce only more like awesomepowder. You can make your own taco seasoning and change the carb counts below, or you can use packets, but they are very high carbs. So you will need to adjust the numbers below for that especially since this recipe would take two packets.

The bad news for me is that I was actually out of Taco Tuesday when I made this recipe so I had to resort to a packet, thankfully I did have some GMO free taco seasoning on hand, but I was still pretty disappointed. I was also out of Mozzarella or I would have used that instead. See, bloggers don’t always have it together ;). Thankfully I just placed an order for more along with Ranch, Pizza, and Ketchup! I can’t wait to share my recipes using these seasonings with you!

Let’s dig into this fatty recipe, shall we?

Important Note: I would not recommend making this to serve as leftovers. The soggy pork rinds are kind of gross the next day! Yuck! My kids didn’t think so, but my husband complained!

If you hate the idea of soggy pork rinds you can always put the pork rinds on TOP!

Keto Taco Bake Recipe:


Keto Taco Bake Ingredients:

1 lbs Ground Beef
2 Tbsp Flavor God Taco Tuesday
2 oz Salt and Pepper Pork Rinds
3 Tbsp Butter
3 Tbsp Coconut Flour
1 Cup Organic Valley Heavy Whipping Cream
1 1/2 Cup Sharp Cheddar
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
8oz -Sharp Cheddar or Mozzarella

Keto Taco Bake Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.


Brown ground beef and drain as usual. Return to skillet and add 2 Tbsp of Flavor God Taco Tuesday.


While meat is browning, make cheese soup mixture. In a pot add butter, coconut flour, heavy whipping cream, and 6 oz of cheddar cheese, heat on medium until mixture is well combined making cream of cheese soup.


Cover bottom of a 9×9 (9×13 if doubling the recipe) pan with pork rinds (smash pork rinds).


Cover pork rinds with meat.


Now top taco meat with cheese soup.


Finally top with remaining cheese (you can use cheddar or mozzarella).


Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Serve as you would tacos but watch out for the carb count and fat at this point 😉 (sour cream, guac, bacon, salsa).


Keto Taco Bake Nutrition:

This is for 1 serving (recipe makes 6 servings)

Calories: 554
Total Fat: 47g
Cholesterol: 16mg
Sodium: 34mg
Potassium: 66mg
Carbohydrates: 4g Dietary Fiber = 1g Net Carbs= 3g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars: 0g
Protein: 31g


Lose Fat and Reduce Body Fat Percentage with Basic Math

Ting Wang showing how to lose fat. She's down three pant sizes.
Same style of shorts, down three pant sizes.

The prevalence of individuals who are overweight and/or obese is skyrocketing, and the number of people who are seeking advice on how to lose fat is rapidly growing. In a randomized survey of about 65,000 adults conducted by Gallup, it was projected that in the U.S., the adult obesity rate is at 27.7% as of May 2014. This means that for every 1 in 4 adults you meet in the U.S., you can expect to encounter an individual who is obese, which is an alarming ratio.

With the increase in the number of individuals who are overweight or obese, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and a whole host of other diseases and illnesses are impacting the lives of our friends, family members, and peers. The health and fitness industry is taking advantage of this time and flooding mass media with tips, tricks, and shortcuts on how to lose weight. Fitness publications are touting the latest and greatest weight-loss products and promoting fad diets as an attempt to generate profits off of people who may be ill-informed and those who seek that one magic pill.

weight loss pills and tape measure
Miracle pills?

I am not offering a magic weight loss pill or encouraging any type of shortcut to losing fat. What I do promote, however, is a healthy and sustainable approach to losing body fat. I want to share with you the knowledge I’ve gained from countless discussions with personal trainers and bodybuilders, lots of research, and numerous personal experiments I’ve conducted on myself and others.

I want you to have the body of your dreams. I want to supply the information you may be looking for to live healthier and longer, without functional limitations due to weight. I hate to burst your bubble, but I’m here to tell you that crash diets are ineffective for sustained weight loss and the magical one-size-fits-all pills do not exist. So let’s cut the fluff and get straight to the tried and true method of reducing body fat.

I am going to give it to you hard and fast. There is no shortcut to cutting weight, and there aren’t any miracle pills that will instantaneously melt fat off of your body in a short period of time. There are supplements that can certainly aid in fat loss, but the only method that works effectively surrounds metabolism.

If you follow the method that is outlined in this post 100%, you will lose weight. Unless you’ve been restricting calories for an extended period of time (which I will post about later), have hormonal imbalances, medical issues, or issues with your gut microbiome, I am confident that the formula here will reduce your body fat. If you follow this method strictly and still struggle with fat-loss, then there may be hormonal and inflammatory issues that should be dealt with first.

This is part 1 of a 3-post series. If you want to lose fat and maintain muscle mass more effectively (part 2 of 3), then the link provided outlines the fundamental concepts you need to understand in conjunction with the information that follows. If you want to get your fat loss even more dialed in, then check out How to Calculate Macros to Lose Fat and Maintain Muscle for additional details (part 3 of 3). Before delving into the method for fat-loss, we’ll first touch on the fundamentals of energy metabolism.

What Is Metabolism?

Metabolism is a complex, physiological process that takes place in the human body. In short, it converts the foods and beverages you consume into energy. The energy that is supplied from the food you eat allows for normal cell function. Your body requires this energy to sustain life, helping to circulate the blood in your body, keep your heart beating, regulate breathing, grow and repair tissue, regulate hormone activity, and much more. Think of your metabolic system as your life support.

What Is a Calorie?

A Calorie, otherwise known as a kilocalorie (often used interchangeably with a lowercased “calorie”, which actually means something else), is the approximate amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water one degree Celsius. Calories are often associated with food, but in actuality, they apply to anything that contains energy.

Take an apple for example – A medium-sized apple about 3 inches in diameter contains roughly 90 calories. This essentially means that the apple contains 90 calories of energy that your body can use to kick off any number of biochemical processes. For the rest of this blog post, I will use the lowercase calorie to mean a kilocalorie. As cars require fuel to operate, the human body requires calories to function.

What Are Macronutrients?

Macronutrients: carbs, fat, and protein diagram.
Macronutrients: Carbs, Fat, and Protein.

Macronutrients are large amounts of nutrients that provide energy or calories for organisms. As “macro” means “large,” macronutrients are nutrients that our bodies need in large quantities. In humans, there are three macronutrients that are required to sustain life: carbohydrates (sugar), lipids (fats), and proteins (chains of amino acids). These three macros provide energy in the form of calories:

  • 1 gram of carbohydrate = 4 calories
  • 1 gram of protein = 4 calories
  • 1 gram of fat = 9 calories

So if a food contains 10g of carbohydrates, 10g of protein, and 10g of fat, that food contains and provides the energy equivalent to 170 calories.

  • 10g carbs x 4 = 40 calories
  • 10g protein x 4 = 40 calories
  • 10g fat x 9 = 90 calories
  • 40 + 40 + 90 = 170 calories

What Are the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE)?

The Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the energy expenditure or calories burned in a 24-hour period for an individual at rest. The BMR excludes any and all physical activity. The BMR is basically what your body needs to just stay alive (breathing, pumping blood, etc.).

As an example, I am currently 28 years old, 4’11”, and weigh 103 pounds.Using the Harris-Benedict equation, my BMR should be around 1,250 calories per day. So if I were to lay in bed, motionless for 24 hours, this is how much energy is required for me to sustain life. While I prefer to use the Katch-Mcardle formula because it takes into consideration body composition (the amount of relative fat to fat-free mass in your body), I chose to go with the Harris-Benedict BMR calculator here since most people are unaware of their body fat percentage. The Katch-Mcardle formula will improve accuracy when body composition leans toward the ends of the spectrum of body fat percentage (very muscular or obese).

In order to estimate how many calories your body needs per day, you must incorporate an estimate of the energy you require through the physical activity you engage in on an average day. When you combine your BMR and adjust for physical activity, you will arrive at your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE). The thermic effect of food (the amount of energy your body uses to digest food) plays a role in the amount of calories burned per day as well, but to simplify our calculations later, I won’t be including this.

What Role Does Metabolism, BMR, and TDEE Play in to Lose Fat?

There are two primary channels in which your body taps into for energy. Your body can either generate energy from the foods that you eat or extracts from its energy stores, typically stored in fat or muscles. After every meal, food is broken down into molecules that can be immediately used for energy by the body. If your body burns all the energy from the meal you just ate, it will then tap into fat and muscle stores for added energy. However, if you don’t burn all that free-flowing energy after eating, much of the remainder is then stored as fat. This balancing act of energy intake to energy expenditure is known as energy balance.

When you consume more calories or energy than you expend in a day, you have essentially inherited an excess amount of energy or created a “calorie surplus.” When you consume fewer calories than what you use up in a day, then you’ve created a negative energy balance or “calorie deficit.” The latter is the situation you need to be in to lose fat.

Ting Wang before and after bikini contest fat loss
Fat loss before and after bikini contest

You probably know where I’m going with this. Losing weight only requires some basic math skills. To lose fat, it really does not matter what you eat, but how much you eat. This doesn’t mean that I’d recommend eating burgers and fries every day because I believe micronutrients play a critical role in the success of body re-composition and improving overall health. But, if you’re looking to lose fat and bring your body fat percentage down, it really comes down to regulating the amount of energy you are supplying to your body and the amount you are expending if you are without medical, hormonal, and gut issues.

In the end, it’s not the carbs, fat, or protein that is making you fat; it is overeating that is the culprit. It isn’t the slow metabolism that many claim they have either – note that a small percentage of the population really is affected by a dysfunctional thyroid, which impacts metabolism, but most of us are in the clear.

Ultimately, if you want to lose fat, you need to eat less and move more. Regardless the macronutrient profile, if you are creating a caloric deficit, you will lose fat. It’s as simple as that and is demonstrated in this study of 811 overweight adults over a two year period: Comparison of Weight-Loss Diets With Different Compositions of Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrates. In another study: Comparison of the Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers, and Zone Diets for Weight Loss and Heart Disease Risk Reduction, there were no statistical differences in weight loss by diet program.

Lose Fat with Basic Math

Now, let’s get to the good stuff! Losing weight requires very basic math skills. Again, this is part 1 of a 3-part series. After getting a full understanding of part 1 first, then move on to part 2 with How to Lose Fat and Maintain Muscle Mass. Then I’d suggest following along to part 3 with How to Calculate Macros to Lose Fat and Maintain Muscle Mass. Follow the instructions below, and you’ll be well on your way to losing fat and getting the body you’ve always wanted.

Ting Wang before and after three month transformation
Before and after three month transformation

Step 1 – Calculate Your BMR as the First Step to Lose Fat

  • If you know your body fat percentage, use the Katch-Mcardle BMR calculator.
  • If you do not know your body fat percentage, use the Harris-Benedict BMR calculator.
    • Example: I am female, age 28, 4’11”, and weight 103 pounds. Using the Harris-Benedict calculator, my BMR is roughly 1,250 calories per day on average.

Step 2 – Identify Your Physical Activity Level

Note 1: I’ve modified the standard factors used to adjust for physical activity levels. In my personal experience, I’ve found that the traditional multipliers are too high for current, common lifestyles.

Note 2: Chatting with friends, hanging out by the water fountain, and resting for more than five minutes should not count as contributing to total hours of exercise.

Factor Category Definition
1.20 Sedentary to Low Activity Level Exercise 0 – 3 hours per week
1.375 Low to Moderate Activity Level Exercise 4 – 6 hours per week
1.55 Moderate to High Activity Level Exercise +6 hours per week
  • Example: I typically average about 10 hours per week in exercise. Since this is well over six hours per week, I can be categorized in the “Moderate to High Activity Level” group, so my factor is 1.55.

Step 3 – Calculate Your Total Daily Energy Expenditure

Multiply your BMR from Step 1 and physical activity level factor from Step 2 to arrive at your TDEE.

  • Example: My BMR is 1,250 calories per day and my multiplying factor is 1.55. Multiplying these two numbers gives me a TDEE of 1,940 calories per day. This is the amount of calories I need to sustain life and the physical activities I perform each day.
    • 1,250 x 1.55 = 1,940 calories per day

Step 4 – Calculate How Many Calories You Should Be Eating to Lose Fat

In order to lose weight, you need to be in a negative energy balance or eat at a caloric deficit. This means you are consuming less energy than your body is using each day. In a caloric deficit, your body will begin to tap into its fat stores for energy through the mechanisms of energy balance.

Multiply your TDEE by 75-80%, which is a 20-25% reduction in calories per day. I recommend beginning with 80% and adjusting as necessary depending on how you feel and your rate of progress. If you hit your numbers every day, you should be losing 1-2 pounds per week, depending on caloric intake. If you’re lean already, fat loss rates may looks more like 0.5-1 pound per week. If you’re overweight, weekly fat loss could be 2 pounds or more. When I’m cutting weight, I aim for no more than one pound per week. Any more than that indicates that I am eating too little or exercising too much.. or potentially both. Shedding fat too quickly puts you at risk for losing muscle mass, which is not desirable. Muscle mass is what gives you that sculpted and “toned” look, so you definitely don’t want to be losing that.

  • Example 1: 1,940 x 80% = ~1,550 calories per day
  • Example 2: 1,940 x 75% = ~1,450 calories per day

Step 5 – Create a Meal Plan and Be Consistent to Lose Fat

Now that you’ve calculated what your calorie intake should be to lose fat, you’ll want to create a meal plan that fits your calorie target. It’s important to create a meal plan that you’ll enjoy. The more enjoyable a meal plan is, the more sustainable it will be. To make things easy, you can plan for a whole day’s worth of meals and eat that every day, which is what I do for weeks at a time. If you’re the type of person who needs variety, create a meal plan for each day of the week, and repeat weekly, so you don’t get bored with your food.

  • Example: This is a sample of what a ~1,450 calories per day meal plan may look like, and what I ate for about a week recently.
    • Meal 1 – 3/4 cup egg whites, 1/4 cup brown rice, 3 fish oil capsules
    • Meal 2 – 4oz chicken breast, 4oz broccoli, 1 tbsp olive oil
    • Meal 3 – 4oz turkey breast, 2oz broccoli slaw, 1 medium apple
    • Meal 4 – 2oz tilapia, 1/2 scoop whey protein isolate, 1/2 medium banana, 2 tbsp almond butter, 3 fish oil capsules
    • Meal 5 – 6oz non-fat greek yogurt, 1 cup blueberries
      Post meal prep fridge
      Post meal prep fridge

Note: You can break up your meals however you like. Eating according to what fits your schedule is best, as it will be easier to sustain. I personally enjoy eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day. In experimenting with three meals per day, I’ve found that I get too hungry between meals. This makes me more susceptible to snacking on something that isn’t in my meal plan, which hinders my progress. Thus, I prefer 4-5 meals per day, sometimes 6.

Remember that there really isn’t a universal formula that works best for everyone. Effective weight loss and alterations to body composition require attention to detail, tracking, patience, and the discipline to keep at it. It’s critical to be in tune with how you feel and how your physique is changing. Measuring and tracking your progress is key to knowing what types of adjustments you should be making to better suit your lifestyle and goals.

5 Yoga Poses to Soothe Back Pain

There are loads of reasons you could have back pain. Maybe it’s the way you sleep. Maybe it’s the way you exercise (check out our list of 10 worst exercises for your back). Maybe you’re incredibly stressed and it’s causing you to slouch with anxiety. Whatever the case may be, research shows that moving more can be the best medicine for your aching muscles and joints. Our movement of choice? Yoga.

There are loads of yoga poses that help with stress relief also help with back pain. We caught up with Kimberly Fowler, founder of YAS Fitness Centers, and got her 5 go-to yoga moves to reduce that back tension. The good news? These are poses that anybody can do, so unroll that yoga mat and get to feeling better.

Child’s Pose
child&#039;s pose
2/6 Mitch Mandel
Child’s Pose

Child’s pose helps to decompress your lower back, and if your back is hurting this is a quick and simple pose to do. Come to the floor with knees bent. Sit back on heels with legs and feet touching.

Lean forward and rest your torso on your thighs. Bring arms out in front of you. Breathing into lower back, give it some attention.

Hold this pose for about a minute and give it time to relax

Standing Forward Bend With Your Knees Bent
forward bend knees bent yoga
3/6 Beth Bischoff
Standing Forward Bend With Your Knees Bent

Bring feet about hip width apart. Hinge forward and release head toward the floor.

Bend knees and then rest chest on thighs.

Fowler suggests that this is one of the best poses to do after you’ve spent a lot of time sitting at a desk or in front of a computer.

More: ‘Yoga Mom’ & Pint-Sized Daughter Mini Kill Us With Cuteness

4/6 Beth Bischoff

Lie on stomach with legs straight back. Bring hands at shoulders, and then press into hands to lift the chest.

Keeping the elbows bent, hold for 30 seconds and then repeat 3 times.

Fowler notes that cobra is particularly good for your lower back is it’s a counter pose to sitting at a computer, which is forward flexion.

5/6 Beth Bischoff

Get on hands and knees with hands lined up beneath shoulders and knees in line with hips. Take a deep breath in, and inhale to bend your spine so abs are drawn toward the floor, head tilted up. On an exhale, arch back upward, curling chin toward chest, tucking tailbone under. Repeat this 5 times for best results.

Dead Bug Pose
dead bug pose
6/6 Beth Bischoff
Dead Bug Pose

Lie on back and reach up to grab the out sides of feet. Try to bring knees toward the floor.

This pose is great for releasing the sacrum, so lower back needs to be on the floor (or mat) in order to get the full effect.

Paleo diet versus ketogenic diet

paleo diet vs ketogenic diet

In the world of diets it’s hard to pick the one best suited for you. This is why it’s important to understand each diet and how each one can help you achieve your goals. Both the Paleo diet and ketogenic diet have been increasing in popularity. Although you may have a broad understanding of them, before you start either one it’s good to understand them in-depth. Here we compare these two popular diets to reveal their similarities and differences so you can make an informed decision.

What is the ketogenic diet?

ketogenic diet

Typically when a person starts a diet the reason is to lose weight. The ketogenic diet has been praised for its ability to promote quick and effective weight loss. But how you ask? Well…

The premise behind the ketogenic diet is that the body will use its own fat-burning abilities to lose weight within 10 days. Although this may be appealing it’s important to know that some consider this diet to be dangerous.

On the ketogenic diet you are restricted to a low or no-carbohydrate meal plan. By doing this the body goes into a state called “ketosis.” When we consume little to no carbohydrates molecules called ketones build up. The process of ketosis restricts conventional sources of energy – carbohydrates – so the body begins to use its own fat supply to produce energy.

The nutrient intake on a ketogenic diet

  • 70-75% of calories from fat (calorie counting is optional)
  • 20-25% from protein
  • 5-10% from carbohydrate on a daily basis

Difference between Paleo diet and ketogenic diet

The Paleo diet works on the premise of eating like our ancestors – or cavemen. The diet restricts artificial food and uses only organic, free-range, natural items. Food item wise, the Paleo diet is similar to the ketogenic diet as it limits the use of carbohydrates, but differs as you do not eliminate them completely. Below are some other notable differences between the Paleo diet and ketogenic diet.

Must Read:  When Anxiety Leads to Panic Disorder.
Ketogenic Diet Paleo Diet
Level of carbohydrates Low Low to medium
Goal Weight loss Better health (weight loss may still occur)
Is soy sauce with wheat allowed? Yes No, because it irritates the gut
Is canola oil allowed? Yes No, because it contains omega-6 which is considered unhealthy
Are sweet potatoes allowed? No Yes
Is tofu allowed? Yes No, soy leads to inflammation
Is dairy allowed? Only full-fat milk Maybe, only if tolerated by the individual

As you can see, there are some very clear differences and limitations to each diet. Yet, the Paleo diet presents itself as a life-long eating regimen, whereas the ketogenic can only be sustained for a short amount of time.

Certain risks regarding the ketogenic diet

The Paleo diet removes many foods that have been shown to cause irritation and inflammation in the gut. The ketogenic diet, though, eliminates many foods simply because they contain carbohydrates.

The debate on whether or not the ketogenic diet is healthy is ongoing. Some experts feel the ketogenic diet is helpful for those who are obese or significantly overweight. Other experts suggest the weight loss is unsustainable and will simply come back within a year.

Another side effect of the body entering ketosis is muscle loss. A build-up of ketones can increase the risk of illness or complications. One thing is for certain, the ketogenic is not meant for long-term use.

It’s important to note that the ketogenic diet should not be conducted without professional supervision. Without the guidance of a doctor or dietician there is room for error, which raises the risk of illness and complications. If you are interested in the ketogenic diet it’s best you speak with a medical professional.

Paleo diet: Is eating like a caveman best for our health?

Diets come and diets go, but one in particular seems to have staying power and for good reasons as well. It’s based on eating similar to that of prehistoric man and it’s being touted as one of the best way to eat. It’s called the Paleo diet.Continue reading…

Live longer by adding diet that mimics fasting

Think back to our ancestors, and we’re saying way back. These people didn’t have food readily available to them at all times so they would go through periods of “fasting” until their next meal. Well, this idea of fasting for a period of time is being heavily researched and the findings may aid in anti-aging. Continue reading…