The Most Beautiful Exotic Birds In The world

Blue-and-gold MacawBlue-and-gold Macaw
The Blue-and-gold Macaw is a large parrot with blue top parts and yellow under parts. It is a member of the large group of Neotropical  parrots known as macaws.
It inhabits forest and woodland of tropical South America. The blue and Gold Macaw is one of the most popular pet birds of all Macaws.

Scarlet MacawScarlet Macaw
The Scarlet Macaw is a large, red, yellow and blue South American parrot, a member of a large group of Neotropical parrots called macaws. This beautiful macaw has a creamy white, almost featherless face, with bright red plumage covering most of its body, wings and long tail. Brilliant blue and yellow feathers also adorn the lower wings. The bird's strong beak is adapted to breaking hard nuts found in the rainforest.

Sun ConureSun Conure
The Sun Conure is a medium-sized brightly colored parrot native to northeastern South America. The adult male and female are similar in appearance, with predominantly golden-yellow plumage and orange-flushed underparts and face. These little Conure Parrots can be very curious, active, and playful.

Rainbow LorikeetRainbow Lorikeet
The Rainbow Lorikeet is a species of Australasian parrot found in Australia, eastern Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. It is unmistakable with its bright red beak and colourful plumage. Both sexes look alike, with a blue (mauve) head and belly, green wings, tail and back, and an orange/yellow breast. They are often seen in loud and fast-moving flocks or in communal roosts at dusk.

Red LoryRed Lory
The Red Lory is a species of parrot in the Psittaculidae family. It is the second most commonly kept lory in captivity, after the Rainbow Lorikeet. Besides being a beautiful color, red lories make beautiful pets. Lories are popular companion birds and are quite easily bred. They are entertaining birds, with many unique behavior.

What is Anxiety Disorders? Types of Anxiety Disorder.

There are many types of anxiety disorders that include panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, specific phobias, and generalized anxiety disorder.
Anxiety is a normal human emotion that everyone experiences at times. Many people feel anxious, or nervous, when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or making an important decision. Anxiety disorders, however, are different. They can cause such distress that it interferes with a person's ability to lead a normal life.
An anxiety disorder is a serious mental illness. For people with anxiety disorders, worry and fear are constant and overwhelming, and can be crippling.

Types of Anxiety Disorders
Panic disorder: Panic attacks and panic disorder are actually two separate things. Up to 10 percent of healthy people experience one isolated panic attack per year. Panic attacks also commonly occur to individuals suffering from other anxiety disorders.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) involves unwanted thoughts and fears (obsessions) that cause anxiety and behaviours or rituals (compulsions) carried out to reduce the anxiety. For example, a fear of germs can lead to repeated washing of hands or clothes. You realise that these thoughts are irrational, but the obsessions return all the time and the compulsions are hard to resist.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): PTSD is a condition that can develop following a traumatic and/or terrifying event, such as a sexual or physical assault, the unexpected death of a loved one, or a natural disaster. People with PTSD often have lasting and frightening thoughts and memories of the event, and tend to be emotionally numb.
Social anxiety disorder: Also called social phobia, social anxiety disorder involves overwhelming worry and self-consciousness about everyday social situations. The worry often centers on a fear of being judged by others, or behaving in a way that might cause embarrassment or lead to ridicule.
Generalized anxiety disorder: This disorder involves excessive, unrealistic worry and tension, even if there is little or nothing to provoke the anxiety.
• Separation Anxiety Disorder: Separation anxiety disorder (or simply separation anxiety) is a psychological condition in which an individual has excessive anxiety regarding separation from home or from people to whom the individual has a strong emotional attachment. Separation anxiety disorder almost always occurs in children. Separation anxiety often disappears as the child grows older, but if not addressed, it may lead to panic disorder, agoraphobia, or combinations of anxiety disorders.

Symptoms and Causes of Anxiety Disorders

Symptoms of an Anxiety Disorder
  • Feelings of panic, fear, and uneasiness
  • Uncontrollable, obsessive thoughts
  • Repeated thoughts or flashbacks of  traumatic experiences
  • Nightmares
  • Ritualistic behaviors, such as repeated hand washing
  • Problems sleeping
  • Cold or sweaty hands and/or feet
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Nausea
  • Muscle tension
  • Dizziness
Causes of Anxiety Disorders
Experts don't know exactly what causes anxiety disorders.; but anxiety disorders -- like other forms of mental illness -- are not the result of personal weakness, a character flaw, or poor upbringing. As scientists continue their research on mental illness, it is becoming clear that many of these disorders are caused by a combination of factors, including changes in the brain and environmental stress.A person's genetics, biochemistry, environment, history, and psychological profile can all contribute to the development of anxiety disorders. Most people with these disorders seem to have a biological vulnerability to stress, making them more susceptible to environmental stimuli than the rest of the population.
There is no single factor that causes anxiety disorders but a number of risk factors that may to contribute to their development.
  • Instinct: Certain fears are innate and made  sense at some time in our development. Today, we can see these instinctive survival roots in many forms of anxiety disorders such as agoraphobia, social phobia and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Many people are afraid of snakes despite never having been bit by one, while people are rarely phobic of stoves despite having been burnt many times.
  • Temperament: We are all different. Some of us  are simply more anxious than others. That’s just the way we are. The common personality trait in individuals who are prone to anxiety disorders is the way they think in absolute terms. They don’t easily let go. Residual danger remains in most circumstances that create anxiety. This fact clashes with people who think in absolute terms and creates anxiety disorders. Also, Individuals with low self-esteem and poor coping skills are more likely to develop an anxiety disorder.
  • Environment: Our attitudes are greatly influenced by our families, our schooling, our friends, and our society. We would be very different if we were raised in different countries and by different parents. Issues such as poverty, early separation from the family, family conflict, critical parents, and the lack of a strong support system can all lead to chronic anxiety.
  • Brain chemistry: A chemical imbalance of brain signaling molecules or stress hormones (cortisol) may contribute to anxiety disorder development.
  • Genetics: Genetic factors may play a role in anxiety disorder development. One risk factor may be a biological vulnerability to stress. 
  • Trauma: Anxiety disorders may develop following a traumatic event or early life abuse

Natural Treatment for Depression

Natural Treatment for depression
Natural Treatment for depression are the better option in terms of sort- and long-term benefits as well as safety. Major depression often requires medications such as antidepressants in order to regain control of your emotions, but most people with mild depression symptoms have found success through natural depression treatment.
Here are some tips for natural depression treatment:
Exercise: Exercise is a wonderful aid in the treatment of depression. It works by releasing feel-good endorphins into the body. It may also have long-term benefits for people with depression. Regular physical activity seems to encourage the brain to rewire itself in positive ways.
Eat healthy: Food affects our mood, and what and when we eat can have an impact on our emotions. Steer clear of caffeine, sugar and alcohol, which can all play havoc with your moods. Foods with omega-3 fatty acids -- such as salmon and tuna -- and folic acid -- such as spinach and avocado -- could help ease depression.
Take Vitamins: B-complex vitamins play a key role in breaking down the production of neuro chemicals, which helps create serotonin. Folic acid and vitamin B6, in particular, help support the clearing of stress hormones by the liver.
Get enough sleep: Without proper rest the body's ability to function properly becomes impaired. Sleeping allows the brain to slow down and the muscles to relax. When we doze off our bodies produce melatonin, a deficiency of which has been directly linked to depression. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Try not to nap. Take all the distractions out of your bedroom -- no computer and no TV. In time, you may find your sleep improves.
Yoga and Meditation: Yoga is a great way to quiet your mind and find inner peace and balance. You can also alleviate depression symptoms by practicing simple meditation techniques that help you control negative thinking and focus your mind on positivity.
Massage and Acupuncture: Both massage and acupuncture help restore the body’s emotional balance by stimulating the flow of energy through specific points on the body. In addition to being physically relaxing, massage and acupuncture also increase the body’s production of feel-good chemicals such as endorphin and the mood-altering hormone serotonin.
Take on responsibilities: When you’re depressed, you may want to pull back from life and give up your responsibilities at home and at work. Staying involved and having daily responsibilities can work as a natural depression treatment. They ground you and give you a sense of accomplishment. If you're not up to full-time school or work, that’s fine. Think about part-time. If that seems like too much, consider volunteer work.
Get in a routine: If you’re depressed, you need a routine. Depression can strip away the structure from your life. Setting a gentle daily schedule can help you get back on track.
Set goals: When you're depressed, you may feel like you can't accomplish anything. That makes you feel worse about yourself. To push back, set daily goals for yourself.
Do something new: When you’re depressed, you’re in a rut. Push yourself to do something different. Go to a museum. Pick up a used book and read it on a park bench. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Take a language class. Trying something new alters the levels of dopa mine, which is associated with pleasure, enjoyment, and learning.
Do something for someone else: When depressed, our thoughts tend to turn inward. We often begin re-living our hurts and sometimes helping other people who are hurting, helps us. It’s therapeutic to be able to find meaning in doing good.
Try to have fun: If you’re depressed, make time for things you enjoy. What if nothing seems fun anymore? That's just a symptom of depression, You have to keep trying anyway.

The Effects of Exercise on Anxiety & Depression

Anxiety & Depression
The prevalence of anxiety and depression over the last few years has apparently been increased. Many of those who experience depression or anxiety do not feel like they want to or even have enough energy to get out and start exercising.
However, many studies have shown that exercise is helpful to those who are suffering from either anxiety or depression. The three main physiological mechanisms behind the connection between increased exercise and decreased anxiety and depressive symptoms are-
  • The increase of neurotransmitters and endorphins that elicit a ‘feel good’  response, 
  • Decreasing the immune system chemicals that are thought to  have a negative impact on both anxiety and depression and increasing  body temperature. 
  • Increasing the body temperature allows us to feel more calm which, as a result, decreases the negative symptoms felt by  anxiety and depression.
Exercise can also have benefits on one’s psychological well-being and emotional well-being.
  • Firstly, engaging in regular  exercise can help to increase both your self-confidence and  self-efficacy through overcoming barriers, improving your physical  appearance and achieving goals that you have set for yourself. 
  • Secondly, exercise acts as a distraction from the things that are bothering you  in your life. When you’re exercising, you’re focusing on the activity  and technique or focusing on following your exercise instructor. 
  • Thirdly, exercise can help increase your social interactions, either by  going to the gym with a “gym buddy”, joining a running or walking club  or participating in a group exercise class. Exercising with people gives you an opportunity to interact and possibly meet new individuals. 
  • Lastly, exercise is a positive way to cope with your negative feelings.  Just think, exercise helps to improve your body both inside and out,  rather than turning to food or smoking as your way of relieving negative symptoms.
Exercise helps combat symptoms of anxiety and depression. Despite the fact that it may be hard for people to begin practising when feeling these negative symptoms, it is important to get up and start moving. Every little bit can make a difference.. Take a walk outside, climb your stairs a few times, take a group exercise class with a friend… anything! It is also important for you to realize that you are not alone in your struggles and that there are people and resources available to you that can help.

Medication to Treat Anxiety Disorders.

Anxiety is often manageable and mild, but sometimes it can present serious problems. A high level or prolonged state of anxiety can make the activities of daily life difficult or impossible. Anti anxiety agents, or anxiolytics, may be used to treat anxiety disorders.

There are several different groups of prescribed drugs that can be used.

Antidepressants, used for treating depression as well, are very effective in treating the symptoms of certain anxiety disorders. Research shows that changes occur in the brain's chemicals when someone has an anxiety disorder. Antidepressants are designed to assist these chemicals to work effectively in the brain.
Some Antidepressants are:
  • Citalopram (Celexa)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro, Cipralex)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil, Seroxat)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Fluvoxamine (Luvox)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft, Lustral)
There are also a number of other antidepressants that may be prescribed.

Take time to work:
It can take up to 2 to 3 weeks for the antidepressant to reach a high enough level in the brain. This means it can seem to take a long time before any improvement is felt. Most people (60-70%) will recover in 6 to 8 weeks of taking antidepressants. Antidepressants are non-addictive but if stopped abruptly they can cause some side effects, so it is best to reduce them prior to stopping. People usually stop or reduce the medication when they feel they have other coping strategies in dealing with anxiety. Most people take antidepressants for 6-12 months but it can be longer depending on the severity of symptoms and if they seem likely to return.

Possible side effects:
All medications have the potential to have side effects but they vary from person to person. This means a person may have no side effects or one or many. More side effects are listed in the packet of the antidepressant. Possible side effects of antidepressants are anxiety, nausea, headache, difficulty sleeping, sweating, dry mouth, loss of appetite, sexual dysfunction,drowsiness, dizziness and constipation. Some of these side effects disappear after a week or two of taking the antidepressant. For more information on antidepressants see our info. sheet on 'medications for depression'.

Alcohol and street drugs should be avoided or taken with caution when taking an antidepressant, as the effect is unpredictable (unknown). It is best to discuss with the prescribing doctor what other medications are being taken as they can have an effect on the antidepressant. Even “natural” medicines such as St John’s wort can interact with antidepressants.

Benzodiazepines or “benzos” are fast acting medications. Benzodiazepines act on brain chemicals helping to relax, calm and make you sleepy. They help to treat, but not cure, the symptoms of anxiety, such as tension, feeling shaky, sweating and difficulty in thinking straight. They also have muscle-relaxing properties.They are unlike antidepressant medications as, if used for a long period of time can be addictive and a person requires more and more over time to get the same effect. Benzodiazepines are often used to get a quick effect, for example, when a person is extremely panicky and waiting for other medications to work or to assist a person to cope better with a stressful/traumatic event. They are usually for short-term use only.

Some benzodiazepines are:
  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • Oxazepam (Serepax)
  • Lorazepam (Ativan)
  • Alprazolam (Xanax)
There are also a number of other benzodiazepines that may be prescribed.

Take time to work:
Benzodiazepines are fast acting drugs that sedate so the symptoms of anxiety are often reduced in an hour after taking.

Possible side effects:
Some drowsiness or mental slowness may be experienced whilst taking benzodiazepines. Consequently, a person should not drive or operate machinery, especially if just starting treatment, until the effect of the benzodiazepine is established.

Like benzodiazepines, alcohol depresses the nervous system and when combined the effect is unpredictable. Its best to avoid alcohol use as drinking alcohol and using benzodiazepines can lead to serious and life threatening complications. It is best to check with the prescribing doctor about the way benzodiazepines react with other drugs.Benzodiazepines should not be stopped suddenly if taken for more than 2 weeks. If stopped suddenly a withdrawal reaction with unpleasant and severe symptoms such as headache, shakiness, muscular cramps, vomiting, fits and dizziness can occur. The person may also feel as if the anxiety is returning. When stopping a benzodiazepine after taking it for a long time, it needs to be gradually reduced to avoid experiencing withdrawal reaction.

Buspirone (Buspar) is used for short-term treatment of anxiety disorders. It is as effective as benzodiazepines, but has less potential to cause sleepiness and dependency. It also does not appear to cause the withdrawal problems that benzodiazepines do, but does take longer to work, around one to two weeks.

How to get recovery from anxiety?

Recovery from anxiety
Many of us become very frustrated and find ourselves burned out very often or most of the time; in fact, burn out is a fact of life at some point in our lives, for all of us affected by anxiety.
When recovering from anxiety, for example, we do not magically become "better" and then suddenly have everything come to us. We do not have this euphoric revelation where everything is suddenly wonderful after being so difficult for so long. Rather, recovering from anxiety is a gradual process in most cases. It seems that anxiety that is brought on by some tragic event or extraordinary circumstances in one's life can be cured rather quickly, but in most cases, it has taken many years to form the anxiety condition, and as a result, it will take several years' worth of hard work to get back in a good place in life.
Here are some Tips and Advice to get recovery from Anxiety:

Listen to your body
When we first experience anxiety, it is, in most cases because of a period of stress and worry. Our body cannot take any more so it sort of shuts down; it has reached a breaking point and has said enough is enough. This may lead to feelings of anxiousness, feelings of panic, the feelings of detachment. In order to help yourself, do not fight to feel better. Do not worry and obsess about how you feel. You need to give your body the break it so craves.

Embrace nature
Step outside and take a walk, go for a bike ride or a swim. Try not to sit around indulging in self-pity at the way you are feeling. Getting out of the familiar surroundings that you find yourself in every day can refresh your mind and really give it another focus apart from yourself. This is a very good way of helping your thoughts become more outward instead of inward.

Just be

Stop fighting your symptoms, tensing against how you feel, trying to push your symptoms
away. Don't spend everyday going round in circles trying to figure it all out. This just adds more stress and anxiety to how you feel. Worrying just makes your mind more and more tired, more and more detached from everything around you. If fighting worked you would be cured by now so why not try the opposite.

Embrace your fears
Start to move towards your fears, as you may now know avoidance just does not work. By avoiding you are telling your body you are in danger, this then becomes a learnt behaviour and forms your new habit to run away from how you are feeling.

Forget the miracle cure
Many people like spend too much time searching for that miracle cure or the new magic pill that is just going to make it all go away instantly, that cure that so many people falsely promise. They also may be convinced they have missed something and that the answer must have eluded them so far.

Nothing is achieved overnight, but with knowledge, comes less worry, less fear and this helps give your mind and body the time and space it needs to recover.

What is Stress? Types of Stress

Stress is a normal physical response to particular events that make us feel threatened or upset our balance in some way. Stress is the body's way of rising to a challenge and preparing to meet a tough situation with focus, strength, stamina, and heightened alertness. In emergency situations, stress can save our life – giving us extra strength to defend ourselves, for example, or spurring us to slam on the brakes to avoid an accident.

Stress causes a surge of hormones in our body. These stress hormones are released to enable us to deal with pressures or threats – the so-called "fight or flight" response. Once the pressure or threat has passed, our stress hormone levels will usually return to normal. However, if we're constantly under stress, these hormones will remain in our body, leading to the symptoms of stress.

Types of stress:
Stress management can be complicated and confusing because there are different types of stress--acute stress, episodic acute stress, and chronic stress -- each with its own characteristics, symptoms, duration, and treatment approaches. Let's look at each one.

Acute stress

Acute stress is the most common form of stress. Sometimes stress can be brief, and specific to the demands and pressures of a particular situation, such as a deadline, a performance or facing up to a difficult challenge or traumatic event. This type of stress often gets called acute stress.

The most common symptoms are:
  • Emotional distress--some combination of anger or irritability, anxiety, and depression, the three stress emotions;
  • Muscular problems including tension headache, back pain, jaw pain, and the muscular tensions that lead to pulled muscles and tendon and ligament problems;
  • Stomach, gut and bowel problems such as heartburn, acid stomach, flatulence, diarrhea, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome;
  • Transient over arousal leads to elevation in blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, sweaty palms, heart palpitations, dizziness, migraine headaches, cold hands or feet, shortness of breath, and chest pain.
Acute stress can crop up in anyone's life, and it is highly treatable and manageable.

Episodic acute stress

Some people seem to experience acute stress over and over. This is sometimes referred to as episodic acute stress. These kind of repetitive stress episodes may be due to a series of very real stressful challenges, for example, losing a job, then developing health problems, followed by difficulties for a child in the school setting. For some people, episodic acute stress is a combination of real challenges and a tendency to operate like a ‘stress machine’. Some people tend to worry endlessly about bad things that could happen, are frequently in a rush and impatient with too many demands on their time, which can contribute to episodic acute stress.

The symptoms of episodic acute stress are the symptoms of extended over arousal: persistent tension headaches,
  • Migraines,
  • Hypertension,
  • Chest pain,
  • and Heart disease.
Treating episodic acute stress requires intervention on a number of levels, generally requiring professional help, which may take many months.

Chronic stress
The third type of stress is called chronic stress. This involves ongoing demands, pressures and worries that seem to go on forever, with little hope of letting up. Chronic stress is very harmful to people’s health and happiness. Even though people can sometimes get used to chronic stress, and may feel they do not notice it so much, it continues to wear people down and has a negative effect on their relationships and health.

The symptoms of chronic stress are:
  • Suicide
  • Violence 
  • Heart attack
  • Strok
  • Cancer
People wear down to a final, fatal breakdown. Because physical and mental resources are depleted through long-term attrition, the symptoms of chronic stress are difficult to treat and may require extended medical as well as behavioral treatment and stress management.

Hitachi Seaside Park, An Endless Flower Paradise

Hitachi Seaside Park, Japan
Less than two hours from Tokyo, the Hitachi Seaside Park is a palette of colors, changing from one season to another, making it an all-year-round paradise.

(Click to enlarge the images)

Covering an area of 190 hectares, the park features blooming flowers around the year. The park has become known for its baby blue-eyes flowers, with the blooming of 4.5 million of the translucent-petaled blue flowers in the spring drawing tourists.

In addition to the annual "Nemophila Harmony", the park features a million daffodils, 170 varieties of tulips, and many other flowers. The park includes cycling trails and a small amusement park with a Ferris wheel.

Dead Sea: The lowest point on earth

The Dead Sea, also called "The Sea of Death"; is a salt lake bordering Jordan to the east, and Palestine and Israel to the west. Its surface and shores are 427 metres (1,401 ft) below sea level, Earth's lowest elevation on land.

The Dead Sea is 306 m (1,004 ft) deep, the deepest hyper saline lake in the world. With 35% salinity, it is also one of the world's saltiest bodies of water.

The water of Dead Sea has a density of 1.240 kg/L, which makes swimming similar to floating. You can read newspaper floating on the water.
Dead Sea

What is Paleo Diets?

Paleo diet also called the cave man diet, is foods that our stone age ancestors would have consumed about 7-10,000 years ago. Paleo diet is the healthiest way to eat because it is the nutritional approach that works with our genetics to help us stay lean, strong and energetic.
Research shows that our modern diet, full of refined foods, trans fats and sugar, is at the root of degenerative diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression and infertility.

Foods to Eat:

Lean proteins: 
Lean protein is an important part of any healthy diet and can help to loose weight. Lean protein provides a sense of satiety (fullness) and can help prevent overeating. Here are some pointers for selecting good sources of lean protein: fish, skinless chicken and turkey, pork tenderloin and certain cuts of beef, like the top round, Low-fat dairy products like milk, yogurt, ricotta and other cheeses.

Fruits are sources of many essential nutrients that are under consumed, including potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C, and folate (folic acid).

Most vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories. Vegetables are important sources of many nutrients, including potassium, dietary fiber, folate (folic acid), vitamin A, and vitamin C.

Seafood is an excellent source of top quality protein, and compares favourably with meat and chicken. It is also a good source of many important minerals, including iodine, zinc, potassium, phosphorus and vitamins, especially the B group.

Nuts & Seeds: 
Nuts and seeds such as almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and peanuts make up an important part of a healthy diet. They are the great source of vitamins, minerals and fats.

Healthy Fats: 
Healthy Fats is found in foods such as avocados, almonds, cashews, peanuts and cooking oils made from plants or seeds such as sunflower, canola, soybean, olive, sesame, peanut oils and oily fish such as tuna, salmon, sardines and blue mackerel as well as walnuts and linseeds.

Foods to Avoid:
butter, milk, yogurt, kefir, cream, ice cream, powdered milk, and anything else from an animal’s teat.

wheat, rice, millet, oats, spelt, kamut, quinoa, buckwheat, wild rice, amaranth, sorghum, rye, barley, corn and any flour, noodle or other food made out of any of these.

Processed Food & Sugars: 
Sugar cane, white sugar, brown sugar, refined maple syrup, refined honey, aspartame, sucralose, Nutrasweet, Splenda, and anything else refined or man-made.

All beans- Black, pinto, red, soy, lentils, peas, peanuts, adzuki, garbanzo, navy, mung, lima, black-eyed peas.

Foods having a high content of starch, as corn, potatoes, wheat, and rice.

For most people the fact the Paleo diet delivers the best results is all they need. Improved blood lipids, weight loss, and reduced pain. It also helps to prevent diseases such as diabetes, and give more energy throughout the day.

What Is The Atkins Diet? What Are The Benefits Of The Atkins Diet?

The Atkins Diet 
The Atkins Diet is a low carbohydrate lifestyle, it was the first low carb weight loss program created by Dr. Robert Atkins, an American cardiologist. The Atkins Diet restricts carbohydrates while emphasizing protein and fats.

The purpose of the Atkins Diet is to change your eating habits to help you lose weight and keep it off. The Atkins Diet also says it's a healthy lifelong approach to eating, whether you want to lose weight, boost your energy or help improve certain health problems, such as high blood pressure or metabolic syndrome.

The Atkins Diet has several phases for weight loss and maintenance, starting out with a very low carbohydrate eating plan.

Phases of the Atkins Diet:
Diet plan

  1. Induction: Calorie consumption from carbs limited to 20 grams each day. Carb sources are mainly from salad and vegetables which are low in starch.
  2. OWL (Ongoing Weight Loss): Carbs are slowly added back into the diet, weight loss continues at a slower rate while discovering which foods work for your body.
  3. Pre-Maintenance: Increase your carb intake by 10 grams each week until your weight loss is very gradual.
  4. Lifetime Maintenance: You are at goal weight with the knowledge of what foods you can / cant eat. Continue on this WOE/WOL (Way-of-Eating/Way-of-Life).

Benefit of Atkins Diets:
The Atkins Diet can prevent or improve serious health conditions, such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. In fact, almost any diet that helps you shed excess weight can reduce or even reverse risks factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. And most weight-loss diets — not just low-carb diets — may improve blood cholesterol or blood sugar levels, at least temporarily. One study showed that people who followed Atkins had improved triglycerides, suggesting better heart health. But there have been no major studies to show whether such benefits hold up for the long term or increase how long you live.

Side Effects:
The Atkins Diet acknowledges that drastically cutting carbs in the early phase of the program can result in some side effects, including:
  •     Headache
  •     Dizziness
  •     Weakness
  •     Fatigue
  •     Constipation
The Atkins Diet isn't appropriate for everyone. For example, people with severe kidney disease should not follow the diet. It also cautions that the weight-loss phases of the diet aren't suitable for women who are pregnant or breast feeding. Consult your doctor before starting the diet, especially if you have diabetes or gout or take diuretics, insulin or oral diabetes medications.

Healthy Eating and Habits for a Better Life

Healthy Eating and Habits for a Better Life
Healthy eating habit is not about strict nutrition philosophies, staying unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself of the foods you love. Rather, it’s about feeling great, having more energy, stabilizing your mood, and keeping yourself as healthy as possible.
The benefits of healthy eating habits are better health and a sense of well being, better sleep, improved physical endurance and strength, sharper mental abilities and lower sleep requirements.
  • Eat a Colorful Salad and Two Pieces of Fruit
Fruits and vegetables have key nutrients and antioxidants that can help prevent a slew of diseases and slow down the aging process. Eat more than five servings of fruit a day and you may lower your risk of heart disease by 60 percent; have three servings of veggies a day and you could slash your risk by 70 percent. Fruits and veggies that are particularly high in disease-fighting antioxidants include plums, blueberries, strawberries, spinach and red bell peppers.
  • Take a 30-Minute Walk
Exercise can lower your risk for just about everything, from heart disease and diabetes to depression and many forms of cancer. Every time you exercise, you decrease the production of free radicals in your body.Many diseases are the end result of the accumulation of excess free radicals, which can cause your cells to become dysfunctional. Make sure you get at least 30 minutes of activity each day. It’s not as hard as you think: Take a walk during lunchtime or take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible.
  • Have Oatmeal for Breakfast
A diet rich in whole grains can help lower your risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and stroke. People in a recent study who ate two or more servings of whole-grain foods per day had a 40 percent lower risk of pancreatic cancer. Eating breakfast can help you lose weight and keep it off. Experts think that people who have this a.m. meal tend to eat fewer calories over the course of the day.
  • Eat Fish
It’s the best source of omega-3 fatty acids, which research shows can help reduce your risk of a wide variety of conditions. They help combat inflammation in the body, which is implicated in numerous conditions including heart disease, diabetes and various cancers. If you’re not a fish lover, try an omega-3 supplement and/or other foods rich in omega-3s including walnuts, flaxseed and canola oil.
  • Relax for 10 Minutes (At Least)
You don’t need studies to tell you that chronic stress takes a toll mentally and physically. Fortunately, you can take the edge off the harmful effects. Yoga, for example, has been shown to improve glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity, lipid levels, blood pressure and lung function in people with type 2 diabetes.Lowering stress levels dramatically reduces the risk of a heart attack and death in people with heart disease. So think about the things that calm you down—gardening, listening to music, getting a manicure, reading—and do one of them every day.
  • Sleep!
The benefits of sleep impact nearly every area of daily life. People who don’t get enough are at greater risk for diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol and other disorders. People who sleep between 6.5 hr. and 7.5 hr. a night, live the longest, are happier and most productive. Poor sleep is linked with an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and hypertension, especially in women. Make your bedroom purely for sleep—no laptops, PDAs or other stressful items.

  • Stay Smoke-Free
Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death, since it impacts every organ in your body. At least 15 different cancers, including throat, bladder, cervical and stomach cancers are linked to smoking. But kicking the habit reverses the effects relatively quickly. One year after you quit smoking, your risk of heart disease drops to half of that of a current smoker; 10 years after quitting, your risk of dying of lung cancer is half that of a current smoker; and within 15 years, your risk of having a heart attack or stroke is on par with that of someone who has never smoked.

What is a vegetarian diet?

Vegetarian diet: Vegetarian diet is a kind of diet that focuses on plants for food. People who follow vegetarian diets can get all the nutrients they need. Well planned vegetarian diets can be both nutritious and healthy.

There are several kinds of vegetarian diets:
  • The vegan or total vegetarian diet includes only foods from plants: fruits, vegetables, legumes (dried beans and peas), grains, seeds and nuts. 
  • The lactovegetarian diet includes plant foods plus cheese and other dairy products exclude meat, fish, poultry and eggs.
  • The ovo-lactovegetarian diet exclude meat, fish and poultry, but allow dairy products and eggs.
  • The ovo-vegetarian diet exclude meat, poultry, seafood and dairy products, but allow eggs.
  • Semi-vegetarians don't eat red meat but include chicken and fish with plant foods, dairy products and eggs. 

Diet plans
Vegetarian diet pyramid

You can follow any type of vegetarian diet but should include a wide variety of foods and enough calories to meet your energy needs. You also keep in mind:
  • Eating sweets and fatty foods to a minimum. These foods are low in nutrients and high in calories.
  • Choose whole or unrefined grain products when possible, or use fortified or enriched cereal products.
  • Use a variety of fruits and vegetables, including foods that are good sources of vitamins A and C.
  • If you use milk or dairy products, choose fat-free/nonfat and low-fat varieties.
Benefits of a vegetarian diet: Well planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of life. There are many benefits to eating a vegetarian diet:
  • A vegetarian diet can be healthier than other diets.
  • Some people think it's wrong to use animals for food.
  • Some religions forbid eating meat.
  • A vegetarian diet can cost less than a diet that includes meat.
  • Eating less meat can be better for the environment, because most meat is commercially farmed.
  • Some people don't like the taste of meat.
Vegetarians seem to have a lower risk of obesity, coronary heart disease (which causes heart attack), high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus and some forms of cancer.

What Is The Mediterranean Diet?

Mediterranean is a healthy eating plan based on typical foods and recipes of Mediterranean-style cooking inspired by the traditional dietary patterns of southern Italy, Greece, and Spain. Key components of Mediterranean diets are heart-healthy olive oil, protein-rich legumes, fish and whole grains with moderate amounts of wine and red meat. It is a great way to lose weight or improve your health.

Key components of the Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet emphasizes:

•    Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, cereals and cereal products.

•    Replacing butter with healthy fats, such as olive oil

•    Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods

•    Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week

•    Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month

•    Avoid sausage, bacon and other high-fat, processed meats

•    Low quantities of eggs, sweets and sweet desserts

•    Limit higher fat dairy products, such as whole or 2 percent milk, cheese and ice cream.

•    Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)

Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet:

Following a Mediterranean diet can reduce the chance of developing conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and even Alzheimer's disease. Research shows that people who adopt a strict Mediterranean diet and take regular exercise, often find this helps keep their weight under control.

The Twelve Apostles : Great Place to Visit

The Twelve Apostles is a collection of limestone stacks off the shore of the Port Campbell National Park, by the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia. Currently there are eight apostles left but the name remains significant and spectacular especially in the Australian tourism industry.

(Click to enlarge the images)

Their proximity to one another has made the site a popular tourist attraction. The apostles were formed by erosion: the harsh and extreme weather conditions from the Southern Ocean gradually eroded the soft limestone to form caves in the cliffs, which then became arches, which in turn collapsed; leaving rock stacks up to 45 meters high.
Now because of this erosion there are less than ten remaining. View the 12 Apostles at sunrise and sunset as they change colour from dark and foreboding in shadow to brilliant sandy yellow under a full sun.The 12 Apostles are located 275 kilometres west of Melbourne, approximately a four-hour drive along the Great Ocean Road.

How to lose belly fat?

The most common question around is how to lose belly fat in a effective way, belly fat is actually the most dangerous type of fat – besides aesthetics, large waist lines are indicators. Weight gain around your middle is a sign that your levels of cortisol (your stress hormone) are too high and that deadly inflammation is infecting your body. Changing a few simple habits can lose belly fat and reduce the weight around your waistline.

Eat whole unprocessed foods:

Stop eating processed food, unprocessed food does taste great if you know which is having good amount of energy and taste.

  •     Proteins: Meat, poultry, cottage cheese, fish, whey, egg, etc
  •     Veggies: Spinach, broccoli, cabbage, salad, kale, etc
  •     Fruits: orange, apple, Banana, pineapple, peers, etc
  •     Fats: Olive oil, real butter, fish oil, nuts, flax seeds, etc
  •     Carbs: Brown rice, oats, whole grain pasta, etc
Do not eat junk food more than 10% at the time, else it is fine.

Interval training:

 You can do crunches all day long, but you will never see that six-pack if it is buried under layers of fat. To achieve a truly flat stomach, work in some cardiovascular exercise between sit-ups, crunches, planks and other abdominal exercises. Try jumping rope, running on a treadmill or even do jumping jacks for 30 seconds to one minute between each set. You will shred fat while building a solid core.

Don’t skip meals:

Skipping meals is an easy way to earn a round waistline. When you skip meals, your body responds by raising cortisol levels, increasing cravings and storing fat, especially in the abdomen. Consuming small meals and snacks throughout the day can pacify cravings and rev up your metabolism to prevent fat storage.

Skip the sweets:

Sugar is the mortal enemy of a flat tummy. Sugar causes unnecessary spikes, crashes of your blood sugar levels and, when consumed in excess, gets stored as fat. If you crave sweets, keep fruits like blueberries, raspberries and strawberries accessible to pacify your sweet tooth.


Sleep is so important to weight management and optimal health that you can’t afford to skimp on it. Multiple studies have proven that too little or poor quality sleep leads to weight gain. Losing sleep can also alter your hormone production, affecting your cortisol levels that cause insulin sensitivity, prime reasons for belly fat! Getting about 7 hours of sleep a night is one of the best things you can do for your body shaping goals.

Vitamin C:

Vitamin C, found in abundance in citrus fruits, broccoli, kale and bell peppers. It helps balance the cortisol spikes that happen to you under this stress. Plus, vitamin C is essential in the production of carnitine, which the body uses to convert fat into energy.

Eat healthy fat:

Healthy fats like avocados, walnuts and olive oil can improve satiety. These foods will also rev up your metabolism thanks to high doses of omega-3. These foods are full of nutrients that help keep you satiated throughout the day.

Lower the Alcohol Consumption:

Consuming alcohol in a week or in good limit is absolutely fine. Just look at the people around you drinking beer regularly, i am sure their body shape would be hard to determine. Excessive alcohol drinks gives you nothing but belly fat and funny man boobs. Drink only 10% of alcohol at the time, make a schedule for drinks such as Friday and Saturday night is best to enjoy. At other time, drink water squeezed with lemon and a green team is recommended.

If you are following everything perfectly, you will definitely see the progress in terms of waist size and belly fat. Don’t just read all these steps and think of You will follow these steps and give it a try but take action and start from now to lose belly fat in a effective way.

Nutrients and Foods For Growing Kids

Children are growing and developing very quickly- which means they have high nutrient needs. So they need healthy meal plans which provide not just the energy they need to be active, but also foods which deliver vitamins and minerals too.

Very young children, who are weaned, can eat the same types of foods as adults but because their tummies are relatively small, it is easy for them to quickly fill up. Try giving your child small frequent healthy meals and regular snacks containing nutrient dense foods - for example milk and egg.

Children over the age of 5 can eat the same meals as the rest of the family, including more starchy foods and plenty of fruit and vegetables- but watch their portion sizes and the amount of saturated fat they are eating.

Nutrients and Foods For Growing Kids

The nutrients which are particularly important for all children include:

  • Protein: Protein is essential for the growth and repair
  • Calcium: To help with bone and tooth development
  • Iron: Iron for the formation of blood cells
  • Zinc: Zinc assists the immune system
  • Vitamin A: Vitamin A is essential for vision and healthy immune system
  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C another immune system helper, assisting the body fight off infections
  • Vitamin D: Vitamin D works with calcium to make bones, children not getting enough may develop rickets.
  • B vitamins: Vitamin B help to release the energy from food.
  • Folic acid: Folic Acid helps makes blood cells.
A varied and healthy meal plan should provide all the nutrients your child needs. Every day you should include:

Protein: This can be meat, fish, eggs, poultry, beans, lentils, nut butters, etc. Iron from red meat is the easiest to absorb and oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, trout and sardines are the best source of essential omega 3 fats. Boys can eat up to four portions of oily fish a week but it's best to give girls no more than two portions of oily fish a week.

Starchy carbohydrate foods: Such as bread, pasta, rice, breakfast cereal, potatoes, crackers, noodles etc. These don't all need to be wholemeal or wholegrain but try to include some.

Fruit and vegetables: Young children either love them or hate them, so if you are having trouble getting your little one to eat their 5 a day have a look at our top tips. A child size handful is recommended as a portion, and it doesn't matter if it is fresh, frozen, canned, or dried.

Dairy foods: Each day young children should also have some dairy foods such as milk, cheese, yogurt or fromage frais. Whole cows milk is recommended over the age of 12 months however children who are growing normally can move to semi skimmed after they are two. Skimmed milk is not suitable for children under 5 as it does not provide enough energy or vitamin A for a growing child. Try to include dairy at meal times, as a glass of milk or some cheese cubes for nutritious snacks.

Water: Water is the best drink for children. It doesn't harm teeth, or give them calories without vitamins and minerals. Milk is also a great option for in between meals. Fruit juice can be diluted for meal times only, as this will be less damaging to teeth. 

Nutrients and Food for Pregnant Women

Bringing a new life into this world is an exciting experience and one which requires a close look at good nutrients and food for pregnant women and her growing baby. During pregnancy nutrient requirements increase to support women's health and the needs of their growing baby.
As a pregnant woman, you need more nutrients to help your baby grow and be healthy. Particular attention should be given to the following nutrients.
Calciumis one of the essential minerals found all over the body. It strengthens bones, assists with blood clotting, helps with muscle function and breaks down fat.

During pregnancy, the developing baby drains the mother of many resources, including calcium. Your baby needs as much calcium as possible for proper growth and development of bones, muscles and blood clotting abilities. For these essential needs to be met, the baby starts pulling the calcium from your body. Recommendations for calcium during pregnancy and breastfeeding are therefore the same as for non-pregnant women (1000mg per day). The calcium needed by both the mother and baby during pregnancy can be provided by 3 to 4 serves of dairy foods each day. One serve is equal to:

  • A glass of milk (250mL),
  • tub of yogurt (200g), 
  • slices of cheese (40g).
Eating foods that rich in calcium is vital to good health during pregnancy. Eating the right amount of servings per day helps eliminate poor health, increases energy and promotes strong bones and teeth. Some
foods, like cheese, are naturally enriched. Here is a list of foods that are high in calcium:
  • Cheese of any kind
  • Low-fat milk
  • Orange, grapefruit or enriched natural fruit juice
  • Yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Turnip greens
  • Ice cream
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Canned tuna and salmon with bones
  • Calcium enriched
    breads, grains and cereal
Folate and folic acid
Folate (also known as folic acid) is a B-group vitamin essential for the healthy development of the fetus in early pregnancy, in particular their neural tube. Women of child-bearing age should take extra folate daily to prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida. Even women who aren’t planning to have a baby should increase their folate intake.Folate taken before conception and during the first few weeks of pregnancy can prevent seven out of ten cases of neural tube defects.
Folate requirements increase substantially in pregnancy, so women should aim to consume at least 600 mcg of folate from their normal daily diet. In addition to eating foods that are rich in folate, if you are planning a pregnancy or are in the early stages of pregnancy (the first three months or ‘first trimester’) you should take a daily supplement containing 0.5 mg of folic acid.
You can get enough folate if you:
  • Take folate supplements
  • Eat folate-rich foods – folate is present in a variety of
    vegetables (such as asparagus, spinach and broccoli) and fruits
    (such as oranges, bananas and strawberries) as well as legumes (such
    as chickpeas, dried beans and lentils), cereals, nuts and yeast
    extracts such as Vegemite
  • Choose foods that
    have been fortified with folate – this includes some breakfast
    cereals and fruit juices, and most bread.
Iron is a major component of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen throughout the body and to the placenta. It also enables both mother and fetus to form new red blood cells. During pregnancy a woman's daily requirement for iron doubles, from 15 to 30 milligrams. Getting enough iron becomes especially important in the second and third trimesters, when maternal blood volume increases and the fetus begins to store the mineral for the first few months after birth.
To avoid iron deficiency it is important to eat plenty of iron rich foods.
The best sources of iron are meat, fish and chicken. Iron is also in foods derived from plants such as:
  • legumes (dried beans, lentil, baked beans, chick peas, etc.)
  • nuts and nut butters
  • seeds (e.g. sunflower seeds, sesame seeds)
  • wholegrain breads
  • green leafy vegetables
  • dried fruit
  • iron enriched breakfast cereals (check label to see whether iron has been added)
  • Milo, Ovaltine.
Iodine plays an important role in regulating your thyroid gland and your metabolism – the rate at which your body uses energy. In pregnancy, iodine also helps your baby's brain and nervous system develop. In fact, iodine deficiencies (uncommon in the United States) are the single most important cause of preventable mental retardation and brain damage worldwide. A lack of iodine during pregnancy has also been linked with an increased risk of miscarriage, preterm delivery, and stillbirth.

Iodine is found in dairy products, eggs, vegetables, seafood (especially ocean or saltwater seafood), and brewer's yeast. Sea vegetables contain large amounts of iodine – sometimes too much for regular consumption.
Good food sources of iodine include:
  • Sea Vegetables
  • Cranberries
  • Oysters
  • Organic Yogurt
  • Organic Navy Beans
  • Organic Strawberries
  • Himalayan Crystal Salt
  • Potatoes
Zinc is a trace mineral which is required right from the time you conceive till delivery. Zinc has myriad functions during pregnancy; it is very important for all phases of growth, tissue development and maintenance, and for the overall immune system. Zinc is essential for many metabolic processes, protein and blood formation, and in wound healing.
Zinc is most easily absorbed from animal sources such as red meat, fish and dairy and to a lesser extent plant sources including:
  • Oysters
  • Toasted Wheat Germ
  • Veal Liver
  • Roast Beef
  • Roasted Pumpkin and Squash Seeds
  • Dried Watermelon Seeds
  • Dark Chocolate and Cocoa Powder
  • Lamb (Mutton)
  • Peanuts
  • Crab
  • cereals
Protein plays an extremely important part in your pregnancy and the development of your baby. The amino acids which make up protein also form the basic building blocks of your body's cells — which in turn also form the building blocks of your baby’s body too. During the second and third trimester is when you should make sure your protein levels are where they should be, especially as this is when your baby will be growing it’s fastest and that means placing more demand on you for all his/her essential nutrients.

It is recommended that during your pregnancy you should be consuming around 70 grams of protein per day, which is only about 25 grams more than what you would have needed prior to your pregnancy. The good news is that the average woman in America eats more than the recommended amount everyday and so you are probably already getting enough protein.

If you don’t eat meat, which is one of the main sources of protein – but definitely not the only, you will need to be sure that you are getting your protein requirements from other sources.
Here are some good sources of protein:
  • Turkey Breast (and Chicken Breast)
  • Fish (Tuna, Salmon, Halibut)
  • Cheese (Low-fat Mozzarella and Cottage Cheese)
  • Pork Loin (Chops)
  • Lean Beef and Veal (Low Fat)
  • Tofu
  • Beans (Mature Soy Beans)
  • Eggs (Especially Egg Whites)
  • Yogurt, Milk, and Soymilk
  • Nuts and Seeds (Pumpkin, Squash, and Watermelon Seeds, Peanuts,