Why Is Food Better Than Melatonin?

I won’t keep you in suspense: the answer is “fewer side effects.” But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Melatonin could be called the sleep hormone. The pineal gland secretes it, darkness stimulates its production, and light inhibits it.

When it’s released, melatonin binds to hormone receptors that regulate the body’s internal clock and circadian rhythms. In short, it’s a sleep-inducer.

In recent years, melatonin in supplement form has become popular. Some users choose it as a substitute for prescription sleep meds. It has also developed quite a following among travelers who swear by its ability to prevent or reverse jet lag.

So What’s the Down Side Of Melatonin?

Apparently, the above claims haven’t been conclusively proven.

Another problem is that dosing is vague and unregulated. It’s easy to take too much, which can lead to side effects. Those effects can include headaches, dizziness, daytime sleepiness, stomach cramps, depression, irritability and more.

Chronic use can also result in down-regulation, a reduction in the number and sensitivity of existing melatonin receptors. That can reduce the effectiveness of any naturally produced melatonin, and may eventually worsen insomnia.

Over 23 years ago, Richard Wurtman, M.D., issued a warning not to self-medicate with melatonin. I’m most familiar with Wurtman’s work on insulin resistance and how it can reduce serotonin and lead to depression. In any case, he’s a reputable source.

Is There a Natural Way to Increase Melatonin?

I’ve always believed it’s a mistake to jump into the middle – or in this case, jump to the end – of a biosynthetic chain. It seems to me that’s how and when the side effects happen. This is where food enters the picture.

The “food formula” would be to eat protein foods throughout the day. Then have an all-carb (specifically all-starch) snack about 60 to 90 minutes before bed.

The insulin triggered by the carbs allows tryptophan to reach the brain. Tryptophan is an amino acid; amino acids are the building blocks of protein, as you may have learned in 7th grade biology! (Or not… )

Anyway, tryptophan is the precursor of serotonin. The brain can and will use the tryptophan to make serotonin. And serotonin is the precursor of melatonin. It’s that straight-forward.

The process is natural – more natural than just having melatonin. And it starts at the “beginning” of the chain – with protein foods during the day to provide tryptophan, followed by timed carbs at night when we want to sleep.

The best part is that we can bypass the side effects. That’s the part that makes me recommend food over melatonin supplements.

But Aren’t Carbs Bad?

For those who shun carbs, I’d recommend being realistic. It doesn’t take very much starch to trigger a little insulin and change brain chemistry. And it’s much more natural than jumping over the whole process and landing on melatonin supplements – with all those side effects.

If gluten is your concern, gluten-free starches are always available. Examples include quinoa, sweet potatoes, potatoes, rice, and many …

Two Kinds Of Food Allergies – Mild Or Severe

If you suspect that you are suffering from a food allergy then you should be aware that there are actually two kinds of them, each having their own level of reactions. Understanding the difference between the two is imperative. The first thing you need to determine is whatever what you are experiencing is actually a food allergy.

Symptoms of a Food Allergy

One of the things to figure out is why you think you have a food allergy. Many people do not understand what this is and often misdiagnose themselves. Here are several symptoms that should prompt you to go and have a series of either skin testing or blood testing done to not only confirm that you really have an allergy but also distinguishing which foods you are actually allergic to. This list of symptoms will fit no matter which of the two kinds of food allergies you suffer from.

  • A runny nose during or immediately following eating.
  • A feeling of continuous tiredness even after having a good night sleep.
  • Constantly getting headaches within an hour of eating.
  • An upset stomach and possible diarrhea after eating.
  • Skin eruptions

If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms you should definitely seek medical advice.

Mild or Severe Allergies

The two kinds of food allergies are mild and severe. If you suffer from a mild food allergy you will experience several of the symptoms above however they may only be an inconvenience and something that you can learn to live with.

The severe food allergy is a different problem. If you have a certain allergy then you will also have respiratory problems which can be anything from the swilling of your throat or an asthma effect involving the ability to breathe properly. If you are diagnosed with a severe food allergy you will most likely need to carry an epi-pen for on the spot emergency treatment while waiting for medical assistance to arrive.

Treatment for Food Allergies

It does not matter which level of severity you suffer with when it comes to food allergies; there is no cure for them. The only sure treatment for them right now is by avoiding all food that has the type or types of food you are allergic to. There are some clinical studies in the process of testing allergy shots but as of now there are no remedies available.

One positive aspect is that many children will often times grow out of their allergies and have no long term effects from them. There is very little data currently available for those who began to suffer allergies as an adult so it is unclear if they will go away as quickly as they showed up. …

Wooden Doghouses – Where to Place Your Dog House

Whether dogs in fact prefer wooden dog houses or a different material is unclear, however the most universal dog house is built of wood, the same as our houses!

Most little dogs live inside so a little dog house is not usually an issue. Medium sized and large dogs usually live outside in their own wooden dog houses.

Finding a large dog house or an extra large dog house is what most people have troubles with. You can find plans on the internet for wooden dog houses, as-well-as free plans for wooden dog houses. Acquiring the blueprints insinuates a do-it-yourself approach or obtaining an individual to put it together for you.

You can locate pre-built houses locally occasionally, like people houses. This is the preference of many dog owners, but it may take a little detective work.

The best location for an outdoor dog house is not always the most common location. Most people seem to locate their wooden dog houses toward the rear of their back yards. This is not only inconvenient for you, but it is very undesirable for the dog.

Dogs are extremely social creatures and rather than be placed in the back of your yard, you might consider close to a backdoor, a side yard or the front yard. The dog will mainly want to be anywhere that people often congregate, especially if the dog owners frequent that area of the yard.

The dog house should be raised up off the ground, maybe with bricks near the foundation, thus the wooden dog houses trap airspace below them to aid in insulation.

To keep winter chill off the dog, you should have some sort of wind block in front of the dog house entrance. An “L” formed dog house, or a flap which is minor may work suitably also, whatever thing that will deflect the bitter wind from your dog.

So the dog does not suffer a flea infestation and tick control is required. Consult with your veterinarian about methods to achieve this.

Dogs enjoy the dog house locality to remain orderly so getting rid of dog waste and keeping the locality tidy will leave your dog more contented. Always try to permit dogs to have a good view of the wooden dog houses section. These are many aspects that are essential to have a satisfied dog in a cheerful dog house!

Offering a dog runway is perfect, it allows a dog to run and still be restrained. Similar to two sizeable posts approximately 30 feet away from each other with durable rope extended between them. Fasten the dog harness to the cord so that it slides the whole length between the poles. Dogs love this extra freedom.

Keep wooden dog houses cool in the summer, warm in the winter, clean and dry, and no direct wind blowing in on them. Keep food and especially water near their wooden dog houses. Find a good dog food that keeps your dog nourished and healthy. Never feed him/her cooked …

Refills For Vacuum Food Sealers

I was shopping for a vacuum sealer today. I sure was interested in a inexpensive source of bag for them. The units themselves were not too bad, but the price of the refills is outrageous. The rolls worked out to about a dollar per foot of material, which got me thinking how much I would have to save by buying bargain packs of meats and still come out ahead.

Buck a foot looks high, but they are not cheap. You can easily re-use them though. I cut the bags a few inches longer than would be needed. When cut open, you lose about an inch so you can use them for something smaller when they get too short for a roast.

Wash them out with regular liquid soap, rinse, put then over a bottle to dry. Or put them in the dishwasher turned inside out.

Black and Decker FreshGuard was markedly less expensive than the others. It has a hose port and was very inexpensive – the other equivalents were at least twice as much. I hope that does not mean this model is cheaply made and shabby. It works, but it requires that you sit and hold the bar down until it finishes, while I noticed that some of the others have a press and release feature. Hopefully the accessories are interchangeable!

However, someone had also stated that the plastic bag rolls were pricey. So I checked them out. I got the impression that the sealer units were like computer printers, sold cheap so they can get you on the refills. I was astounded at the price of the refill rolls. Between the cost of the unit and the cost of the refills, I am wondering if there will be any savings at all.

My first sealer was a Tilia (FoodSaver) and the one I now own is a B & D (Black & Decker). Although they say you can use "most bags from other manufacturers", I found the gallon-sized Tilia bags were – 1/2 inch WIDER and not easily useable.

Comparing the 2 machines, my overall vote would go to the Tilia; it was faster and the bags seemed to stay sealed better. My B & D has problems with the larger bags of their own. They just do not seal as well.

Beware you do not suck much, try not to get any liquid down the vacuum port. That is what supposedly killed my Tilia and they wanted a repair fee just to look at it. That is why I bought the B & D.

Why could not you take a regular ziplock baggie, and cut off the zipper part, put your food in it, and then seal it with the machine .. would that work?

Not very well. The ziplocks are smooth. The Tilia bags are manufactured with microscopic ridges that do not compress, and serve as air channels to allow the vacuum pump to suck out all the air from the entire volume. You can …

Food Dehydrators Reviews

Saving time and money is possible with this product may be what you find when you read a food dehydrator reviews. You may also read that the compartments were too small for the food I was drying. You may never know what you will find when you read this type of information. When you are choosing one of these products it is important to find all you can out about the one that appeals to you. Knowing what other consumers thought about the product will help you decide which one is what you are looking for. Whether you dry regularly or once a year you will get the best value knowing which products have the features you need.

Reading what other consumers have to say about an individual product will give you an idea how it works and how it will work in your scheme of drying. Whether it is a large size product or a smaller size knowing exactly what you need and how you need it to work will allow you to find out how it worked for other consumers when you read food dehydrator reviews. Each product comes with a description of what the item does but the information you receive from other consumers will not find on the product descriptions.

Knowing that a certain brand may dry faster than another brand is not possible unless you know what other consumers have to say. Finding out that a certain brand has quicker drying times may be exactly what you need to get all your food discharged as quickly as possible. Appearing almost identical some products will look the same but they may have different features and they may work a little differently. Only those who have tried the product will know exactly how it works and what it does great and what it may do that is not so great.

When you find a source of information on a product you will want to soak up all that you can so you can get the best buy for your money. Maybe a smaller sized item looks like it will do the job and fit in your space but but when you read what another consumer has to say you may want to move up in size. There are also items that dry jerky and make yogurt leather know exactly what it takes to do these two things can only be found by talking to someone who has done it. You may find through what they have to say that with these items the process is easy and worth the while.

Taking the time to read what other consumers have to say will save you time and money. You will know exactly which one does what and you can choose the right product for you. Spending time shopping and then having to return the item you bought or go buy another product is not profitable. Using food dehydrator reviews will allow you to choose the right product, purchase …

Low Carb Diet Plateau? Learn How Overeating For One Day Will Break Your Low Carb Diet Plateau

Weight loss plateaus happen when your body adapts to the dietary changes you have made and if you have reached a low carb diet plateau your body likely needs a boost to keep losing. This article shows you some things to look out for and how adding one day of overeating a week (including carbs) will get the scale moving down once more and keep it moving week after week.

First of all when considering what is behind a low carb diet plateau you must evaluate your daily habits. Check to make sure you haven’t started increasing your carbohydrate intake. Low carb diets are effective but it is very easy to get extra carbs in foods that you wouldn’t think have carbohydrates such as nuts, peanut butter and some lunch meats. Read your labels.

If you discover that you have not been consuming more carbohydrates on a daily basis then you need to turn your attention to your metabolism. Your metabolism is your fat burning potential and when you have been dieting for a period of time your metabolism is often the first thing to drop off.

In other words, diet too long without a break and your body adapts by decreasing your ability to burn fat which of course causes your weight loss to stall and you find yourself on a low carb diet plateau.

Ironically your metabolism rebounds when you eat more food, including carbs. When you overeat your body senses that food is readily available and it turns up your metabolism to handle the food.

So the task is to find a way to lose while shaking your body out of its adaptation and the way to do this is to add a strategic overeating or “cheating” day to your weekly low carb diet.

By eating low carb for 6 days and then taking day 7 off and eating all of your favorite carbs, pizza, burgers with buns, fries, ice cream, etc. Your metabolism spikes and stays elevated for the rest of the week giving you the benefits of an efficient fat burning potential.

I do understand the concern that you will gain weight from this method but what happens is that you will gain some water weight due to the fact that the carbs you eat will retain water but the spike you get in your metabolism happens faster than your body is able to produce fat so you end up losing weight by the end of the week and consistently week after week.

If you have hit a low carb diet plateau you need to give your body a change and by overeating one day a week you will boost your metabolism and start dropping pounds again.…

The One Recipe You Should Never Make With Your KitchenAid Mixer

A few weeks ago I was researching the KitchenAid stand mixer and I came across a blog post by someone that I thought was not the best advice. The blog post was all about making pancakes with your mixer (or any stand mixer really). Now the recipe was probably pretty good but the process is what was flawed in my opinion.

For me pancakes are all about being soft and light and fluffy. They should not be dense or chewy or gummy in any way. If I wanted that, I could make a trip to one of those all night breakfast joints and get a stack of hockey puck flap jacks.

No, for me pancakes need to be handled with care and attention. The reason is gluten. Now for a bit of food science. Gluten is a protein, actually it is a composition of 2 proteins named gliadin and glutenin. When water is added to wheat flour and then mechanically mixed, gluten forms. And it is this wonderful gluten that gives bread dough and pasta their chewy and elastic characteristics. But since the gluten content is increased by mechanical mixing or kneading, it is not something we ever want to do if we desire to have light and fluffy pancakes.

So, the next time you want to enjoy some pan fried goodness for breakfast, leave your mixer tucked neatly away. Instead, follow this basic cooking process.

You can use any basic pancake recipe that you like. The key to a great result is in the mixing. What you want to do is mix all the dry ingredients first in a bowl that is large enough for your batter. Next, mix all the wet ingredients in a separate bowl.

Now, before you add the wet to the dry, get prepared. An electric griddle is probably the best appliance for cooking pancakes at home but if you have to use a frying pan, that will also work. There are 2 differences. An electric griddle has a built-in thermostat which means the heat will remain more constant than with a pan on the stove. Second, the griddle means you can cook a lot more pancakes at the same time. I use a pan on the stove myself but I never cook more than one pancake at a time and I keep them warm in the oven till ready to serve. It’s not the best but I have no more room to store a griddle so I chose not to buy one. Using my stove, I heat the pan for 2 minutes at level 5. Then I turn down the heat to 4 when cooking. If I notice that things are taking too long, I increase the heat for about another minute and then lower to 4 again.

Now that you have a hot cooking appliance ready, it is time to mix the batter. You want to achieve the mixing as fast as possible without activating too much gluten. So, take the wet ingredients …

An Average Guy’s Unpaid, Unbiased Review of the NuWave Oven Versus the Flavor Wave Oven

Note, if you don’t have a lot of time, or you don’t want the full story, skip to my Bottom Line section at the end.


I do a lot of eating out, in fact, I was doing too much eating out and I knew that had to quit. I know it’s more economical and in most cases better for you to eat at home, but the challenge I have is that I don’t have a lot of time – and let’s face it, I don’t want to have to work that hard to get food. Like most guys, I am not that interested in cooking, I just like eating.

The trouble is, neither of the cooking appliances I had in the house were really good at cooking chicken, meat, sandwiches, pizza, etc: the microwave’s quick but the food comes out rubbery (and it doesn’t cook meat well). The oven on the other had takes way too long to get going, I can’t see the food when it’s in there and it’s just not that practical to turn it on for a couple of pieces of chicken. So therein is my problem: I know I need to eat better at home, but I don’t have the equipment to cook the food that I like.

A few months ago I started seeing ads on television for the NuWave and Flavor Wave Ovens. Probably much like you I was skeptical of the advertising, while the infomercials they’re running nowadays are comical, I’ve found many of them to be not as much dishonest but not forthright in telling the whole truth. For example, I’d purchased a Magic Bullet a year ago, in all honesty it works okay, but I still see the ads running on TV and I notice that they toned down or muted the sound of the gizmo when it was running – it almost sounds whisper quite. The Magic Bullet is anything but whisper quiet, that’s what I mean about not telling the whole truth. The bottom line, you have to be careful when ordering off of television infomercials.

NuWave Versus Flavor Wave Ovens:

Well, I waited for quite some time before pulling the trigger on one of these ovens. I’d invested an hour or two reading online reviews (where I could find them), and I found that both the NuWave and Flavor Wave Ovens had good reviews and bad reviews as well. The majority of the bad reviews centered on poor customer service, durability issues and the inability to get assistance if/when your oven broke. I’ve had my oven for a month or so now and to this point, it’s worked fine, so I am not sure if these negative reviews are true or not – I just don’t know. What I can tell you is that I looked at both NuWave and Flavor Wave Ovens and just decided to go with the NuWave because I could set it to individual minutes (the Flavor Wave I don’t believe can …

Diet Can Prevent Urinary Crystals

There are different types of crystals which can be found inside a cat's urinary system. Diagnosis and treatment plans are based on the specific type of crystals found.

The # 1 type of crystals found in a cat's urine used to be struvite. However, changes which were made to all AACFO certified foods lowered the magnesium and phosphorous levels in food, which in turn reduced the frequency of this stone type.

With struvite crystals eliminated with diet, the secondary type, or oxalate is now more prevalent. Oxalate crystals are difficult to treat if they combine and form stones, so the best approach is prevention. Treatment often requires either that the urinary system be flushed, or if they are large, surgery is required.

Oxalate crystal prevention can also be achieved with diet. Diets containing moderate calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium levels should be fed to these cats to reduce the risk of crystals forming. One brand that offers these qualities is Hill's Prescription Diet c / d. This product contains controlled levels of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and oxalate to help limit the building blocks of crystals and bladder stones. It also contains added potassium citrate to help interrupt bladder stone formation and increased levels of vitamin B6 to help decrease oxalate stone formation.

It's also important that cats get exercise and urinate frequently. Canned foods contain more moisture which will help since in the wild cat's get more water through food than thought drinking water directly. Urination helps to clean the urinary tract.

Homeopathic supplements can also work as a supportive therapy to keep the PH of the urinary tract within a normal range. It can also help to support the overall health of the urinary tract.

It's important for a pet owner to realize that crystals in cat urine are a very serious matter. They can lead to urinary tract infections and much larger bladder stones. Also, there is a chance that if male cat develops these crystals, his urethra could become plugged. This condition is critical and considered life-threatening because the cat would not be able to pass his urine.

There are some common things to look for in order to gauge whether or not a cat might have crystals or bladder stones might be that it is urinating frequently with only a minute amount coming out each time. The owner may also notice his or her cat showing signs ofraining excessively and / or display symptoms of experiencing pain. Also, some other signs and symptoms of crystals or stones are blood in the cat's urine, increased licking of itself in the genital area, vomiting and depression. …

What is the Best Turkey Cooking Temperature?

If you've ever had turkey at a thanksgiving dinner, but found it dry or bland, then this article may help you understand why. Sometimes it is simply down to the flavoring they used, but often it is down to the way the turkey was cooked – either it was not properly ordered, or often enough, or it was cooked at the wrong temperature.

Some people mistakenly cook a turkey at too high a temperature, and keep it in for far too long – this can leave you with a turkey that is very dry and over cooked. While this has a less than ideal taste, it is better than the alternative – an undercooked turkey, and food poisoning.

The Right Way to Cook a Turkey

In general, turkeys should be cooked at 325 degrees. Preheat the oven, and then keep everyone away from it – especially inquisitive children who could be inclined to try to play with the knobs! Try not to open the oven door without it is time to baste the turkey, as this lets out the heat, and slows down the cooking process.

You can rely on the cooking directions to get an idea of ​​how long the turkey should take to cook, but if you have a meat thermometer this is even better. Insert it into the deepest part of the turkey to check the temperature. A turkey is fully cooked when the meat thermometer reads 165 degrees. If it is anything less than this, put the turkey back in for a bit longer, as you could risk giving your guests food poisoning if you serve up an undercooked turkey, and food poisoning is most certainly not fun! …