Healthy Caffeine Consumption And How To Reduce Caffeine Intake

What caffeine does to the body

Caffeine is classed as a stimulant drug which means it increases the activity of the brain and nervous system. It also binds to adenosine receptors, preventing you from feeling sleepy and if you do fall asleep it will prevent you from experiencing a deep restful sleep.

Caffeine also keeps the dopamine in our brain, which makes us feel good, but can also lead to addiction.

Caffeine chemistry

The average adult can safely consume up to 400 mg of caffeine per day. The maximum dose for adolescents is much lower at 100 mg, but anyone under the age of 18 should avoid caffeine consumption where possible. This is because of the potential negative effect of caffeine during brain development. You want to give your developing brain the best chance it can get to reach its full potential.

The half life of caffeine is approximately 6 hours. So if you have a big 200 mg dose of caffeine at midday you’ll still have 100 mg in your system at 6 pm.

Why should I reduce caffeine intake? How much is too much caffeine?

Caffeine is a legal drug and is so ingrained into our society that it often doesn’t occur to us that it could have negative impacts on our health. There are many positive effects of caffeine, and like most things, it is beneficial in small doses. But if you consume too much then you are putting extra pressure on your body. Caffeine is in a lot of our food and drinks so it pays to be aware of any negative side effects in your body that could be caused by excessive caffeine.

The negative side effects of excessive caffeine include; insomnia, feeling nervous/jittery/anxious, stomach aches, headaches, muscle cramps and spasms.

Metabolism varies based on genetics. Some people have a stronger response to caffeine than others and it is actually caused by the genes you inherited through your ancestry. For example, some of my relatives can drink coffee right before bed and it doesn’t have an impact on their sleep. However, I have inherited genes that make me very susceptible to the effects of caffeine. Only one cup of coffee before midday is enough for me!

It is important to note that caffeine also has a diuretic effect so it will cause you to urinate more frequently as your body is receiving signals to rid the body of extra water and salts. However, various studies have shown that this mild diuretic effect will not cause dehydration, especially if you exercise after consuming caffeine.

How To Reduce Caffeine Intake:

Remember, caffeine is a drug so you want to reduce your intake slowly to avoid experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

Start by tracking the amount of caffeine you consume per day. Include all of the sources of caffeine in your diet such as tea, energy drinks, soft drinks and chocolate. You can keep a tally of your caffeine consumption any way that works for you, such as in your phone, a physical journal or a spreadsheet on your computer.

Then once you are aware of all of the ways you add caffeine to your diet, you can make the conscious decision to reduce your intake. An easy way to reduce your intake is by watering down your caffeinated drinks so that you are diluting the amount of caffeine in your cup. Steeping your caffeinated tea for longer will also make for a stronger cup of tea so try taking the tea leaves out of the water after just a few minutes. Or if you normally have 3 cups of coffee in the morning try reducing it to 2 cups to start with then make your way to one cup in the morning if that is your goal. And perhaps substitute that 3rd cup of coffee for a caffeine-free herbal tea or fruit juice so that you can still have your late morning treat or self care. Take that time for yourself, don’t feel like you’re missing out on anything.

The more you use your willpower, every time you refuse that extra dose of coffee, your willpower grows like a muscle. Also your mindset will help you on your way towards your goal, be gentle on yourself and remember to treat yourself as your friend when you fall off the bandwagon and drink that energy drink. Don’t think about the energy drink as a failure or a reason to give up, but flip it around and instead look at how long you went without an energy drink. Use that positive confidence to keep moving towards your goal, tell yourself “now is not the time to give up!”. (Hint: this same mindset can help you quit smoking or begin a new healthy habit).

I hope this information is helpful for you to move confidently towards your goals, and don’t forget to keep your cup full of positivi-tea! Or positivi-coffee, if that is your preference.

Regulating Calories-In Is More Important Than Calories-Out

The idea of Calories-In versus Calories-Out involves the calories you consume through your mouth versus how much you consume through basic metabolism and physical exercise. Your basic metabolism is the energy (in calories) that your body needs to function, eg. keep your heart beating, your lungs breathing and your cells functioning. The amount of energy your body needs to stay alive will depend on your age, gender and weight. But overall, the amount and type of energy you feed your body is more important than how much energy your body is expending.

If you eat more than your body requires then you will put on weight in the form of fat, which is the way the body stores extra energy. If you overeat by 500 calories every day you will slowly notice your waistline increase over the space of only a few years and your clothes will no longer fit you the same way.

Portion sizes have been slowly getting larger and larger over the years. I find that I can only eat half a serving from a restaurant, then I take the leftovers home to enjoy later. Remember, your stomach is about the size of your closed fist. You don’t want to keep forcing more and more food in there even after it is full.

When we do get physically active, we often overestimate the amount of calories burned from exercise. A walk around the block won’t burn off that Mars Bar. Either eat the Mars Bar or don’t. But whatever your choice, do it mindfully.

We also forget how many calories are provided by the alcohol you drink and the empty calories in the store-bought snack foods that are designed to make us keep eating. These are called Ultra-processed foods and I have written about them previously in my post: Food For Life: The Best Way To Feed Your Body

However the type of calories you provide your body will also affect the function of your organs.

For example, when you overload your bloodstream with sugar your pancreas will work overtime to bring your blood sugar levels back to a stable concentration. If your pancreas has to work so hard that it becomes impaired and breaks down, then you get Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes is the inability to regulate your blood sugar levels from within your own body.

The brain requires sugar for it to function. When you’re hungry your brain is low on sugar and it’s screaming for a quick fix. But you must use your common sense. Feed your brain foods that will break down slowly into sugars. These are called Low GI foods. The GI stands for glycemic index, which is the relative amount of time it takes for the food to raise your blood sugar levels. Low GI foods are those made of complex carbohydrates because carbohydrate molecules are just long chains of sugars stuck together. The body uses energy to break the molecules down in to sugars. High GI foods are made of sugars that are easily broken down by the body and will quickly increase the level of sugar in your blood.

To avoid overloading your organs with high concentrations of sugar you have to be mindful of what you feed your body.

You know what they say, “You are what you eat”.

Your diet can be whatever you want it to be. But be aware that what you consume will be processed by your organs.

The diet that is most suited for humans is one made up of mostly plants, some meat, and very small amounts of everything else. You want to make sure you have a diet containing various sources of fibre. The body requires a range of vitamin and trace minerals which are present in different food types. So eating the exact same meals day in and day out is not a good idea, even if they are healthy meals.

A study of a remote South American tribe indicates that a diet low in salt and fat, but rich in multiple sources of fibre, protects the heart from increased blood pressure. The study compared the blood pressure of the members from a nearby tribe that has been influenced by western foods and found that blood pressure increased with age.

Calorie deficit diet for weight loss

There’s nothing wrong with a curvy figure, but you do want to reduce the toll on your bones and joints by reducing the load they have to carry. More strain on your bones and joints will lead to osteoarthritis which will cause pain for you when you walk and try to get about your day. A calorie deficit diet basically means you’re eating less than the amount your body needs to function. If you do this in a healthy way, as directed by your doctor, then it will lead to weight loss. You will stop losing weight when you stop restricting the number of calories that you consume.

Calorie restriction diet to extend lifespan

There is some contention in the scientific community as to whether this calorie restriction diet extends lifespan as the controls of the experiments are difficult to, well, control and a lot of the experiments were done on mice instead of humans. The basic idea is that overall you want to consume less than the amount your body usually needs to live but you don’t need to restrict your consumption every day in a row. Some people like to do short fasts for their health, other people fast for religion. Either way, it appears that short lengths of fasting have a beneficial effect on our health. Sometimes you might have a day where you treat yourself and consume all of the calories in sight. But these calorific days can be balanced out with a more modest intake on the other days of the week. If that suits your personality type of course!

Some people are unable to moderate their intake due to their personality and relationship with food.

Your own mental health can have a huge impact on how you interact with food. Be mindful of this so that you can have awareness and control over your health.

If you are unable to open a block of chocolate without finishing the entire packet then, for your health, it’s safer not to have that block of chocolate in the house unless you’re allowing yourself a rare treat.

If you are consuming a 6 pack of beer every night after work then you are basically eating an extra meal every day. But those calories aren’t keeping your body healthy.

Recognise your feelings towards food and why you are making the food choices that you are making. Think first before feeding yourself, your health is at stake…..mmmmmm steak.

Thank you so much for reading. I hope this post is helpful to you and your family.

Please visit my Youtube Channel for more health and science from me, Queeenvk.

Digital Decluttering For Digital Hoarders

Do you have collections of things like photos and files and little mementos that evoke fond memories? I’ve always been a collector of things, especially when they have sentimental value.

Sometimes a collection can get out of control if you don’t trim it and organise it. If it becomes an overwhelming hoard it can cause stress and mental exhaustion. However, it’s usually difficult to see the hoard of digital clutter when it’s tucked away in your hard drive, photo gallery, archived files and all of those forgotten USB sticks stashed in the junk drawer of your kitchen/desk/storeroom.

It’s a good idea to regularly de-clutter the digital storage locations of your life, otherwise it becomes more difficult to store and locate the things that you need in your life. Think of how long it takes for your computer to search through large amount of data. As you add more data, more processing will be required to sort through the data.

Tip 1: Unsubscribe

There is no need to stay subscribed to marketing emails if they are just cluttering up your inbox. When you find yourself deleting the marketing emails instead of actually opening and engaging with them, that is a good time to locate the Unsubscribe button. Each email you receive in your inbox takes up time and mental effort from another task. Make your email inbox work for you by setting up filters for certain emails. You can also create all different folders in your inbox to sort your emails and make it easier to locate important information. For example, I have a folder for any emails that contain details and documents required for my next tax return. That way, when tax time comes around, I just open the folder and then I have what I need to fill out my tax return, including receipts and invoices to be claimed back.

Tip 2: Cull photos

Now that we no longer have to print each photo we take just to view it, it becomes easier to take more photos of the same thing. I know I have a lot of duplicate images, some more in-focus than others, so it’s easy to delete the duplicates without worrying about losing any information. Delete your blurry photos and any duplicate images that aren’t useful to future-you. Make sure to cull the photos in your phone, computer, tablet and any other photo storage locations. Even if you are removing the photos from your gallery and transferring them to a cloud-based storage location you should still consider de-cluttering the photos saved on the cloud. First, it will be much easier to look back through the photos once you’ve condensed your collection to just the meaningful images. Second, storing data on the cloud doesn’t mean the data isn’t taking up space anymore, it’s just not taking up space on your PC or phone. The cloud actually stores the data in a physical location which takes up space. The virtual storage space is not infinite so there are concerns about where we will fit all our data in the future, as all the data just keeps piling up every day.

Tip 3: Organise your Computer Desktop (or phone homepage)

When you’re at your computer, do you save all of the new files to your desktop? And is your desktop now so full you can’t fit anything else or find what you need? We all know someone who has all of those icons filling up the desktop so that you can’t even see the background image.

First, make sure that the files you save are saved to a meaningful location. You can make your own folders within folders to sort everything! Then when you need to locate the file again and you’ve forgotten which folder it’s in, you can search the entire PC or the approximate file location and the path to the desired file will be revealed. And the search won’t take as long because you’ve already decluttered all the blurry and duplicate photos that were clogging up the memory on the hard drive.

On your phone homepage you don’t need to store all of the icons for all of the apps. Just select the handful of apps that you constantly open up and only add those shortcut icons to the homepage. Or you can even find a widget or 2 for your homepage to help you out and increase productivity. For example, I use a note taking widget that I have pinned to my homepage that shows me all of my latest To Do tasks and reminders at a glance. I no longer need to write reminders on scraps of paper or the back of my hand!

Tip 4: Delete obsolete documents and uninstall programs

Just like keeping all your old school work, it can be tempting to keep all of the essays and reports you wrote for those undergrad university assignments. But what if I need to refer back to it later?! Sure, if there are documents and topics that are related to your career, hobby or important life event then you can store them in a way that makes it easy to locate and sort through the information, eg. In folders or in an app. But if you’re just keeping your first year chemistry assignments because you’re proud of them then it’s time to let go, be proud of the memory of your time at university. You can keep the graduation certificate but not the assignment about valence electrons.

Any old programs and apps that you’re no longer using on your computer and phone can easily be uninstalled in a few clicks. Be careful about uninstalling programs on your computer if you don’t know what they do. One time when I was just a teenager I thought I’d declutter my slow PC by uninstalling some programs I didn’t need. Alas, I deleted the sound card drivers and had to restore my computer to a previous date to fix my mistake. What a n00b.

Thanks so much for reading. I hope you found this content useful. If you’d like to show your support please subscribe to my Youtube Channel. And feel free to reply in the comments with your digital decluttering tips!

With Age Comes Balding

Almost all of us will experience balding in some way, whether we watch someone else struggle with losing their hair or we go through it ourselves. There are many types of hair loss but I want to discuss balding as we age, also known as male and female pattern balding or androgenic alopecia.

Why is it called male/female pattern balding?

Age-related balding happens in a specific pattern in men and women. The pattern of balding is how you diagnose balding and determine whether it’s age-related balding or if it is caused by something else such as fungal infection or medications. Females normally have balding or thinning from the centre part of the scalp and males lose hair from the temples or crown.

Diagram showing balding from the temples to give the classic widow’s peak. Image source.

What causes balding from age?

Androgens are a type of hormone in the body that are responsible for controlling the male characteristics in both males and females. The word androgen is made up of the latin words for man (andro-) and generator (-gen). Testosterone is an androgen that is made in the testes, ovaries and adrenal glands and it is found in high concentrations in males but in low concentrations in females.

The body converts testosterone into other forms, ie. metabolises the testosterone, with different enzymes depending on which part of the body it is in, the age of the body and also the gender of that body. There isn’t enough known about how the different types of testosterone products interact with the process of making hair follicles in men and women but we do know that no matter how much testosterone you have or don’t have, balding ultimately comes down to your genes.

It’s genetic!

As we age our hair follicles become weaker and produce weaker, thinner, more brittle hair. Then eventually the hair follicle dies and no longer produces hair. People with relatives who experience male pattern baldness are more likely to also experience male pattern baldness themselves.

There is no cure

There are topical treatments for balding to prevent and/or reduce hair loss. These treatments have limited success due to the lack of knowledge regarding the metabolism of testosterone between individuals.

The best way to deal with balding in your life is to assess your own self esteem and feelings of self worth.

Also consider how you feel when you look at a person who is showing signs of balding. Remember that the way you perceive yourself is very different to the way others perceive you. When you look in the mirror be gentle to the friend in the reflection. You are a beautiful person no matter how many working hair follicles you have.

Stay healthy and safe. Reply in the comments with your suggestions for a specific health topic you would like me to cover.

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Food For Life: The Best Way To Feed Your Body

What you choose to feed your body is one of the most important things that you do to it every day. Are you consistently choosing the right foods to keep your body running happily and healthily? The benefits of a healthy diet are far reaching throughout the body as the old adage says, you are what you eat. The food that you regularly feed your body can affect your organs, immune system, lifespan and your risk of developing chronic illnesses such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Feed Your Microbes Right

You may have heard about the microbes (microorganisms) in your gut and how a balance of good bacteria can counteract the bad bacteria. Our gut microbes control the amounts of fat and nutrients that are processed from our food and eventually absorbed into the body. A recent study has revealed that ultra-processed foods such as lollies and chips feed the bad bacteria in our gut and encourage them to take over the population, pushing the good bacteria out of a home.

A healthy diet involves a range of fibre sources to feed your gut bacteria and provide you with the full range of nutrients that your body requires. So you will need to make sure you consume different foods with different types of fibre including vegetables, fruits, grains and nuts.

Ultra processed foods are defined as containing at least one ingredient that isn’t normally used in a regular kitchen. These extra ingredients are often emulsifiers and flavour enhancers that are added to increase palatability of the food. Ultra processed foods have low nutritional value, are less filling and have been designed to have a better mouth-feel and flavour than the competition on the shelves. This makes you eat more and buy more because your body won’t feel satisfied with just one square of chocolate or one Pringle. Once you pop…

Not only are ultra processed foods designed to make you eat more but they help to feed the bad bacteria in your gut. When you feed your body a range of different foods you introduce both soluble and insoluble fibre into your gut. Both forms of fibre are considered to be good but they affect the population of human gut bacteria differently. More research is required on how they each affect the gut, but what we do know is that a diet low in fibre produces an inflammatory response in the gut. This is because good bacteria break the fibre molecules into short-chain fatty acids which provide an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. When you aren’t eating enough fibre, your gut isn’t protected from inflammation which can kill off the good bacteria. That’s when the bad bacteria can take over. Now you’re in trouble, the bad bacteria don’t produce anti-inflammatory compounds and can make your gut even more inflamed. Over time the low level inflammation causes health issues throughout the body including reducing the strength of your immune system and increasing your risk of chronic inflammatory illness in the gut.

The Healthy Eating Pyramid as of July 2021 https://nutritionaustralia.org/fact-sheets/healthy-eating-pyramid/

Let’s Get Nutritional

As omnivores, humans require a certain percentage of protein to keep our body running. Therefore the body will feel hungry until you feed it the right portion of protein. Protein is relatively expensive so ultra processed foods are often low in protein and instead are filled with high levels of fats, carbohydrates sugars and salt. When we eat a diet consisting of a mainly processed foods we wind up eating more because the body will feel hungrier despite the large number of calories consumed.

A diet high in ultra processed foods is a diet that is low in nutritional value and eventually leads to low quality health. Be aware that these processed foods are “high GI” or have a High Glycemic Index. When you induce a high glycemic response in the body, over and over again, you overwork the organs and cells that are responsible for balancing the sugar levels in the blood. Eventually they stop working as well as they should and this leads to pre-diabetes, then if you let it go further out of control the disease can develop into diabetes. Diabetes is a serious chronic illness that, although common, does require specific care to ensure quality of life.

Due to the lack of nutritional value in packaged junk foods and ready meals, as well as the ultra processed ingredients, people who consume too much can become obese and malnourished. The best way to feed your body is to provide a large variety of food types, sticking to the ratios outlined in the Food Pyramid. Basically the idea is to have everything in moderation but eat mostly plants.

Everything in moderation but eat mostly plants

A diet that contains various sources of fibre is the ideal option for your organs and therefore your overall health.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I have enjoyed writing it. Please follow this blog and subscribe to my YouTube Channel for more health knowledge based in science.

The Short and Long Term Effects Of Laughter

You know it feels so good to have a long and intense belly laugh but what is really happening in your body when you laugh?

There are both physical and emotional effects on the body and mind when we laugh. You may have even heard of laughter therapy which encourages forced laughter and also uses humour to reduce feelings of stress and depression.

Scientific research on the effects of laughter indicate that laughter from tickling even forced laughter has a lasting benefit on the body. So whether you’re laughing with someone or just releasing some pent up emotion, the act of laughing will help you to feel better.

Some Short and long term health benefits of laughter:

  • Enhances cardiovascular function by improving blood-flow through our vasculature system.
  • Strengthens immune and endocrine systems by lowering levels of the stress hormones in our body such as cortisol and adrenaline. Ongoing low levels of stress can cause cortisol levels to remain in the system for extended periods, laughter can help reduce stress and cortisol levels.
  • Laughing together with someone else is more rewarding that laughing at them and it promotes a feeling of togetherness. Laughter occurs in many animals too. It is understood that laughter helps to strengthens social bonds between humans and animals alike.
  • Massages and exercises the muscles of the abdomen and diaphragm. Like a very gentle workout.
  • Feels like a physical release similar to crying or screaming but makes you feel good
  • Feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine are released both during laughter and smiling. The brain will respond by providing you with happiness hormones even if you force yourself to smile. Amazing!
  • Improves your sense of humour and outlook on difficult situations.

There are many physical and mental benefits of laughter and science is revealing more and more of them as we incorporate MRI and other technology in our research worldwide.

Thank you so much for reading. Stay happy and keep smiling.

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The Science Behind Changing Your Bed Sheets

The bacteria that live in our world are existing and trying to survive, to pass their genes onto the next generations, just like the rest of us. Even though we can’t see them, they’re growing and multiplying but we don’t notice them because they aren’t immediately causing us any harm.

The micro environment existing between the sheets:

Dust mites and bacteria thrive in dark, musty environments, so it’s important to let sunlight and fresh air into your bedroom regularly. It also helps to wait an hour before making your bed in the morning, so that any residual warmth and moisture can dissipate from the mattress before you cover it up again.

How Often Do You Change Your Sheets?

Once a week is the best way to go if you sleep in the one bed every night. You can stretch it to two weeks if you don’t use that same bed for the entire week. Some people need to change their sheets more often than one week but that will depend on your personal lifestyle and biological makeup.

Thanks for reading! Leave a comment below to suggest more science health tips from me, QueeenVK. And subscribe to my YouTube Channel for an extra dose of science.

Prevent Hemorrhoids And Reduce Constipation

Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, normally show up as painful bumps around the outside of the anus. They are actually veins that have become swollen and inflamed and are often caused by straining when you’re on the toilet. So the first thing you can do to avoid causing yourself the discomfort and inconvenience of having piles is to avoid straining and constipation.

How do I avoid straining while sitting on the toilet?

In western culture we only have sitting toilets available for us to do our number twos. In Eastern countries they use squatting toilets more commonly than the sitting down type. Squatting toilets allow the bowel movement to pass more quickly due to the shape of the anal passage. When sitting, you constrict the flow of this passage so that the waste product (your poop) has a harder time travelling out of your colon and into the toilet. This is what causes us to strain more, creating pressure on the blood vessels, and therefore potentially cause ourselves to form hemorrhoids in and around the anal passage.

To improve your posture when on a sitting toilet you can elevate your knees with a small step or rock forward when pushing out. This will reduce the time you need to spend on the toilet straining as the waste will flow out more readily.

Another massive health tip you should always remember:

Don’t try to force out your poop. Wait until it is ready to come out. Remember Cardi B’s catchy chorus: If it’s up, then it’s up, then it’s up, then it’s stuck.

How Regular Is “Regular”?

You don’t need to do a poop every day. Your body doesn’t work that way!! A normal number of poops for humans is about 3 per day to 1 every 3 days. If you’re doing more than 3 a day you have diarrhea, and less than once every 3 days you might have constipation. But you definitely DON’T need to force it once a day. Let your body process the different types and amounts of food that you feed it. Let it do its thing and you’ll be fine.

How do I prevent constipation?

  • Move all stool in one go to avoid compaction.
  • Eat prunes and obtain fibre from multiple food sources so that you have various fibre types cleaning out your bowels. And remember to drink water too!
  • Walking helps mobilise your bowels. Go for a gentle stroll or a nice brisk powerwalk.
  • While lying down massage belly a clockwise motion. This is the direction that your intestines work so you don’t want to massage it the wrong direction and push the waste back up. You want to gentle push it in the right direction, so that it is excreted out of your body.

Thanks so much for reading. I hope this helps you in your day to day life so that you feel less stress and have more control over your health.

Please subscribe to my YouTube Channel for more Full Cup Wellness from me, Queeenvk with 3 e’s.

The Science Behind Food Poisoning From Leftovers

Bacteria are an important part of life on Earth. They use enzymes to break down dead matter and convert it back into a form that can be used to create new life. For example, manure and composted food waste are used to feed farm crops or plants in the garden. You might recall the nitrogen cycle and the carbon cycle from chemistry class in high school. Bacteria are vital for these life cycles to continue to work.

Some of these bacteria are able to produce toxins as a personal defence mechanism or they have special ways to avoid our immune system and make a home among our cells, causing an infection. When we have an infection in our gut we call it gastroenteritis, or gastro for short. Several different types of bacteria and viruses can infect the human gut but the term gastro applies to any infection of the gut. The symptoms of gastro normally involve diarrhoea, vomiting and nausea as the infection disrupts the normal function of our digestive system. Sometimes it takes a large amount of pathogen to overcome our immune system, and other bacteria only need to grow to a small population before they can cause harm. So it’s safest to reduce your risk of infection at every step of the food prep and storage process.

The bacteria that can infect our digestive system like to live at around the human core temperature of 37°C. They thrive at this temperature. So if you have a fever or localised inflammation warming up the infection, this is the body’s way of trying to overheat and kill the infecting object, also known as a pathogen. This part of the immune system is non-specific to the kind of pathogen that is infecting the body. The body also has other non-specific immune system mechanisms and some of these are exploited by specific bacteria so that the pathogens can avoid the immune system.

So if some of these bacteria can get past our immune system how do we protect ourselves from being infected with such bacteria that could cause us harm?

How To Prevent Food Poisoning From Leftovers

1. Reheat leftovers properly:

You must reheat your leftovers to above 70°C to ensure any present bacteria are killed. However, bacterial toxins are not destroyed by heat and can still make you sick if there is bacteria present that is generating a toxin.

Freezing does not kill bacteria it just slows the growth down to the point of hibernation. The bacteria will begin to grow normally again when they are brought back up to their optimal temperature for life.

2. Store food properly:

Leftovers are safe to stay at 4°C (your usual fridge temperature) for up to 3-4 days. When you are ready to eat some of the leftover food you should transfer it from the refrigerated storage container to another vessel to heat if you aren’t going to finish it all in this sitting. This will reduce the amount of contamination you introduce to the storage container. If you put your dirty spoon in the container then put it back in the fridge the bacteria from your mouth/the kitchen bench, that is now on your spoon, will slowly grow (because it’s cold in the fridge) over the next couple of days and you run the risk of growing enormous amounts potential pathogens inside the container. Like a petri dish of bacteria sitting in all that delicious food. Loving life. Compared to the small amount of bacteria that can survive temporarily on your teeth will have no trouble increasing their population in your container of food. Have you ever left a container too long in the fridge only to find it has turned into a science experiment?

3. Prepare food properly:

Washing your hands before preparing food will massively reduce the risk of introducing harmful bacteria to the dish. Every time you rub your nose on the back of your hand the bacteria from your nose can be introduced to the dish by accident. If you’re wearing gloves to protect yourself or the ingredients from bacteria, make sure the gloves don’t touch your phone or your hair or skin. That negates the reason for the gloves as they are meant to contain and control the contamination of your work or yourself.

Wash your fresh fruits and vegetables before you eat or cook with them to remove any harmful bacteria and fungi that may have been introduced to the crop during the fertilisation process. Fertiliser is great for plants but not so much for humans.

Ensure cooking times and temperatures allow the entire dish of food to be brought into the “safe zone” above 60°C, particularly for risky meats like chicken and pork. Pathogens can’t normally survive above this temperature but sometimes your microwave doesn’t heat the food evenly, so give it a stir about halfway through reheating leftovers. Or the sausages in the oven need to be turned over halfway through cooking to make sure each section of the sausage has reached above 60°C.

Regarding the dangers of raw chicken and eggs:

Salmonella poisoning can occur if poultry isn’t prepared properly or if poultry manure has touched the surface of the meat or eggs then it is ingested by humans. The bacteria lives normally in the gut of chickens and other poultry. So this means chicken manure contains Salmonella. Sometimes chicken poop gets on the outside of your eggs and not every country washes the eggs before sale in the supermarket. So please always wash your hands after handling eggshells, sincerely, this germophobe right here (me).

But knowledge is power so I feel powerful enough to avoid food poisoning and I hope now you do too. Honestly, all those years of studying microbiology and the immune system at university has helped me through my germophobia and empowered me to live more freely.

Thanks so much for reading! Stay safe and keep your cup full of positivi-tea.

Visit my YouTube channel for more Full Cup Wellness from me, Queeenvk with 3 e’s.

Crafting People Are Happy People

How good is it to just sit back for a relaxing crafternoon (crafting in the afternoon)? It feels so rewarding when we finish a project and stand back to admire our handiwork, so it is no surprise to hear that there are emotional and neurological benefits of learning a new skill and letting your creativity loose.

Scientific research shows that crafting lowers stress and can help reduce feelings of anxiety. Levels of the stress-hormone cortisol decreases during and after performing creative craft activities.

While you’re crafting you are connecting to the present world around you instead of being stuck in the worries of the past or future. Your brain power is taken up by something far more productive and useful for your health. Some people use art as a therapeutic or meditative process to clear and calm the mind.

Inventing new ideas and exploring old ones in a different way can be so rewarding. It brings on those feelings of self accomplishment as well as expanding your mind to see new perspectives.

You’ve probably heard that doing crossword puzzles staves off dementia by helping keep the brain active. Basically, when you don’t use it – you lose it, so if you’re making new connections in your brain you’re keeping it active. Whether your hobby is crossword puzzles or creating a new piece of art, you are keeping those neural connections in working order.

There are many different types of crafts that are available for you to try. Find one that resonates with you and practice it, letting your mind flow with creativity.

My favourite craft at the moment is crochet. It took me a bit of practice, but once I got the hang of it, it just clicked for me. The repeating movements are quite soothing, as long as you take breaks to rest your hands! Here are some of my previous posts related to crochet crafts.

Here is a list of some other crafts you might like to try, maybe there are some you’ve always wanted to try or maybe you will find something new that you never considered before:

Origami/paper art

Painting

Sewing/needlework

Yarn crafts such as knitting, macrame, etc.

Scrapbooking

Lettering/calligraphy

Clay sculpting/pottery

Resin pouring

Flower pressing or flower arranging

Origami cranes

Reply in the comments with the crafts you love and the crafts that you’ve always wanted to try. Which crafts interest you and which crafts have you tried but didn’t like? For me, I’ve tried sewing and embroidery but they are too complex and confusing for me to grasp, whereas crochet clicked in my brain and I understand it a lot easier. Isn’t neurology so fascinating?!

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