Fat and sugar can be as addictive as drugs. Use our plan to wean yourself off class-A foods and find out how to get your nutritional highs elsewhere

We're all familiar with the lure of a dirty burger. But what few of us realise is that the urge comes not just from your stomach, but deep inside your skull. According to a study from the Scripps Research Institute in Florida, junk food has the same effect on your brain chemistry as cocaine and heroine, and for some people it can be equally addictive.

"We found that an excess of foods high in sugar and fat resulted in a deficit in the brain's reward systems, much like drug dependency," says neuroscientist Dr Paul Kenny, the author of the study. Those foods are tempting because they trigger the release of chemicals that make you feel good.such as dopamine and serotonin. And the more you get that post-gorge high, the more you seek the food that causes it. Eventually. the 'neurochemical pattern' of all-you-can-eat junk makes the urge for that fix hard to resist. The result is that you become addicted to crap.

That's the bad news. The good news is that there's a way to regain control without going cold turkey. The key is to supply your brain with the same reward triggers, but from activities and foods that aid your fitness and weight-loss plans. Rather than over-stimulating your brain, these beneficial rewards are released Steadily and, in time, you will become addicted to healthy things instead.

Help is on hand from Dr Mike Dow, an addiction specialist and author of Diet Rehab. His pain-free plan is designed to help you overcome a reliance on unhealthy food, without having to swear off it for life.

Nobody can go from Homer Simpson to Ned Flanders in a day. We know this. Noris there any need to make that change for good. The key is to strategically cut the crap over four weeks, says Dow. "You replace junk with healthy alternatives that stimulate the same feel-good brain chemicals."


Good news: turns out a glass half full is more than enough to sustain your health, heart and salary for years to come. Here's why it's high time to crack a smileOptimist

" Always look on the bright side of life." Believe it or not, Monty Python offered up some of the best health advice of the 10th century. Research shows that optimists live longer, are richer and are mentally stronger than pessimists. They have lower stress levels and better immune systems. They get more exercise
and eat more healthily. One 10-year study found that optimists were 23% less likely to die from heart disease and 55% less likely to die prematurely from all

causes. It's tempting to think that these bright-eyed fools are setting themselves up for one fall after another. But, on average, they earn 20k more a year than negative thinkers. And studies show that pessimists feel just as bad when things go wrong - the only difference is that the optimist concludes that next time things will be better. Chances are, they will be. So turn the page to tap into the powerof positive thinking.


Rise above the politicians' incessant gloom and doom-there are plenty of positive omens for 2012 and beyond

According to the CBI Employment Trends Survey,only 12% of firms will freeze pay this year,down from 55% in 2009·

More so than ever,it seems.A survey by goodinbed.com found that women are now more 'experimental' and more likely to share their fantasies. Now that's a real bonus.


Hanukkah Meals

Healthy, Kosher, and Gluten Free

How can you create a healthful Hanukkah meal that is both kosher and gluten free? It’s easy if you’re Lévana Kirschenbaum, restaurateur, master chef, cooking teacher, and author of the new cookbook The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen: Glorious Meals Pure & Simple. Her secret? Using simple, flavorful, and unprocessed ingredients.

“I grew up on simple foods—fruits, vegetables, grains—where meat didn’t take center stage but was in bed together with the vegetables in a great abundance of small dishes,” says Kirschenbaum, who was born and raised in Morocco and ran Lévana Restaurant on Manhattan’s Upper West Side for 32 years, serving upscale kosher fare.

“We weren’t idealistic flower children back then. It was exactly the opposite. We lived on real foods—wholesome and unprocessed foods. And it worked. We grew up healthy. My mother’s guiding philosophy and now mine is: ‘The cure is in the pot.’”
Read more: Healthy Hanukkah Meals

5-Nutrients5 Nutrients Your Child May Lack

And What to Do About It

Even kids who clean their plates may not get all the nutrients they need. They’re usually not so nutrient deficient that they have bowed legs from rickets caused by vitamin D deficiency, bleeding gums caused by a lack of vitamin C, or poor vision or night blindness that are a consequence of a lack of vitamin A—all deficiency diseases that were common in American children less than a century ago.

However, “Even if a child doesn’t have an outright deficiency disease, a low intake of a vitamin or mineral can have health consequences,” explains Angela Lemond, RD, CSP, LD, a Plano, Texas-based dietitian in private practice and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Read more: What To Do About The 5 Nutrients That Your Child May Lack

Vitamin-DVitamin D

We hear a lot about vitamin D these days, yet there’s still confusion about its role in health, food sources vs. supplements, and how much we really need for optimum health.

Vitamin D first gained recognition for promoting calcium absorption. Without vitamin D, calcium isn’t well absorbed, and the bones of people who lack vitamin D can become brittle, thin, or misshapen. Adequate vitamin D prevents rickets in children and osteoporosis in adults.

Read more: Vitamin D - Role In Our Health


From helping reduce inflammation to preventing cancer, this Asian spice adds pep to your dishes and health to your life.

The name may be unfamiliar, but if you’ve had Indian food, you’ve had turmeric on your plate. This delightful yellow spice not only gives Indian dishes a kick, but also can boost your health.

Mostly known for the flavor and color it gives to curry, turmeric contains an active ingredient called curcumin, a powerful antioxidant that helps rid the body of harmful free radicals that can damage cell membranes and even lead to cell death. “It’s also a great source of iron and manganese and a good source of potassium and dietary fiber,” says Robin Barrie Kaiden, MS, RD, CDN, CSSD, a New York-based nutrition counselor and personal trainer.

For more than 4,000 years, turmeric, a spice derived from the root of a South Asian and Indian plant called Curcuma longa, has been used in Chinese and Indian medicine to treat infections, inflammation, and digestive problems and even ward off some cancers. Traditional healers also use it to treat skin diseases and wounds. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, recent studies suggest curcumin’s ability to promote cell health may help prevent or treat prostate, breast, skin, and colon cancers.
Read more: Benefits of Turmeric
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