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GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Reach Your Dreams With This Super Simple Step
There’s a really easy way to reach all your goals and dreams, but it’s something not many people do, or even realize is an option. It’s how I’ve built this business, shifted into healthier living and clean eating, and made a lot of amazing things happen in my life.

It’s so easy, everyone can do it… and yet they don’t.

So what is this super simple step that you can do to make your dreams a reality? Take one small step forward right now. Then do it again. Before you get mad at me for making action sound easy when it’s not, hear me out.

I know that action isn’t easy when it comes to big goals and dreams, believe me, I know! But the only way to make something happen is to take action towards it. The only way to take action towards your big goals and dreams, is to realize that bringing something to life isn’t about the big massive steps forward. It’s about all the tiny steps, tiny shifts, tiny trials and errors, tiny missteps, tiny successes, and tiny changes along the way. That’s all change is, a series of small steps forward.

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A lot of people have told me lately they’re inspired by my clean and healthy eating. I think that’s awesome! But I didn’t get here because one day I declared I wanted to eat better and bam, everything was clean and healthy from there. So far from it. It started one day in Hawaii, probably about five years ago, when I decided I wanted to eat cleaner. So instead of buying cookies from the grocery store, I bought some “healthier” cookies from the health food store. Instead of regular peanut butter, I bought natural peanut butter. I stopped putting syrup on pancakes one day. I banned myself from eating certain foods one stomachache at a time. I tried new things. I read a book on going vegan. I went vegan. I tried vegan alternative foods. I started eating more whole and nutritious, less processed foods, one experiment at a time. I lapsed. I started eating natural sugars. I lapsed. I swore off cookies as a whole food group. I lapsed. And eventually I got to this space where I know a lot about clean eating, toxins in foods, how to actually feed myself (through, get this, cooking my own food), and what I personally can and cannot eat.

It definitely didn’t happen overnight and a year from now I’ll be even further into this healthy living journey.

One of my big goals is to run a half marathon and to “become a runner.” This is a massive undertaking for someone who used to die after a half mile on a downhill slope. I’m slow, I’m clunky, and I don’t really have the mental stamina for running, but I’m doing it. And do you know how I’m doing it? By putting one foot in front of the other, again and again. By taking one day at a time in the training plan.

Lastly, my business didn’t just pop up one day and become successful. It was a very different business when I started. I’ve launched many products and programs, some that were well received, some that weren’t. I’ve made enormous mistakes in my business with clients, finances, and everything in between. I’ve also had many small successes and wins. I’ve written hundreds of thousands of words, published more blog posts than I care to count, and slowly shifted my marketing and offerings over the months and years. I got to where I am because I took small steps every single day.

Take my Awesome Life Tips as an example… people love them and that mailing list is growing leaps and bounds every month. But it all started one day, two years ago, when I decided to post my first tip. Since then I’ve written almost 600 tips. One word after another, it’s grown into what it is today.

I know this isn’t what you wanted to hear.

You’d rather I share some make it happen fast trick that will catapult you forward.

But that’s just not the way it works.

That said, I do have some tips that will make those steps happen more quickly and with more ease, getting you to where you want to be much faster.

1) Stay in the present moment.

Don’t go off in your head and think about all the things between where you are now and where you want to be. That will just make you feel crappy and overwhelmed, which doesn’t inspire action. Just be here, where you are now, doing what you have to do next. Stay present and focused.

2) Keep taking action, no matter how small.

I know it doesn’t seem like tiny steps make a difference, but they do. They really, really do. If all you can write for your novel is one paragraph a day, that’s still way more words at the end of the month than you’d have if you didn’t write at all. Start, and keep taking action. There’s absolutely something you can do every single day towards your goals and dreams. No matter how small, it makes a difference and will get you there so much more quickly than if you do nothing at all. Break the big steps down until you have something you can do right now to move forward.

3) Celebrate your movement.

Again, stay in this moment and be proud of what you’re accomplishing rather than bummed about what’s left to do. The more you celebrate and appreciate your progress, the more motivated you’ll be to continue taking action, even when it seems like you’re standing still. Only compare where you are to where you were when you started. If you only have a little bit of progress to show for it, celebrate it, you’ve moved forward!

4) Eyes on your own paper.

Stop looking at what everyone else is doing and focus on your own work and goals. It’s easy to look at someone else’s success and think you’ll never get there. All that does is prompt you to give up. You have to remember, the person you’re looking at and comparing yourself to was once exactly where you are. Sure, sometimes it looks different, because we’re all on our own journey, but they started somewhere, too. They took action and it took time to get to where they are. There’s no such thing as an overnight success, it’s usually the tipping point after years of preparation, planning, and lots of action.

Take action now.

That’s it, just go take action right now.

Break your dream or goal down until you have something you can do right this moment. Then go do it. Don’t plan how you’ll do it or think about what would happen if you did it one way vs. another… just do it. Take that first tiny step forward.

Then do it again.

PS – I’ve just opened up two spots for a ridiculously awesome new coaching program that will accelerate the process of rediscovering yourself, uncovering your passion, and building a life and business around it. Learn more by clicking here!

Stephenie Zamora is the founder of www.stepheniezamora.com, a full-service, life-purpose development, design and branding boutique. Through her Mastery program, she merges the worlds of personal development and branding to help men and women build passion-based lives and businesses they love. Click here to access her free Foundations for Unshakable Joy™ video training series and learn the unexpected trick to transforming your life with one single question!

Connect with Stephenie on Facebook and Twitter!

For more by Stephenie Zamora, click here.

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Health and Fitness – The Huffington Post
60 Creative Ways To Spice Up Chicken Breasts
Despite being packed with protein (which helps our bodies build and repair tissue and keeps us feeling full longer) and versatile in the kitchen, chicken breasts often get knocked for being boring, tasteless or just plain not good. But we guarantee that these 60 delicious recipes from around the web will breathe new life into the not-so-hallowed bird.

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Health and Fitness – The Huffington Post
New Jenny Craig Program Effective Against Type 2 Diabetes, Study Shows
A new kind of Jenny Craig diet formulated specifically to help people manage their Type 2 diabetes has demonstrated its effectiveness in a new clinical trial — so much so, that the commercial weight-loss company launched a new program based on the study’s findings.

In general, participants who joined a Jenny Craig program lost more than three times as much weight as the control group, and 72 percent of the participants who were taking insulin to manage their condition were able to either stop taking it or reduce the dose, compared with just 8 percent of the control group.

But participants on the specially formulated Jenny Craig program for Type 2 diabetes were more successful at bringing down their blood sugar levels than those on the already-available Jenny Craig program.

“What’s nice about a clinical trial like this is that all my colleagues who have patients struggling with diabetes can know there are community-based programs that are healthy” to recommend, the study’s lead researcher Cheryl Rock, Ph.D., R.D., a professor of preventive medicine at UC San Diego Medical School, told The Huffington Post.

The study, funded by Jenny Craig, was published Wednesday in the American Diabetes Associations’ journal Diabetes Care. Diabetes affects 25.8 million Americans, according to the American Diabetes Association, and up to 95 percent of those cases are Type 2 diabetes. Left untreated, both forms of diabetes can cause blindness, kidney failure, hearing loss and lower-limb amputation, as well as increase the risk for heart disease.

All 227 study participants were either overweight or obese and had Type 2 diabetes. Researchers randomly divided them into three groups: the control group, the Jenny Craig program, or the Jenny Craig lower-carb program that was targeted toward people with Type 2 diabetes.

The control group received “usual care,” or the amount of medical attention a doctor would normally be able to prescribe for a patient with diabetes. This included two weight-loss counseling sessions, time with a dietitian, advice about exercise and general information about diabetes care. Researchers also checked in with them monthly.

The other two groups were put on free Jenny Craig programs, which included weekly diet and exercise counseling, as well as the company’s prepackaged foods and a menu plan. The prepackaged foods plan, which at first provided participants with three meals and three snacks every day, tapered off as the months went on. By the end of the year, those who completed the study were down to just one meal and one snack a day, if they desired.

The only difference between the two Jenny Craig groups was that one group was put on the specially formulated plan for Type 2 diabetes — a plan with higher dietary fat and lower carbohydrates than the usual menu. In the Type 2 diabetes plan, 45 percent of calories came from carbohydrates, while the typical Jenny Craig plan drew 60 percent from carbohydrates.

After 12 months, both Jenny Craig groups were much more successful than the control group at losing weight, shedding an average of 8.6 percent of their starting body weight (the control group lost just 2.5 percent). Both Jenny Craig groups were also more successful at keeping their blood sugar levels steady and lowering levels of triglycerides, which is fat in the blood that is linked to insulin resistance.

However, the lower-carb Jenny Craig group was slightly more successful at bringing down levels of HbA1c, a form of hemoglobin that rises when sugar in the blood rises. Throughout the course of the year, levels for the lower-carb group went from 7.3 percent to 6.6 percent, while the higher-carb group went from 7.5 percent to just 7.2 percent. Diabetes experts say HbA1c levels should optimally be under 7 percent.

That doesn’t surprise nutrition professor Frank Hu, M.D., Ph.D. of the Harvard School of Public Health. Hu wasn’t involved in the study, but he reviewed its findings and said they reaffirm previous research showing that a lower-carb diet is better for people who are trying to control diabetes. However, the Jenny Craig lower-carb plan is not to be confused with the popular protein-heavy Atkins diet, which draws as few as 20 percent of calories from carbohydrates. And to Hu, that’s a good thing.

“[The Jenny Craig plan] was a moderately low carb diet,” said Hu. “It’s probably more acceptable to more patients and it may also improve their long-term adherence.”

The study also reaffirms research that shows a structured program is better for people who want to lose weight.

“I think the important message from this study is that there is a need for structured program for weight loss,” said Hu. “Simply telling the patient to lose weight and eat better is not going to work. It doesn’t have to be Jenny Craig — it could be other commercial programs.”

However, study participants received Jenny Craig meals and counseling for free, which to Hu is the study’s biggest limitation.

“In a real-world situation without free meals, the question is whether these people can have the same weight loss and improvement in diabetes,” said Hu. “That’s not what’s studied in this report.”

Rock pushed back on Hu’s criticism, noting that the study was a clinical trial much like the proof-of-principle studies that researchers use to test medicine.

“In drug studies when we test effective medications, the medications are provided free of charge too,” Rock said. “But at the end of every drug trial, we don’t say, ‘Well gee, this doesn’t necessarily show the real world because people would have to buy their own medications and take them regularly.'”

To address the issue of the cost of Jenny Craig products and services, which she valued at $12 to $18 per day, Rock guessed that subjects would be spending that amount of money on their regular food anyway.

“In the real world, food isn’t free under any circumstance,” said Rock. Money spent on a Jenny Craig program, she said, would simply replace the money that participants might otherwise spend on “buckets of fried chicken and ice cream bars.”

As for when the Jenny Craig for Type 2 diabetes program will be available to the masses, more information on that is still to come.

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Health and Fitness – The Huffington Post
How Financial Incentives Could Help Pregnant Women To Stop Smoking
A researcher who showed that financial incentives could push cocaine users to stay clean is trying out the same method on pregnant women who can’t stop smoking.

Stephen Higgins, Ph.D., a psychiatry professor at the University of Vermont and director at the Vermont Center on Behavior and Health, was the first to experiment in the late 1980s with giving cocaine users a retail voucher every time their urine sample tested negative for cocaine. Now, in a study published online this month in the journal Preventive Medicine, Higgins demonstrates that vouchers in escalating amounts for pregnant smokers more than doubled smoking abstinence rates during pregnancy and were associated with better fetal growth.

“Obstetricians are just pulling their hair out over what to do with this problem” of maternal smoking, Higgins told The Huffington Post. “Almost everybody knows that you shouldn’t be smoking while pregnant, yet these women kept smoking.”

The children of women who smoke while pregnant face higher risks of premature birth, low birth weight, cleft palate, asthma and sudden infant death syndrome, just to name a few.

Higgins’ study involved 118 pregnant smokers from Burlington, Vt. He divided them into three groups. The first received vouchers no matter what they did. The second group received vouchers in escalating amounts if they continued to refrain from smoking, which was verified with breath and urine tests. The third group were also financially rewarded for refraining from smoking, but they received the largest voucher amounts early on — the theory being that quitting smoking earlier has the biggest payoff for the fetus and is also the most likely predictor for abstinence over the duration of the pregnancy.

The study showed that both of the groups who were given incentives to quit smoking were more than twice as successful at quitting as the control group who received vouchers no matter what.

Ultrasound tests conducted throughout the pregnancies also found that babies born to the group who received escalating incentives (starting at $6.25) grew more than babies born to the control group. However, babies born to the women who had received the largest voucher amount upfront ($296.25) showed no difference in growth rates from babies born to the control group.

In total, a study participant had the potential to earn $1,180 over the course of her pregnancy. On average, participants in both groups given incentives earned $450 each. By comparison, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that neonatal health care costs linked to maternal smoking in the U.S. cost about $366 million per year, or $740 per pregnant smoker. The financial argument seems like it could be a compelling one for federal and state health care plans that often subsidize the health care costs of women most likely to continue smoking during pregnancy: young, unwed, socioeconomically disadvantaged and more likely to have only a high school education or less.

“One of the implications of my study is, why don’t we think about using that money for this kind of incentive approach to keep the women from smoking and to keep the babies from in utero smoke exposure,” said Higgins.

Some states are experimenting with it now. In 2013, Wisconsin smokers who wanted to quit during pregnancy may have been eligible for a state study that offered them cash to quit. This year Oregon launched a similar program. Both states cited a desire to cut down on the rates of premature and underweight births.

The participants in Higgins’ study were all white women from a rural area, so more research needs to be done to test the effectiveness of anti-smoking incentives in other parts of the U.S. But based on his experiments with cocaine abstinence incentives, Higgins predicts that further studies would verify, not complicate, his findings.

“The early cocaine studies were done in Vermont with an exclusively Caucasian population, and then similar studies were done in Baltimore and Los Angeles, primarily with African-American populations,” explained Higgins. “We got the same results.”

More than half of female smokers (54 percent) quit smoking cigarettes when they find out they are pregnant, according to 2010 CDC data from 27 states. But that means the rest of them, almost 11 percent of all pregnant women, reported smoking cigarettes during the last three months of pregnancy.

According to Higgins, the most effective way to “lure” these pregnant smokers into abstinence is by offering larger financial incentives.

“How much matters a lot,” he said. “When you do incentive programs, you’ve got to offer a meaningful amount or you don’t get a response. And you usually get a better response with still larger amounts.”

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Health and Fitness – The Huffington Post
Ever Wonder How They Test Marijuana For Safety? (VIDEO)
As marijuana goes mainstream in the U.S., people are asking new questions about weed. What makes some marijuana especially potent, for example, and how can marijuana be regulated to make sure legal weed doesn’t send them on a bad trip?

For answers to those and other burning questions about the chemistry of cannabis, have a look at the new video (above) issued by the American Chemistry Society as part of its Reactions You Tube channel. The video explains how marijuana’s active ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), affects the brain, and how the marijuana-testing labs now springing up across the country test pot for safety and quality control.

To learn all the tricks of the trade in marijuana labs, check out the video.

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GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Our Future Depends on Spirituality and Science Working Together
It’s commonly accepted that science and spirituality are not compatible. Science is considered our reliable way forward, while spirituality often regarded as a sentimental relic of our past we can’t quite let go of. So to say it is necessary for the two to work together may seem unrealistic. For centuries, science has led our progress; spirituality, as indicated through participation in orthodox religion has been in steady decline. But the unorganized, personal aspect of spirituality is the subjective pursuit of value, reality, and understanding through individual experience or consciousness. This aspect of spirituality has not declined. Instead, the drive to find external solutions to global problems that have value to our interior world is more powerful than ever. The scale of our planet’s problems is too great to be solved without an integrated approach of science and spirituality. The power of consciousness needs the systemization of the scientific method, and the tools of science depend on the wisdom and creativity of individual consciousness to guide it in a meaningful direction.

More and more scientists are recognizing this need — in part because fundamental science has come to a place where the ultimate questions of matter and creation cannot be understood unless consciousness is accounted for and factored in. Consciousness may well be the common ground on which the objective and subjective worlds are derived and united. With this vision, scientists have begun to meet and discuss solutions to global issues of health, hunger, conflict resolution, climate change, and economic injustice from a perspective that joins science and spirituality.

The Sages and Scientists Symposium sponsored by the Chopra Foundation is just one of these gatherings and it will be held August 22-24, 2014 in Carlsbad California. It will bring together not only eminent scientists but also leading lights in spirituality based in the development of consciousness. Spirituality is rooted in the idea that a transcendent reality exists beyond the external realm of the senses. This is pure consciousness, the source of the subjective world or the mind as well the objective world of matter.

But the symposium talks are not focused on abstract questions of what preceded the Big Bang, or what is the nature of dark matter. Presentations are aimed at finding practical solutions for pressing issues like Alzheimer’s, clean water, obesity, women’s rights, hunger, and diabetes. Our future depends on the concerted effort of science and spirituality working together, because separately, neither has been up to the monumental task. Science works fine in everyday affairs without dealing with spirituality. And on the other side, spirituality can continue serving people’s spiritual needs as they go through their individual insights, crises and awakenings. However, unless the two views join forces, we won’t be using our full human capability to solve problems. Such a comprehensive human effort is precisely what global solutions require. Beyond providing a platform for addressing humanity’s problems, the joint efforts of science and spirituality promises to be the foundation for the next evolutionary leap in human potential.

www.choprafoundation.org

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Stress News — ScienceDaily
Life stressors trigger neurological disorders, researchers find
When mothers are exposed to trauma, illness, alcohol or other drug abuse, these stressors may activate a single molecular trigger in brain cells that can go awry and activate conditions such as schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder and some forms of autism. Until now, it has been unclear how much these stressors have impacted the cells of a developing brain. Past studies have shown that when an expectant mother exposes herself to alcohol or drug abuse or she experiences some trauma or illness, her baby may later develop a psychiatric disorder later in life. But the new findings identify a molecular mechanism in the prenatal brain that may help explain how cells go awry when exposed to certain environmental conditions.

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