Buckwheat Pillows – Do they really work?

Are you thinking of buying a buckwheat pillow? Here are some pros and cons to consider.


Buckwheat pillows are made by stuffing natural buckwheat hulls rather than poly fiber filling, foam or feathers. They have become popular due to their positive beneficial effects on sleep.

Improved Sleep & Better Sleeping Posture
Buckwheat pillows are said to provide better support for the neck and head due to their firmness which provides for a better sleeping posture. The amount of buckwheat hulls is usually adjustable to meet each individual’s preferences.  These make them ideal for those who suffer from neck stress and back pain.

Reduces Muscle Tension

Having enough support for the neck and head aids in helping the neck and back muscles to relax. Additionally, they also reduce muscle tension thus obliterating neck and back pain. Buckwheat pillows have also been known to reduce tension headaches and stress throughout the body.

Reduces Snoring
Again having good support of the neck and head is key in preventing bad sleeping postures and provides proper breathing thus reducing snoring.

Improved Air Circulation
Due to the air spaces between the buckwheat hulls, it encourages air to pass through the pillow thus keep the head cool. Therefore, it provides a more comfortable sleep in hot and humid weather.

Long Lasting

The average buckwheat pillow lasts for around 10 years if maintained properly. If some of the hulls falls out, all you have to do is replace it. This allows you to replace and replenish for many years to come.

Improve your sleeping posture with Buckwheat Pillow


Buckwheat pillows are considerably hard to find compared to other pillow types.

Buckwheat pillows are harder than normal pillows so it might take some time to get used to it. After that the comfort sets in and you will be able to enjoy a good night’s sleep.

There is slight rustling sound when you move your head on the pillow, this might be a turn off for some people. It is recommended to test the pillow at the store first and make sure you are comfortable with the sound.

The buckwheat hulls may have a slight odor that might be uncomfortable for some people. It is recommended to sun your pillow weekly to get rid of the smell.

The buckwheat hulls cannot be washed as they will be destroyed once they get wet. You can only wash the pillow cover.

Cheap, low quality buckwheat pillows may contain uncleaned buckwheat hulls, which may attract bugs. Make sure to buy only from reputable suppliers.

How to clean your Buckwheat Pillow

  1. Remove the hulls from the pillow cover.
  2. Spread the hulls out and let it sun for a few hours.
  3. Meanwhile, wash the pillow case.
  4. Place the buckwheat hulls back in.

Food Freezing Tips: How Long Can You Store Meals in Your Freezer?

Food Freezing Tips: How Long Can You Store Meals in Your Freezer?

Food Freezing Tips: How Long Can You Store Meals in Your Freezer?

The following infographic is created as a guide to help you figure out how long you can keep your food products in the freezer. Keep it on your fridge or freezer for quick reference when planning meals.

Food preservation in cold temperatures has been practiced since the early days of mankind, although not as effortlessly as today when we have powerful freezers, polythene bags and plastic containers, freezer labels and other utensils that help us better preserve food. We also have the knowledge of how to do it properly.

To make sure defrosted food is as fresh, nutritious and tasty as before freezing it, there are certain rules to follow. For example:

  • Food should always be frozen at the peak of its ripeness/freshness;
  • Some types of food do not freeze well, such as eggs in shell or potatoes;
  • Liquids expand in cold temps, so it’s important to leave enough room in the container when freezing beverages, etc.

Most importantly, we must know how long we can keep each type of food in the freezer before it loses its taste or even becomes unsafe to eat (if air gets in).

Cat Therapy

Hi guys, i just came across this cute infographic on cats to share. Having a pet as a companion offers therapeutic, emotional and mental benefits. How many of you own a cat (or cats)?

All about cats

Image Source: RIA Novosti

Staying Hydrated in the Heat. Myths About Drinking Water You Should Know.

orange is dropped into water splash on white

Think you know how much water you need to drink everyday? Here’s some information i have read about on Yahoo! Health which i would like to share with you. Check out some of the myths about hydration. 

Do you know which are true and which are false? We  drink water everyday, knowing which is which is important since it can affect our performance.

Weight Loss Advise From The 1920s

A  quick read article from Reader’s Digest about weight loss advise in the 1920’s as compared to today. It seems that some of the advise still holds true till today!  An article full of diet tips that are surprisingly forward-thinking – along with others that are woefully outdated. Here, key weight-loss lessons we can all re-learn.

View article

A Pain in the Foot: Foot Cramps

How flip flops mess with your feet

Many of us have suffered from foot cramps at some point in our lives. And since our feet have to support our body weight, foot cramps are more common as compared to other muscle spasms. Foot cramps is more common amongst the elderly and sports persons. Other triggers include nutritional deficiency, loss of muscle-tone and muscular weakness.

Foot cramps is an involuntary jerky spasm which can affect a group of muscle or a muscle which can last for a few seconds to a few minutes. The pain you feel is caused by the contraction of the muscle without effectively shortening. This condition can leave your muscles very sore even after the pain is gone.

Which parts of the feet is affected?

The inner-arch of your foot & your toes especially the big one is way more prone to spasm. Other parts which are affected include the calf muscle muscles & the thigh. And in most cases you will notice that this condition causes palpable or visible hardening of all the involved muscles.

Causes of foot cramps 

1. Hyper-flexible joints or flat feet
2. An inactive lifestyle which results in muscle weakness & obesity
3. Lack of exercise (muscle stretching workouts)
4. A rapid increase in workout intensity which raises the pressure on your foot
5. Reduction in calcium blood content caused by an increase in breathing while doing some cardio workouts
6. An injury (caused by some repetitive movements)
7. Worn-out shoes

Disorders causing foot cramps

  1. Nutrient deficiency
    Spasm occurs when your body lacks various essential minerals & vitamins like vitamin D. And this can be corrected by consumption of the right quantity of vitamins. An electrolyte imbalance caused by low potassium & calcium levels and low magnesium levels can trigger cramps. Potassium imbalance can affect calcium and magnesium metabolism which is crucial in muscle contraction.
  2. Disorders
    Foot issues like plantar fasciitis can cause spasm. Diabetics experience cramps because of reduced oxygen supply to their feet. Illnesses like huntington’s & parkinson’s diseases, tetanus, thyroid issues, diseases of your nervous system and multiple sclerosis can also trigger spasm. When impulses from the brain don’t reach their target, they can cause various pinched nerve illnesses like pain, tingling and cramp.
  3. Reduced blood circulation
    Reduced blood circulation in your feet can cause cramping and pain. Inadequate oxygen supply caused by reduced blood supply in the feet results in spasm commonly noted in smokers and alcoholics.
  4. Inadequate hydration
    Many are unaware that dehydration can cause spasms. It is important to drink enough water everyday. And if you drink alcohol or smoke, make sure to reduce your consumption. This also applies to coffee drinkers. As coffee can dehydrate our bodies.

Foot cramps remedies

To help relieve the excessive stretch of the muscle make sure you move the region which is cramped to the opposite direction of the spasm. Tune your toes upwards to relieve the spasm in your toes. If the cramp is in your calf, a simple dorsiflexion (elevating your forefoot while maintaining your heel stable) should help relieve the pain within a few seconds. Applying ice-packs can also help during the acute stage. But if it persists for over 24 hours, a warm-water treatment might help with the soreness. Massaging can also help.

Preventing foot cramps

1. Proper cool downs and warm-ups before working out
2. Do stretching workouts to raise your muscle strength
3. Uses proper workout equipment or sports gear
4. Adequate hydration
5. Eat food with lots of potassium and calcium like bananas, milk, yogurt, cheese, fish, fresh veggies and dark chocolate
6. Wear comfortable, well-fitted shoes

If you are standing throughout the day then you already know the cause of the spasm, it’s fatigue. Make sure to cushion your shoes, if your job involves standing or walking for long  hours. This will help to ease the strain & stress on your feet.

Tips to stop foot cramp fast

  • Pull the toes upward (if toes are cramping).
  • If you have a cramp in just one foot, put all of your body weight on that foot for a few seconds. Keep the opposite foot raised, not touching the ground.
  • If you are wearing closed-toed shoes or socks, remove them and let your feet stretch for a few minutes.
  • Flex your toes, raise the foot that has the cramp, and support it using only your heel. Gently wiggle your toes and repeat this until the pain subsides.
  • Move your toes back and forth, and if it continues to ache, use your fingers to pull them gently.
  • To prevent future cramping and pain, go for a walk as soon as you recover from the cramp.
  • If these spasms continue for several minutes, you can apply heat to the area using a warm, damp cloth.
  • Use acupressure to alleviate the cramp by using your thumb and index finger to press on your upper lip for about 30 seconds.
  • Another acupressure point that can provide relief in seconds is the spot located between your big toe and the toe next to it. Apply pressure for 30 to 40 seconds.


Image source

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Does Cooking Affect the Glycemic Index of Foods?

pan fried eggs

The glycemic index (GI) provides a measure of how fast and how high a particular food can raise our blood glucose level. A food with a low GI usually means it causes a moderate rise in blood glucose, while foods with a high GI causes blood glucose levels to increase above favorable levels.

Fats and fibers are able to lower the GI of foods. Generally, the more cooked or processed food is, the higher the GI, but it can vary due to certain factors.

The following are a few examples:

Ripeness – Fruits and vegetable that are riper tend to have higher GI levels.
Processing – Taking whole fruits instead of juices, baked potatoes instead of mashed potatoes, both can help to prevent the GI from rising. Cooking methods – For example, how long the food is cooked. The less cooked the food is, the lower the GI.

Cooking Methods that Raises Glycemic Index
Changes in blood glucose levels after a meal are determined by the ratio of dietary carbohydrate and digestive enzymes, and the presence of other dietary factors, like fats and fibers, which are able to slow down carbohydrate digestion. Cooking methods that add heat to a grain or breaks apart a grain will increase the GI as it makes the dietary carbohydrates available for digestive enzymes.

Cooking Methods that Lower Glycemic Index
Adding fats and fibers into your diet will be able to slow down carbohydrate digestion and absorption, thus lowering GI. For instance, sautéing potatoes in olive oil will lower the GI as it adds fats and to the starchy potatoes carbohydrate. Slow-cooking methods, such as baking and steaming will result in a lower GI levels when compared against boiling and microwaving. Retaining the potato’s skin will add some fiber which then lowers the impact of the potato starch on blood glucose levels.

Taking in mind, no matter what sort of cooking methods used, some dietary carbohydrates, such as potatoes and grains, tend to have higher GI than others. The GI of any food is directly linked to your body’s ability to digest and absorb carbohydrates. These numbers will vary according to the health situations of individuals. For example, those with diabetes. It would be better to talk to your dietitian before you start planning your diet.

  1. Don’t overcook your food
  2. Choose less processed and whole foods
  3. Choose foods with high soluble fibre content (like Apples, beans and oats)


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Functional Foods – Yes or No?

a drink at the beach

People’s motivations are complex. The only reason for purchasing a functional food over any other type of food would be the health benefits offered by the product. Functional foods by definition claim to have some added benefit, whether it may be an added ingredient or a part of another fruit or vegetable, which could have a positive effect on our health. Examples of functional foods would be the polyphenols and probiotics in fruits and yoghurt, or vitamin-enhanced foods (Functional Foods Research in ARS, the United States Department of Agriculture).

Naturally a person wanting to take better care of their body would be attracted to that product and decides to buy it. If I’m feeling bloated or constipated, I might be persuaded to buy an often-advertised yoghurt that claims to reduce these uncomfortable feelings. This is an example of a personal factor or a person’s consumer behavior being influenced by the availability of a product offering added benefits. But is this the only reason for choosing one type of product over another?

Pearson et. al in their paper ‘What we Know (and do not Know) About Consumers’ suggested that people may choose to get a certain product due to impressions of better quality and fashionability from the product. In terms of quality, the buyer does not just believe that the item will do what it advertises, but believes that it will do it better than any other brand.

In addition to this belief, there is also the reasoning that not all products are equal in terms of how much of the special ingredient they add. Those with some nutritional knowledge will know that the amount of ingredients used in different lines of the same product, change according to the brand. Therefore an ordinary apple may have just the right amount of cancer fighting nutrients, but it will be overlooked if the apple with ‘Enhanced!’, ‘Added!’, or ‘Extra!’ nutrients is on the shelf right next to it.

Some of us buy products just because they see other people doing so. These people are less likely to believe in the messages of salvation being preached by the foods they buy, but are nevertheless prejudiced by what is happening around them. Therefore a consumer will buy something just because everyone else is doing it, with the belief that if other people are buying it, then there must be some benefit to it!

So far, these functional foods affect consumer psychology in ways that are no different than any product. They seem to influence through belief and perception, fears about health and longevity and desires for quality and something to trust.

What we Know (and do not Know) About Consumers’, David Pearson, Joanna Henryks, and Hannah Jones – Functional Foods Research in ARS, the United States Department of Agriculture (www.ars.usda.gov)

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How To Fall Asleep Faster


Need to fall asleep now? Have an important meeting tomorrow? Here are some methods I use when I have trouble falling asleep at night. Perhaps it might help you too!

Listen to ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response). ASMR is the “weird head feeling” or “head tingles,” when you hear a certain sound. Here are some videos that have helped me sleep (remember not to turn the volume up too high):

If it doesn’t  work another alternative I use is White Noise to mask out other noises.
Out of all the 6 sounds, Grey Noise works for me.

Try relaxing sounds, like the sounds of the ocean and the sound of rain.

Make sure there‘s no light in your room, not even the light from your laptop or alarm clock. Place them where you can’t see them. Or if not place something to block out the lights.

Change sleeping position.
I usually sleep on my back. Lying on my sides does help some times.

Use aromatherapy.
The scent of Lavender works for me.

What methods do you use to fall asleep quicker?

Related articles:

ASMR, The Good Feeling No One Can Explain
Lavender – The Sweet Scent of Sleep
10 superfoods to help you sleep well