Saturday, May 28, 2016

4 Things that Can Secretly Raise Insulin Levels

For anyone trying to lose weight or prevent diabetes, low insulin levels are critical. The dance between blood sugar and insulin has been discussed by many diet gurus who have usually reached a consensus on this hormone’s connection to weight loss. The main course of action that people take to lower insulin involves drastically cutting carbohydrate consumption (sometimes to less than 20 grams a day!). While such a dietary approach is severe and restrictive, the effort spent on a low-carb diet can be wasted if extraneous factors are causing elevated insulin levels. Here is a list of four things that raise insulin, and how to eliminate them.

Stress (Cortisol):
When a person is exposed to chronic stress, their adrenal glands release a constant stream of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol tells the liver to release sugar into the blood stream in preparation for fighting or fleeing, which then causes the pancreas to release insulin to bring blood sugar levels back down. When this happens on a constant basis, the elevated insulin stores fat from the food you take in. If you can’t eliminate the stress from your job, try yoga, Pilates, or breathing exercises; these have a definite calming effect on the central nervous system.

Artificial Sweeteners:
People think that by replacing sugar with Splenda and Sweet’n’Low they will be able to curb insulin levels. Many studies, however, have found the hormonal response to both sweeteners to be similar (if not the same). In addition to raised insulin, artificial sweeteners have been linked to chronic, degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Cancer. So, if you must use a sweetener, go with the real thing. Even though you’ll still get releases of insulin, you will avoid a host of toxic, carcinogenic chemicals present in fake sugars.

Chewing Gum:
In addition to the artificial sweeteners present in most brands of chewing gum, the simple act of constant chewing may cause insulin levels to rise. This is due to the constant release of saliva from the mouth’s salivary glands. The body is expecting to receive food and nutrients, so it releases insulin in anticipation of the digestive work it must perform. This backfires when no food enters the stomach and insulin levels stay up.

Caffeine:
Caffeine is known to spike insulin even when taken black or unsweetened. This may have to do with its stimulating effects on the nervous system, which causes stress and initiates the release of cortisol. There are also many toxic compounds in coffee itself, which overtaxes the liver. Be sure to limit coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate (which contains some caffeine) to a few cups/ounces per day to keep insulin levels in check.

Though these factors to effect the insulin levels of everyone equally, they are important things to consider when attempting to lose weight and maintain health.

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4 Tips for Applying for a Customer Service Job

Customer service jobs aren’t really the most sought-after jobs in the world, but they’re steady work, very stable, and they can provide a certain sense of satisfaction when you’re able to actually help someone out. If you’re applying for a customer service job, here are a few things to keep in mind that can maximize your chances of landing the job.

1. Most companies are looking for someone optimistic. They realize that customers enjoy talking to happy CSRs, and they’ll hire to that strength, so be optimistic when attending the interview. You don’t have to be ridiculously effervescent, just try to appear confident, relaxed, and smile a lot. Focus on your body language; sit up straight, look at the person talking to you, and don’t do anything that might be seen as disrespectful or unprofessional.

2. Be prepared for high-stress questions. Customer service jobs can be extremely stressful, and often potential employers will want to see how an interviewee reacts to stressful situations. Naturally, the best way to do this is to create a stressful situation, which they’ll do by asking tough questions such as “why should we hire you?” or “what made you think that you’re qualified for this position?” Handle the questions gracefully and tactfully, and don’t get offended if they sound insulting. Remember, customers are often abrasive, and they’re trying to get a reaction from you. You’ll score big points by keeping your cool.

3. Be prepared for questions about angry customers. Anybody can take a phone call from a happy client, but great customer service professionals can deal with angry clients with grace and tact. If you’ve had other jobs in customer service, talk about a time where you’d dealt with an angry customer. Be careful not to say anything bad about your previous employer or the angry customer, but explain what the situation was and how you’d dealt with it. If you show excitement at the prospect of dealing with angry customers, you’ll stick out, and your chances of getting the job will be fairly high.

4. Know about the company. Try to find out exactly what you’ll be doing if you’re hired. This makes it easier to tailor your questions and give your potential employer the answers that they want to hear. Find out whether you’ll be dealing with customers that contact the company or whether you’ll be making cold calls, find out what their expectations on follow up are, and if possible, speak to an employee before you speak to the interviewer. You’ll be more confident and the interview will be much stronger.

Do you have any tips or stories about applying for a customer service job? Post in the comments section below.

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4 Things Working-Dads Should Know About Stay-at-Home Moms

I love my husband. Really I do, but the fact that he goes to work every day and I stay home with the kids has created a drastic difference in perspective between us. Many a late-night arguments have spurred from his inability to relate to what being a “housewife,” is like. Someday, once I’ve finished school we plan to switch places, but until then, there are a few facts he and other work-dads should know about the daily lives of their loving wives.

My job doesn’t have breaks, lunches, or a clock-off time.

I appreciate beyond measure that my husband works and brings home the money to buy the bacon we all so love, however, it’s important that working dad’s recognize that just because moms don’t get pay-checks or overtime doesn’t mean they aren’t working. On top of the career choice of stay-at-home mom being a lot of work, we also don’t get to clock-off. There is no “quittin’ time.” I try to avoid the mindset that motherhood is a never ending job, but it’s the truth, and that can be exhausting.

Sometimes I need help.

I realize that at work a working-dad usually doesn’t get to say, “Hey, I didn’t get this done today because *this* took too long, can someone else do it?” but at work, you have co-workers. Most moms try pretty damn hard to do it all, but reality deems sometimes they’ll fail. Sometimes they’ll need your help. Sometimes you may have to do some dishes, or cook dinner. In that instance, don’t be bitter or disappointed, making your wife feel like a failure isn’t going to motivate her.

It’s not my job.

OK, I see the contradiction there from point one to point three. Hear me out though; taking care of the children is my job. Keeping the house functional and clean is my job. Being your maid at your every beckon call is NOT my job. For example, guys, if you need clean undies, it’s not your wife’s job to jump up and wash them. Your hands are not broken and you know where the washer is. Whether your wife often does certain things or not, there is no rule that says you can’t do it every now and then.

I’m a partner not an employee.

Finally, as if to wrap all three points in a pretty little package, your wife is not your employee. You don’t get to be mad if she doesn’t get all her work done. You don’t get to give her work orders. You don’t get to set her hours because you want to “go to bed” *wink, wink*. In all of the above, either does she. Motherhood is a job with no boss, a long list of responsibilities, and crappy pay, but great benefits. I’m sure that being a working-dad comes with a long list of things stay-at-home moms should know as well. All around a little empathy goes a long way.

You may also enjoy:

Addressing Stay-at-home Mom Stereotypes

My Partner Doesn’t Like My Parenting: What Now?

Balancing Time in a Relationship with Kids

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4 Tips for College Music Gigs

Gigs at colleges are like manna from heaven for musicians. They almost always pay extremely well, they’re well-attended, and they don’t tend to be very long–they’re basically the ideal show. There are a few things for your band or solo project to keep in mind, though.

Here are a few tips for playing a show at a college, whether you’re in a band or solo.

1. Read paperwork carefully. There are often quite a list of rules in there which vary greatly from college to college, so you don’t want to miss anything. For example, the contract may specify that vulgarity isn’t allowed at the college, which could save you from a big voided paycheck later on. If this clause is in there, by the way, make sure to find out what constitutes vulgarity. It’ll let you know your limits and make the student activities administrator incredibly uncomfortable. There will also be payment information, which, again, you should read carefully to find out whether your check will be sent to you or whether you need to pick it up (it’s usually not going to be available at the actual college gig).

2. Ask about merchandise. Many colleges won’t let you sell merchandise unless you set something up beforehand, and they’ll usually want a cut of your profits (standard is around 20%). My advice would be to take it–it’s better than selling no merchandise, and you may be surprised at how much stuff you sell when playing on a campus. Be sure to report your sales accurately to the college, and ask if there are certain types of merchandise that the college commission doesn’t apply to.

3. Scout the location you’re playing. Try to go there at the same approximate time of day or night that you’ve been booked for. Get a sense of what the crowd’s like, and try to figure out what they’d react to. If nobody’s showing up at all, you’ll know that you need to promote extra hard. If another band performs and you see them do poorly, you can figure out how to play differently so that your set is better received.

4. Soldier through the show. It may be great; you may make a lot of fans and sell a lot of merchandise. Many college gigs can feel bad at the time, though. College students may be in a rush or simply not in the mood to appear attentive. Play as strongly as you’d play any other show. If you don’t make any converts, you’ll at least get the money from the gig, and if you do, it’ll be because you played strongly, not because you wimped out at a lack of attention and didn’t give the show your best.

Do you have any other tips for college music gigs? Post in the comments section below.

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4 Tips for Getting More Fans on Your Band's Facebook Page

Facebook’s newly-updated band pages offer a lot of stuff for the indie bands that use the popular social networking service, including Events, the ability to upload music, and even discographies. None of this really helps your band, though, if there’s nobody viewing your Facebook page in the first place. Here are a few tips for getting more traffic (and more fans) for your band’s Facebook page.

1. Suggest your page to fans. When your band’s page is set up, suggest it to fans–the suggestion button is in the left hand corner of your band’s page, and clicking it brings up a listing of all of your friends. Click them to invite them. When my band’s Facebook page was first set up, we “suggested” our band to everyone we knew, and immediately saw huge traffic gains and even some more sales. It’s a good, simple place to start, and you can even ask your friends to “suggest” your band to people that you don’t know to keep the viral effect going.

2. Try a Facebook ad. Facebook ads can work when they push people towards action–having a simple ad with an eye-catching picture that redirects to your band’s web page and says something like “listen to the band without leaving this site” will get you some clicks, and hopefully a few fans. Remember that with Facebook ads, you don’t actually pay unless you get clicks, so you can set a low budget for an ad campaign and watch carefully to see whether Facebook ads will work for your band before deciding to invest a lot of your band’s funds into the project.

3. Tell fans at shows about your Facebook page. One of the big advantages of Facebook is that these days, nearly everyone has an account, so you’re actually more likely to get hits by advertising your Facebook page at shows than by advertising your band’s website. Make a point to mention the Facebook page on stage, and then later mention it when talking to people at the show. Give them a card or other cheap piece of merch with your band’s name on it, and tell them to simply search for you on Facebook.

4. Don’t go too nuts with the updates. If you send out updates to your fans every day from your band’s Facebook page, you may actually lose a few–people don’t like to be annoyed, after all. Be conservative, and only use updates when you’ve got some interesting news about your band. Localize updates when promoting shows to avoid bothering people that won’t have a chance to make it to your next event.

Do you have any other tips for getting more fans on a band Facebook page? Post in the comments section below.

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4 Tips for New Entrepreneurs - How to Start a Business Successfully

Are you considering becoming an entrepreneur and opening your own business? Well, if you are, there is no better time than right now. “Why” you ask? Well, in the last decade, technology has opened more doors and helped many new entrepreneurs get their business off the ground. In 2010, as an entrepreneur, there is a plethora of information available to you, which then allows you to make more intelligent decisions. Don’t get discouraged about not having a BIG corporation. In fact, you have an advantage because you have less regulations to worry about, a smaller customer base which allows for closer relationships, and you don’t have the expenses of a big business.

Although being an entrepreneur gives you a lot of freedom, and allows you to have an unlimited income. An entrepreneur must be able to look at the bigger picture to make sure their business is long-term. In this article, I’m going to cover 4 tips that each entrepreneur should take to heart when considering your own business.

1. Keep Your Day Job.

When first starting out, I would recommend only working part-time on your new business. I say this because most businesses take about 6 months to a year to get off the ground. Therefore, you should keep your day job. The last thing you want to happen is to quit your day job in hopes of having an overnight success only to be disappointed and not be able to pay the bills.

2. Find Your Niche.

Specialize, specialize and specialize some more. You might be saying “Brian, what do you mean specialize?” Well, these days’ people are looking for a specific answer to their specific problem. That being said, it is up to you to do research into the market you wish to compete in and give your potential customers what they are looking for. The more specific you can get to your niche, the better.

3. Have an Online Presence.

In 2010, it’s all about having exposure online. Even if you don’t plan to have an online business, it’s still important to mark your territory online. Once you can create an online presence, you free yourself from the limitations of the physical world. That means people from all over the world will be able to find you once you stake your claim online.

4. Never Give Up.

Never, never, never give up. Even when things aren’t going as you planned. Most people have seen the movie “Rocky” but what most people don’t know, is that before “Rocky” was made Sylvester Stallone was nearly homeless. In fact, he was so poor that he would go to the libraries in the winter just to keep warm. Not only that, when he took the “Rocky” script down to the producers they said that if he acted in the movie it would be a flop. Well, what did Sylvester Stallone do? He refused to give the producers the script until they came to a deal and allowed him to play Rocky. So what is the point of this story? Well, when the producers told Sylvester Stallone that his film would be a flop if he was rocky he refused to give up and it turned out that “Rocky” ended up grossing over two hundred million dollars. So at the end of the day, don’t give up keep your head up when things don’t go your way, and follow through on what you start because you never know where it’s going to take you.

So, if you are considering becoming an entrepreneur and you remember these 4 tips, and use them I promise it will be much easier to grow your business into a long-term lucrative adventure.

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