Assignment 1: Put the Soda Down
Dr. Oz is beginning a series of homework assignments for you—called Prescription America—that he says are critical to your health and the health of your loved ones.
Whether you call them "sodas," "pops," "tonics" or "soft drinks," Dr. Oz's first assignment for you is to cut these sugary drinks out of your life for two weeks.
"The entire obesity epidemic, according to all the long-term studies we've done, comes down to [consuming] 100 calories less in a day. That's it," he says. "Now a soft drink usually has about 160 calories. Plus, on average, you'll eat an extra 125 calories at the meal you're having with the soft drink. If you can just cut out that soft drink, then you're going to be able to lose an estimated 15 pounds over the course of a year."
Fortunately, Dr. Oz is allowing some substitution options. If you love the fizziness of soda, you can drink other nonsugary carbonated beverages. If you're addicted to the caffeine, try switching to coffee or green tea, which he says are much healthier options.
"We've got to break those habits that you've formed," Dr. Oz says, "to remind you what life should be like."
Assignment 2: Whole Grain Bread and Olive Oil
Dr. Oz's second assignment is a little snack before dinner that can make a big impact on your waistline.
For the next 14 days, Dr. Oz wants you to eat one slice of 100 percent whole grain bread lightly dipped in non-chemically processed extra virgin olive oil before every dinner. "[The bread has] B vitamins in it. It has fiber, which we've talked about is important for you," he says. "That's all good because it actually slows the movement of food through your stomach."
The olive oil, Dr. Oz says, is a healthy fat. "Remember, healthy fats are the ones that are liquid at room temperature in general, and olive oil has vitamin E in it," Dr. Oz says. "It's got all these cool little chemicals that work as antioxidants. If you combine them together, you're giving yourself wonderful nutrition to feed the liver."
Dr. Oz says this easy, yet powerful, combination will reduce the amount of food you'll eat at dinner and keep your fuller for longer amounts of time. "Dinner's our big meal where we make most of our mistakes," he says. These mistakes can lead to serious consequences, like heart attack or diabetes. Eating whole wheat bread and olive oil can reduce your risk for both, Dr. Oz says. "And you'll probably lose weight to boot."
Assignment 3: Take a Deep Breath
Now it's time for a "breather."
For the next two weeks, simply take 10 deep breaths in the morning and another 10 in the evening. "Lie on your back. Put one hand on your stomach and one hand on your chest. As you inhale, push your stomach way out to the count of five," Dr. Oz says. "After five seconds, a comfortable breath should be held and then slowly exhale—again, letting your stomach come down really pushing your stomach down till your belly button hits your spine."
Making this a regular habit has three great health benefits. It makes your lungs and blood vessels function better, it helps with stress relief and also helps with the drainage of your lymphatic system—the system that removes toxins from your body.
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