Winter Weather Wellness Tips

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It’s snowing…..again…..in our neck of the woods. Preventable injuries and accidents are common during inclement weather. Take a look at these recommendations and be safe!

1. Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack – a major cause of death in the winter. If you must shovel snow, stretch before going outside.
Keep dry.

2. Keep Dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.

3. Watch for signs of frostbite. These include loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, and the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately.

4. Conserve energy. Conserve fuel, if necessary, by keeping your residence cooler than normal. Temporarily close off heat to some rooms.

5. Stay Hydrated. Did you know dehydration happens just as easily in winter as in the heat of summer? As you move about in the cold, you may not be sweating, but water vapor is still being lost through your breath (that’s the steam you see streaming from your mouth in frigid temperatures.)
Winter can also accelerate dehydration because mammals have a survival mechanism that constricts blood vessels in cold weather, to conserve heat and maintain body temperature. Blood vessels shrinking increases blood pressure. To lower the pressure, your kidneys make more urine, meaning less blood to fill veins and arteries, more frequent trips to the bathroom and greater risk of dehydration. Stick to non caffeinated warm beverages and soups.

In good health,
Sarah

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Falling off the wagon.

It’s happened to somet-rex of us, especially around 8 weeks into a diet program. We promise “this time will be different”, “I can exercise every day” or “I will make this the year I make it happen” For some it is the year and you do exercise daily but for many, we slip up and fall off the wagon.

Finding out why we allow a slip to derail us is key to any goal we set out to achieve. Whether your goal is weight loss, fitness or any other lifestyle change, slip ups will happen. But how we react, adapt and take action is what sets the people that achieve their goals and the people that don’t.

Any lifestyle change is hard, hard work and stumbles and slip up should be looked at as a good thing not as a deal breaker. We are humans and not machines, mistake will happen, a lot. Learning from the mistake and avoiding them in the future is what the journey is all about.

If you fall off the wagon, don’t panic. One piece of cake should not be the undoing of days, weeks or months of hard work. Acknowledge the mistake, ask yourself was it worth it? Most of the time it’s not and eating when we are emotional, bored or mindless takes huge effort on our part to overcome.  But also be honest with yourself and allow yourself to indulge every now and again.

Once the mistake has been made, move on. Dwelling on the incident does nothing productive and in some cases can allow you to stay in a rut. Be done with it, kick it to the curb, walk away, I think you get the idea.

If you continue to struggle and if you are off the wagon more than you are on, consider a food journal. Writing down when you eat, your emotional state at the time, what you eat may show a pattern that you were not aware of and may prevent future mistakes. If you have a problem with talking yourself out of working out consider making a big workout calendar and post it on the fridge or bathroom mirror as a gentle reminder. If you do skip a workout, write out the reason on the calendar and be honest with the reason.

Finally, remember your goal. This weight loss wagon is taking you on a journey to a happier, healthier and more balanced lifestyle. Enjoy the ride!

Be Well,

Kristin

Goji Power!

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We all know how important antioxidants are for our well-being and for our general good health. In fact, antioxidants are most important for preventing diseases and even reducing our cancer risk. A superfood that does this job remarkably is the goji berry.

Goji berries are typically found in China and Europe. In traditional Chinese medicine, goji berries have been used in many medicinal preparations for thousands of years, proving its efficacy as a medicinal herb/plant.

Here’s a list of the benefits offered by this amazing berry which puts it right at the top of the list of superfoods.

Benefits
The benefits offered by Goji berries are numerous and a few studies have been conducted on human patients as part of research to determine the efficacy of these berries. However, here are some of the amazing benefits offered by the goji berries and going by the look of them, it’s no wonder they’ve become so popular on the health front.

As we all know, goji berries are rich in antioxidants, particularly carotenoids such as beta carotene and zeaxanthin. These carotenoids are greatly helpful in protecting the retina of the eye and improving eye sight. In fact, foods rich in zeaxanthin have been known to prevent loss of eyesight in people over the age of 65.

Goji berries are also a good choice when it comes to protecting the liver and kidneys.

One of the primary benefits of goji berries is that they help in boosting the immune system and help us stay healthy for longer.

The polysaccharides in goji berries works wonders with the pituitary gland and stimulates it to release HGH, the Human Growth Hormone. This is in fact the main hormone which controls others and can even reverse the effects of aging, making us look and feel younger.

Goji berries also have a high ORAC value which is extremely important in preventing oxidation and in preserving the cells thereby preventing aging.

Goji berries prevent fatigue and tiredness which are the most common by product of a busy and full life that most of us lead today. It also helps in relieving headaches and insomnia.

Health and fitness freaks consume goji berries regularly because they help greatly in weight loss and keep the body fit and young.

Research has shown that goji berries are exceedingly good to enhance fertility and improve sexual function, particularly in men.

Goji berries are known to improve circulation and help people live longer lives.

With their high vitamin and mineral content, goji berries reduce blood pressure and cholesterol. Some people claim that goji berries can even prevent cancer although this aspect still needs more verification.

Uses
The ways in which goji berries can be consumed are several. Since it is pretty much like raisins, it can be munched as a snack directly or from a trail mix that is available at most health stores. Many people are making goji berries a part of their lifestyle by incorporating it into their breakfast by using it as a topping for cereal instead of raisins. Some people also swear by goji juice and how beneficial it is. Health stores are full of variants of goji juice available in bottles and people can consume them as juice.

Goji berries are delicious and make a great snack. Some people also brew goji berry tea and drink it as it provides the same amount of benefits. In traditional Chinese medicine, goji berries can be added to soups or its liquid extracts are often prescribed to the patient. There are numerous other goji berry products available in health stores, such as goji berry powder etc.

There are numerous ways in which goji berries can be used but it’s always ideal to consult your healthcare provider if you fear that there could be some interaction with medicine that you’re taking.

In good health,
~ Sarah

References
http://www.goji-berry-benefits.com/health-benefits.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfberry
http://altmedicine.about.com/od/completeazindex/a/goji.htm
http://www.gojiberriesblog.com/

You Say Tomato, I Say Health!

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Tomatoes have so many uses. Made into soups, sandwiches, stews, and sauces, the tomato is more than just a fruit, it can be an essential ingredient to good health. Tomatoes are very rich in antioxidants, beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, flavonoids and carotenoids, especially lycopene. Lycopene is a substance which is naturally found in tomatoes. Not only does it give the tomato its bright red coloring, but it also protects the fruit from the effects of the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Considering how it protects the tomato, scientists conducted research which proved their theory that it can also protect the human body. Lycopene is concentrated in the prostate gland, and is used as a preventative against prostate cancer. It has also been shown to protect the body against mouth, lung, stomach, pancreas, bladder, colon, and rectal cancers.

Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant, in fact is it 100% more effective than the well-known free radical scavenger, Vitamin E. It is also 56% more powerful than beta-carotene, one of the ingredients which make carrots healthy. Antioxidants are known for their power to neutralize oxygen free radical molecules, which are the highly reactive and toxic by-products of biochemical reactions which occur during cell metabolism.

Exposure to smoking, pollutions, and other damaging influences of the environment can further aggravate this condition. We will have to contend with these free radicals for as long as we live. The impact that they have can be greatly reduced by antioxidants, which help minimize the damage that that is done when the number of free radicals in the body overwhelm its capacity to deal with them.

The bio-availability of this beneficial, fat-soluble carotenoid can be greatly improved when the tomato is cooked into a sauce. The levels of lycopene in both the blood cells and immune cells are raised when tomatoes are cooked. With that in mind, it is reasonable to say that even eating small amounts of the cooked tomato can help to protect the immune system. Oriental nutrition suggests that the tomato can do even more. The fruit is said to moisten the body by building the Yin fluids, which will relieve skin dryness and thirst. Tomatoes also strengthen the stomach, cleanse the liver, purify the blood, and remove toxins in the body according to this ancient nutritional knowledge.

 

Be Well,

Kristin

 

Sources:

  1. Page, N.D., L., Healthy Healing – a guide to self healing for everyone. Traditional Wisdom, Inc. 2002.
  2. Porrini, M., Effects of Processing on Bioavailability of the functional components in tomatoes.
  3. Kucuk, O., Evidence for reducing the risk of prostate cancer – a clinical trial. 90th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. 1999.
  4. Pitchford, P., Healing with Whole Foods – Oriental Traditions and Modern Nutrition. North Atlantic Books, 1993.

Resolutions Revisited

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New Year’s resolutions come and go and for the cynics and skeptics they are a waste of time. According to Aristotle “the unexamined life is not worth living”. If Aristotle is right the time we spend on contemplating, strategizing and taking action to improve ourselves and our lives may be what makes it worth living altogether. Then why do so many of our resolutions go unresolved? Simple answer maybe that we spent so much time thinking about what we want or how we want to be and not enough time thinking about our real why. What is your real motivation? For you and me it may be several layers deeper than what we really think. Let’ take for example the all too common weight loss goal. Do you truly want to lose weight? Maybe, Maybe not.  If so, why? What does the number on the scale represent to you? Failure? Loss? Scorn? Judgment? Or perhaps as far back as you can remember you weren’t good enough to someone for some reason.

A second reason why this resolution may not be realized is that you are likely trying to fit a new goal into an old dysfunctional way of living. Often without letting go of what already occupied that space. Sort of like trying to put the square peg in the round hole. Looking at it another way it is our way of attempting to put more stuff into a bag that is already full or overfilling our bathtub. Use whichever analogy you like. So if you really want this what else needs to change? You won’t change your reality until you change your way of thinking about it.

Whatever your goal is, it’s important for us to connect with your real reason for why you want it. Get down to the real truth. Peel back the layers of the onion. What really strikes that nerve for you to want this change? And what is going to strike that nerve for you to place this at the highest priority in your life? If you can’t reach that nerve perhaps this goal isn’t ready yet. In which case it is either destined to fail or it should be responsibly put to the side until we are ready to get to its roots and deal with it.

Please chime in on this blog. Is your goal already been abandoned this year? Are you willing to look deeper at it? What is your goal? What is your why? Be brave. Let’s engage in this conversation.

By Garrett Stangel, MA, HFS, CPT

Balance Fitness

http://www.balancebygarrett.com

The Pessimist’s Guide To Gratitude

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Your mother was right–say thank you.

Scientists have now proven what your mother always knew–it’s good to be grateful.  Being grateful is more than just politeness; it’s actually good for your health and well-being.

In a study by Robert A. Emmons, of the University of California, and Davis and Michael E. McCullough, of the University of Miami, people who kept gratitude journals showed higher levels of health and well-being than people who journaled neutral events or counted hardships.  After 2 months, the people who journaled their gratitude felt more optimistic and happier than their control counterparts. They reported fewer physical problems and spent more time working out.  People with neuromuscular problems who did the same thing fell asleep more quickly, slept longer and woke up feeling more refreshed.  Even their spouses noticed the difference!

How can you cultivate gratefulness even if you’re a glass-half-empty person?

The first step for pessimists is to fake it.  Write down what you’re grateful for, even if you don’t feel it at the moment.  Eventually the habit of finding life’s gifts will change your outlook.

Keep your gratitude list simple.  Write down 5 things you’re grateful for every day.  Use short, simple sentences, but be specific.  “I’m grateful for my son” is less effective than “I’m grateful my son snuggled next to me before bed.”

Carry a traveling gratitude journal.  Buy a mini-notebook or use a note-taking app on your smart phone.  Count the things you’re grateful for as they happen.

And finally, write a gratitude letter.  Send a letter to someone who influenced your life and tell them how much you appreciated their support.  You’ll feel happy and you’ll make them feel happy.

The trick to building gratefulness is to do it often and regularly.  While the end of the year is a good time to celebrate gratefulness as a holiday, take the habit into your everyday life.  Soon you will notice that you feel lighter and happier.

Be Well,

Kristin

Tabata Training

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Have you Tabata’d?

Today, my trainer, Super Karen, had me do Tabata Training for the first time. I actually liked it! It was fun, challenging and the hour went super fast. Besides light weight dumbbells, no other equipment is required which makes it perfect for working out at home and while traveling. It was so basic my 3 year old even did all the intervals with us!

What is Tabata training?

Developed in Japan by Izumi Tabata, “Tabata” is a type of workout program that utilizes high intensity interval training. Izumi and his fellow scientists decided to conduct a study to compare moderate intensity training with high intensity training.

He conducted the tests on 2 groups of athletes; 1 of the groups used the moderate intensity interval training and the other using high intensity interval training.

In group one; the athletes were training in moderate intensity workouts (70% intensity) for five days a week for a total of six weeks with each training session lasting an hour.

Group two trained with high intensity workouts for 4 days a week for a total of 6 weeks with each session lasting 4 minutes, at 20 seconds of intense training (170% intensity) and 10 seconds of rest.

The results of the tests?

Group 1 had a significant increase in the aerobic system (cardiovascular system). However, the anaerobic system (muscles) gained little or no results at all.

Group 2 showed much improvement in all their athletes. Their aerobic systems increased much more than group ones, and their anaerobic systems increased by 28%.

So what does this mean…?

Basically, high intensity interval training have more of an impact on the aerobic systems; it had an impact on the anaerobic systems as well. Therefore, Anaerobic exercise combined with aerobic workouts create a longer post-workout calorie burn than other types of workouts, making them an even better way to burn calories.

Sounds great right? Well…there is a lot of info out there claiming that the “4 minute” Tabata sessions is all that’s required. Come on people, there is no 4 minute workout miracle for optimum health and fitness. The truth is, that may provide some benefit but extending the workout into 30 to 45 minute sessions will give you a more complete workout with quicker results. Honestly, the 45 minutes went by really quickly.

Here are examples of a session:

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For more info and videos check out
tabataexercise.com

In good health,
~ Sarah

As always, consult your physician or healthcare provider before beginning any exercise or weight-loss program. Tabata is not for people with high blood pressure or for those at risk of a heart attack or stroke.