BLOG 286 TURMERIC
Turmeric is that bright yellow substance you see me put drops in my water and suck down three times per day. Some studies show it is the most effective nutritional substance there is. I have personally felt the benefits of this spice, so let us take a look at how turmeric can be helpful to us.
Beginning with the basics, turmeric is the spice that makes curry look yellow. It also makes mustard look yellow. It is a relative of ginger. Popularity of its use began in Indian cultures, but we now know there are medicinal properties in this spice as well. Curcumin is the component of turmeric which carries its health benefits. It is most well- known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Low level inflammation is extremely important. Some studies have stated that turmeric out performs some pharmaceutical drugs when it comes to its effects on some diseases.
Let’s look at some of the diseases turmeric has been found to help and/or alleviate. I found research done by James A. Duke, Phd., in the October, 2007 issue of Alternative & Complementary Therapies, and summarized in the July, 2008, issue of the, American Botanical Council publication, HerbClip, to be very informative. When it comes to Alzheimer’s disease, “Duke found more than 50 studies on turmeric’s effects in addressing Alzheimer’s disease. The reports indicate that extracts of turmeric contain a number of natural agents that block the formation of beta-amyloid, the substance responsible for the plaques that slowly obstruct cerebral function in Alzheimer’s disease” (http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART03001/Three-Reasons-to-Eat-Turmeric.html). Its benefits when it comes to Arthritis are really amazing: “Turmeric contains more than two dozen anti-inflammatory compounds, including six different COX-2-inhibitors (the COX-2 enzyme promotes pain, swelling and inflammation; inhibitors selectively block that enzyme” (http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART03001/Three-Reasons-to-Eat-Turmeric.html). Cancer also made the list in which turmeric has been found to effective in the, “Prevention and/or treatment of colon cancer, mammary cancer, prostate cancer, murine hepatocarcinogenesis (liver cancer in rats), esophageal cancer, and oral cancer (http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART03001/Three-Reasons-to-Eat-Turmeric.html).
Oh there are more. The list continues: “Early research suggests that taking curcumin, a chemical found in turmeric, 3 days before surgery and continuing for 5 days after surgery can lower the risk of a heart attack following bypass surgery” (https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/662.html) . My diabetic clients might find it interesting to read, “Early research suggests that taking turmeric daily for 9 months can reduce the number of people with prediabetes who develop diabetes (https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/662.html) .
Other ailements it has been known to help include liver problems, ring worm, and even depression. Heart burn and indigestion can also be alleviated. This remedy is also used for headaches, bronchitis, colds, lung infections, fibromyalgia, leprosy, fever, menstrual problems, diarrhea, intestinal gas, stomach bloating, loss of appetite, jaundice, and gallbladder disorders (https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/662.html).
Turmeric can be taken in liquid or capsule form. It is important to understand that a substance such as this is not regulated the same way in which a pharmaceutical drug is by the FDA. Therefore, not all products are created equal. Furthermore, it can interact with other medications you are taking. For example, “Turmeric may slow blood clotting, so people taking drugs with the same effect, like anticoagulants, should be cautious about taking turmeric supplements, according to the National Institutes of Health” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/18/turmeric-health-benefits-curcumin_n_5978482.html). Because it does help reduce blood sugar, diabetics should of course proceed with caution as to not make their blood sugar too low. It can affect fertility in men as well, but anyone with hormone sensitivity should be careful using it. If one has an iron deficiency be careful because it can impact the absorption of iron.
I like using this natural product myself and have felt the positive effects of less swelling in my knee post-surgery as well as my elbows from lifting weights a lot. Some of my clients have started taking it as well. We are all different though when it comes to our bodies. Sharing little tricks are always helpful on our fitness journeys so that we can strive towards feeling our best. After all, we are tearing apart our muscles before we build them back up (hypertrophy). If turmeric sounds like a supplement you might want to try, besides sprinkling a little on your food, always consult your doctor first. I’m not a doctor YET, only the voice of reason and maybe even the drill sergeant on your fitness journey.
BLOG 285 SUNBURNS
The quest for the perfect tan can have a person sitting or lying in the sun for hours with very little attire. Then the person is left looking like a lobster, beat red from exposure with the intention that tomorrow the golden brown will settle in. Even with all of today’s warnings and information, plenty of people enjoy soaking up the sun’s rays. According to the CDC, 1/3 of adults admit being sunburned in the past year and 70% of children admit the same.
Getting a sunburn isn’t rocket science. The skin will burn when exposed to the sun for too long. On the surface, the skin turns really red. There is also damage occurring under the skin. The sun’s rays come in three types: UVA, UVB, and UVC. UVA and UVB penetrate the skin, while UVC doesn’t reach the Earth’s surface. Therefore, sun damage isn’t always visible. Under the skin, the sun’s rays actually change DNA. This causes the skin to age. DNA that has been damaged due to this exposure which can also cause skin cancer, specifically melanoma. Despite the warnings and risks, some people claim they don’t get sunburned. The severity of the burn does depend on skin type, how intense the sun was at the time of exposure, and how long the skin was actually exposed to the sun. Sometimes a sunburn can even result in blistering. Under the surface, the skin is working to get rid of damaged cells which causes the peeling effect.
Treatment for a sunburn involves trying to get rid of the redness and swelling. Plenty of at home remedies are effective. Aloe, menthol, camphor, are creams and gels that many people use and are easy to purchase. Anti-inflammatory drugs are another option. Staying out of the sun and not re-exposing the burn is important. Keeping hydrated helps to.
It is recommended to stay out of the sun between the peak hours of 10am to 4pm. Staying in the shade is good too. Sun-protective clothing and wearing a hat are good protective methods. Using sunscreen is critical, especially the broad-spectrum type. Applying sunscreen at least 30 minutes before sun exposure will help reduce the risk of burn and even if it overcast, apply it anyways. Every two hours, this sunscreen should be reapplied. It should be applied even sooner if a person is sweating or immersed in water.
Golden, tan skin is of course an attractive confidence booster, but not at the risk of cancer. When we were young and didn’t know, well that may be an excuse. However, now with all we know there is no reason to continue to burn the skin and exposure yourself to threat of melanoma and pre-mature aging.
BLOG 284 INCONSISTENCY
Inconsistency is the difference between attitude and action. Its meaning is associated with instability, self-contradiction, irregular, and unpredictable. Consistency is the desired behavior. An inconsistent person is a sometimes person. For example, sometimes this person offers quality service and effort at their job, while sometimes they call out absent and show up to work late. Being inconsistent is not being reliable or dependable. A bar tender might serve the same drink to you and your friend that placed an order, but the two drinks taste very different. The lines are blurred when it comes to expectation. Therefore, when it comes to one’s fitness journey, inconsistency marks many people’s association with working out and eating healthy. Can you relate??
It is a common trend to be consistent for a duration, but then to become inconsistent once a few mishaps occur. There becomes a start and stop pattern of behavior. As a trainer, my hope is that more often then not, you make your workouts, eat right, and keep this lifestyle as regular as possible. But then the human element comes into play…. holidays, travel, parties, relationships, parenting, and emotion. Somehow priorities shift, food becomes comforting, and the fitness journey takes a back seat with the intention of the only being temporary. But how long is temporary?? These bouts of temporary accumulate. The roller coaster continues, and I’m left wondering when the road will be straight and smooth again.
It’s interesting that taking care of one’s health can become inconsistent. Other aspects of life do not allow this such as parenting, your performance at work, or being a good partner/spouse. When we are inconsistent in these areas, we assume that we are affecting other people so we can’t slack. The truth is that poor health does affect other people around us too. Not being able to hold your grandchild, not being able to stand for long periods of time, feeling sluggish…. all of that does go noticed. Sometimes only when the cost of poor health hits does reality set in.
How would you label your fitness journey?? Would you consider yourself consistent?? This is an important chat to have with yourself especially with the onset of new year. Have you ever graded yourself?? What letter grade would you earn. Inconsistency doesn’t equate to results. Be consistent in your efforts and your body will thank you. When your body thanks you, your mood, energy, relationships, heart, and mind, will thank you too. So be a regular at the studio and Steve Nash and I will help you reach your goals.
BLOG 283 ENDOMETRIOSIS
Symptoms of heavy menstrual cycles, infertility, and abdominal pain, may be due to the development of tissue lining outside the uterus. The area outside the uterus is called the endometrium. The key players for this condition are the ovaries, tissue lining the pelvis, and the Fallopian tubes. The tissue becomes displaced but still operates as if all is normal. Therefore, the tissue, just like during a period, thickens, breaks down, and bleeds. This displaced tissue has no way to exit the body and this trapped tissue can now cause problems. The ovaries can become involved and cysts can start to form. The existing healthy tissue can become irritated having to interact with the displaced tissue and scar tissue can form.
A person who has endometriosis has increased pelvic pain when having their menstrual cycle. Painful periods are called dysmenorrhea. Periods also have excessive bleeding and bleeding can occur between cycles. Also during this time, the low back can start to hurt. Sexual intercourse can be painful. Sometimes endometriosis is discovered when a woman goes to seek treatment for infertility. Bowel movements and urination can be painful too.
This condition can be caused by retrograde menstruation. This occurs when the endometrial cells flow back through the Fallopian tubes and into the pelvic cavity instead of out of the body. Levels of estrogen can actually transform embryotic cells. It is possible that endometrial cells attach to areas that had a surgical incision such as a hysterectomy or C-section. Immune system disorders can cause this problem. The blood vessels might also carry endometrial cells to other parts of the body (endometrial cell transport).
Women who have never given birth, those going through menopause at an older age, those with high levels of estrogen, having a low body max index, or someone who started their period at an earlier age, are all at increased risk to develop this condition.
For diagnosis, a doctor can perform a pelvic exam, ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and/or a laparoscopy (looking at the abdomen). Depending on the severity of the condition, a doctor will select the appropriate treatment. A doctor might recommend over the counter pain medication, surgery to remove the endometriosis implants, or hormone therapy. Birth control can actually help control the build up of endometrial tissue. Fertility treatment can be performed for those trying to get pregnant. Doctors used to perform hysterectomies as the main treatment for this condition, however, doctors are now focusing on removing the tissue rather than the ovaries.
Endometriosis is often hard to detect, but it can be helped. Discomfort is normal during a period but pain is not. Whenever the body is speaking, one should seek medical attention to find a solution. The displaced tissue should not wreck havoc on your health.
BLOG 282 MOSQUITO BITES
Summer time brings those pesky, itchy, pink colored bumps to our skin. Mosquito bites are the result of the mouthpart of the insect puncturing our skin and feeding on our blood…. Yuck!!!! For most of us, they bother for just a couple days then go away. However, certain people have worse reactions (especially children) which can include swelling and soreness to the area. In children, this is called skeeter syndrome. We all get them, some more than others, so let’s explore these common “bites” further.
The trouble is that mosquito bites can carry parasites and viruses. Some parts of the world are greatly affected by the West Nile virus that these bugs. Other illnesses included yellow fever and malaria. A person’s inflammatory response can include fever, hives, and swollen lymph nodes. Typically, one should see if a doctor if after a bite a person they develop a fever, headache, or is have body aches.
Did you know that the only mosquitos that bite us are female?? Males do not have the blood sucking mouth part. Females need the protein from our blood to produce eggs. The “lady bug” fills herself with our blood and then spits it back into our skin which causes the itchy bump. They are drawn to the scent of our skin, sweat, and our exhaled carbon dioxide.
We should avoid areas that are mosquito filled and wear repellent when exposed. The strongest repellent is DEET. Wearing long sleeves and light colors is recommended. Mosquitos like standing water. Simple tricks at home can be changing bird bath water, unclogging roof gutters, getting rid of old tires sitting around, and emptying any flower pots or outdoor items that collect water.
Some funny but effective at home tricks to relieve the itch include toothpaste, oatmeal, honey, baking soda, basil, vinegar, onion, and garlic. So basically the really strong spices.
A few summers ago I was getting really bad reactions to the bites, with major swelling and redness to the areas. I’m an itcher so that didn’t help. However, infection can only worsen if you break the skin of the bite and have it exposed. The itching sensation doesn’t go away when we scratch, it only prolongs the scratching cycle. But that is some serous mental toughness to just let the bite be haha. I’m “bugging” out. I sort of equate mosquito bites to flea bites on our pets. They can be miserable. So this summer, I know I make you sweaty and mosquito tasty, but be sure to shower right after workouts, drink your water so it isn’t idle, and wear long sleeves and pants when you go for your walks and runs at reasonably climate friendly times.
BLOG 281 CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP
Why is it when we aren’t feeling well, the home remedy of choice is soup, specifically chicken noodle soup? Mom always had a couple cans in the pantry no matter when. The lucky kids got homemade, better yet, homemade by grandma. Maybe it’s just the nostalgia now that makes us feel better. Whether exactly proven or not, there may be some benefits to this warm, tasty choice.
Chicken broth can clear the nasal passages which helps with breathing when all stuffed up. Chicken is protein which has the amino acids good for immunity, muscles, and bone health. The noodles just make us feel full and that’s satisfying when feeling under the weather. The idea is that the soup is warm and clears the mucus out, the water and salt help the body have more fluid which is necessary for all functions, and then what vegetables are in the soup are nutritious. Sometime when you aren’t exactly hungry because you are sick, soup is a lighter option that can help fill you up. Usually one cup has about 100 calories, but the carbohydrates and sodium aren’t the ideal mix for everyday consumption. Besides if you had the soup all the time, it wouldn’t have that same healing feeling when you are actually sick (boy who cried wolf syndrome).
There are many homemade versions and usually mom’s recipe is best that has been passed down over the generations. We know it comes in the traditional can too. Most defer to the can when they don’t feel up to cooking. Many enjoy the varieties of noodle that can be used and the selection of vegetables. Quick and easy, warm and good, it’s a meal in and of itself. I’m sure we can all pinpoint our favorite ca brand. Sometimes even things that may just be in our head, actually do help us feel better and get well faster.
BLOG 280 STRUCTURE
Parents always talk about creating structure for their children via bedtime, homework time, and the varies rules that are set to follow. Structure in the work environment consists of deadlines, requirements, meetings, and protocol. Structure in school pertains to lesson planning, classroom management, and completion of tasks. Routines and patterns help plan for better choices. A programmed system of routines and habits make us feel in sink and naturally allows us to move throughout the day from task to task. Our brains actually depend on structure to be able to complete all our daily routines. Then our behaviors become habitual and instinctive.
We hear about needing balance in our lives. We have to consider how much time we allocate to different activities and responsibilities. When we deliberately schedule our time we are better prepared to follow through, complete, and clear up our schedule for free time later. Structure also provides the foundation to respond better to problems and disruption. We become better equipped to handle triggers because we want to settle ourselves back to where we need to be to have structure. For example a person trying to maintain sobriety knows that situations that make drug or alcohol use possible can threaten their will power. They seek structure to keep on the straight and narrow path.
Even people who claim to be free spirited, know that they benefit from structure. At some point it is needed to function. Jumping up out of bed and running late everywhere at some point causes unnecessary stress.
On your fitness journey, structure provides the means to have time for exercise and to make healthy eating choices. Disorder and chaos lead to poor eating and living in the moment. Structure provides organization. Structure means you pack your clothes to go to the gym. You prep your food and go grocery shopping. Without this, it is most likely you will fall off the path of reaching your goal. Fast food will just become the norm and sleeping in or going straight home from work skipping the gym will just become regular occurrences. I’m a strong advocate for structure and I thrive on this to reach my goals. Maybe I enjoy structure too much, but it has helped me become successful and reach plenty of my goals.
BLOG 279 THERAPY TYPES
Therapy Approaches: Finding Happiness
There are many different approaches to therapy and medication when it comes to psychiatry. Understanding mental health coupled with emotional well being is important to be able to focus, destress, and be happy. Even T.V. stars and elite athletes use therapy. It is human nature to feel protective and guarded with this personal issue, but seeking help, specifically the right type, can save a person’s life.
There are several traditional and new age techniques being used in this realm:
1. Psychoanalytic therapy: This is the oldest technique. This involves setting your past which will help gain insight for the present. It is figuring out your childhood.
2. Humanistic therapy: The therapist listens and lets the patient verbalize their feelings.
3. Exposure therapy: Exposing yourself to the source of fear or anxiety will help you overcome those very things.
4. Mindfulness/Meditation: This is about living in the present and becoming more aware of yourself and other people.
5. Behavioral activation: This is about correcting behaviors that cause depression.
6. Somatic therapy: This approach uses body and movement such as yoga or exercise. These serve as an antidepressant.
7. Emotional regulation: This is about grounding your emotions and finding a better baseline.
8. Assertiveness training: It is okay to say no and not feel guilty about it. This is learning to express yourself in a healthy way.
9. Cognitive restructuring: This is about shifting yourself away from negative thinking and learning how to adapt to new healthy ones.
Some of these therapeutic approaches are coupled with medication. Antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can safely treat depression. Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) treat depression and help with motivation issues, energy, focus, and concentration. Norepinephrine dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs) also help with energy and concentration. Antianxiety medication, also called benzodiazepines, can be used to treat anxiety as well as insomnia and sometimes depression. Stimulants can be used to treat attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD).
Some of these medications can become addictive. Many find successful help from these therapy approaches as well as different medications. Sometimes finding the right combination or strategy can take time. Although a quick fix is always desired, working through deep rooted issues takes time to heal and figure how to heal. It is okay to interview and work with therapists until the right one clicks. Laying out what is bothering you and finding someone who specializes or has experience with people similar to you, can always lead you in the right direction. Taking control of mental health is necessary for happiness.
BLOG 278 SKIPPING MEALS
Whatever the reason be it getting busy or forgetting to eat, skipping meals has been a topic of debate whether is good or bad. The bottom line is that the brain’s main fuel is glucose, and not giving the body food is also not giving the brain food. Eating isn’t just about the stomach.
Contrary to popular belief, skipping meals doesn’t equate to weight loss. Most of the time, when a person does not eat for an extended period of time, they end of overindulging later. Hunger levels rise and binging can happen. Overeating out of extreme hunger can easily happen. Blood sugar can also start to drop. This leads to feeling tired and the body is communicating that it wants to shut down until re-fueled. When blood sugar drops, mood also tends to drop. Becoming irritable is common. Sometimes when you finally reach the point that you have to eating something, you ravenously take whatever is available and this might not lead to the best choices. Grabbing what you find first might temporarily solve the problem but can catch up with you later on the waistline.
Skipping meals might seem save like saving calories, but most time overeating ends up happening and more harm then good takes place. Not eating means no fuel in the tank and this means less energy. Less energy usually means less motivation, causing performance to suffer. Skipping meals can lower metabolic rate, which is not conducive to weight loss efforts. Blood sugar and insulin responses also change. Some people start to feel really fatigued and even dizzy.
Weight loss is a tricky game. Food is something we have to think about all the time. All the choices and the free will to have them makes temptation and taste-buds a troublesome combination. Not every day has to be centered around food, but the topic is addressed on a daily basis. The key is finding a healthy relationship with food, planning ahead, and knowing what triggers and environments lead to poor decisions. If we are what we eat, then we certainly don’t want to eat nothing. Our bodies deserve premium fuel, so don’t leave the tank empty and expect great performance. You can only go so far for so long before skipping meals just doesn’t seem to be beneficial in the end. Eat for your nourishment and for your health, not because you are bored, stressed, or just because it is there.
BLOG 277 BARS
The food world was struck by convenience when shelves became stocked with bars of all types. They’re an easy snack, treat, or addition to the day. The options include granola, candy, and protein. Some are more nutritionally packed than others. Cheap, easy, and for on-the go, bars seem to be the answer to the day’s food choice selection.
Granola is considered a breakfast food and contains a mixture of oats, nuts, and different sweeteners like honey or sugar. Some variations contain dried fruit. The typical bar ranges from 100 to 200 calories, 20 or more grams of carbohydrates, 8 or more grams of sugar, and are usually low in protein. Most are moderate in fat and do contain some amounts of vitamins and minerals. Although they are not entirely considered empty calories, they typically don’t contain much that is beneficial to the body. Children love them and adults find them in the vending machine. Be weary of added sugar and carbohydrate content.
They’re everywhere, especially when you check out at the store. The U.S. market contains over 80 different brands. From Hershey’s to Kit-Kat to dark or white chocolate, there’s an option for every taste bud. Loaded with calories, fat, carbs, and sugar, candy bars are a sometimes treat. Most have the intention of eating half and saving the rest for later, but that is a true test of will-power. Holidays and Halloween are the candy market’s golden time. Rotten teeth and a little extra on the waistline are the side effects. Children are rewarded with candy and can’t wait for a taste. It’s the addiction of sugar that the candy bar market has reeled us in on.
Now even sold at gas stations. There are incredible brands packed with nutritional quality and there are others that equate to just the same as eating a candy bar. Protein bars usually have 20 or more grams of protein, and vary in sugar, carbohydrate, and fiber content. Selection depends upon purpose of consumption. The best source of protein comes from whole foods. Always look for sugar, fat, and carbohydrate content to ensure you aren’t just having a candy bar with protein. Some are even used as meal replacements.
We live in a grab-and-go eating while I’m driving or in between meetings type of world. A bar gets the job done under these circumstances. There are a lot better whole food choices to be made. When a granola, candy, or protein bar becomes the answer to the growling stomach’s troubles, be sure to make the best choices. Your waistline and heart will thank you. After all, the perfect bar would just be too good to be true, so always read the fine lines and know what you are putting into your body.