BLOG 179 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 178 KETCHUP MUSTARD BBQ
Adding a little zing, taste, and pop… we love to dip, marinate, and top our food with ketchup, mustard, and/or barbeque sauce. These condiments practically go hand in hand with many of our traditional dishes. Ketchup and French fries. Mustard and hotdogs. Barbeque and chicken. And typical of our habits, we aren’t exactly dipping in moderation ? After all, every fry needs that red color on it before eating. Enhancing the flavor of what we consume just feels right, but maybe we should consider what these condiments contain. They can actually be the culprit of what has made the meal unhealthy.
Ketchup is packed with sugar, high fructose corn syrup and salt. That’s the flavor right?? Just because it’s made with tomatoes doesn’t mean it’s a vegetable. There are 4 grams of sugar per tablespoon and most of us aren’t limiting to one 1 serving. Besides the added sugar, ketchup is salt filled with 160 grams of sodium per tablespoon. Alone it is not a high sodium food, but considering we use it on high sodium dishes like French fries, the combo isn’t ideal.
Good news is that mustard is sugar free. It is also lower in sodium with 57 grams per packet or teaspoon. It may have been the first condiment ever used by humans. Egyptian pharaohs put mustard seeds in their tombs and Romans were the first to grind the seeds and make a paste. Its yellow color is actually from the turmeric that is added. I don’t have too much bad to say about mustard. It pretty much has no fat and no calories.
But when it comes to BBQ sauce that is a different story. In a two tablespoon serving, there can be 12 to 17 grams of sugar, 200 t0 300 milligrams of sodium, and all in all, that is 14% of the totals you should have in a day. It also has 22 grams of carbohydrates per serving. Needless to say, we don’t always stick to the one serving. Sometimes eating a boneless, skinless grilled chicken breast, but drenched in BBQ, can be just as bad as having fried chicken.
I didn’t even want to talk about ranch dressing…. ALL BAD haha.
I’m an advocate for clean eating. As my husband, says he wants to taste the food, and sauces hide what you are eating. Not to say that trying to get down plain chicken is easy without a little sauce, but know yourself and if every bite has to be dipped, red flag to steer clear of the sauce. Mustard and black pepper are my friends. Plus, think about the shelf life of these products?? Pretty gross considering they seem to last forever. Keep it simple. Extras add up that’s why they’re extra.
BLOG 177 ALMOND BUTTER VS PEANUT BUTTER
Both taste amazing!!!! Most of us can eat almond butter or peanut butter right out of the jar. We grew up on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Celery and peanut butter. Peanut butter cookies. Almond Joy candy bars. Chocolate covered almonds. Roasted almonds. Licking your lips yet?? Actually, this gooey goodness loves to get stuck in your teeth. A popular choice for sure. The National Peanut Board said that 90% of homes has peanut butter in their cabinet. So let’s see which one stacks up as the better choice on your fitness journey.
Both of these butters are heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. These are the type of fat that helps lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Almond butter has 5 grams of monounsaturated fats versus 3.3 grams in peanut butter this fat type per tablespoon. Winner: Almond butter.
Fiber is a very important component of our eating and most people don’t get enough. A good digestive track requires adequate fiber. We need 21 to 38 grams per day depending on age and gender, so every little bit helps. Almond butter has 1.6 grams of fiber per tablespoon versus 0.9 grams in peanut butter. Winner: Almond butter.
Vitamin E has many antioxidants and these butters contain this fat-soluble vitamin. Vitamin E is also important for our immune system. Almond butter has 4x the amount of vitamin E than peanut butter. Winner: Almond butter.
Both butters contain minerals we need including iron, zinc, potassium, and calcium. Almond butter is a better source of all of these minerals. Winner: Almond butter.
Check out this calorie comparison…. If you took one cup of peanuts it has 854 calories versus one cup of almonds which has 546 calories. So take these grounded and you see the calorie difference. Winner: Almond butter.
I’m an advocate for almond butter. Every better decision adds up. There isn’t much bad to say about it expect maybe the pool of liquid that forms at the top of a new container. Other than that, almond anything and I’m in. Of course in moderation and with portion control. Every BODY can incorporate almond butter on their fitness journey, provided no nut allergies. Read the labels, find the best brand available to you, and hey top a rice cake with some almond butter and that’s a great FIT Snack ?
BLOG 176 BONES, JOINTS, LIGAMENTS, & TENDONS
Orthopedics 101: what makes up our musculoskeletal system?? In order for our body to move, the joints, ligaments, and tendons must work together. If a person has a disease, injury, or condition, affecting any one of these parts, nerve signals are interrupted and movement is hindered.
When you think of joints, think of two parts of the skeleton being fit together. The bones are connected by joints. Joints are also called articulations. Here’s the lineup….
1. Bones are lined with cartilage so they don’t grind against each other; it is the covering at the end of the bone
2. Bones are joined to bones by ligaments, so where 2 bones meet that is a joint; ligaments are important for stability
3. Muscles are connected to bones by tendons. Technically, muscles are not part of the joint, but stronger muscles help protect the joints.
You know that cracking sound we sometimes hear with movement?? When you flex or contract a muscle which takes place at the joint, the ligament stretches with that joint. When you straighten out that joint, the ligament helps to pull the joint back to its normal starting position. This means that ligaments are a major part of movement, but over time, they start to lose their elasticity. This loss of stretch makes the joint have that cracking noise from bone on bone.
Tendons are important for our range of motion with movement. They’re found in smaller joints like fingers and wrists. We use tendons a lot, especially at the wrist. A tendon’s job is to make sure you can bend your wrist, but not too far.
After years of constant use, our joints can develop arthritis. This especially occurs in the knee, hip, and shoulder areas. The knee joint has 3 parts, the hip has 2, and the shoulder has that one that seems to be commonly injured.
Tendons and ligaments do wear out. They do not grow or repair themselves. A baseball pitcher has repetitively used their arm and shoulder to throw the ball as hard as they can over and over again. After a number of years, the rotator cuff is done. Then it’s surgery.
Long story short, our body sure does do a lot for us to produce movement. As I type and while you read, movement is occurring even in the eyes. We have to appreciate what we have and if we don’t use it, we lose it before that expiration date comes our way. Your fitness journey is a lifelong commitment to your health, so exercise wisely, fuel your body right, and MOVE!!!!
BLOG 175 3rd HAND SMOKE
We all know the hazards of smoking. The person actually smoking is at risk for many health problems. Second hand smoke can lead to emphysema and lung cancer. But have you heard of 3rd hand smoke (THS)?? This is the less visible type which consists of all the particles and chemicals that land on basically every surface in the smoking area. It can be on the person’s clothes, in their hair, on the floor, and on the furniture.
There are 11 types of chemicals that when left on surfaces, are considered carcinogens. This is all bad because these are cancer causing. Off-gasing is when the chemicals have landed on the surface but then release back into the air as gas. It seems toxins are released everywhere from cigarettes. These toxins can then interact with other chemicals in the environment. These toxins then are either inhaled, ingested (they land on food), or absorbed through the skin. Overtime, these toxins continue to accumulate and become more and more harmful. Let’s say a person smokes in their car, obviously these chemicals just keep piling up.
Children are the biggest victims of THS. Children sit and play on the floor. They put their fingers in their mouths and touch surfaces.
It is important to be adamant about not smoking in your home or vehicle to avoid THS. Studies have shown in a house left unoccupied for 2 months, these chemicals were still present. Acidic cleaners, especially vinegar, can help with some of the cleaning.
So what is the best solution to avoid third hand smoke?? Well, quitting smoking. Nicotine is highly addictive and studies have shown it is nearly as addictive as heroin.
Smokers enjoy the “kick” from inhaling nicotine. The head change from nicotine entering the bloodstream, releases adrenaline and creates a euphoric feeling with dopamine.
Smoking doesn’t just affect the smoker. Besides, who wants the title of being called a “Smoker”?? Habits die hard, but find better addictions to fill the void…. like exercise ? Don’t make your heart work any harder than it already does. At least 3 people are affected by that cigarette: the smoker, the person inhaling the smoke from the exhale, and the person who just gave the smoker a hug. So THS is just another reason to “kick” smoking.