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14 Oct

BLOG 289 PROCESSED FOODS

We live in a world that has turned fast-paced, favoring convenience and time efficiency into priorities. We have learned to compromise nutrition for what is easier, and have created an entire new realm in grocery stores with an abundance of processed foods. And these products have quite the shelf life once you get home. Not exactly “fresh” by any means, but readily available and assessable for sure. So let’s take a look at how processed foods have bombarded our eating habits.

Let’s always start with the definition. Here it is: “ ‘The term processed food includes any food that has been purposely changed in some way prior to consumption,’ says Torey Armul, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “It includes food that has been cooked, canned, frozen, packaged or changed in nutritional composition with fortifying, preserving or preparing in different ways” (http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/nutrition/nutrition-facts-and-food-labels/avoiding-processed-foods). Think about how much of these types of food are part of your daily regime or have been before. How many frozen pizzas have you had in your lifetime?? For example, I never even considered all the sodium canned corn or kidney beans contain in order to preserve their shelf life. Pretty disgusting and they need to be rinsed off to help. Which then made me think about all the salad bars or restaurants where I have salad and thought I was eating totally clean and making a great choice, when in fact, most of the vegetables probably came out of can. More bang for your buck I get that part on the business side, but our bodies can only take so much of this and the growing obesity rate is a reflection.

Not all are as bad as others and I found a good reference to consider. Here it is:
Processed food falls on a spectrum from minimally to heavily processed:
• Minimally processed foods — such as bagged spinach, cut vegetables and roasted nuts — often are simply pre-prepped for convenience.
• Foods processed at their peak to lock in nutritional quality and freshness include canned tomatoes, frozen fruit and vegetables, and canned tuna.
• Foods with ingredients added for flavor and texture (sweeteners, spices, oils, colors and preservatives) include jarred pasta sauce, salad dressing, yogurt and cake mixes.
• Ready-to-eat foods — such as crackers, granola and deli meat — are more heavily processed.
• The most heavily processed foods often are pre-made meals including frozen pizza and microwaveable dinners.
(http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/nutrition/nutrition-facts-and-food-labels/avoiding-processed-foods)

It seems as though the concept of eating food to nourish our bodies is lost. We have to look out for added sugars and sodium that’s for sure. It is odd that we are eating “altered” food. Food has become industrialized. Bottom line it’s about money: “First, most of the processed food created is not food in its conventional meaning. Food is our source of energy and nutrition, without it we can’t survive. However not all of the modern foods are created for that purpose. They are created to allure you, excite you and addict you to become a consumer of their product. The food companies’ goal, just like any other company, is to make more money” (http://www.myfoodandhappiness.com/processed-food-and-why-is-it-the-main-cause-of-obesity/).

The truth is that it is hard to avoid processed foods at some point in your eating be it beverages or condiments. Looking back, I ate plenty of foods out of a box, especially cereal. The more informed we are, the better choices we can make (purpose of my Blogs). Fresh is best and hey it might take a little time, but treat your body like a temple because you only get one and you have to live in it for the rest of your life.

08 Oct

BLOG 288 OVEREATERS ANONYMOUS

BLOG 288 OVEREATERS ANONYMOUS

Food is a battle many face on their fitness journeys, mainly because we have to eat to live. Unlike other aspects of our lives that we can work to eliminate that could be causing us problems, food is not a factor we can just get rid of. Overeaters Anonymous is a program aimed to help with a number of eating problems including overeating, undereating, anorexia, binge eating, over exercising and bulimia. Let’s explore what OA has to offer and how it can help with the battle of food.

When I scoped out the general website, there were 15 questions one could look at to see if OA might fit a description of what a person is looking for. These questions focused on eating behaviors. From there I was drawn to the Overeaters Anonymous Preamble: “Overeaters Anonymous is a Fellowship of individuals who, through shared experience, strength, and hope, are recovering from compulsive overeating. We welcome everyone who wants to stop eating compulsively. There are no dues or fees for members; we are self-supporting through our own contributions, neither soliciting nor accepting outside donations. OA is not affiliated with any public or private organization, political movement, ideology, or religious doctrine; we take no position on outside issues. Our primary purpose is to abstain from compulsive eating and compulsive food behaviors and to carry the message of recovery through the Twelve Steps of OA to those who still suffer” (https://oa.org/newcomers/how-do-i-start/program-basics/twelve-steps/).

The program follows the 12 Twelve Steps. Sharing stories and empowering one another with tips, tools, and resources creates an anonymous, help seeking, environment. It’s human nature to not want to feel alone during struggling times. It can be reassuring to not feel like an alien about issues with food because those who have not experienced a similar situation may not be able to grasp your state of mind. Success comes in all forms: (https://oa.org/newcomers/for-the-professional/)

01 Oct

BLOG 287 JUICING

Juicing has become a popular craze among fitness and nutrition fanatics. Having a juicer at home is just about as common as having a toaster these days. The power of fruits and vegetables does wonders for our internal health and it is unlikely to consume the recommended daily totals (17 each). The reasons one might start to juice include weight loss, lowering blood pressure, or detoxing. It is no healthier than eating the same content, but a popular trend is a trend and jumping on board happens to the best of us.

Personally, I like the texture and chewing action of eating. I feel satiated longer and feel that I’m getting more bang for my buck. Liquid doesn’t fill me up, at least not for long. So if I were to eat an apple vs. drink an apple you can see my point…. 5 min to chew an apple vs. 2 seconds to drink that sip of apple. And I do have to say from my research for this, there aren’t many claims other than being able to consume more fruits and vegetables per day that justify the benefits of juicing. So why so popular??

Adding to this, I watched a documentary called, “7 Days 2 Guys 1 Juicer”. In this film, Chad and Kenny were two obese middle-aged men, who for 7 days were put in a hotel to complete a 7 day juicing cycle. When they arrived the refrigerator was stocked with nothing but fresh produce. Not one item was in the freezer. From the gate, the men noticed how much work juicing really was with prepping the produce and then cleaning up after. This was quite the lifestyle change for them both, coming from backgrounds of fast food, no activity, and very little motivation to be healthy and make changes. Taken out of their environments, the men were forced to follow the plan precisely. They underwent withdrawal, headaches, and hunger pains.

According to the documentary, juicing dates back to the ancient Greeks who used pomegranate juice as a love potion. In the U.S., juicing was introduced in the 1920s when there was a new popularity to be vegetarian or vegan. In the 1970s, Jack Lalanne sold his famous juicer. Today, people in their 20s and 30s have created a $5billion business out of juicing. There’s a status associated with high end juice bars connected to yoga studios.

In the end, Chad and Kenny lost about 9 pounds each. I really anticipated a higher weight loss considering their past, which goes to show that juicing isn’t entirely weight loss oriented and the weight can be gained right back after stopping. Here’s the concept: “Doing the math, on average, an ounce of ‘mixed juice’ contains about 15 calories. If you need 1,400-1,500 calories daily to achieve weekly weight loss, you could drink a whopping 96 ounces of this juice (about 12 cups) each day and still stay in that calorie range, which should result in weight loss. On this sample juicing diet, you would, however, only be getting 9 grams of fiber (36% of your need) and 25 grams of protein (41% of your need) each day, which is far from ideal. This unbalanced nutrient intake would result in immediate muscle mass loss and an increase in hunger and food cravings. Other nutrients such as fat, vitamins and minerals would also be severely lacking. Successful and safe long-term weight loss would not be achievable on such a plan” (http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=1800).

Obesity causes over 25 diseases, so we do want to make sure proper nutrition is in place, but the type that is sustainable. In a world that praises fat-free and all natural that comes out of a box, something isn’t right with our food. Fresh is always best. Have a juice here and there to compliment your eating. It can be a nice, cold, refreshing, sweet beverage. Take your fitness journey tips, use them to your advantage, and make those changes the best you can, each and every day!!!!!

25 Sep

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.

17 Sep

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.

12 Sep

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.

03 Sep

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.

29 Aug

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.

19 Aug

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.

12 Aug

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.