BLOG 185 THE BUSINESS OF DISEASE
Sickness and disease are part of our life here on earth. Life can forever change when diagnosed. We know that as we age, our bodies become more vulnerable as our time here on earth has allowed for body to develop illness. But there is a whole other side to the tragedy of disease, and that is the business, money making industry of medical care. We are victims of this system. Let me further explain.
We are trained to set ourselves up for the aging process. We make sure our retirement will cover health care costs. We set up life insurance…. but isn’t this really death insurance?? We set up health care…. but isn’t this really disease care?? For medical companies, this is all just business…. nothing personal. Prozac alone is a billion dollar making pill. Here are some of the latest totals I found for what people are spending: “That means that, last year, the average family paid $9,996 for coverage alone, and, if they met their deductible, a total of just under $18,000.Meanwhile, an average individual spent $3,852 on coverage and, if she spent another $4,358 to meet her deductible, a total of $8,210” (https://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/23/heres-how-much-the-average-american-spends-on-health-care.html).
Our sense of fear causes us to adhere to health advice that is very costly. We live in a world of modified food that has made us sick. The government backs these large companies. We are eating genetically engineered food which has led to an increase in obesity and diabetes. This has created an entire market for genetically engineered insulin, which has dollar signs written all over it. Stress levels are through the roof these days for people, putting them as risk for physical and psychological problems (again dollar signs). With age we accumulate waste over time in our bodies. Our cells degenerate and regenerate over and over again, and if we aren’t healthy enough, at some point our bodies fail at this cycle. Sadly, humans think that living healthy is boring. Smoking and the enjoyment of fat ridden foods brings pleasure. And the disease business preys on this.
More and more drugs are being placed on the market. Prices continue to rise both for insurance and out of pocket costs. Consider this: “U.S. spending on prescription medicines in 2016 increased by 5.8 percent over 2015 levels to $450 billion based on list prices, and by 4.8 percent to $323 billion when adjusted for discounts and rebates. The biggest drivers of prescription growth came from large chronic therapy areas, such as hypertension and mental health” (https://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/04/us-prescription-drug-spending-as-high-as-610-billion-by-2021-report.html).
Health is a choice. Take care of your body and you will take care of your wallet. The medical industry and quality doctors of course want to help us. Nurses don’t do their amazing jobs for the money. But dollar signs are looming in the shadows of health care. I don’t want to be a skeptic, but if every time I go to the dentist it feels like a sales pitch, it does make you think twice. What you do today counts for tomorrow and years ahead. We can’t erase old damage, but we can do what we can while we can to replace good cells with the bad. That starts with one healthy choice at a time and I’m here to help you.
Reference: “The Business of Disease” (2017) by Sonia Barrett.
BLOG 184 TOP 10 COMMON FITNESS QUESTIONS
Our fitness journeys are unique to us all but all have one element in common…. we are improving our health. What has led us to the decision to start, step it up, seek help, or try a new approach is the result of feeling stagnant, unmotivated, tired, low self-esteem, upon a doctor’s recommendation, or just to have a new hobby. We create questions in our head that sometimes are due to knowing the answer but needing to hear the answer from someone else. If we acted upon the answer that we know is right, well, my job would be null and void. The truth is that most times you have already answered yourself. But I’m here to guide you, support you, and help you confirm any doubts that should be squashed. So here are the most common questions I get, but truly have to respond with every BODY is different or I have to assert that you are not allowed to do something….
1. If I work out 5 days a week and eat right, how much weight will I lose by (insert date)?? How can I know that exact answer?? On December 13th will have lost 8.2 pounds (yeah it doesn’t work that way).
2. Can I eat this instead of that?? Probably not if you have to ask. You are substituting a choice but in doing so are settling or compromising to push the limits of a new plan. Oh how we love control.
3. How much weight do most of your clients lose?? Well, that is a case by case basis. This isn’t just about weight loss.
4. I have a bad back, knee, shoulder, can I still do the exercises?? Absolutely I’m the queen of modifications.
5. If I go on a trip what am I supposed to do?? You have the tools, you know how to make better choices, and trips do happen, so you have to learn to prepare. You are still YOU no matter where you go, so be bold and brave to stick to your plan.
6. Holidays are coming how can I avoid all those foods?? Probably won’t be able to 100% but fuel your fire and exercise more (nothing wrong with having more motivation to work harder). This won’t negate the damage entirely but will be a factor to consider the next time you have a second serving. Think of the exercise involved.
7. My significant other just doesn’t get it what can I do?? Communicate, communicate, communicate and be strong to assert your goals.
8. I walked a lot at the zoo or Disneyland, that counts for exercise right?? I want you to take time out of daily activities you already do. You are trying to justify not doing a workout to yourself and me.
9. Why won’t the scale move but I’m losing inches?? Your body is reshaping itself but an external health factor may exist. Have your bloodwork done to see if there is an internal issue such as hormonal imbalance or lack of nutrient absorption.
10. My doctor said I need to do this or that what do you think?? I’m working on my Doctorate but I’m not there yet. They gave their recommendation for a reason. I am not liable to go against that advise so sometimes I have to say, “Phone a friend on this one”.
I want to help every BODY, and as much as a trainer that I am, I’m also an ear and somewhat of a therapist to some. I love it. I wouldn’t change what I do. But remember, you are in control. You make the choices. You do the work. We don’t hold hands walking Greenbrier Hill, so I’m there for what I can and the rest is up to you.
BLOG 183 RELATIONSHIPS & YOUR FITNESS JOURNEY
Whatever the goal(s) of your fitness journey, the adventure is mental and emotional. To succeed, certain behaviors, priorities, and choices do change. These new habits also affect our spouse, partner, best friend, siblings, parents, and so on. Our attempt to change means what was done in the past will not continue. With this change in ourselves, we find change in the dynamics of our relationships. We want people on our “good side” as we fight this fight. As we assert ourselves about what we eat, how we spend our time, and with the incorporation of exercise, not everyone is as supportive or understanding as we wish they would be. I’m sure you can relate to one or more the following scenarios.
We want the people in our lives to be cheerleaders, not coaches. If we wanted a trainer or coach, we would hire one. Picking apart what we are doing wrong is not the feedback we want to hear.
We want our network to participate. If we are dining out, let’s go somewhere friendly to healthy eating. Eat a clean dinner with me, don’t make we cook separate every time. It wouldn’t hurt you to hit the gym with me.
We want the person to listen, not judge. This is an emotional challenge to us, so sometimes we need to just hash out a bad decision. We don’t need criticism, advice, or empathy, just acknowledgment that they are aware we are trying and mama said there would be days like this.
We want to do non-food friendly hang outs. We don’t have to meet for lunch or a drink every time we see each other.
We don’t want to be tempted. Please don’t offer bites or nibbles. Please don’t try to convince me it’s okay this one time.
When you see me exercise at home or the gym, I don’t need your input. I don’t need you to laugh or question me.
We do not want them to be the food police. Support is great but this isn’t your role. I will let you know if I need law enforcement to catch me.
Communication is the key. We can’t expect our relationships to know how we are feeling each moment. It’s like when someone asks you if you are okay, you say you are fine, and then you explode at them. We can’t expect more, less, or really anything from someone close to us unless we openly and honestly express the message. This is not to say it will be understood, but when you assert your goals to others, you are also boosting your confidence that this journey is happening and you are doing it. As part of your journey, change the way you communicate to others as well. You will benefit physically and mentally from this.
BLOG 182 COBALT POISONING
Cobalt is an element in the earth’s crust. It is a byproduct of nickel or copper. It is used for high temperature allowing magnets, ceramics, and tools. Even though it is such a tiny element of our environment, this small amount is needed for our health and for animal health. It is actually found in vitamin B12. A deficiency can cause anemia. Overexposure can result in poisoning. This can happen when a person swallows too much of it, breathes in too much of it, or it is in constant contact with the skin causing irritation.
Recently, the metal used in hip replacements has caused a higher case of cobalt poisoning. This implant made of cobalt acts as an artificial hip socket. The hip is a ball-and-socket joint. Metal on metal joints were introduced by manufactures as a solution to joint durability. A metal ball is basically situated in a metal cup. However, complications have occurred. Sometimes metal particles like cobalt are released when the ball grinds against the cup while walking, running, or during activity. These particles can then be released into the bloodstream. Inflammation and pain would start to be felt in the hip area if this was occurring. This can be quite serious, resulting in heart disease, kidney failure, thyroid disorders, or even cancer. Other signs of cobalt poisoning include fatigue, vertigo, ringing in the ears, and headaches.
Blood tests would reveal high levels of cobalt. If the levels are dangerous, removing the hip replacement is necessary. After removal, cobalt levels quickly drop. The longer the exposure, the worse the prognosis might be. Some patients never fully recover, especially if their kidneys aren’t properly functioning. Regular cobalt testing with bloodwork is highly recommended for anyone who has had a hip replacement.
There have been a number of recalls on these metal-on-metal hip replacements. There are also a high number of product liability lawsuits against these manufacturers. They are usually found liable, because even if they were unaware of the danger, they are still at fault. It is important to act quickly if one plans to take action against one of these manufactures because the statute of limitations is applicable against product manufacturers.
2.5 million Americans have a hip replacement. As we age, we become more and more at risk for falls and arthritis to the hip area. Surgery can put a person in the hospital for 3 or 4 days and then recovery can take 3 to 6 months. This is pretty serious and we don’t want future complications with this. Take preventative measures for your hip health through regular exercise, practicing your balance, and making sure your kinetic chain is in alignment in the lower body. Watch those knees and toes as they all relate to the hips. The hips don’t lie so avoid cobalt poisoning all together by sticking to that FIT Life.
BLOG 181 APPENDIX
I’m not talking about the kind at the end of a book. I’m talking about your body part the appendix, which the thin 4-inch tube at the junction of your small and large intestine located in the lower right abdomen. Some say it has no purpose. Others say it is the storage unit for the good bacteria of our digestive system, coming to the rescue after a bad bout of diarrhea. For whatever reason, the good old appendix has stayed with us through evolution.
When the appendix is removed, well nothing happens. We only notice this body part when it has to be surgically removed due to appendicitis. The appendix really only gets attention when it becomes inflamed or infected and needs to be taken out. When a person is experiencing pain to the lower right abdomen, nausea, and vomiting, antibiotics won’t always do the trick. This leads to a surgery called an appendectomy. Without surgery, the appendix can rupture. Luckily, minimally invasive procedures are being used that help with quicker recovery, less time in the hospital, and best of all… less pain. Chances are slim of this occurring in the body. In fact, males are only at 8.6% risk and females only at 6.7% of contracting appendicitis. Having a low functioning immune system is a probable cause of having this and sometimes drinking contaminated water can be the culprit.
The downside of the appendix is that is can be a store house of tumors with cancer. This is another reason for removal. After an appendectomy, the chances of having Parkinson’s disease later on in life does increase.
So all in all, the appendix is sort of like that ugly vase your great aunt Suzy gave you that is sitting on the table that serves no pretty purpose. It is just there and probably would be better served to be removed from the setting. In the meantime, no harm no foul. But then when it shatters it’s time to clean it up and finally get it out of the house. The appendix is an interesting part of our body due to its “serve no purpose” nature. Since I’ve been working on my Doctorate, anatomy has been ever so prevalent in my life. The appendix is an easy one to remember thank goodness. A fitness journey must go on, with or without that appendix. I’ll never forget the time one of our FIT family members vomited during a workout. That was her appendix…. yep removed and back to workouts the next week.
BLOG 180 ICE MACHINES
As a gal who dislikes cold water, well now I have more reason to feel this way. Scientists have said that ice coming from ice machines have more bacteria than toilet water. Some restaurants have been labeled a “hygiene risk” after inspection. Wishful thinking would tell us that this is because toilets are cleaned more often than the ice machine 😊 Hate to rain on the parade with a hail storm, there’s no such thing as being too cold for germs. What’s worse is that the standard of ice from these machines is that the bacteria that does exist, is at least at a level that is safe for human consumption. So yeah, it’s still there.
The number of cases of stomach upsets has increased by 50% since the 1990s. The problem is the cleaning of the machines and scoopers. Enterococci and E. coli have been readily found. Feces contamination is just disgusting. Coliform, is what the bacteria is called. It is found in the fecal matter of humans and animals. One might think that ice is just water so how can it contain all this without us at least seeing it?? Well, poor hygiene, i.e. not cleaning the machines, causes this science project to occur.
McDonalds, KFC, and Burger King, have all been found guilty. According to, Business Insider, (2017), “The coliform bacteria, which is found in human and animal feces, was discovered in three out of 10 ice samples from McDonald’s, six out of 10 samples from Burger King, and seven out of 10 samples from KFC.”
Even that ice maker at home has bacteria. Have you ever cleaned your ice maker?? I’m guilty of never even considering this. Luckily, some drinks can kill the bacteria on ice, but mostly just alcoholic beverages.
We know that chewing on ice is bad for our teeth. Sucking on ice can cause a brain freeze. Ice can be used to helped with inflammation. So basically ice is all bad to me haha with it’s negative associations. Because it has been so darn hot, I see a lot of ice in those bottles at the studio. This topic came to as a discussion about my dislike of cold water. I am that person that orders water without ice please. Well, now there’s proof in the logic. Now I will go enjoy my warm water and not be selfish so you can have all the bacteria 😊
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!!!!