Exercise is Medicine by ACSM


28 Jun

Avocado is the main ingredient found in guacamole, a topper for salads, on a sandwich or wrap, and even in smoothies. The Hass is the most common variety in the U.S. Each serving is packed with 20 vitamins and minerals, potassium, folate, and lutein. Potassium helps control blood pressure, folate is needed for cellular repair, and lutein is good for the eyes. These green fruits also contain vitamins B, C, and E. Vitamin B helps fight off infection, while vitamins C and E have been found to help fight cancer. They’re low in sugar and high in fiber. Sounds too good to be true, and the catch is that avocados are high in fat. However, this is the good type of fat called “monosaturated” which helps lower bad cholesterol. The problem is that one serving of avocado is 1/3 of a medium pick. This small amount has 50 calories with 4.5 grams of fat. Doesn’t sound like much but the reality is that this is a mere one or two dips in the guacamole bowl. Moderation is not avocado’s strong suit.

Too much of anything of course catches up with the body. The plus side is that avocados have so many positive benefits. Avocados contain vitamins A, K, C, E, B, iron, potassium, zinc, calcium, manganese, phosphorus, copper, and folate. This fruit may help reduce inflammation in the body. Avocados may help the body absorb nutrients from other foods. They have been linked to cancer prevention because they contain phytochemicals that prevent the growth of precancerous and cancerous cells. Avocados are also high in fiber which helps with digestion. One serving contains 2 grams of fiber, which means they also help the body feel fuller.

Yes, avocados are healthy. However, that doesn’t give the green light to have as much as desired. Extra pounds will accumulate if eaten in excess. Avocados are a great alternative to other condiments and sauces. The key to recognize is that 77% of the calories in avocados are composed of fat. This is the very healthy type of fat, the same found in olive oil. Avocados fit nicely into a healthy diet but sticking to reasonable portions is the key. It’s too easy to eat too much without noticing. The whole avocado is just too much…. sadly. Avocados can be part of an effective weight loss approach, but when eaten in the proper amount. That means some chips will have to spare the dip.

25 Jun

Eventually, all of us will get gray hair. More friendly terms are silver, salt and pepper, or charcoal. We associate graying with aging or a phenomenon that occurs only in the elderly. That is not the case for all people, in fact some can gray at early as in their 20s. The reason that hair goes gray is because the color-producing cells stop making pigment. The color becomes naturally bleached and hydrogen peroxide actually builds up in the hair. The pigment in our hair is called melanin which is released by melanocytes.  As we age, our hair follicles and hair shaft wear down. The melanocytes don’t work as efficiently. Almost half of all people have some amount of gray hair by age 50. However, Caucasians start to go gray in their mid-30s, African-Americans in their late 40s, and Asians in their late 30s. If a Caucasian person goes gray before age 20 and an Asian or African American before age 30, then they are considered to have premature gray hair.

This is not classified as a medical problem, rather more of a vanity concern. There is not scientific proof that stress causes gray hair. Although we have watched each of our president’s hair turn grey while in office, this wasn’t the result of their chronic stress. Genes play a major role. Problems with the thyroid or low vitamin B-12 levels can cause graying. Inadequate levels of vitamin C, D, and E can also cause graying. Sun damage and smoking have been linked to graying.

There are of course ways to cover the gray or rather, to just embrace it. Stars such as Steve Martin and Anderson Cooper wear their gray with pride. Unfortunately, you can’t really escape graying. Antioxidant rich foods can slow the process of aging. Great foods to consider are vitamin B-12 (eggs, fish, poultry, milk), vitamin A (eggs, carrots, dark leafy greens), vitamin C (citrus, berries, sweet potatoes), vitamin E (nuts, seeds, green vegetables), iron (leafy green and red meat), and antioxidants (berries, onion, garlic, and legumes). Hormonal problems should be treated. Stopping smoking will reduce the rate at which gray hair produces. You may just have the DNA for graying. You might just have the same gene that causes the lighter hair in Europeans (IRF4).

Gray can be sophisticated so don’t always say you are getting old. Graying means you have experienced life. Just like your age, your number of grays is only part of your timeline. You are as young as feel. Most importantly, take care of your health and your body will take care of you. Just be glad you still have hair gray or not.

14 Jun

Whiplash is caused by a forward or backwards jerking of the head. The most common cause is from being in a car accident. Symptoms don’t always immediately present themselves but tend to surface at least within 24 hours of the trauma. Soft tissue becomes damaged from the jerking motion to areas such as discs and other muscles and ligaments. The injury may not be detectable on a standard X-ray, but a doctor can perform CT scan or MRI (magnetic imaging imaging) to diagnose whiplash.

Some of the most common symptoms include the following:

  1. Headaches
  2. Stiff neck
  3. Dizziness
  4. Low back pain
  5. Numbness in the arm of hand that can be painful
  6. Fatigue
  7. Sleep disturbance
  8. Irritability

Patients are all affected differently, therefore, there is no one single treatment that works for everyone. Treatment has become more progressive. In the past, immobilization was the number one recommendation which involved making sure the cervical collar did not move. Now, doctors are recommending limited range of motion to the injured areas. Pain medication can be prescribed or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve) can be used to help. Heat and ice are readily recommended. Physical therapy and messages can be used as well. Ultrasound and injections can be done.

The pain and resulting stiffness from whiplash can remain chronic. For most patients, symptoms remain for at least 6 months. This can result in time lost at work, multiple appointments like physical therapy to attend, and inability to perform activities once enjoyed.

Whiplash doesn’t just result from car accidents. A person can fall from a bike or horse. It can also occur from being hit from the side not just forwards or backwards. Just because an injury isn’t visible doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist, and it doesn’t always surface right away. It also is most prevalent in woman than in male. This trauma is classified using a grading scale:

Grade 0: No physical signs of injury or patient complaints.
– Grade 1: No physical signs, but neck pain.
– Grade 2: Patient experiencing neck pain & signs of a musculoskeletal injury.
– Grade 3: Patient experiencing neck pain & signs of neurological impairment.

Whiplash is the body communicating that trauma has occurred and attention is needed. Being slowed down can be frustrating, especially if the accident was not your fault. Treat the symptoms, don’t ignore the pain, and be sure to wear your seatbelt, a helmet, or whatever type of protective gear can be worn that could potentially save your life and whiplash.

07 Jun

The musical fruit. Beans are a very healthy type of food that is affordable and versatile. Different types are enjoyed by different cultures. Beans are classified as legumes and grow in pods that have beans inside. These pods come from flowers. Some of the most popular types of beans include black beans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, red beans, black-eyed peas, soybeans, and kidney beans. There are a number of reasons why beans can be part of a healthy diet.

  1. Protein: Beans are high in amino acids. Soybeans are actually a complete source of protein, meaning they contain all 9 amino acids. Beans are a great source of protein for vegetarians and vegans.
  2. Antioxidants: Beans contain antioxidants which are the free radicals that help with processes in the body, help with physical aging, and can help reduce the risk of cancer and inflammation.
  3. Nutrients: Beans are full of folate which is very helpful for the fetus during pregnancy. Folate is important for everyone to have and not having enough of it can lead to fatigue, loss of appetite, weakness, heart palpitations, and irritability. Beans have fiber, zinc, magnesium, and iron.
  4. Heart health: Eating beans can help reduce the risk for stroke, heart attack, and other cardiovascular problems.
  5. Beans can help lower cholesterol.
  6. Diabetes and glucose metabolism: Beans can help stabilize blood glucose levels. This can help prevent diabetes. Because beans are high in fiber which means they can help lower blood glucose.
  7. Appetite control: Because beans are high in fiber, which means a person can feel fuller longer and avoid overeating.
  8. Liver health: Beans can preserve liver health and reduce the risk of fatty liver.

There are a couple down sides to eating beans. Eating too many, much like having too much of any food, can lead to gastrointestinal problems. These might include gas, diarrhea, blocked intestines. Beans also contain a lot of carbohydrates and depending on a person’s body type and metabolism, this may not be conducive to their waistline. For example, one cup of black beans has about 660 calories and 121 grams of carbohydrates. That might take almost an hour of running to burn off. When compared to a piece of chicken, the pros and cons speak for themselves when looking for a protein source. Moderation is always the principle. It can be hard not to get carried away when someone has a great recipe with beans. They can top a salad, fill a burrito, be in a soup, or just stand alone. About ¼ cup is one serving, meaning a little has to go a long way.

31 May

Shingles is a painful virus. The pre-requisite is having had chicken pocks first, even if it was decades before. This is because they come from the same virus called varicella roster. Chickenpox causes itchy blisters that can spread on the body, typically in the chest and back areas. On the other hand, shingles is a rash that causes a shooting, painful, sensation. The rash usually stick to one location or side of the body. When the virus first enters the body as chickenpox, after running its course, it retreats to nerve tissues located near the spinal cord and brain just makes its home there. Then for almost no reason doctors can understand, the virus wakes itself up again. That is when shingles occurs which is also called herpes zoster. Doctors do know that a weakened immune system is of course more vulnerable to virus waking itself up.  

Others heightened risks for shingles include trauma, stress, have cancer, HIV, or take medications that lower the immune system over time (such as steroids). The mystery is that these possible causes are not always true for everyone.  

Going to see a doctor is pertinent especially if the person feels a tingling feeling under their skin, an upset stomach, fever, chills, and/or headache coupled with raised dots on the body. The area of the skin will feel like a stabbing pain and eventually the redness turns into blisters. Within 7 to 10 days the blisters do dry out and pain lessens. Shingles cannot be entirely cured, but the painful symptoms and longevity of the blisters can be reduced.  

Shingles is contagious to those who have never had chickenpox or the vaccine for it. A person is contagious until the blisters have dried out and crusted over. Pregnant women, infants, and those with weak immune systems are susceptible.  

Currently there are 2 vaccines available for shingles. These include Shingrix and Zostavax. Shingrix is actually considered 90% effective, so it is the preferred option. The CDC does recommend people over the age of 50 get this vaccination, even if they have had shingles before.  

Shooting pain should be kept away. Anyone who has had the Chickenpox should be aware of possible triggers and any symptoms associated with shingles. As we always intend to, keeping stress at bay is important. Be aware of germs and germ filled environments. Your body and immune system appreciate self-care. Don’t let the virus in and vaccination becomes very important.  

19 May

The thought of sitting in a plane for many hours, just screams germs. Everyone is sitting in an enclosed spaced, breathing recycled air, and then there are people who cough and sneeze in this air. Traveling during the holidays also is the time of year for colds and the flu season. Some studies say you are 100 more times likely to catch one of these while up in the air. Switching seats from the sick person next to you is not always an option. Being mindful of what you touch with your bare hands is always a good idea to be highly cautious of. Think about the number of people who are using the same bathroom on the same flight. Think about all the items with luggage, shoes, and matters of personal hygiene that are all in one location.

In between flights, under the constraints of time, the flight staff might not have had enough time to thoroughly clean. Between all the seats, seatbelts, and buttons that people touch, there are a lot of places to wipe down. Going row by row, aisle by aisle, is not always possible when trying to stick to a timely flight schedule. So the germs just stay there and then next layer of germs now enter to make matters worse.

There are shared earplugs, blankets, and pillows. There are so many germs and many people eat the airplane food not even considering to wash their hands first. There are only one or two bathrooms and a line so hand washing gets neglected. Planes are actually pretty old too. Some of the very planes we fly in today are over 20 years old. That means unless the upholstery and additional seat belts have been readily replaced and refurbished, the germs just keep piling on. People become tired and fatigued and then careless with their germs. There are also children who don’t cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze and put their hands in their own mouth and noses only to continue to touch parts of the plane.

We have to be ready to fly with our germ protectant force ready. Have hand sanitizer ready, bring your own pillow and headphones, and try to avoid touching any common areas with your bare hands. Staying hydrated and making sure to take a multivitamin to keep immunity up is important to come prepared and try to avoid catching something in the air. Travel is fun and safe, but not free from germs. You never want to arrive at your destination feeling sick and unlike yourself.

09 May

Quitting smoking is a battle many cigarette users face when attempting to stop cold turkey or even reduce the number of smoke breaks per day. Smoking is the largest preventable cause of death and disease in the U.S., but nicotine users are certainly addicted and hooked. Smoking kills more than 480,000 people per year. It Is estimated that 14% of U.S. adults are smokers. Of these, 75% of them smoke every single day. Ages 25-65 seem to be the target group most involved. American Indian and Alaska Native are the highest race/ethnicity that smokes.

There are several different ways to try to quit smoking. Some people have mad multiple attempts, revisiting the addiction after stopping for some time. Some people are able to make up their mind and walk away forever. Our brains are wired differently so finding a solution might be a task of trial and error unit habit is finally eliminated.

1.       Quitting cold turkey: Only about 5-7% of people are able to do this on their own without any type of help. About 90% of people attempt to quit smoking without the use of therapy, medicine, or different aids. 
2.       Nicotine replacement therapy: There are many types on the market. These include patches, gums, inhalers, and sprays. The catch is that the person is trying to quit their addiction to nicotine itself, so sometimes changing for a different form doesn’t make the craving and desire for nicotine any less.
3.       Behavioral therapy: This involves working with a counselor to address triggers that make the person want to smoke. These might include emotions or situations. Together, a plan of attack can be created to know what to do when these circumstances arise. 
4.       Medication: Chantix and Bupropion can be prescribed to help with withdrawl and cravings.

Of course the first few days are going to be difficult. Change of any type adds an element of uncertainty and a withdrawal from something that once was. It becomes important to avoid situations, triggers, or places, that could create a desire to want to reach for a cigarette. It is extremely important to succumb to cravings. Allowing yourself to have that cigarette when the want is so strong, only tricks your brain that permission is granted, and it is okay to keep smoking. Send the right message from the start for long term success. Reward yourself for hitting milestones such as going one week with none. Stay active and busy and get out. Don’t let boredom and too much time let cigarettes lurk in your mind. Of course much of this can be considered easier said then done and for many cigarette smokers they have heard it all before. 

Change is possible. Quitting is possible. Think of all the positives and remember your health is a priority and shouldn’t be compromised to the power of nicotine addiction.

04 May

We were always told to eat your vegetables growing up. In fact, I can remember one of my go-to snacks after school being carrots and ranch dressing. Those crunchy orange bites are filled with nutrients. So let’s look at the goods and bads of eating carrots on your fitness journeys. 

On the positive side, there are a number of benefits as to why carrots are good for us. Here are 10 (http://www.care2.com/greenliving/10-benefits-of-carrots.html) :

1.Improve vision: Carrots are good for your eyes: “Carrots are rich in beta-carotene

, which is converted into vitamin A in the liver. Vitamin A is transformed in the retina

, to rhodopsin, a purple pigment necessary for night vision”.

2.Prevent Cancer: Up to 1/3 reduction of lung, breast, and colon cancer.

3. Slows Down Aging: Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant

4. Healthier Skin: Carrots contain Vitamin A: “Vitamin A prevents premature wrinkling, acne, dry skin, pigmentation, blemishes and uneven skin tone.”

5. Prevent Infection: can be used on wounds and cuts

6. Healthier Outside Skin: can be used as a face mask to help with acne and blemishes7. Prevents Heart Disease: “Studies show that diets high in carotenoids are associated with a lower risk of heart disease. Carrots have not only beta-carotene but also alpha-carotene and lutein. The regular consumption of carrots also reduces cholesterol levels because the soluble fibers in carrots bind with bile acids”.
8. Cleanses the Body: helps to flush out toxins in the liver
9. Protect Teeth & Gums: “Carrots stimulate gums and trigger a lot of saliva, which, being alkaline, balances out the acid-forming, cavity-forming bacteria. The minerals in carrots prevent tooth damage.”
10. Prevents Stroke: studies show carrot consumption less likely to have a stroke

However, everything in moderation right?? Carrots do have a lot of sugar (the good kind) but too much of any one item isn’t good for us. If you are eating too many carrots this could cause Carotenimia which is the yellowing of the skin. As such, “Eating large quantities of carrots doesn’t put you at risk of vitamin A overload because your body only converts beta carotene as needed. However, having large amounts of carotene in your blood can cause carotenemia, or yellowish discoloration of the skin. The harmless condition is typically most apparent on palms, soles and ears and disappears gradually on a lower-carotene diet” (http://www.livestrong.com/article/286531-side-effects-of-eating-too-many-carrots/). And then of course having too much fiber can lead to bowel problems. Be careful if you are a “dipper” and have to have each bite coated in ranch, hummus, or peanut butter (yes peanut butter is a popular carrot dip haha). Carrots don’t have the kick to keep you full long enough so this snack could use some protein with it.

Bugs Bunny vs. your fitness journey. And yes with it being around Easter time when writing this Blog, the idea came to me. Plus, I see carrots in food journals a lot. The winner seems to be the pros/positives, but we know that regardless, portion control is our best fitness journey friend (other than me haha). So crunch away, but just a few!!!! Serving size would of course vary by size 😊

26 Apr

Self confidence attributes to a happy personality. Low-self confidence attributes to depression, influences how you view yourself, and hinders how you interact with others. It is an important piece to the happiness pie. Maybe your daily routine could use a few small changes to boost your self- confidence.

1.       Smile: This can lead to positive emotions. The physical act of smiling tells your brain to feel secure and upbeat.
2.       Do a good deed: You feel better about yourself when you brighten someone else’s day. Send a card, compliment someone, or bake someone their favorite dish. Your mood will improve.
3.       Volunteer: Meaningful giving can help you feel connected to others and better about yourself for helping someone else.
4.       Dress: Clothing can affect how you feel. Your outfit says something about you. It doesn’t matter if you sit at a desk all day and no one sees it, because you still hold judgment about yourself.
5.       Learn something new: Taking a class or enlightening your mind with new information can perpetuate self confidence as you know you are doing something positive.
6.       Exercise: This can improve your mood, relieve stress, and help the way you feel about your appearance. Self-discipline and reaching fitness goals can be uplifting.
7.       Eat right: Eating healthy helps your appearance and helps your mood. This leads to more energy and more self-confidence.
8.       Posture: Standing up straight displays self-confidence. There are physical benefits to this, but it also communicates that you feel you belong and should be where you are in the moment.
9.     Get organized: Managing small pieces of your life helps you feel in control.
10.   Others like you: Assume that people like you instead of worrying what everyone else thinks. People don’t always focus on your flaws the way that you do about yourself.
11.   Ignore your inner critic: Stop telling yourself that you are not good enough or not worthy. Give yourself some credit.
12.   Avoid the mirror: Stop being addicted to looking at your physical imperfections. You are your own worst critic.
13.   Make eye contact: This is a confidence radiating mannerism.
14.   Stop procrastinating: Creating stress does not make you feel good about yourself. 

Have me time: Spending time on just you is important. Get a facial or your nails done. Go play golf. You are telling yourself you are worth taking time for. 
We all want to be confident about who we are, what we do, and our presence on this Earth. Self-confidence is a personality trait that must be fulfilled for happiness. You can be happy, and it starts by believing that you are enough.

20 Apr

What lights a fire under you?? What grinds your gears, makes you angry, sad, worried, or STRESSED?? We each deal with the components of life differently, and our reactions to circumstances dictate our emotional well-being. Time, relationships, work, school, kids, family…. all these responsibilities can require a balancing act that seems impossible. But that’s life. And unfortunately, stress can have adverse effects on our health… especially weight.

Your body and mind are one and the same. When put under pressure, your brain kicks into a flight or fight mode. And guess what?? Your body wants to use calories in its defense. As such, “Most of us become overeaters when we’re feeling a lot of pressure. This happens thanks to your fight-or-flight response, a.k.a. survival mode — once your body reaches a certain stress level, it does what it feels it needs to. In most cases, that means overeat” (

Initially, adrenaline spikes in the body, making one feel less hungry. However, soon after cortisol takes over. Cortisol is the stress hormone. When activated, inhibition can go out the window. Here’s run down: “Because increased levels of the hormone also help cause higher 

insulin levels, your blood sugar drops and you crave sugary, fatty foods” (

https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/stress-weight-gain#1) . Cheap, convenient, processed foods, are right there to answer the calling.
Here’s the catch: “Today’s human, who sits on the couch worrying about how to pay the bill or works long hours at the computer to make the deadline, does not work off much energy at all dealing with the stressor! Unfortunately, we are stuck with a neuroendocrine system that didn’t get the update, so your brain is still going to tell you to reach for that plate of cookies anyway” (

We have to learn to relax, sleep, and breathe. Many clients ask me what foods to turn to. Here’s what I found:·         

Dark chocolate: Two studies of 95 adults showed that consuming dark chocolate reduced their cortisol response to a stress challenge.·         

Many fruits: A study of 20 cycling athletes showed eating bananas or pears during a 75-km ride reduced levels compared to drinking water only.·         

Black and green tea: A study of 75 men found 6 weeks of drinking black tea decreased cortisol in response to a stressful task, compared to a different caffeinated drink.·         

Probiotics and prebiotics: Probiotics are friendly, symbiotic bacteria in foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut and kimchi. Prebiotics, such as soluble fiber, provide food for these bacteria. Both probiotics and prebiotics help reduce cortisol.·         

Water: Dehydration increases cortisol. Water is great for hydrating while avoiding empty calories. A study in nine male runners showed that maintaining hydration during athletic training reduced cortisol levels. (

Life’s demands throw us for a loop from time to time. Reassure yourself that patience is the key and that this too shall pass. Don’t let your negative thoughts take the wheel. Healthy choices outlast split second mistakes. Be kind to your BODY, even in it’s weak moments.