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17 May

BLOG 216 APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

When yeast is added to traditional apple juice, the fruit sugar turns into alcohol. That is the premise of fermentation. The bacteria in this alcohol then become acetic acid. This acid is the culprit for the sour taste and smell of vinegar. We use vinegar to bake, cook, it’s in most salad dressings, and it is readily used as a preservative. It is not meant to be used in high amounts due to its acidity. Over consumption can lead to stomach problems, damage to your teeth, and it is not good for the lining of your throat. So why are we hearing so many claims that apple cider vinegar is great for our health??

Research doesn’t support many of the claims we hear about this vinegar. Mixing a couple tablespoons with water has been used for several health tricks. Apple cider vinegar has been used as a home remedy dating back to the early Greeks. At that time, it was used topically to treat wounds.

Today, we hear about this product being used for weight loss, to make dandruff go away, clear acne, and to improve heart health. The link to weight loss is based on the notion that vinegar improves blood sugar levels. This would then help people with type 2 diabetes which is associated with obesity. Some say that it is an appetite suppressant. Others say it interferes with the body’s ability to digest starch which means less enters the blood stream.

Vinegar also has antioxidants which can help with cellular repair.

It has been said to cure the common cold because germs can’t survive in the acidic environment that vinegar ingested creates.

When it comes to your gut, apple cider vinegar has the good bacteria that can help with an upset stomach and help stop diarrhea.

It has also been used to stop hiccups.

The potassium and enzymes in this vinegar have been said to increase energy. The potassium can also help with leg cramps.

It has also been said to white teeth when used as a toothpaste.

Some claim it help the coloring of bruising go away.

The key is that a little goes a long way. It is a weak acid, but it is still acid in your body. Having too much can cause heartburn and bloating. Although it may claim to suppress your appetite, prolonged use will damage the stomach’s lining. This is also true for teeth whitening use because eventually your enamel will deteriorate from the acidity. Home remedies are effective in the eye of the beholder and can be the first responder application to a problem that could be treated without too much effort. Do what is best for your body and what works for your body. That is the freedom of choice and the freedom to control your health’s destiny.

11 May

BLOG 215 CHAPPED LIPS

Chapped lips can happen at any time to anyone making the lips dry, scaly, or even sore. Some of the main culprits of this condition include dehydration, sun exposure, smoking, constantly licking the lips, possible vitamin deficiency, weather, and breathing through the mouth. As a result, the lips might crack, peel, flake, or feel tender.

There are few home remedies that can help chapped lips. These include:
1. Exfoliation: It is important to remove the dead skin cells off the chapped lips and this can be done by creating a paste with sugar and honey.
2. Coconut oil: This is a natural moisturizer.
3. Caster oil: This is effective at hydrating.
4. Aloe vera gel: This can help with any pain from the chapped lips.
5. Cucumbers: When rubbed lightly on the lips, the juice helps hydrate.
6. Petroleum jelly: This is effective when applied several times during the day.
7. Water: In general, at least drink those 8 recommended glasses per day.

Moisture in the body is a must to keep the lips fresh and smooth. Winter is a hard month for the lips as the skin is literally breaking from this lack of moisture. There’s a lack of humidity and the air is dry. Licking the lips only makes the problem worse because once the saliva dries, it is back to dryness over and over again. Certain lipsticks and products contain chemicals and allergens that can dry the lips. Medications can do this too. This is why the plain, boring, lip balms and moisturizes are more effective. When it comes to flaky skin on the lips, the best idea is to just let it be don’t pick at it and force it to be removed when it is not ready to come off yet. Look for moisturizes that have a wax protectant and vitamin E. Topical steroids can also be used. Sometimes a person finds a chap stick they love and almost become addicted to application due to the fragrance or taste. However, sometimes constant application can cause further irritation. For those with sensitivity, there are hypoallergenic lip balms. If all else fails, a dermatologist can recommend a solution.

Having chapped lips is a very common problem as our lips are constantly being exposed to the weather, to our movement activity of the area, to our foods and beverages, to our talking, kissing, and for the ladies to their lipsticks, liners, and glosses. Plump and luscious lips are in, but not the type that are dry, flaky, and irritated. Keep your smile vibrant and your lips moisturized. Just another reason to drink water, eat healthy, and practice good self-care.

02 May

BLOG 214 ENERGY DRINKS

A pick me up, wake me up, pre workout, pre event, you name the need for an energy drink. They started out so innocently with Red Bull and what a Starbucks fancy drink could do. They have now evolved into a market of their own. They’re widely promoted and claim to improve performance. They have actually become the most popularly consumed dietary supplement next to multivitamins. Men between the ages of 18 to 34 years consume the most amount while 1/3 of teen between the ages of 12 to 17 have them on a regular basis. Suddenly sitting through class requires a drink, going to the gym require a drink, heading out for a night on the town means starting with a drink, or just to get through the tail end of a day.

There are basically two types. There are the typical 16oz can or bottle type or the 2 to 3oz energy shot. Caffeine is the main component of these drinks, totaling up to 240mg in that 16oz or about 200mg per shot. A typical 12oz canned soda has about 35mg and a standard 8oz cup of coffee has about 100mg. Caffeine overload certainly provides that alertness and spike. Other ingredients might include guarana which is a Brazilian caffeine source, sugar, ginseng, vitamin B, and carnitine.

Science is showing that there are a number of poor health effects when it comes to these drinks. Energy drinks have actually resulted in hospital visits. About 25% of college students mix them with alcohol. Those who do this have been found to report higher rates of drunk driving, unprotected sex, and other alcohol related injuries. The CDC reports that a person is four times more likely to report binge drinking when they also have an energy drink.

A person might feel might alert or feel that their performance has improved, but excessive intake of caffeine takes its toll. It can lead to poor sleep problems, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, can cause dehydration, can lead to anxiety, and can also upset the stomach. The bottom line is that we live in a world that favors excess. I won’t work out as well, I won’t have as much fun, or I will be tired are all reasons energy drinks can lure a person in. Then this become a habit and then this becomes part of the routine. The excess sugar goes to the waistline and the poor decision making leads to a bad recipe just for a drink. Better off with just coffee. Better off with just getting good sleep. Better off with keep in it simple and clean.

28 Apr

BLOG 213 DON’T SETTLE

Between relationships, jobs, where you live, and friendships, we have certain expectations of ourselves and what we imagine to be and how we want to the story to play out. Yet, when you hate your job, aren’t in love, don’t like your home, and could do without certain people in your life, you are left restless, feel undeserving, and don’t find the humor in life anymore. A decade can pass, and time hasn’t changed any of your choices. You are settling for less than what your play write for life’s movie was intended to look like. The audience of one, you, is stuck and stagnant.

Settling can be the result of fear, wanting stability, anxiety, or worry. The idea of risk postpones decision making. Then looking into the future, regret lurks in. Having the ability to re-prioritize life, what you want, and how you will get it, becomes a pressing issue. The challenge is to act.

Reach a point in life where you can minimize your regrets. Surround yourself with people who reciprocate your efforts, bring out the better you, make you smile, and fulfill you. If something doesn’t feel right, then it probably isn’t right for you. Not everything has to be self-serving, but if you are spending your life with others you don’t feel add value, then there needs to be made room for those who can and will.

Going to work and dreading it, well that is no way to face each day. Making a living is incredibly important, but not at the risk of your happiness. Living life feeling purposeful and with a smile makes yourself a lot more capable to experience incredible opportunities. Otherwise, the days and hours and even minutes pass by.
Although you may not like your current living situation, there is better out there if you go seek it. Yet, if you stay in the same place and complain, then only you can beat on the dead drum over and over and expect change. Action produces outcomes.

Live each day with forward thinking and don’t settle on less that what you deserve. Life is meant to be lived, not feared or carried out with boredom. There are people in this world you are meant to encounter. There are places you are meant to go. This will only happen if you don’t settle and let these opportunities pass you by. The repeat affect isn’t meant for you. Embrace what you are meant to have.

21 Apr

BLOG 212 DELI MEAT

A nice heart cold cut, lunch meat, whichever type of deli meat you favor, reading the labels of these pre-packed proteins is very important. There are so many types of deli meats from bologna to turkey breast, making a selection available for every taste bud. However, this “meat”, really isn’t just meat, rather, it’s a concoction of different by-products filled with chemicals. The fat and sodium in excess increase the health risks increase for developing Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, while chances of heart attack and stroke also rise.

Processed meats contain plenty of preservatives, hence their shelf life in your refrigerator. These particular preservatives are nitrates or nitrites. These are a potential carcinogen. All of the added flavors, smoking, salting, and curing the meat, have been linked to cancer. The World Health Organization (WHO) considers processed meat, which is deli meat, to be a Group 1 carcinogen. Other additional ingredients include like butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT). Those don’t sound like they are meant to visit the digestive system. It seems like a couple slices of bread with lettuce and tomato with whichever meat, would be a healthy lunch choice. So easy to make must mean too good to be true. Some meat labels say they have no artificial sweeteners or are uncured, but the label needs to say nitrates or nitrites free. We are easily lured by the words “natural” or “organic”, but further investigation needs to be done. Eating ingredients that we are unable to pronounce should probably be avoided. Bologna is basically a mix of sausage, pork, chemicals, and preservatives. In other words, avoid.

This doesn’t mean that you have to completely cut deli meat out of the picture. However, looking for low sodium options is important. One slice of typical deli meat can contain over 200 mg of sodium, and most sandwiches are layered with meat. It is interesting that the World Health Organization has found that eating just 50 grams of deli meat or any processed meat daily increases the risk for colorectal cancer by 18%. Anything packed and preserved has been transformed from its original taste for us to have easy access to and for manufactures to prey on our pursuit of convenience. Choosing a deli counter versus a packaged is also a better option. A person can also roast their own meat and slice it themselves. The more far removed you know where something has come from, the more you should remove it from your diet. In the end, hold the mayo and cheese, and tell the person crafting your sandwich that you will pass on the nitrates too.

11 Apr

BLOG 211 EX-NAY “CAN’T”
The word “can’t” should really be taken out the English language. It is a terrible word. Saying you can’t do something is telling yourself that you have doubt, that you are defeated, and that the barrier at hand is impossible. Using this word sets the wrong attitude and is a form of holding yourself back. Often times, you are choosing not to try, attempt, or take action. You have given up before the result can even be attempted.

At the studio, the word “can’t” is not allowed. Your body is capable of finding a way of what works. In a certain moment in time, maybe an exercise isn’t right for you be it the level or the mechanics. Just ask me, and I will show you what you can do. Yet, so many times after a demonstration the reaction is that you can’t do that. Even before an honest attempt, the game is already lost. Your body hears your mind and reacts accordingly. A negative attitude doesn’t equate to a positive experience and your mind will start to associate the workout hour with negativity. You can do something or say I’m choosing not to do that right now. This is a much better mind set and much better spin on the situation. Negative words make the brain negative.

When you say the word “can’t” your subconscious mind is searching for evidence, those why reasons that you cannot do something. The mind will make up reasons for your limitation. Using this word can be from fear that you are incapable of the task. You have to leave yourself open to the potential that you can do something. Mind over matter not losing before even playing. Be in charge of your mind and your body will follow. Fair warning, burpees may result from the use of the word “can’t” at the studio. I CAN do that

04 Apr

BLOG 210 DREAMING

Whether we remember it or not, we all dream. We might even dream up to 4 to 6 times per night. Sometimes we find ourselves entertained while other times we are left feeling disturbed after a bizarre dream. After all, dreams are stories, similar to movies playing in our head. They can be so vivid that we can actually wake up feeling happy, sad, mad, confused, or even scared. Dreams are most vivid during deep sleep which is called rapid eye movement (REM). During this time, the brain is very active.

Sigmund Freud believed that dreams tell us about our subconscious. Our thoughts, motivations, and unconscious desires are revealed. What we might think society perceives as unacceptable, we think and feel during our dreams.

Dreams are somewhat of a mysterious phenomenon, with some researchers saying they serve no purpose while others claim dreams are necessary for our mental health. They may have no connection to reality, but some experts have found that when restricted from the act of dreaming a person can wake up feeling depressed, anxious, have a hard time concentrating, experience weight gain, and overall feel a sense of tension. Dreams could just be night time stories that keep us asleep. Dreams help us sort out our life’s problems, process emotions, and incorporate our memories. A person can go to bed troubled by a problem and wake up with a solution. Re-occuring dreams might have meaning that help us discover our deepest fears and concerns. For example, a dream someone has over and over about falling off a cliff or being chased might really be about a hidden trigger or stressor. On the other hand, every dream can be unique and interpreted differently.

Nightmares are bad dreams we don’t like. They stir up emotional problems, stress, and may be caused by illnesses or medications. The bottom line is that no matter how scary the dream is, it is not real. Lucid dreams occur when we are in between REM and being awake, so they seem extremely real. The brain is really active. Dreams don’t predict the future but can sometimes feel coincidental. Most of the time we don’t even remember our dreams. Imagine if we were able to remember all of our dreams. We might not be able to separate reality from what we dreamt. During REM it is possible that our brain shuts off the memory device so we only recall what we thought about just before we wake up. People who wake up several times in the night are more likely to remember their dreams. Sometimes just being conscious that you want to remember your dreams will help you recall them better.
There are different theories when it comes to interpreting our dreams, but think of them more as your brain’s free play time. It is entertaining itself as we sleep until we rise again and it’s back to work. Some say dreams do come true, but the truth is that we will never really know that answer. For now, it’s nice to believe that dreams really do come true especially when we are young and imaginative.

29 Mar

BLOG 209 OPINIONS

An opinion is judgment someone forms about something that may not be based on facts or knowledge. It typically relates to the quality or worth of something or it can be in the form of advice. The trouble with opinions is that they can hurt us or try to define us. We often hear that we are all entitles to our own opinions, but it is when we share them that can cause troubles. We let other people’s opinion carry merit regardless of the credibility or why they formulated this judgment. We all can relate to letting the opinion of certain people in our lives take reign while others we can easily brush under the rug. Frustrating, especially since at the end of the day an opinion isn’t fact.

It is the game we play of opinions that can socially cause turmoil for us. Your best friend, significant other, and family, all have their opinions. I think of the classic case of brining your new boo home to meet the family worrying what they will they of he or she. We often times pick out an outfit, wear our hair a certain style, wear certain brands, talk a certain way, or even act a certain way, based on what we perceive other’s opinions will be. The concept of not caring what anyone else things is a rare art form.

People will always talk. No one else’s opinion defines you be it that they express their judgment to your face or behind closed doors. Opnions merely make other people feel like they are superior. Don’t define your happiness by the approval rating others give you. You have to take the high road and understand that just because something or someone is good for them, doesn’t mean it is good for you.

In my own life, I want to please every client and personally and impacted by opinions of me. When you strive so hard to help others, it does hurt when a negative opinion interjects. Although few and far in between, I have to take the high road and grow from the statements. I’ve certainly gotten a lot tougher. But I’m a lot happier when I’m not dwelling or worrying about someone’s opinion.

Yes, this is an easier said than done concept, but we have to learn who we want to let in our circle of valued opinions. Define your judging criteria about who matters most when you give merit to any opinion. No one is in charge of your happiness but you. Even now you can have an opinion about what I’m writing about, but hey, I know that opinions are unavoidable and I’m the one who can control how I accept or reject them

21 Mar

Triggers can result from a situation that has or will happen and are usually associated with a negative emotional reaction. A trigger can be a flashback that sets off a memory that can send a person back to the moment in time of trauma. It’s a reminder. This reminder can cause an overwhelming feeling that produces anxiety, sadness, or even panic. Triggers can come in many forms that don’t have to be physical. For example, the date of an anniversary can be a trigger. Sometimes we can predict what will be triggers. For example, watching a scary movie might cause a person to re-live a trauma in their head. Even smells can set a person off. Certain people can be very hyper-sensitive to their triggers. For example, a person recovering from an eating disorder, might be triggered by celebrities and Instagram models that are extremely skinny when they see them.

When the original trauma occurs, we are in flight or fight mode. During this time, short term memory is faulty. The moment in time gets shuffled around and de-prioritized. The situation doesn’t get filed as past event, rather it remains recent and in the short term. This makes the memory easier to recall. Then when similar situations arise, the brain senses the stimuli and recalls the memory. The brain also falls victim to habits. So let’s say someone always smokes while they drive. The brain soon starts to associate driving with smoking, the two go hand I hand, and hence the habit has been formed. The brain then thinks whenever you drive you smoke, and driving becomes a trigger for smoking.

When it comes to triggers that cause us to emotionally eat or avoid exercise, we have to stop and think about the associations. Are the triggers internal or external? Internal would be memories, emotions, or body sensations. Examples include feelings of anger, frustration, feeling out control, feeling vulnerable, pain, sadness or anxiety. External would be people, places, or situations. These include arguments, T.V or movie shows, car accidents, smells, anniversaries, holidays, seeing certain people, or the way relationships panned out. Whatever the case, our why has to be handled and controlled. This involves breathing, grounding ourselves, relaxing, being mindful, and finding support. A life lived by the fear or triggers won’t work. But if you eat like its Thanksgiving every time you see a certain person, then the trigger needs to addressed. We can’t deny what we don’t want to face or we can’t move forward. Our journey is about growth and change, and also diminishing triggers that aim to harm us.

17 Mar

BLOG 207 DENIAL
Denial is the self-belief that something isn’t true. It’s refusing to believe something is true that is being requested or that has been told to you. Denial is a defense mechanism. A statement made is just not true. The situation being faced is just too uncomfortable to acknowledge. Even if there is overwhelming evidence, it just isn’t true to you. Denying that something is wrong is a way to cope with an emotional conflict, stress, or with pain. Living in denial when it comes to your health leads to procrastination, worsening of conditions, and the inability to take proactive measures facing the truth.

Denial is the complete opposite of acceptance. It’s hard to deal with life when it doesn’t happen the way you want it to. It the biggest way we lie to ourselves. It is actually the first defense mechanism we learn and use. For example, when we ate the chocolate we weren’t supposed to and mom or dad asked if we did, we shake our head no even though we scarfed it down. The problem is that avoidance doesn’t make the problem go away. It can help the immediate emotional state of mind, but it can also do more harm then good in the end. Pretending something doesn’t exist doesn’t apply to the real world because we can’t exist in an imaginative state.

When our sense of control is threatened, we go into denial mode. Common scenarios include addiction, eating disorders, illnesses, financial problems, or relationship troubles. It takes a strong character to face these realities and deal with them. Living in denial of a medical diagnosis leads to a race a against time for your health. Living in denial about an addiction leads to high risk for poor health and risky behaviors.

It’s hard. I get it. No one wants to hear what is wrong with them or what they need to do. Problems don’t just go away though without addressing them face on. Therefore, on our fitness journeys, we have to address our health circumstances face on. We have to get to the “heart” of the matter. When I read someone their measurements, it’s facing fears and telling the truth that has to be told. Denial is only a temporary band-aid. It’s time to let the wound be exposed, become the better you, and build the character to be strong, fit, and an inspiration to others who have yet to face their truths.