Showing posts with label health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label health. Show all posts

Monday, June 6, 2016

A Prescription For Health + #MyPostMonday Link-Up

As the warmth of spring turns into the heat of summer and we all want to be outside, don't fight it! If you are blessed right now to have a semblance of good health, appreciate it, nurture it. Don't take it for granted! I think about myself never having been satisfied with pictures of myself. The photo was never good enough. The look was never good enough, that is, until I looked at it again 10 years later. Then I realized that I was amazing. I was enough! I was the only one standing in the way! We don't notice what we have until we lose it. So go outside and be happy with you, because you are awesome!!!

Image - Dustin Erksine
 Today is "My Post Monday!" It's all about original content from bloggers who care to share what is on their minds--from Crafts to Camping, Wellness to Wealth, Fashion to Food, and whatever else is on the brain!  I  open up with a post of my own and then follow it up with a linky of the week's top original blog posts! It's all about what the writer thinks, believes, and knows--in other words, they are active, writing blogs. If I happen to find a great original, non-sponsored post, I'll link it up and share it with you here and on Twitter via the #MyPostMonday hashtag!  I can miss some amazing posts, but I don't want to!  So, in addition, if you'd like to link up yourself, you can do that too!  I'll visit your site, comment, promote and publicize! (Affiliate links welcome!)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Energy!.....But Are Those Drinks Worth It?

I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving this year!  I am trying to diet a little so I can get down to some point where I won't be so shocked after I eat on Thursday.   But I need to talk about something that has been on my mind lately.  It's about energy and the different ways we get it.  Some of us like to burn the candle at both ends.  We love life so much that we don't want to sleep.  We want to grab life and live it to the fullest.  But even the most energetic of us need sleep to have energy.  In the absence of sleep, what is it that we can do to keep us going for a little while more before we crash?   
I am amazed at how many people drink energy drinks.  News flash:  They aren't even remotely good for you!  And especially, not good for young people.  At a time in their lives when they can run circles around adults who can possibly justify their need for some kind of pick-me-up, whether natural or artificial, here they are, drinking Red Bull, Full Throttle, Monster, 5-Hour Energy and Rock Star like the new Pepsi or Diet Coke, known in and of themselves for hits of caffeine. But nothing like these drinks.  These make Pepsi and Coke seem like water in comparison.

I do understand the occasional adult need for a quick boost in their energy.  For instance, moms who watch their kids all day and then feel that they need their own time at night or moms who stay up all night with a child and need to stay up during the day.  I remember feeling that way.  I really did want my own time, but I couldn't physically do it unless I had some kind of jolt.  Because if I didn't, I was out along with the kiddo.  

The adult who is driving a long way to a long-distance destination needs energy.  My husband drinks energy drinks on long road trips.  I'm not OK with it, but since he refuses to stop and just keeps on driving, I guess I'd rather he do that than fall asleep at the wheel and put us all in danger!  I'd much rather we stop and take a break somewhere until we are ready to go again.   

What about the all-night shift workers who have to stay up for their jobs?  I know that this is necessary for their living so I have to say that they have to do what they have to do.  My brother works at Rio Tinto Copper Mine in Utah and he works all kinds of crazy shifts.  He never has the same shift back to back, it seems.  He's given up all kinds of health to keep that job, which has benefits and retirement.  Does he do energy drinks?  You bet.  

But just to let you know, there is a cost to drinking energy drinks more than just occasionally.  First they cause a steep rise and fall to insulin levels, triggering inflamation (the initial cause of most health issues), potential hormonal imbalances, and moodiness.   The temporary boost is followed by plummeting blood sugar--which will have you either immobilized and groggy or reaching for another lift.  
 The 72 to 200 mg of caffeine per serving of one of these drinks can trigger heart palpitations, the jitters, and insomnia.  Also one popular brand has 62 g of sugar--the same as nearly two candy bars!  And then there is the added risk when you start mixing these drinks with substances like alcohol, medications, or drugs. 

Some alternatives to reaching for the energy drink is to take a brisk walk during the day; reach for a complex carb with protein snack such as whole grain crackers and cheese, whole wheat bread with almond butter; do some meditation to clear your mind of energy-draining thoughts and keep yourself surrounded by positive people because negativity will decrease energy.   

Doing these and other alternative energy boosting and energy saving activities will definitely help you stay away from those high sugar/high caffeine energy drinks and will help you keep your health and well-being!  

I'm just looking out for you and hoping that you will have a great Thanksgiving and if that means you need to get out and shop till you drop, then do it!  Just stay away from the energy drinks, k?

Notice:  This was written solely by myself.  All opinions are my own.  This work is owned by A GAL NEEDS...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tricks That Will Boost The Metabolism

I work at a remedial high school in the Behavior/Special Ed Unit.  Before the school year ended, we had a writing assignment in English.  The subject was 'If Wishes Came True"...Here is one girl's response:
"If wishes came true I would eat whatever I want and not gain any weight.  I would be so happy...I would eat McDonalds all i want, whenever I want...french fries and popcorn would be my snack every day.  I would eat all of my favorite foods every day.  I bet the world would be alot happier if this wish came true. No one would have to worry about their figures anymore.  It would be an almost perfect world.  I'm getting hungry just thinking about it."
Well, girlfriend, I think you hit it pretty close for me!  Eating is one of the best things ever.  Unfortunately my appetite is bigger than what my metabolism can handle.  If I were to give in, there would be hell to pay on the scales, and believe me, it's happened a lot.  I envy those people who actually CAN seem to get away with eating whatever they want and still wear size 4 skinny jeans.  
But there is some good news.  I can almost level the playing field with those metabolic miracle chicks by incorporating a few tricks of my own.  Then when the craving is unbearable or the occasion warrents, I can indulge without the event ruining me for the next month and beyond.  Here are a few things I've discovered that really do work:

Don't Eat After Dark -  New studies reveal that to burn the most fat, you need to go 12 hours without eating—say, from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. So it's smart to time your calorie intake accordingly.

Include Some Form of Weight Lifting Each Week 
Muscles are your biggest metabolic engine. The more of them you build, the more calories will be directed to keeping them strong. Lifting weights, practicing yoga, and incorporating core exercises that efficiently work large, connected groups of muscles in one swoop will translate into a higher metabolism all day.”   Putting on just 5 to 10 pounds of lean muscle mass will rev up your resting metabolism -- the number of calories your body burns to maintain life -- by roughly 100 calories, each and every day

Include Some Form of Interval Training Each Week In a landmark study published in the journal Metabolism, researchers found that short, intense bursts of exercise resulted in considerably more fat loss than sustained activity. “ Interval training [varying fast spurts of exercise with slower recovery periods] increases your metabolic power,” says Dr. Mark Hyman, author of Ultrametabolism: The Simple Plan for Automatic Weight Loss. “When you exercise this way, your mitochondria, the little engines in your cells that burn calories, run hotter all day.” Interval training can be incorporated into almost any routine. For example, instead of jogging, try running all-out for one minute and then walking for two, repeating the cycle for 30 minutes

Get Enough Sleep
When your body is sleep-deprived, it produces mass quantities of grehlin, the hunger hormone, driving you to crave more sugar and carbohydrates.  A recent study from Case Western Reserve University found that, on average, women who sleep for 5 hours or less per night are 32 percent more likely to gain weight and 15 percent more likely to be obese than those who get at least 7 hours.

Eat Every 2 or 3 Hours Eating three large meals a day is terrible for your metabolism because you have three peaks in your blood sugar/insulin response and the rest of the time you are in a valley that is not good for your insulin response. The key is to make sure each meal is well balanced and contains the right amount of protein, carbohydrates, and a small amount of fat.

Supplement with Omega 3
Omega 3 fatty acids,  largely found in fish oil and flaxseeds, increase the number of fat calories your body burns every day. Fat burning foods are essential for people who decrease calorie intake and exercise but still have trouble losing weight due to often genetic metabolic conditions. They are great antidotes for this problem.

Supplement with Chromium 
Make sure you’re getting enough chromium in your diet to help your body burn more calories. Chromium, which is found in tomatoes and in a supplement form, also boosts the way you burn fat. According to MedlinePlus, meat, eggs, green pepper, apples, banana and spinach are also good sources of chromium. When you supplement 120 mcg of chromium daily, your body benefits by revving up its metabolism

Get Out of your chair every 20 minutes - Whether it's TV watching, blogging, entering contests, playing video or computer games or driving, we sit way too much. Between 1980 and 2000 exercise time stayed the same, but sitting increased by 8%. Obesity doubled.  When one sits, the electrical impulses in the legs shut off, calorie burning drops to 1 calorie burned per minute and enzymes used to help burn fat drop to 90%.  Just by setting a timer for 20 minutes, you can keep track of how long you sit and just walk around for a little bit to break up the time you are sitting without interruption, which seems to be the culprit.

Fight Inflamation 
Experts are starting to point to inflammation as an influence on metabolism. Inflammation is simply the body’s immune response, activated during illness, allergic reaction, or when too much glucose, fat, or carbohydrates enter the system, explains Dr. Hyman. When the inflammatory response switches on, a group of receptors located on the fat and liver cells activate and start redirecting energy toward storage, rather than use. Until the body determines the “crisis” is over, metabolism will slow down, and more calories will go to fat cells. You can keep inflammation down by sticking to low-sugar foods, lean proteins, and healthy fats.  Meals high in antioxidants and fiber bring the inflammatory response down even more.

Break Up Your Workout Sessions 
A University of Pittsburgh study found that women who did four separate 10-minute workouts during the day lost thirty percent more weight than women who did one big 40-minute workout a day. Scientists conclude you can lose more weight and keep your metabolism moving faster by doing smaller, shorter workouts.

Control Stress as much as possible Keep stress levels in check by managing your time, focusing on the present and not over-committing. Many studies have found a link between high levels of stress and weight gain. You don't have to commit to regular yoga classes or meditation sessions to manage your stress.  Just know your limits and know that the world isn't all on your shoulders, you can share that responsibility.  It will help you be more productive in the long run.

Drink Plenty of Water 
In a small German study, subjects who drank 16 ounces of water at a time experienced a 30 percent increase in metabolic rate during the following hour, burning an extra 24 calories. The researchers recommend cool water because the body expends extra calories warming it up to your body temperature.  If your body is not properly hydrated it may not be able to perform certain vital functions.  This can lead to a reduction in your BMR.  Therefore, you need to make sure you are drinking enough water to maximise your metabolism.  I find that keeping a water bottle at your desk and topping it up regularly plus making an effort to drink extra water while exercising helps me stay hydrated throughout the day.

Don't Under-Eat 
Undereating causes your metabolic rate to drop and your body to hold onto fat. Most nutrition experts recommend that the average, active woman consumes at least 1,800 calories daily. But watch out for underestimating the calorie count of "healthy" foods. Even some salads are packed with extra calories.

Drink Green Tea
There are varying reports on this, but Research reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that green tea helps to burn up to forty-three percent more calories a day. Another study showed that men who drank green tea for three months lost almost twice as much weight as those who didn’t drink the brew.

I suppose I no longer have any of the above excuses to be fat, including that my metabolism is really bad.  I better put my money where my mouth is!  If you know of any other great tricks for boosting the metabolism, please do tell!  



Monday, January 9, 2012

I'm Determined To Stay Well This Year!

The Flu Bug
I haven't heard a whole lot this year about pandemics or runaway flus.  That's a great thing because I am trying to keep up my good fortune and I don't want it to run out.   I haven't been seriously down-in-the-bed sick for well over 3 cold and flu seasons.  And  I'm around some of the worst carriers around--teen-age kids-- who come to school sometimes on their deathbeds just to be with friends, keep their grades up (this one, not so much), or sadly, just because there isn't anywhere better to go.  Furthermore, I'm probably the most careless person around for putting hands on face during the day and/or not washing my hands as regularly as I could. I DO wash after going to the restroom, but then I may negate the whole process by opening the door without the aid of a paper towel.  So, what has been the difference between me and others, who seem to get 1 or 2 contagious illnesses every year?   I checked out an article in Prevention Magazine and I checked myself against the 10 check points they gave for staying well during this time of year. 

1.  Don't Stay Away From Others - Recent studies show that the ones who are most apt to get sick are the ones who isolate themselves from the outside world, whether it is because they are afraid of getting sick or are just not able to socialize.  The most healthy individuals are those who have at least 6 social interactions daily!  So, yes, I pass that test.  I'm talking to many different people each day because of my job at Independence High School! 

2.  Get Enough Sleep - Adults need between 7 - 9 hours of sleep per day.  OK, this is my absolute essential ritual.  I crave sleep.  I love sleep.  I am selfish with sleep.  People know that if they want to get along with me, they need to let me have my sleep.  If I miss my sleep during the night, I will come home and take myself a lovely, afternoon nap.  Actually, it's one of my favorite things to do.  Incidentally, less than optimum sleep will lower your immune system.  You can either get enough sleep now, or get the needed sleep as you are recuperating from an unwanted, uncomfortable choose. 

3.  Be More Of An Optimist - Apparently, and I do know this, those who are going around like Eeyore rather than Tigger are going to have more illnesses.  Basically your brain power is a powerful partner to your immune function.  How do I rate? I must admit, some days are better than others with this one.  I'm actually going through some really hard things right now that can make me very sad if I dwell on it at any length and sometimes the only thing I can do is cry about it.  (I miss you, Eddie and Joseph)  Thankfully, I'm a generally happy person and when I psyche myself up, I'm able to handle things.  I think the best way to get into that happy state of mind is to always remember that whatever you are going through, there is always someone else who has it way more difficult than yourself and to reach out to others (See #1).

4.  Express Myself  but do it positively - Whew!  I need some work on that one.  When something bothers me, I can express it, but it sometimes comes out more like a freight train roaring by instead of feeling like a spring breeze wafting through the trees.  That's why a lot of times I just don't express myself at all and that's dangerous because I'm bottling it in.  OK, I need some more help on self-expression.  I want to able to express myself asseertively yet not come off as hard core or angry.  I think that it takes a certain skill, if not an inborn talent to do that.  

5.  Stress - Is it possible to not be under stress these days?  It seems like they're saying, though, that the ongoing stress is the bad one. If you can leave behind your day at work and come home and relax, then there's nothing wrong with that.  But stress that is present day-in and day-out is really hard on the immune system. Grieving is a form of stress that takes its toll..  I recently went through about four months of grieving when my son moved out of our house. Empty nest syndrome is no picnic. But I'm OK now.  I still get to see him once a week and I have been able to move on a bit. 

6.  Using My Own Stuff - Do you use your own keyboard?  Your own pen?  Things that pass from hand to hand are really dirty!  Me?  Yep, I use my own pen, but people come along and swipe it and then either put it back or never return it.  I used to get a little irked when people swiped my pens.  Maybe I should just be grateful they took it, and their germs, with them. 

7.  Exercise - People who don't exercise get sick more than those who don't.  OK, I'm about 50-50 on that one.  I like to put my feet up after work and don't like to get out much after that.  It's especially hard in the winter, when it's so darn cold.  But my dang dog is going to save me yet.  I come home and she is waiting for me in the backyard, looking so dejected and forlorn.  I know that she wants to go on a walk so badly that she can barely stand it.  If I even look like I'm headed toward the door again, she will quietly start crying, hoping I'll pick up on her subtle hint.  That's why I say 50-50. Half the time, I'm a real softie and will go get the leash and we'll head out for an adventure.  The other half, I say, sorry girl, not this time, Mama's toooo tired!

8.  Pollution and Ciggies don't help - first or secondhand smoke is bad for you.  So stay away from it if possible.  Your immune system will thank you for it. problem.  We have a no-tolerance policy for smoking or drugs in our High School.  We don't smoke at home either.  What we do have is bad air quality.  In the winter, the Utah Valley gets clogged with smog, trapped in until a storm clears it out.  Not the greatest to be out in, for sure.

9.  Don't Know How To Use Antibiotics -The thing that is so scarey about using antibiotics w/o just cause is that it puts a strain on the whole community of antibiotic users and potential users, rendering many of them ineffective because the germs they were meant to kill now are resistant to them.  Only use antibiotics if you have a bacterial infection and use the whole course.  I haven't used antibiotics for years.  
 10.  You've gotta laugh!  This is going to really help boost those pheromones and immune assisting chemicals in your brain.  Fortunately, I have a husband who is a big goof and he makes me laugh more often than not.  I'm not saying that he never falls flat.  And I let him know.  I think it's his mission to try out his running comedy routines on me and if I give it a thumbs up, based on my laughter, he knows he's onto something.  I wonder if fake laughing counts?  I do a lot of that as well over at the high school, where kids think they are the funniest things since Bob Hope and I play along with it sometimes,albeit sometimes they are good too. 

Really?  Is that it?  Wow!  I think I do OK on most of those points.  Not excellent, but OK.  So what is it that has brought me such luck with the colds and the flus?  Could it be genetic?  I don't think so...Is it the fact that I take some really, really great vitamins and have done so for, get this, 20 years?  Yep, I take some supplements that have been backed by and I'm thinking that they are pretty amazing as far as vitamins go. 

But for whatever reason I have been spared, I'd like to go for another healthy year.  

What are some things that you think make the difference when it comes to the cold and flu season?  How do you do on the 10 points of prevention?  

This article was written by me with no cash or other incentives.  

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

My Latest Timed Mile Run

I posted earlier about a really easy way to predict the kind of health you will have in your later years.  All you have to do is do a mile run and look at the time you did it in.  So, I thought I was in fairly great shape because I take my dog on runs, am not seriously overweight and can still do the splits.   But my time earlier this summer wasn't great, that's for sure.  So I vowed to do something about it.  I did, until I started back to work at the high school and since then I've been absolutely horrible about keeping up my cardio.  But thanks to Alice, my Alternative HS's Physical Education Teacher (and my well-respected friend), I decided to do a timed run again with her students.  She has started making her own students accountable for their cardiovascular health by doing several timed runs during the school year and measuring improvement!
    Thursday morning was a crisp fall morning as we made our way out to the river trail, which is adjacent to our small school.  I had made one discovery since my earlier timed run.  If I stop, it's really hard to start back up again.  So I promised myself I wouldn't stop, no matter what.  If I was doing the old-lady two-step shuffle by the time I was through, so be it, I wasn't going to stop. 
     Alice's whistle blew, and off I went, along with about 25 other students.  It was so funny.  Everyone blew by me. I just knew that I was going to be so humiliated and come in dead last.  Oh well, this wasn't to impress anyone.  I just wanted to see if I could beat my last time.  Darn, now I was regretting my negligence about working out these past 3 weeks.  I just kept telling myself, "don't stop, don't stop, whatever you do.  You've been through childbirth, nothing can top that, you're a strong woman...."  
    It wasn't long before I noticed that some of the kids were walking and that I was passing them!  I also noticed that when they saw that I was passing them, they started back up.  I guess it WOULD be the ultimate humiliation to have someone as old as their mom or even older, passing them up.  And so we kept going. I reached the halfway point, took the candy from the lady, to prove that I had indeed reached the halfway point, and started back.  I passed more winded students up, and then I saw the finish line.  I had enough in me to speed up as I crossed.  
    When it was all said and done, I increased my original time by over a minute!  I'm super excited and it did a lot for my motivation.  This morning I took my dog out for a trail run/walk and enjoyed it immensely!  Have a wonderful fall!  You can do it too!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Good Digestive Health With ReNew Life Review and #Giveaway

We have all heard the saying "You are what you eat" but it would be truer to say You
are what you properly digest and the nutrients that you properly absorb.  I used to have issues with my digestive system as a younger adult.  I would get horrible stomach aches and be in misery until it finally went away.  I also had bowl problems.  I couldn't go!  It was painful.  I finally realized that I needed some help with my digestive health.  It took a few years before I began taking probiotics, soothing herbs for my stomach issues and more fiber--both soluble and insoluble.  Now lest you think I took many different products to fill my needs, the answer is no.  I simply found one great product with all of the things I mentioned  built right into it.  It helped my health so much!  ReNew Life has a product called FiberSMART, which includes probiotics, herbs and a balance of soluble and insoluble fiber.  I feel safe using ReNew Life because they select only the finest ingredients, free of harsh contaminants such as pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, PCBs or any other ingredients that work against the body's natural cleansing and detoxification process.

If you haven't heard of ReNew Life, it's about time.  ReNew Life is The leading digestive care company in the US; ReNew Life is featured in food stores including Whole Foods, GNC, Walgreens, and CVS. 

ReNew Life Young Adult Education Initiative

Digestive health awareness should be developed early because young adults can suffer with digestive problems, like I did, especially since they are usually running crazy busy lives and eating horribly!  In association with the Young Adult Education Initiative, ReNew Life started the 'How Does Poo Move You' video contest (some very hilarious potty humour), which was very successful and has stressed a few key points in order to make young adults and everyone more aware of the importance of digestive health.  They are:

1.  Make your diet a healthy diet, rich in fiber, low in processed carbs/sugars, along with taking an all-natural probiotic supplement.
2.  When taking a dose of antibiotics, supplement it with an all-natural probiotic supplement within 2-3 hours.  Turns an upset gut into a healthy gut.
3.  Daily exercise means a healthy metabolism.  Sitting idle throughout the day will make it difficult to go #2.
4.  It should be a lifestyle goal to have 2-3 proper bowl movements a day.  

Right now I am trying the ReNew Life DietStart Cleanse System, designed to jumpstart a weight loss program and enhance metabolism, something I need to do.  I'm hoping it doesn't make me have to go to the bathroom too much, since I work full-time at a high school in a classroom full of obnoxious boys, who would totally tease me if they found out I was on a cleanse or had to go poo a lot.  But there are some great reviews for this particular product, 29 to be exact.  In general, they gave this Cleanse System great ratings.  I may wait until this weekend to start, though.  ;)  I'll let you know in a later post how it goes! 

  ReNew Life offers a 60-day money back guarantee (minus shipping and handling) on all products ordered directly from their website! 

{Closed} I'm pleased that ReNew Life would like to give one of my readers a $50 Gift Certificate to their online site!  There are so many great products you could take advantage of at their site!  For a chance to win, please complete the mandatory entry and any extra entries you'd like to in order to increase your chances of winning!