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Health and Fitness Blog 101

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Watch Your Weight During the Holidays

Posted by larends on October 30, 2014
Posted in Health and Fitness 

It’s that time of year again.  The holidays are coming up and that means lots of food.  Thanksgiving is one day we tend to overeat.  Then there are holiday parties in December leading up to Christmas and New Year’s Eve.  This is the season that people love to make goodies like cookies, desserts and candy.  Desserts and baked goods are everywhere.  Many people gain weight during this season.  It’s hard to avoid.

It’s also a busy time of year, so you are more likely to eat unhealthy meals like fast food, frozen dinners, and prepackaged meals.  Eating healthy takes planning and commitment.

The first thing you should do is plan what you are going to eat for each meal.  The more you plan ahead, the more likely you will eat healthy meals.  Prepare fresh fruits and vegetables ahead of time, so you have them on hand to pack in your lunch, eat with meals or as a snack.

Make a list of healthy meals including fruits and vegetables and plan which days you will eat them.  You can even make meals ahead of time, so they are quick and easy to make.  You’ll be less likely to fall back on those unhealthy options.

I recently read about a six week weight loss challenge by personal fitness trainer, Dustin Maher that sparked my interest.  Most of the things in the challenge look fairly easy, but there were a few things that would be a challenge for me.  I haven’t been eating very well lately and I think if I try this challenge it will get me back on track.  Below are the steps of the challenge:

  1. Drink up to a gallon of water every day, to flush out toxins.
  2. Drink as few calories as possible.
  3. Eliminate dairy for 10 days.
  4. Eliminate gluten for up to 21 days.
  5. Don’t eat after 7 pm.
  6. Eat low glycemic fruits.
  7. Get at least 7 hours of sleep per night.
  8. Practice at least 10 minutes of prayer, meditation, or deep breathing daily.
  9. Exercise 6 days per week for at least 30 minutes.
  10.  Make 2 of your workouts high intensity
  11.  Do not eat any food that contains the word “enriched” on the label.
  12.  Do not consume anything made with fake sugars.

He recommends eliminating the dairy and gluten because many people have sensitivity to those.  Those 2 will be the most difficult for me.  I drink milk every morning for breakfast.  I crave it like some people need coffee in the morning.  I never realized how many things contain gluten.  Well, this is a good time of year to try to eat healthier.  Just in time for the holidays.  You can view Dustin Maher’s website at http://dustinmaherfitness.com/.


Prevent and Treat Viruses Naturally

Posted by larends on October 22, 2014
Posted in Health and Fitness 

Assorted fruitIt’s cold and flu season and it seemed to show up quickly.  It caught be off guard.  I came down with a cold without even knowing where I caught it from.  I usually bump up my prevention routine when cold season hits.

There are several things you can do to help prevent getting a cold or the flu.

The first thing you can do is wash your hands frequently.  The important thing to remember is the 20 second rule.  Not to be confused with the 5 second rule.  When washing your hands, you should wash them for at least 20 seconds with soap to kill the germs.  During cold and flu season I become a little obsessed with washing my hands.  I wash them after I touch door handles, light switches, railings, etc., anyplace that someone else might have touched.  I also make sure I wash my hands before I eat, before I touch my face, before I make food, every time I cough or sneeze, and after using the restroom or blowing my nose.

If you don’t have access to soap and water, you should always have hand sanitizer available.  I keep some in my purse and in my desk at work.  It’s also a good idea to keep some in your car.  Apply frequently and thoroughly to your hands.

The second thing I do to help prevent getting sick is to take vitamin C, echinacea, and garlic.  Vitamin C is a vitamin that helps fight infection and is commonly used to prevent and treat colds.  Echinacea is an herb that is known to fight infections.  It used to be used frequently before antibiotics were developed.  Garlic is an herb that has also been used to treat colds.  During cold and flu season I try to take these every morning and every night.  They help prevent me from getting sick or help reduce the length and severity of the cold.  Zinc is another mineral that is frequently used to help prevent colds.

Third, you should exercise regularly to keep your immune system strong.

Fourth, get plenty of sleep.  When you start to feel tired your immune system is at risk and you are more likely to get sick.  As soon as you start to feel tired or when you notice the first signs of getting a cold, get more sleep.

Another way to help prevent a cold or flu is to kill germs on surfaces with Lysol or antibiotic wipes.  Kill germs on doorknobs, light switches, sinks, faucets, handles, computer keyboards, desks, counters, steering wheels and any other surface.

Finally, eat healthy foods to help keep your immune system strong. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain nutrients that are good for fighting colds.  Tea and chicken soup have also been known to help alleviate cold symptoms and help you feel better.

These are some common tips to help prevent and shorten cold viruses.  Most of these tips have definitely helped me fight off colds.  Here’s to your health.

What is the Paleo Diet?

Posted by larends on October 13, 2014
Posted in Health and Fitness 

cavemanThe Paleo Diet, also known as the “caveman diet”, is the latest popular diet.  The reason they refer to it as the “caveman diet”, is that the diet consists of foods that people ate back in the times of the caveman.  These foods include fruits, vegetables, meat, seafood and nuts.  The recommended foods are all natural.

This diet is a fairly safe and natural diet.  You cut out all processed foods which means you avoid anything that comes in a box, jar, or bag.  However, the Paleo diet prohibits dairy, grains, added salt, potatoes and alcohol.

K. Aleisha Fetters wrote an article about the Paleo Diet on www.ABCnews.go.com that stated, “Whole grains and dairy can help lower the risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease, reduce blood pressure and promote healthy weight.  Cutting dairy can cause problems because we need calcium and vitamin D.”

So this diet has some good qualities, but I think it’s still important to include dairy, whole grains and fiber in your diet.  Modern healthcare has discovered that many people, especially women, are deficient in calcium and vitamin D.  We have to also consider the fact that life expectancy back in caveman times was much lower than it is today.  A big reason for this is that medical technology has improved and prevents many diseases today, but research has also been done to improve what people eat and how much they eat.  In addition, the types of meat, fruit and vegetables that were available to our ancestors have also changed dramatically over the years.  Plus, our lives today have drastically changed since the times of the caveman.  In prehistoric times people had to spend their day hunting and gathering their food, which meant they were physically active.  Today many jobs involve sitting for long periods throughout the day.  This means we have to adjust what we eat based on how much physical activity we get each day.

To sum up, I recommend that you stick with what modern health professionals consider essential to a healthy diet.  Below is a list of foods that are considered healthy and should make up your main meals:

  • Protein (fish, poultry, beans, nuts, eggs)
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits (fresh are best and don’t add sugar)
  • Whole grains (brown rice, whole wheat bread, whole grain pasta)
  • Low-fat cheese/dairy (limit to 1 to 2 servings per day)
  • Water or tea (with little or no sugar)

Don’t get hung up on these special diets with fancy names that somebody thought up as the new big thing.  Stick to the basics that have worked for years.  According to Harvard Medical School your dinner plate should consist of ¼ healthy protein, ¼ whole grains, and the other half of the plate should be 2/3 vegetables and 1/3 fruits.  Plus, you should limit your dairy intake to 1 to 2 servings per day.  I always try to remember that a serving of protein or meat is the size of a deck of cards.

healthy eating plate

The Truth About GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms)

Posted by larends on October 6, 2014
Posted in Health and Fitness 

CornIf you search the internet to find information about GMOs or Genetically Modified Organisms, you will find a ton of information that’s says GMOs are bad.  This just proves that you can’t believe everything you read on the internet.

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are not dangerous to eat.
Blue Care Network recently published an article that stated, “The World Health Organization’s National Academy of Sciences says there haven’t been studies showing GMOs are harmful to those who eat them.”  The article also said, “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration agrees that foods containing GMOs aren’t dangerous to eat.”  The article also noted that most processed food sold in the U.S. over the past 10 years has contained GMO ingredients.

The American Medical Association declared, “GMOs have been consumed for close to 20 years, and during that time, no overt consequences on human health have been reported and/or substantiated in the peer-reviewed literature.”

These organizations were created to research and determine what is safe and healthy.  If there was any evidence that GMOs were unsafe, these organizations would notify the public.  You can read more about genetically modified organisms on their websites:

How are Genetically Modified Organisms made?
GMOs are made by making a copy of a gene for a desired trait from one plant or organism and using it in another plant. It’s simply making a change to the DNA of an organism.  The changes are made using science and nature, but no chemicals or artificial ingredients are added.

Why are GMOs made?
Scientists created genetically modified organisms to make plants that are resistant to insects, resistant to disease, increase herbicide tolerance, so fewer pesticides need to be used, to increase yields, and to reduce costs.

Do the same people that are against GMOs feel that vaccines are dangerous?  Vaccines are created to prevent life-threatening diseases.  They are made using disease-causing virus or bacteria, which are administered into a person’s body to help the immune system develop antibodies or defenders against the disease.  They use science to prevent disease in people just like they use science to prevent disease in plants or GMOs.

What about all the medications on the market?  Are those same people against medications that cure illnesses or diseases?  Those medications are also created by scientists, but unlike GMOs they may not be all natural.  That doesn’t mean they are unsafe.

To make your own informed decision on the topic of genetically modified organisms, be sure to research trusted organizations such as those listed above.