Friday, February 14, 2014

Healthy, Happier You

Regular exercise not only supports a healthy lifestyle, it also provides a host of other benefits, including a more positive mental outlook, less stress, and a more positive body image.

 Exercise helps you feel good about yourself when you see that you’re dedicated and disciplined enough to put yourself first and spend some time regularly exercising your body. You’ll feel stronger and more fit, not to mention reap the benefits of endorphins – the powerful chemicals produced by the brain that are natural painkillers and responsible for what is known as the “runner’s high”, a feeling of euphoria and general state of well-being often experienced by exercise enthusiasts.

 When you look better, you feel better, and exercise assists you with both. Regular physical activity not only helps to maintain optimal weight and body composition those who regularly exercise enjoy significantly decreased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer, among others. And these benefits are more than just short term; those who regularly exercise are sick 30% less often than non-exercisers, and fit people generally enjoy longer lives than their less fit counterparts.

 When you exercise, focus on how you feel and you’ll likely stick with your exercise program. If the thought of dragging yourself to the gym for weight loss isn’t motivating to you, maybe it’s your body’s defense mechanism, encouraging you to love yourself the way you are. When you exercise, seek activities that are fun and leave you feeling strong and empowered, whether it’s a challenging spinning class, a relaxing yoga session, or a brisk walk on the treadmill. Your body will thank you for taking good care of it, and you’ll reap the many rewards of a healthier body and mind.

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Hydration with Fluid Rich Food

When it comes to staying hydrated, it is obviously important to drink plenty of water, but the food you eat also provides you with water and is an important part of the hydration process. A healthy balance consists of approximately 80% of your hydration coming from plain water and 20% from the food you eat.

Your fruits and vegetables will be the most water-rich food source, with at least 80% water per serving. A few of the top water-retaining produce choices: cucumbers (97%), tomatoes and zucchini (95%), eggplant (92%), and peaches (87%). Grains, beans and pastas are also good sources of water because as they cook they absorb a large amount of water. Even your choice of meat can impact whether or not you are maximizing your water intake. Many meats lose 20-30% of their water while cooking; however, fish and poultry are already high in water, which makes them good options for water-rich meal planning. If you’re aiming for maximum water content, bake your fish or chicken.

For people who want to lose weight, it’s better to increase the number of water-rich foods you’re eating instead of drinking more water – especially if you can replace high-fat or high-sugar foods with water-rich ones. In fact, making sure that water-rich foods feature heavily in your diet is essential. Drinking water won’t satisfy hunger, but eating a snack of cucumbers will, and it will also quench your thirst and keep you from grazing on foods less supportive of your weight goals.

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Quick Energy Boosters

Finding the time to get through your insanely long to-do list is one thing, but finding the energy is another challenge altogether. If we had a fraction of the energy required to get done all that we needed and wanted to do, then we probably wouldn’t be human. We have to do the best we can with what energy we’ve got. There are some quick ways, however, to boost our existing cache of energy in hopes of checking a few more items off that never-ending list.
Don’t skip meals. 40% of your blood sugar is used for brain function, so if you’re not eating enough, you won’t be thinking clearly. Start your day with a balanced breakfast of fruit, whole grains and protein, and then eat a little something every 3 hours or so.  Supplement with a minimum of a good multivitamin mineral productdaily with breakfast and dinner.
Drink plenty of water. Dehydration slows everything down. If you must have caffeine, try to limit your intake to a cup of coffee in the morning and a glass of iced tea in the afternoon. Drink water in between.  Be aware that alcohol is also dehydrating.
Pack in the protein. Snacking on things like nuts, yogurt, or cottage cheese throughout the day will elevate your metabolism, stabilize your blood sugar, and stave off fatigue. A Creatine Whey Protein Powder combined with a heaping teaspoon of D-Ribose can be a quick and lasting energizer, as well as assuaging the appetite.   It tastes good, so can be mixed with water if you don’t want the extra calories of mixing with rice milk, soy milk, etc. 
Lower your expectations. Make compromises instead of setting unrealistic goals. You are not Mary Poppins, and striving for such perfectionism will only result in feeling guilty when you fall short. Take things one step at a time and let yourself know that it’s okay if you don’t get everything done (and perfectly). Make lists and prioritize.  You will find that some lower priority items will fall away from being important.
Organize your environment. Bins, hooks and cubbyholes designated for items that would typically clutter chairs and counter tops will not only make your home/work space neater, it will also improve your mental energy. When your eyes are taking in items strewn all over the place, your brain becomes overwhelmed by all that visual stimulation and suddenly your to-do list gets longer.
Try some quick Chinese medicine. Rub your ears gently from lobes to tips. This will awaken your organs and redirect energy upward toward your head when you’re beginning to feel it all drag downward.
Take five. Isolate yourself, even if you have to go sit in your car, and just be quiet and take deep breaths for a few minutes. Make sure your cell phone is turned off.
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