Friday, September 28, 2018

Move More

We're a nation of sitters. TV binge-watching, desk jobs, and the allure of the internet all contribute to that fact that most of us spend at least 50% of our day sitting down. The more we sit, the higher our risk of first-world diseases of affluence: diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

The disheartening part is that formal exercise - like walking, cycling, or hitting the gym for 30 minutes or so each day does not completely protect us from these health risks. A Lancet study found that you need to exercise 60 - 75 minutes daily to undo the damage of a sedentary lifestyle.

We need to recognize that it's as important to decrease overall sedentary time as it is to maintain a regular practice of intense, formal exercise. How can we resist the call of the sofa and work more movement into our daily lives?

Change Positions
Sitting, lying, kneeling, or squatting on or as close to the floor as much as possible can pay big dividends in hip mobility, spine health and kinesthetic awareness, while simultaneously encouraging more movement. Sit on the floor while working on your laptop or playing with children. Lie on the floor while playing tug with the dog. Squat as close to the floor as possible while gardening or scrolling social media.

Steal Steps
A 2017 study found that average Americans take fewer than 4,800 steps per day, less than half the 10,000 many health experts recommend. Whenever and wherever you can, steal a few hundred steps. Park farther away from the door at the market; take the stairs, not the elevator; walk to lunch or to pick up the kids. Small changes can net you several thousand steps a day.

Walk & Talk
Conversation is an important part of life, but only convention says you need to do it sitting down. In fact, conversation may be more gratifying and productive in combination with movement. A 2014 study found that walking boosts creativity and the free flow of ideas.

So go ahead and grab coffee with your friend - but instead of taking a seat, walk while you talk. Ditto for phone conversations, which you can conduct on your cell using headphones virtually anywhere. You'll squeeze in additional movement and may enjoy livelier conversations, too.

Stay Active, Keep Moving, Sit Less and
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, September 21, 2018

Invite the Fab Four to Breakfast!

Breakfast is important; after all, it's the breaking of your nighttime fast. It should provide enough nutrition energy, mental focus, and appetite management to get you through the first part of your day. But this is where most American breakfasts fail. Whole-grain bagels, bran muffins, instant oatmeal, and fruit smoothies are low on nutrition and high on glycemic load. The sugar spike they induce will leave you flat in a few hours.

Build your breakfast primarily from the Fab Four - protein, fat, phytonutrients and fiber. That takes the most common breakfast foods (cereal and pastries) out of the equation. Try these three breakfast options to hit the mark on the Fab Four.

This Quick Trick Snack Stack is from Pilar Gerasimo at Experience Life magazine. Eat this with milk instead of a bowl of cereal. (You may want to click on the picture below to enlarge & read it more easily.)

Try a veggie scramble.

Start with sauteed or roasted cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, or broccoli. You can also add a root vegetable, such as carrot or beet, squash or sweet potato for additional substance. Stir in one to three eggs depending on your energy needs appetite. Finish with a snipped leafy vegetable, combining until wilted.

Load up with a protein shake.

Start with a low-sugar fruit such as blueberries or cranberries. Combine with veggies such as cucumber, zucchini or de-stemmed leafy greens. Add in the protein & fat - walnuts, yogurt, nut butter or seeds. Combine with dairy or nut milk or water to reach the desired consistency. Experiment to find the combinations that work for you. You can add unsweetened protein powder, collagen or supergreens, if you like. Just go easy on the fruit and strive to include the Fab Four in each breakfast shake.

A good breakfast wards off energy dips, brain fog and afternoon cravings. 
Start your day with the Fab Four everyday. 

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Fab Four this week

Friday, September 14, 2018

Sweat It!

You've probably said it before: "That workout (or teacher) really made me sweat. I got a great workout!" But is that really true? Here are the answers to a couple of sweaty questions.

 The fitter I get, the more I sweat. Why is that?

Mary Beth Brown a professor at Indiana University, says. "There are two main reasons. One is that as you improve your fitness, you tend to exercise more intensely, which can make you sweat more. "

"The other is that you get better at sweating the more you do it." You'll start perspiring earlier in your workout, and more of your sweat glands will activate to help rid your body of excess heat.

The more I sweat, the better the workout, right?

How much you sweat is tied to what type of activity you're doing, your age and genetics. A better indicator of your performance is how difficult it is to talk midway through cardio exercise. During a moderate-intensity workout, you should be able to speak in broken sentences; during vigorous exercise, you should only be able to manage a few words. 

Can you really sweat out toxins?

Juan Del Cosco, a professor of human physiology says, "Yes, but....not enough to have a measurable health benefit." If your body needs to get rid of something noxious, your kidneys will flush it into your urine, not your sweat. The best way to detox is to drink plenty of water and eat veggies with a high water content.

Why do I sweat so long after my workout?

Mary Beth Brown explains, "When you stop exercising, your body continues to generate heat to fuel functions like restocking your energy stores and redistributing your blood flow." As a result, your core temperature can stay elevated, triggering perspiration after your shower.

To cool down and dry off quicker, refrain from taking a cold shower. The icy water constricts your blood vessels, causing hot blood from your skin to rush to your core, raising your body temperature. Instead, take a tepid shower and stand in front of a fan to evaporate any lingering sweat before it beads up. In addition, drink ice-cold water during your workout to minimize the rise in core temperature.
 Stay Active, Keep Moving (and sweating!) and
Enjoy Your Food 

Friday, September 7, 2018

It's Still Time for Ice Cream

With the Labor Day holiday in the rear-view mirror, it seems as if autumn is officially here. But, at least in Southern California, the warm summer weather will be with us for at least another month. That means there's more time for ice cream! Try these treats for healthy ways to indulge your sweet tooth.

Bananas Galore
Slice, freeze, and puree bananas for a vegan, no-sugar-added frozen dessert. Customize with other frozen fruits for amazing flavor. How about Ginger Peach "ice cream" with raspberry sauce?

Ice Cream Sandwiches
Use graham cracker squares instead of chocolate-chip coolies. Fill with frozen yogurt or slow-churned ice cream. Slow-churned can have half the fat of regular ice cream.

A Smarter Sundae
Start with one scoop of ice cream. Fill the rest of the bowl with fruit. Add a touch of chocolate syrup (lower calorie than hot fudge) and sprinkle with a tablespoon or two of nuts or granola.
Read labels carefully.
That "light" ice cream could be full of artificial sugar. Yikes! Avoid artificial sugar.

Manufacturers add extra sugar to low-fat ice cream to make it more appealing. Recent studies have found that added sugar can actually lead to more weight gain than if you eat standard products. When you eat more sugar, you crave more. When you eat a standard product, the fat makes you feel full & satisfied with a smaller portion.

Slow churned ice cream is made using a combination of nonfat milk and milk, sugar, and flavorings. It has less fat and usually has less sugar, as well, than standard formulas. 

Be an informed consumer. Make good choices tailored to your health needs and your preferences. 

There are lots of healthy and delicious ways to indulge 
while the warm weather lasts.  

Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Sweet Treats!