Five habits

Today I heard a news snipit about a subject close to my heart – health.

Dr. David Angus was speaking about how to improve and take control of your health. The doctor’s comments and suggestions mirror what I have been saying most of my adult life.

There have been studies of thousands of people to confirm the benefits of incorporating five key habits to improve the quality of your life.

The first is “regularity”.

Don’t confuse regularity with obsessive compulsive. Understand our body functions best with a rhythm. Design a rhythm to your day. Get up at the same time, have a decent breakfast, lunch and dinner, and go to bed around the same time.

Of course life happens and you need to be flexible with your schedule. But for the most part we need to give our body the luxury of regularity. You will find your body will start to adapt to and thrive on a consistent rhythm.

Next the doctor recommends to “move”.

His explanation was to move ALL day. Society has fallen into a sedentary lifestyle. Even if we go to the gym (or exercise) once a day, we still need to move our body during the day.

Many employment positions today are in an office setting. So we exercise, but sit for the remainder of the day. Not good! We need to get up from our desk and walk or stand.

The doctor referred to a study done on 26,000 transportation workers, comparing the train engineers (who sat most of their day) and the platform workers (who moved most of their day). At the end of the study the engineers had a 60% higher mortality rate. Impressive reason to incorporate movement throughout your day.

One of the main reasons we need to move is to keep our lymphatic system active. A key responsibility of the lymph system is to keep our body from retaining fluids, which aids the immune system and works with the circulatory system to deliver nutrients, oxygen and hormones to our body. So you can see the importance to get up, move and stretch during your day.

The third habit to incorporate into your life is “eat real food”.

This doesn’t mean to stay away from restaurant food necessarily, but to make better choices. Choose foods that are closest to their natural state. Eat more vegetables, nuts, beans, and organic fed meats.

Our society has become accustomed to overcooked and processed vegetables – cooked to moosh. We need to get back to appreciating the flavor of “close to fresh” vegetables. These veggies will make our digestive system function the way it is designed to. We need the roughage in our gut to keep us regular.

I suggest, if at all possible, plan ahead. Take your lunch, which will give you time to plan the quality and also to control the portion (instead of eating your money’s worth at a restaurant). Yes, real food is a little pricier than fast food, but real food choices are well worth the cost.

The last two recommendations go hand in hand: monitor and take charge of your own body.

Get regular blood pressure readings to know how your body is functioning (throughout the day )– to know what your “normal” is.

Monitor your blood sugar levels. Our society is becoming borderline diabetic. Our astronomical sugar and fat consumption are devastating to our bodies.

Blood pressure and blood sugar are easy (you don’t need to go to the dr) ways to start monitoring your health. “Normal” blood pressure is 120/80, so know where you fall into this range. “Normal” blood sugar ranges should stay below 140 mg/dl.

If either blood sugar or pressure consistently rise above the normal guidelines, you need to take charge of examining why. It is your body, it is your sole responsibility to care for it.

In today’s world we have a wealth of available knowledge and information at our disposal. Web sites hosted by medical and holistic professionals have been created to educate those who seek knowledge – use them.

Don’t fall for the fads. Develop sound, realistic habits to keep your body functioning to the best of its ability for many years.

To your health!

Sugar drinks…Yuck!

Muscles love sugar in a bad way!

So says a research group from Britain, studying the regular consumption of soft drinks by obese and Type 2 diabetic patients. Regularly drinking these sugar-loaded beverages changed the way muscles use food as fuel, making them prefer to burn sugars over fats.

The study proved their concerns about regularly drinking soft drinks not only changes our body’s metabolism, but makes it more inefficient – in the present, as well as the future. This will lead our body to a reduced ability to burn fat and to fat gain. Yikes!!!

The inefficient metabolic switch was seen in the participants who were lightly active, lean male and females drinking soft drinks for only four weeks, according to the study published in the European Journal of Nutrition.

How do we educate a country addicted to their soft drinks that they will never get their weight problems under control without NOT DRINKING these sabotagers?

Look in the carts at your local grocery store and take stock of how many soft drinks are taken home compared to milk, juice or (Lord forbid!) water.

Sugar is cheap and addictive. 

The sweet addiction is a strong, extremely difficult addiction to control (I know firsthand!).

It’s accepted in our society to let our children drink enormous quantities of this stuff almost from birth. There is a large portion of society that doesn’t understand we are cursing our kids with a path to obesity by choosing this cheap, sugar-filled drink.

What’s the answer… I’m honestly not sure.

Tax the hell out of the drinks, using the funds to educate people about their bodies (similar to alcohol)? Hold the manufacturers accountable for producing a product that is harmful to the health of our nation (hmmm, cigarettes)?

This one appears to be another uphill battle.

Use it or Lose it!

The idea of Alzheimer’s or dementia scares the Hell out of me – not for me, but for my family who will be left with the responsibilities of my care.

So I read everything I can about research, studies, supplements and anything that might impact my “golden years”.

Recently I read about four studies reported at an international conference describing the ability, of particularly, resistance training (my passion!) to improve mental functioning in older adults.

Finally validation to all the harping I’ve been doing for my entire adult life!

Physical activity is essential to healthy aging.

Get off your butts and move! That is exactly what we are designed to do and the 6- and 12-month clinical trials confirmed the beneficial effects of a variety of exercises.

Moderate walking may grow brain region related to memory: increase nerve growth according to Kirk Erickson, PhD, of the University of Pittsburgh. “Our findings suggest that the aging brain remains modifiable, and that sedentary older adults can benefit from starting a moderate walking regimen,” Erickson said.

The EXCEL (EXercise for Cognition and Everyday Living, University of British Columbia) study showed resistance training led to functional changes in three brain regions involved in memory. The study confirmed twice-weekly resistance training is a promising strategy to maintaining our brain function.

Additionally, aerobic exercise improved memory scores in the study, but on different types of memory.

Give yourself a gift for your future and implement a moderate resistance and aerobic program in your life.

There are a variety of exercise programs on the internet, or ask a local trainer (ask me for help!). Find a program that works for YOU. That is the key to continuing to incorporate movement into your everyday life – you have to enjoy or have fun doing your exercise program.

If you simply dread doing your exercises on the scheduled days, you will never stick with it. There are SO MANY different things you can add to your life that classify as “exercise”, you should never get bored.

Have fun! Find a partner to help encourage eachother to keep going on a healthier, more active path.

Or if you are not a social person, keep a journal. It’s a visual aid to help keep you on track.

Promise yourself to move every day – EVERY DAY! Do something….. anything. There are exercises each and every one of us can do, no matter what our limitations.

Read more about the above mentioned studies at :

Eat Smaller

Are you trying to lose weight and fighting an uphill battle? Here are a few tips to help you start on your healthier lifestyle journey. If you aren’t quite ready to commit to the “diet” (food choice) adjustment in your life, change how you are eating RIGHT NOW.

Incorporate these simple tips to lessen the quantity of food you put in your mouth. This will immediately help you be more aware of exactly how much you are consuming. Being “aware” is a baby step to the lifestyle adjustments you will need to make to lose, and keep off, excess pounds.

  • Use a smaller plate – less area to fill and looks full even with the same amount of food you would normally choose. Try to leave more and more space on your smaller plate
  • Downsize silverware or try chopsticks – it will make you more aware of how many bites you are putting in your mouth
  • Slow down! Take the time to chew and taste your food (smaller silverware will help you slow down also)
  • Use tall skinny glasses and smaller wine glasses – you’ll be drinking less, but in a full glass
  • Keep an eating log – great tool to use to be aware of exactly how much and what you are putting in your mouth. Do NOT cheat – you will only be lieing to yourself
  • Snack wise – clean out the junk! Prepare good snacks so they are easily accessible.

Begin to take control of your life with these easy tips. Once you start to see the weight coming off, it will give you incentive to move forward to the next step – choosing better, more nutritious foods.

Baby steps to success!!!!

Not the only person

I can’t be the only person to genuinely enjoy salads. I eat a different variation of a salad each and every day – maybe throw in a bowl of soup or a good steak – but yes, the green leafy stuff…. every day. I feel absolutely satisfied after my conglomeration of vegetation. My base salad of choice is organic mixed baby greens (in a specfic pretty bowl). Then everything else I add is open to what I have on hand. Most of the time I chop a clove or two of fresh garlic to sprinkle over the top of the assembled textures (great for my metabolism and immune system – and to keep people at arms length).

Each day I choose from a variety of simple additions such as: tomatoes (I’m impatiently awaiting my garden’s donation of tasty morsels), lots of sweet (preferably Vidalia) onion, olives (black, Kalamata, Greek), sunflower seeds (or any nuts I have available), seasonal fruit (particularly berries), cucumbers, occaisionally a few small pieces of cheese (Feta, Blue, Mozzarella),hard-boiled eggs. This list is endless and I’m always trying new things in my simple salads.

Since I am a creature of habit, my dressing of choice for the past 3 years has been rice vinegar and extra virgin olive oil drizzled over the top, with a dash of coarse black pepper and sea salt  (I had previously used balsamic vinegar). If you haven’t tried rice vinegar (I use Nakano seasoned rice vinegar), you have GOT to try it. It’s mild flavor is awesome on the baby greens with the olive oil and any seasonings you may want to mix in. People close to me think I’m totally crazy for eating the same dressing on my salads for years. But I LIKE it. I don’t need variety in the dressing, only in all the tender little goodie morsels mixed in the bed of my beautifully colorful “greens” (which I buy by the 2 lb tubs).

A salad everyday. No – I am not boring. And yes – I am quite healthy thank you very much.