Monthly Archives: May 2012

Five Easy Tips to stay Healthy and Still Enjoy Memorial Day (or Any Holiday!)

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Its the Memorial Day Weekend. For any of you that have served or whose loved ones are serving for the benefit of all of us – thank you. I cannot but imagine the feeling  in the pit of your stomach of those with loved ones  missed, so far away.

While we Americans take time over this holiday to remember and express gratitude to our heroes, especially our fallen heroes, for their sacrifice, it may seem Memorial Day celebrations are more focused on the BBQ grill or smoker.

Those of us committed to our fitness goals can be tempted by the happy atmosphere of good friends and tasty treats so here are some tips I’m using to enjoy myself, respect the party efforts of my family &  friends and not go too far off my path.

1. Make Time for Exercise

I’m getting up each morning and doing my Turbo Jam exercises. Before getting distracted or side tracked by the people and events of the holiday, by getting my exercise done, my confidence and satisfaction will shine through and guilty “should” & “should’ve” thoughts won’t interfere with my enjoyment of the present.

I will dance every chance I get (and Susie D will be right there with me! Or I’ll organize a hike, play lawn games like croquet , organize  races or volleyball on land or in the water; whatever joy in movement I can conjure up. If nothing else, Shelby the wonder Puppy is always up for a walk!

2. Bring a Healthy Choice Dish

I make a really good summer salad that every one loves and is so easy to make its almost a sin! I have the recipe here. Having something as tasty as this makes it easy to avoid the heavy mayo-based or pasta salads that are traditional BBQ or picnic favorites.

3. Eat Healthy Before

I  make sure I don’t skip any meals before the party because I don’t want to be in hunger mode when the goodies are served.

4. Drink Sensibly

I try to drink a lot of water at parties. For me, it helps to hold hunger in check and I find I also don’t drink as much alcohol.

I’m often asked to sing and I found out a long time ago I do not sound better the more I drink!

Your best food choices can be thwarted if you forget how many calories you might be drinking. Plus, too much alcohol and you can easily give yourself permission to overindulge in food, too. One of my other tricks, especially at a bar, is I enjoy club soda with a section of lime – it looks like a gin & tonic so  no one asks why I’m not drinking.

5. Give Yourself Permission (or Halve it and Have it)

I try not to psyche myself out that there is anything I can’t have – who doesn’t rebel against “can’ts” even if they come from  ourselves! So I tell myself I can have anything as long as I halve the portion. When I can have (halve) whatever I want its easier to avoid those things altogether.

But I do not forget this is your day, soldiers and patriots

With deepest gratitude to the brave women and men in our armed forces. Thank you for my freedom.

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Ultimate Reset – Day 21

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Well, we made it through the Beachbody Ultimate Reset!

Pros:

  • We learned some really tasty new recipes
  • Herb is sleeping better
  • My eyesight improved a bit, can read a lot more stuff without reading glasses!

Cons:

  • Lots of food prep – this regime is not for the person used to quick fix-it type meals or people that eat out a lot. It wasn’t so bad for Herb & I because we are used to prepping fresh veggies.
  • Some recipe items were hard to find and pricey here in rural USA.
  • No noticeable change in inflammation (hip pains)
  • No increase in energy or general feeling of well being.

I thought cutting out dairy (I’m a cheese nut) would have a bigger impact. While I did drop 8.5 pounds I cannot attribute it to just the dairy because we eliminated sugar and meat too,  as well as cheese sauces, gravies, etc. I haven’t noticed any change that to my mind would justify the expense of this regime.

Mostly it was a 21-day diet to get you off diary, meat and sugar. Herb & I both enjoy vegetables, especially fresh our of our garden, and it is not unusual for us to have a big salad or veggie stir fry for dinner.

What was new for us is quinoa (pronounced Keen-wha) which we both liked a lot. There was also tempeh (a differently processed fermented soy product like tofu is a fermented soy product) that neither of us cared for. We’ve had lentil soups but hadn’t had lentils as a side dish and the lentil-lime salad was really good.

I’d have to say my most favorite recipe surprise was  zucchini cashew soup. I’m okay with zucchini, not a favorite, but I wouldn’t flick it off my plate and I don’t care for cashews. Yet put the two together and it was HEAVENLY!

We also ate a lot more fruit, fruit platters most every breakfast, that we enjoyed.

While I respect and value all the Beachbody products and programs that I have knowledge,  I won’t be recommending this one to my clients unless someone is living a really toxic lifestyle and is serious about wanting a change.

7 Ways to Beat the Food Addictions

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Throughout the course of my generation, the US food industry has been as insidious in addicting us to food as the tobacco industry was in the prior generation.

Commercial farming is focused on producing commodities, largely three crops: corn, soy and wheat. All other fruits and vegetable are considered “specialty” crops.

Seed for the greatest percentage of the big three is patented and controlled by Monsanto. They are patented because the seed is genetically modified (GMO) to make the plant almost invulnerable to herbicides  by introducing herbicides into their very DNA. The resulting plant produced is infused with herbicide and then we are paying top dollar to eat it.

Around the globe man existed for thousands of years on wheat and soy – now they are the top allergens in children and adults. The number afflicted with allergies to “staple” foods has  doubled almost yearly since GMO foods were introduced, as has the rise in autism, yet our government agencies see no correlation…

This post by Mike Geary, The CORN, SOY, and WHEAT Monopoly is an excellent read, but I’m focusing on the following (excerpted from his blog):

By “derivatives” of corn, soy, and wheat, this means the food additives such as:

  • high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
  • corn oil
  • soybean oil (hydrogenated or plain refined)
  • soy protein
  • refined wheat flour
  • hundreds of other food additives such as maltodextrin, corn or wheat starch, soy lecithin, mono and diglycerides, etc, etc

It is these derivatives that are literally killing us. Not only are we constantly eating because our bodies are desperate for nutrition, HFCS and refined flours are literally addictive, as addictive as tobacco or cocaine.

Beating any addiction is hard and these 7 tips I’m going to share have been helpful to me in combating my food addiction.

1. Stop eating at junk food places

There is nothing healthy there, no matter what the commercials are telling you. Even if something is low calorie, it has no substantive nutrition. Salads are contaminated with preservatives, salad dressings are contaminated with the above derivatives. Stop. Don’t taper off, just stop.

2. Stop shopping in the center aisles of the grocery store

Most of the offerings in the center aisles are processed foods, even the canned vegetables and many packaged vegetarian foods. Be a label reader. Avoid any products with more than 7-ingredients and avoid every thing with HFCS, soy or hydrogenated anything. Avoid any product with more than 200 mgs Sodium. Take the time to read a label, it’s much quicker than sitting in the doctor’s office reading a lame out of date magazine or waiting for your prescription at the pharmacy…

3. Be accountable to someone

Find a friend or loved one to go on the journey to beat the addiction of food with you. Everything is more fun with a friend and you’ll be less likely to succumb to the call of the pasta if you are not alone.

4. Exercise

Any exercise is better than no exercise. Endorphins are released when we exercise, and endorphins makes us feel better. When we feel better we are less likely to munch. Again, get a buddy to exercise with – its more fun! My exercise buddy is my dog. If you don’t have a dog, maybe you could offer to walk a neighbor’s pet or better yet, go to your local animal shelter and help walk and socialize their dogs. A socialized and calm dog is much easier adopted!

5. Get a Bag of Tricks

Keep some distractions handy – crossword puzzle, sudoku, drawing or painting supplies, cards with words of inspiration, pictures of fashions you’d like to wear or places you’d like to go. Get you mind off the craving and engaged in something else.

6. Drink a glass of water

Aw, you knew this one was coming! When we are addicted to food, much of that food is high in sodium and dehydrates the body. Drinking a glass of water helps to nip the craving in the bud with the added benefit of helping to flush and hydrate our cells. Think water is boring? Try these recipes for water (yes, recipes…)

7. Become an Expert

The more you understand the what , how and whys of food addiction and the food industry’s involvement, the more ammunition you have to win mastery over the addiction. Read books, watch movies like Forks over Knives, Weight of the Nation, Food Matters. Once you understand the nature (or rather the lack of nature) of what you are eating and craving you just might decide to make a different choice.

Sitting Down is soooo Bad!

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I sit a lot.

I’m at my computer, in front of the TV, in my car, in meetings, at the table, visiting friends. I used to be a road warrior, so I was doing a lot of walking from parking lots to airports, and no matter what gate you come in on a connecting flight, your connection is ALWAYS at the farthest gate from that one! Not to mention walking to your hotel room, rental car, shuttles, yada yada. Now that I’m living much more “conveniently” I have to get my happy butt up!

One thing I started doing was using my exercise ball as my chair.

Most Americans think it is better to have a desk job rather than a job that keeps you moving. Well, those darn people that do studies are disabusing us of that idea. Seems we’re spending more time sitting than sleeping and that is causing a whole host of problems starting with back and hip problems and those are just the tip of the iceberg.

Its not just your butt & gut that droops, these drop too:

  • Electrical activity to the legs
  • Cholesterol
  • Digestive enzymes (metabolic rate)
  • Even insulin effectiveness

So now when I’m at the computer, I’m getting into the habit of using an online timer set for 45 minutes. when it goes off, I stop whatever I’m doing and get up and set it for 15 minutes and do housework in one room. It is flat out amazing how much you can do in 15 minutes! Then it is back to the computer for another 45 minutes.

Maybe if  you’re in an office, when your timer goes off just get up and go for a walk around the building, inside or out!

Even though Herb looks at me funny, every commercial I’ve started getting up and dancing to whatever music is on the ads, or just sort of march in place or Cupid Shuffle to the tune in my head if it is just talking.

Beachbody Ultimate Reset Update on Week One

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Ultimate Reset Week 2 Day 2

The Reset is going great. Herb & I eat very well for the most part so this hasn’t been a very big change. It’s a bit harder on Herb because it mostly eliminates meats, sauces, gravies and BUTTER (Julia Childs has nothing on him when it comes to cooking with butter!). He likes his foods wet/moist/juicy. I am a-okay with no meat, and I prefer my food drier, yet I do miss my cheese (bleu, white Vermont cheddar, Swiss… stop that, brain!)

The supplements prior to eating aren’t any big deal to manage, but the afternoon alkalinize is a constant struggle to remember because neither of us have a set routine to our day.

Week 1 Day 4 lunch – lentil lime salad, quinoa salad and homemade hummus with veggie dippers.

The foods are really tasty. I liken the eating plan to that of a ritzy spa resort’s fare. Most of it is quick & easy to prepare, some is a bit of a pain in the butt. You can definitely tell it was put together in California because some of the items are difficult to find in our rural hideaway. And Herb is no fan of tofu. I’ve used it in some dishes before this and he’s okay if it is mixed in with other things like in a stir fry, but a slab by itself… um, no.

We found Bragg Aminos and nori seaweed sheets for sushi at our local health food store. I was amazed to learn our little Bi-Lo grocery carried the pink Himalayan sea salt (I didn’t even think Himalaya had a sea!)  We still haven’t found miso paste, so we’ve had to substitute for the miso soup (I love miso soup, so we’re going to keep looking, maybe up in Asheville?)

nori seaweed sheet, basmati rice, carrot, tempeh, cucumber & fried shiitake mushroom

It was fun to try my hand at making sushi rolls – I didn’t do too badly, the little mat definitely helps! But it didn’t stay together when I cut it. My friend Susie D swears the secret is to use sticky rice. And our brown rice would have probably been sufficient, but we’d run out of brown rice and had used basmati instead.

One thing very delicious on the rolls was our first bloom (cracked heads) of Snowcap Shiitake mushrooms. I just dry-fried them to crisp them and oh they were so good. The texture was kind of like the canned French fried onions you put on green bean casseroles, but the taste was sort of nutty/woodsy.

Our mushrooms are blooming to beat the band right now, Italian, Golden & Pink oyster mushrooms and now the Snowcap shiitake, too. I added seven new photos to the end of the mushroom page

So, end of Week 1, I’m down 6 pounds and Herb is down 3. I’ve not experienced detox symptoms, per se, a little more lethargic but that’s about it. Herb, too,  has been feeling a little drained but yesterday he said he was full of energy.

US Ranks 25th in latest Save the Children study

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US ranks 25th among the 43 developed countries in Save the Children’s latest study of the Best & Worst Places for Moms. Based largely on mother mortality, infant mortality, women’s education and women’s political status, this is a really sad commentary.

Besides the US ranking 41st in infant mortality, the study noted, “Women in the U.S. have relatively low political status, and children here aren’t enrolled in preschool as often as in other countries.  The U.S. is one of the few countries in the world that doesn’t guarantee working mothers paid leave, the group said.”

So happy for this Mom! this is something we can all do – one day, one choice at a time!

Complications stemming from obesity and high blood pressure were noted as factors in high mothers’ mortality rates. And other studies are linking obesity in mothers to increased risks of both autism and asthma!

And our skewed insurance coverage isn’t helping either when insurance companies can deny coverage for a “pre-existing” condition, for example this breast feeding four-month old weighs in at 17 pounds and his pre existing condition? Obesity.

The government is not going to make this situation right – it is up to you and me, the choices we make everyday, to end the trend of obesity in our country.

Leaders Leading

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Ultimate Reset – Day 3 of 21

So far so good, the eating plan is easier to follow for me  – Herb likes his food really wet/moist; lots of sauces, gravies and butter on everything. He’s convinced there is a lot of melted butter on the breakfast toast in the picture. On the other hand, he was amazed that he didn’t miss the huge glob of tartar sauce on the broiled salmon. We eat salmon & steel head trout often and he always makes up a big batch of mayo-based tartar sauce. Last night I made the brown rice & black beans in one 6-inch corn tortilla. Herb was dubious and thought, based on the picture, it was a snack. The tortilla with the homemade salsa & guacamole and lemon kale turned out to be a filling treat! He liked the colors and flavors and said he’d like that again for tonight. We’ll see. They say it is okay to substitute meals within the same week’s plan.

One of my problems is portion control. I sometimes joke, I eat well but I eat a lot! So I’m amazed that these lesser portions are filling me up.  Herb says a lot of that is the 12-oz water half hour before every meal. But hey – it’s all good!

Okay, update out of the way, today’s blog topic is politicians getting on the fitness bandwagon.

Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas. Diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2003, he lost 110 pounds. Barely two years later, he completed four marathons!

Tony Horton’s P90x is but one of the fitness programs I represent as a  Beachbody coach. And I’m thrilled to see our leaders getting in shape.

It is really cool when they go beyond  a personal journey to make it a challenge for their contemporaries, staff or public, too! And two articles within the last week caught my eye. One in Kentucky involved the entire General assembly.

It started out as a discussion on how to get a handle on obesity when a 2010 report showed that Kentucky ranked third in childhood obesity and seventh in adult obesity. Also, Kentucky is one of eight states with an overall obesity rate of more than 30 percent. The two biggest losers? One Democrat and one Republican, naturally! You can read more about it here.

Another between two Washington State mayors has them carrying on the tradition of a friendly sports rivalry between the two towns.  Both plan to make use of convenient local walking and hiking trails. Here is the beginning of their story.

And an Honorable Mention goes to Senator Claire McGaskill of Missouri who lost 50 pounds in 6 months through sensible exercise and change of eating habits. Your can read her story here.

These stories have me so jazzed because when our leaders lead by example and understand themselves what works and what doesn’t and how hard it is to start, but how good success feels, then maybe we’ll see some sensible changes in our govenment at all levels. Especially when they become more aware of what is healthy to eat and the dangers of processed and GMO foods.