Quantcast

Fight Workout Fatigue

By  November 10, 2009

istock_000006685490xsmall

I have to admit that while my cardio routine scares off most workout buddies, I feel great and accomplished from the moment I’m done… until I get home and realize that I am so drained I can’t make it into the shower. This worried me. As a lifelong athlete I know an hour-long cardio session was something I could handle. So I did a bit of research, and discovered the root of my problem: insufficient fueling!

Sounds like a no-brainer, but it is often over looked by men and women in a hurry to hit the gym before or after work. Here a couple hints on how to make sure you are prepping for your workout with the right amount of fuel. As always, call your doctor or speak to a licensed physical trainer about the best ways to beat your post workout wipe-out.

For most activities an hour or less, at moderate intensity, you only need water to stay hydrated and to keep you going.

For activities above an hour, at a higher intensity, you need to fuel about 30-60 minutes prior to your workout to help fight the post exercise fatigue. Try a banana with a tablespoon of peanut butter, or half a turkey sandwich. The key is to blend protein, carbs, and the right kinds of fats.

Make sure you are working out at a level and a duration that is appropriate. Set realistic goals, stay hydrated, and have a pre-activity snack.

xx, Grace Daniel

Female Smokers More Susceptible to Lung Cancer?

By  November 09, 2009

quitsmoking

An article released by HealthDay News reported that studies show women may be more vulnerable than men to the carcinogens and other noxious substances in cigarette smoke.

In one study of nearly 700 people with lung cancer, Swiss experts found that women tended to be younger when they received the diagnosis, even though they smoked less than the men who developed lung cancer.

In another study, researchers from Harvard University and the University of Bergen in Norway evaluated more than 950 men and women with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), known to be linked to smoking. The result: The women with COPD were younger when they got the diagnosis and had smoked less than the men with the respiratory ailment.

In fact, several other studies in the past 20 years have suggested that female smokers may be more susceptible to lung cancer than male smokers.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women in the United States. More people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined, according to the American Cancer Society. So whether or not gender makes women more susceptible to the effects of smoking that cause lung cancer remains to be seen. But one thing is certain, quitting—especially before the age of 50—is the best possible way to cut down one’s risk of getting cancer.

xx, Grace Daniel

Why You Should Shelve Sugar

By  November 06, 2009

sugarHere’s the harsh truth about sugar: stay away from it.

Yep, it’s simple and plain but easier said than done. By the time noon rolls around, many have already sabotaged their efforts to stay sugar-free by eating the wrong kinds of foods. Here are a few food swaps to keep your diet as sugar free as you can be.

Breakfast
Often times, the most important meal of the day ends up being a sugar overload. You want to make sure that your breakfast is low in sugar but high in protein and fiber. By doing this, you’ll stay full for longer and lunchtime won’t feel like such a free-for-all. To have a healthier breakfast, opt for eggs or oatmeal, instead of granola bars and cereal which can be very high in sugar.

The Naturally Sugary Snacks
Even reaching for a handful of grapes, while a seemingly wise snack choice, can contain as much as 23 grams of sugar. Of all fruits, grapes and cherries have the highest sugar content, even though it is natural sugar. Fruits lower in sugar, like kiwis and grapefruits, are a wiser choice.

The Artificially Sweetened Snacks

Eating a healthy snack in-between meals is a great way to keep you going through out the day, but read the label before you grab your favorite yogurt, granola bar, or diet cookie. A Kashi GoLean oatmeal raisin cookie has 33 grams of sugar. While these snacks are low-carb and low-fat options, they are often packed with artificial sweeteners. Cottage cheese is a wiser choice, with just 1 gram of sugar.

Candy

Every now and then your sweet tooth may get the best of you, but you can still make wise decisions, even in the candy department. Don’t be fooled, candies with names like fruit roll-ups don’t have actual real fruit or natural sugars in them. Best choice is keep your candy intake to a minimum and when indulging, go for dark chocolate.

Need a bit more help? Check out this article on the truth about sugar.

xx, Grace Daniel

Get the Real Skinny on Fat

By  November 04, 2009

dietmyth1When it comes to losing weight, many of us often buy into celebrity fad diets and ridiculous myths that are “proven” to shrink our waistlines…you know, the “celery diet,” the “grapefruit diet,” and the ever popular idea that carbs are bad for you. Sound familiar?

Dr. Nancy L. Snyderman, author of Myths That Keep Us Fat: And the 101 Truths That Will Save Your Waistline–and Maybe Even Your Life, reveals exactly why your favorite diet myths are bogus ideas that get in the way of reaching and maintaining your ideal weight. Pick up a copy of her book and establish a new relationship with food–one which leaves you feeling fabulous inside and out. Check out some of these shocking truth’s about dieting to help you get on your way to losing weight… the right way!

  • Belly fat is linked to dementia. Those who are overweight and have a large belly are 2.3 times more likely to develop dementia than those with a normal weight and belly size.
  • Monosaturated fats may help flatten your tummy. Avocados, olive oil, canola oil, and peanut oils contain these fats.
  • Dark chocolate is a dieter’s friend. It helps blood flow, promotes normal clotting, and improves circulation. The darker the chocolate the better.
  • Calorie-free soft drinks may make you fat. Artificially-sweetened drinks, despite its low calorie content, make you crave more sweets. Thus, you end up eating your sweet calories later.
  • You actually need carbs to burn fat. Before you’re quick to pass on the bread, you may need to think twice, as you need fuel for your weight loss.

xx, Grace Daniel

Indulge in These Immune System Boosters

By  November 03, 2009

With the colder season rapidly approaching, fighting the common cold and steering clear of swine flu, or any flu, is on the minds of many. To fight these harmful viruses, creating a strong, healthy immune system is the ticket staying sick-free. Keep these superfoods in your diet to keep your insides in tip top fighting shape.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Soup:

Not only is it our favorite comfort food, but researchers at the University of Nebraska found that chicken soup held the amino acids necessary for blocking the inflamed immunity cells that travel your body and build up in your trachea causing cold and flu symptoms associated with the throat. Chicken soup is a hearty and scrumptious way to celebrate cold weather. Eat chicken soup whenever you want.

Yogurt:

You have long heard that probiotics help assemble the good bacteria in your stomach to keep diseases away, and the flu is no different. Full of “live active cultures,” yogurt helps in keeping the stomach and intestines free of germs that cause harmful bacteria to grow. Yogurt that contains the strain Lactobacillus reuteri, has proved to be most effective, and can be found in Stonyfield Farms yogurt sold in the United States.

Garlic:

The power clove that you love to put in your favorite dishes has also been used to fight bad bacteria as well as infections. Professionals encourage eating two cloves a day or slice up a few in your meals a couple times a week in order to get their full effect.

Oats and Barley:

This duo contains a fiber that holds a lot of antimicrobial and antioxidant properties more akin to taking Echinacea. These super grains help speed up the healing process and boost immunity which is needed to prevent a virus like the flu from spreading. Eat one serving per day of oats or barley to attain the daily recommended dosage to keep bugs out of your system.

Sweet Potatoes:

Foods that contain beta-carotene, found in sweet potatoes, help your body turn them into vitamin A which helps protect your body overall. If you detest the sweet potato, other sources of beta-carotene that carry vitamin A are found in other orange tinted foods like carrots and squash.

xx, Grace Daniel

Slim Down Your Salad

By  November 02, 2009

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that all salads are created equal. Often times, the salads that we eat are just as unhealthy as the piece of pizza that you are trying to avoid at lunchtime. With a few simple swap outs, you can build a satisfying salad without derailing your diet.womanpic1001_228x342

Start With a Healthy Base
A good rule of thumb when picking lettuce: the darker the leaf, the more nutritious. Swap out pale iceberg for vitamin-rich romaine, spinach, or radicchio. Two other nutritional powerhouses are potassium-full endive and red cabbage.

Load Up On the Right Veggies
Fill your plate with smart picks: carrots, peas, and broccoli. A colorful mix will provide you with a variety of nutrients. Beware of anything drenched in oil, such as sun-dried tomatoes; instead opt for fresh tomatoes.

Pump Up Protein
Protein is a must-have to keep you satisfied. Just don’t reach for anything battered and fried. Stick with lean proteins like skinless chicken or turkey, salmon, or tuna. If you want a vegetarian option, go for legumes.

Avoid the Extras
Crunchy noodles, croutons, and bacon bits are all salad sabotage-rs. If you’re craving crunch, add a tablespoon of heart-healthy nuts like almonds and walnuts. Cheese is another topping to go easy on. Opt for a small amount of a strong-flavored cheese like feta or Parmesan, which are naturally lower in fat and calories.

Skip Creamy Toppings
Try to avoid anything that uses mayonnaise as the main ingredient. Go for plain tuna, grilled chicken, or chopped egg instead of calorie-heavy tuna salad, chicken salad, or egg salad.

Choose Your Salad Dressing Wisely
Now that you’ve built a better salad, don’t ruin it with fattening dressing. Watch your serving size carefully and steer clear of creamy varieties (and fat-free dressing isn’t the answer either).Your best bet is making your own dressing with oil and vinegar. Try three parts vinegar to one part oil; you’ll save calories while reaping the benefits of olive oil.

Losing It with Jillian Michaels, It Actually Works!

By  October 30, 2009

jillian_michaelsFor the past year and a half, a lot of my time has been spent trying to find new, innovative ways to live a healthy lifestyle and lose weight. After many bumps in the road, two knee surgeries and the difficulty of bouncing back with rehab, I have achieved my goal of losing 25lbs. (Yay Grace!)

But I didn’t achieve it without the daily advice from The Biggest Loser’s Jillian Michaels. After buying her book Making the Cut: The 30-Day Diet and Fitness Plan for the Strongest, Sexiest You, I did a bit of research online and found her website that provided clients with hundreds of meal options, new ways to spice up your workouts, and general advice that helped me get through times when I felt my weight was going nowhere. There is even a blog where you can read personal success stories and even vent your frustrations.

Let me tell you, this online program actually works (yes, that’s right, a diet and fitness program that actually works)! Whatever your goal may be, whether it’s losing a lot of weight, dropping a few pounds to get back on track, or new challenging ways to crank up your work outs, Jillian Michaels is a diet and fitness guru! Join her website today and work your way towards a happier you. Oh, and look out for her new show Losing It with Jillian Michaels slated for 2010.

xx, Grace Daniel

Trail Blaze to a Healthier You

By  October 29, 2009

Instead of catching up with your gal-pals over a cup of coffee or a round of drinks this weekend, why not go out for a hike instead? It’s cheaper, actually strips away calories instead of adding them on, and it’s plain ol’ better for you! women_hikingMore beneficial than a simple stroll in the park, the elevation of the trail adds more resistance to boost your heart rate. For women, regular hiking can prevent osteoporosis by strengthening your bones and making them less susceptible to breaking. And, believe it or not, trail blazing is easier on the joints than pavement. You can play around with your levels of difficulty by choosing a longer or more challenging trail, or by simply adding a weighted pack to increase your calorie burn by 10 to 15 percent. And just as important are the mental health benefits you gain from exercising and just being outside. Exposure to natural light, not found in your gym, promotes the secretion of serotonin, a mood lifting chemical in the brain.

So enjoy the weather and the beauty of the seasons and get outside for some exercise that has overall benefits for a healthier, happier you. Needs tips on what to bring? Check out this list of gear to get you on your way.

What to Bring

You most likely have everything you need to get started in your closet, except maybe a pair of good hiking shoes. Hiking shoes or boots should be comfortable, sturdy, waterproof and, most importantly, broken in before you take them on the trail. If you’re going for a short hike, you don’t have to worry about water, layers or rain protection. But if you’re going for an hour or longer, always bring the following:
• Rain gear
• An extra layer in case the temperature dips
• Hat for sun protection and, when necessary, warmth
• Day Pack
• Water
• Snack(s)
• Sunscreen

Other important items, depending on the length and area of your hike, include:
• Trash bags to use as shelter or ground cover in case of rain
• Pocket knife
• First Aid Kit
• Flashlight
• Insect repellent

For more information and helpful tips on how to get started, check out this informative website.  Happy trails to you!

xx, Grace Daniel

How to Prep for a Mammogram

By  October 28, 2009

With October being Breast Cancer Awareness month, now is as better a time as any to inform women about some tips to help them prepare for their mammogram. A mammogram is an X-ray of the breasts that’s designed to detect abnormalities, including possible tumors that cannot be felt. Women in their 40s and older should have mammograms every 1 to 2 years, and women who have an elevated risk of breast cancer should speak with their doctors about how often and when to get a mammogram.

mammogramv8

The National Women’s Health Information Center offers these suggestions to help women prepare for a mammogram:

1. Don’t schedule a mammogram for the week just before your period, as your breasts may be swollen and sore.

2. Let the technician know before the test begins if you have breast implants.

3. Wear a skirt or pants with a top that’s easy to take off. You don’t have to completely disrobe.

4. The day of the test, skip applying any lotion, powder, perfume or deodorant under your arms or near your chest, as these can affect the results.

5. Bring any previous mammogram results with you.

xx, Grace Daniel

Eat, Drink, and Live Longer

By  October 28, 2009

Okay, so we can’t beat ‘Father Time’, but we can certainly have an affect on promoting a long, healthy lifestyle. By eating healthy, staying active, and keeping your nutrition in check, you can reap the benefits of feeling great for years to come. Here’s some instructions on which foods will help you age gracefully, healthily, and happily. apple1

Tomatoes
These juicy little buggers burst with tons of delicious flavors and health properties! One tomato contains vitamin C, A and K, potassium and fiber! Not convinced yet? Reach for the red ones and reap the benefits of Lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that promotes good eyesight. Delicious in practically any recipe, these fruitful veggies aid in the overall development of healthy teeth, bones, skin and hair, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as possibly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and some cancers.

Apples
Now is the season to get your hands these delicious fall fruits. Loaded with flavanols, apples are a great source of antioxidants and nutrients. Besides fending off wrinkles, and promoting hair growth, these yummy fruits can also help prevent the development of cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Grab one for a tasty, nutritious snack and promote healthy bones, and aid in weight-loss management.

Berries
Berries are great superfoods to promote healthy aging. Packed with antioxidants, these naturally sweet fruits are wonderful as a snack or a fun, healthy way to dress up a dessert. High in nutrients, and low in calories, berries can help prevent heart disease and cancer, slow aging, sharpen brain function, and improve vision.

White Tea
Shadowed by the ever popular green tea, White tea actually has more antioxidants than green tea, even though it comes from the same plant. Try drinking at least one cup of white (or green) tea daily to help fight against certain types of cancer, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and have healthy skin.

Spices
Adding spices to your dishes adds flavor, keeps you fuller longer, but also adds short and long term health benefits. Cinnamon alone can decrease blood sugar and cholesterol levels as well as improve your digestive system due to its fiber content. Tumeric helps arthritis sufferers, and paprika and cayenne pepper improves circulation. The list goes on and on.

Salmon

In general, fish is an important part of your diet as a great source of protein. Choosing wild Salmon protects you from the higher level of PCBS found in farm raised salmon. Rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is good for your skin, helping to reduce those angry, red, inflammations that cause acne. It also prevents the formation of blood clots, and slows down Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related cognitive problems.

xx, Grace Daniel