Posts Tagged ‘wellness’

A sense of fun to stay fit

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

If the stuffy gym just isn’t doing it for you anymore, and you find yourself putting off exercise because you are bored with routine or too busy during the holiday season, don’t give up just yet.

We all know the holidays can be stressful, rushed, and filled with decadent treats and overindulgence, which is why this time of year is especially important to keep on top of your fitness regime.

But how?

The weather is much cooler now, but what better time to seek out fun activities you can do with your friends?  Check out your local ice skating rink.  Grab some friends and practice your figure 8’s and Axel jumps.   Or bundle up and take a walk or a hike in a nearby park.  The cold will make you move faster while you enjoy the beautiful winter scenery.  And if you’re lucky enough to live close to a ski resort?  Well, you know what to do!

Give a gift that keeps on giving.  Why not buy a series of yoga classes for you and a friend as a special gift that is good for both of you?  The class will keep you both committed, and will allow you plenty of hang out time while attempting downward facing dog or the plank.

By being creative and adding some social components to your workout routine, you’ll be much more likely to keep up some kind of physical activity during this hectic holiday season.  And hey, even holiday shopping at the mall can count.  Just make sure to take the stairs!

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exercise your right to be healthy!

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Every little bit helps. We’ve heard that piece of sage advice our whole lives.  Whether we’re discussing saving a few dollars, or cutting out excess fats or sugars in our diet, the little changes can really add up.

So why not extend this theory to physical activity? Small efforts like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking during your lunch break, or riding your bike to the grocery store can add up to big, positive changes in your health and waistline over time.

Don’t self-sabotage.  If you can’t set aside an hour a day for the gym, a walk or bike ride, don’t blow off exercise entirely.  Try taking a power walk for 15 minutes instead.  Getting your blood pumping and enjoying being outside can only benefit you.

Got 10 minutes at home between work and dinner?  Try doing 25 sit-ups, 10 push-ups, and then either running around the block or working out with free weights for 5 additional minutes.  10 minutes of vigorous exercise is great for your heart, immune system, and will help to tone your muscles.   And as little as 10 minutes of brisk activity can keep your metabolism revved for up to an hour!

By incorporating exercise and physical activity into our daily lives, we not only stay fit, we achieve better health.  And we can all agree that being healthier is a wonderful thing!

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Our Salad Days

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

The next time you cheerfully chop up avocados, tomatoes, crisp lettuce and anything else you’d put in your “healthy” salad, beware.  Even if you’re using olive oil and not ranch or blue cheese dressing, there are still calories that add up.  For example, a tablespoon of olive oil has about 120 calories.  Not so bad in and of itself, but stop to consider how many tablespoons you are using for a whole salad.  2? 3?

And as much as we LOVE beautiful, creamy avocados, it’s important to think about how caloric they are too.  A medium sized avocado can contain up to 300 calories.  This velvety fruit is a favorite and is considered a “good” fat, full of antioxidants, but again, if you’re trying to cut back on the calories, avocados aren’t going to help you.  Substituting a cucumber, or a few toasted walnuts, shelled edamame, or flavorful herbs like tarragon or basil can liven up any salad without busting the calorie bank.

Or if you must have your avocado and eat it too, add less olive oil, and cut the avocado in half, which not only helps your waistline, but also your pocketbook.

It’s a really wonderful thing to commit to eating more vegetables and consuming fats that are mono-saturated, but remember if you decide to “just eat a salad” for dinner, you might be consuming many more calories than you intended.

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quick-change artist

Monday, May 31st, 2010

Ever heard that expression, “The more things change, the more they stay the same”?  I want to tweak that slightly: “the more things stay the same, the less chance they will EVER change.”

The cold, hard fact is this: If we want to change our less-than-stellar health habits, the time is now.  We all have to actually make some sort of concerted effort to do things differently in order to expect different results.

This idea is elementary, I know, but it’s amazing how many of us (myself included) don’t practice what we preach.  Here’s an example:

Last year I noticed that my favorite jeans were becoming harder and harder to button.  I blamed the dryer and the hot water I accidently washed them in one time (months before). Because I didn’t own a scale, I was in relative denial about my gradual weight gain.  I continued to eat my-ahem-nightly bowl of ice cream.  I didn’t have a lot of energy, which lead to me skipping the gym most days.  The less I exercised, the more lethargic I felt and the more I ate (to keep my energy up).  This became a classic vicious cycle.

One day I could no longer deny it and my favorite jeans were banished to the back of my closet, along with the other clothes I couldn’t squeeze into anymore.  That day was my breaking point, my “moment of clarity” if you will.  I forced myself to the gym that afternoon, and most evenings after work.  I stopped eating my beloved ice cream (except on weekends), and tried my best to get enough sleep so I didn’t need to rely on food to enhance my energy.

Everyone has their breaking point, their moment of clarity.  Find yours and then act upon it.  It may take a little while to see some results, but you absolutely will.  Changing your bad habits can ultimately change the course of your health-and life-for the better.  Good luck!

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The Kind of Treat you Don’t Eat

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Are you feeling deprived?  Working hard, running around all day long, trying to exercise and take care of yourself (and everyone else) to the point of absolute exhaustion?  And when you finally have a moment’s peace, you decide that you deserve a treat-something chocolately and gooey no doubt-because you’ve worked so hard and sacrificed for so long.

Maybe that’s not such a good idea.

If you truly are trying to live a healthy and active life, rewarding yourself (and your family) with sweet, fatty, and sugary treats is good for no one.  Aside from the obvious glut of fat and sugar, you are setting a dangerous precedent: food equals reward.

Some people choose food as a reward because it’s cheap.  But I would argue that’s not entirely true.  Healthcare costs are rising, and what about the new wardrobe you’d have to buy after you gain ten pounds from consuming all of the treats you “deserve”?

There is a better way.

Reward yourself and loved ones with a new CD or DVD, a beautiful candle, tickets to a sports event or concert, a pound of gourmet coffee, or even with a massage or pedicure.  Especially if you have kids (or grandkids), this will establish that rewards don’t have to be sugar/fat/food related.

And hey. You could even buy yourself or a loved one some favorite nutritional supplements and give the ultimate reward: Good health!

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ditching vitamin D proves detrimental

Friday, March 5th, 2010

Bone health with Liqui-calcium

On a recent trip to my dermatologist to freeze off some unsightly pre-cancerous spots, which is always a great time, I discovered something that I’ve long suspected.  As we chatted about the weather, vacation plans, and how often I still sunbathed (rarely), the dermatologist’s thoughts turned to vitamin D.  He asked me if I was taking a calcium supplement with vitamin D and when I replied enthusiastically in the affirmative, he was genuinely surprised.  “That’s great.”  He replied.  “You’re ahead of the curve.  Most people still don’t think about taking a supplement.”

The concept of vitamin D deficiency  makes perfect sense.  For most of us, we’ve heard from our various health care professionals that baking ourselves in the sun (even if you are dark skinned) for prolonged periods of time can result in sun-damaged skin, premature wrinkles, and in many cases, skin cancer.  As a result, most of us lather on sun block or moisturizers with sunscreen daily.  This is a good practice because it can really protect our skin from that insidious fireball in the sky, except for one thing.  We need to absorb some sunlight so that our bodies can manufacture vitamin D, which is essential to calcium absorption.

There has been so much research conducted lately about the positive effects of vitamin D on our immune systems and overall health.  Conversely, vitamin D deficiencies are now being examined closely as potentially contributing to various diseases such as cancer, obesity, and heart disease.  Even though much of this information is still being researched, one thing remains clear.  Calcium and vitamin D are essential for good health.  And most of us in the modern world either avoid the sun because of the aforementioned risks involved with worshipping it, or because the majority of us are sequestered in cubicles or offices, venturing out in the sunlight only long enough to procure a sandwich and a cup of coffee.

So I’m hedging my bets and taking a highly absorbable calcium supplement with 1000 IU vitamin D every day because I want to do all I can to lead a healthy life.  And also because I don’t want to see my dermatologist or his freezing apparatus for a very, very long time.

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Veggie Might!

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

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Do you love cruciferous vegetables?  Are you only truly satisfied when you have a heaping plate of broccoli or bok choy in front of you?  Do you dream of a field full of cauliflower?  Apparently you’re not alone.  It seems that vegetarians may have a leg up on the rest of us as far as overall health.

A recent study conducted on adolescents suggests that those who ate a vegetarian diet were far more likely than non-vegetarians to meet the Healthy People 2010 dietary objectives. They tended to eat less overall fat and saturated fats and, not surprisingly, consumed far more servings of vegetables and fruits compared with their carnivorous counterparts.  The adolescent vegetarians were also less likely to eat fast foods and to indulge in sodas and fruit drinks.

So what does this mean for the rest of us?  Even if you aren’t a vegetarian (or a teenager), you can still adopt some of these healthy habits.  Aim for 3 to 4 servings of vegetables a day.  It’s not as hard as it sounds.  Have a side salad with that sandwich at lunch, and at dinnertime, fill your plate three-quarters full with a variety of veggies, i.e. carrots, salad, squash, peas, asparagus, green beans, or whatever strikes your fancy.  Fill the other quarter of the plate with your protein source.  You will be surprised at how easy it is to embrace good eating patterns as long as you stick to a variety.  Aside from the health benefits, you should also discover a smaller waistline.

Grab a fistful of radishes and that sauté pan.  You are on your way to a healthier you.  And who knows? You might end up liking veggies as much as chocolate.  Okay-maybe almost as much!

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Reference: http://www.vitasearch.com/get-clp-summary/30680, “Adolescent Vegetarians: How Well Do Their Dietary Patterns Meet the Healthy People 2010 Objectives?” Perry CL, McGuire MT, et al, Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med, May 2002;156:431-437.

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Out with the bad, in with the healthy!

Monday, December 28th, 2009

new-years-calendar

As the year comes to a close, you may find you are promising yourself all kinds of ambitious results in the name of New Year’s resolutions.  For example, you decided you’ll get up at 5am every day and take a jog around your neighborhood for at least 45 minutes-even if it’s raining-and cold.  And you’re not a jogger.  You’ve also promised yourself you’d cut up all of your credit cards except one, and then commit to paying it off in full every month.  Another resolution might be to not eat too much at one sitting and to be sure you consume at least three or four servings of vegetables and fruits a day.  Now all that doesn’t sound too hard, does it?

All of these New Year’s resolutions are very commendable, but the problem is that it can be very difficult and discouraging to try to live up to these types of ideals.  It’s great to think big and aim high but sometimes what we really need is a realistic goal that is actually attainable.  And once we’ve stuck to an easy and manageable plan, it gives us the confidence to perhaps add another healthy commitment to our plate.

Start with something simple.  If you’re trying to lose weight and consume a lot of sugary soda, try swapping the soda for water and watch as the pounds drop off.  Little adjustments like this can help over time, and it won’t make you feel hungry or too deprived.  Making plans to walk with a friend or family member after work a few times a week can help to lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, and also gives you time to catch up with the people you’d like to see more often-which is maybe another good New Year’s resolution to pursue.

Start with something fundamental.  If you smoke, by all means quit!  Sometimes, we skirt around the real health issue, such as making plans to exercise more and eat healthier when the first step should be to quit smoking.  But smoking cessation can be extremely challenging, and therefore committing to eating more broccoli instead sounds better.  But broccoli can only do so much if you are polluting your body with carcinogens.  Get into a program, find some support, and follow through on the one really important resolution for the year; kicking a bad health habit like smoking. And the bonus is that you not only make yourself healthier, but also help those around you.  Second hand smoke can cause a myriad of illnesses including asthma, so do your family and friends a favor and kick the habit for good.

Whatever resolutions you pick, make sure they mean something to you and are something you can work toward with confidence during the year.  May this season bring health and happiness to you and your loved ones.

Happy holidays!

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Face to face with dry, winter skin

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

happiness and solanova supplements are good for you

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It’s the time of year for holiday festivities, indulging in lots of yummy treats that are usually taboo, and enjoying the first snowfall.  But it’s also the time of year where the elements can be very hard your body’s largest organ, your skin.

Dry, cold, and windy weather can make our skin incredibly dry and not very pretty.  Because there’s nothing we can do about the changing seasons, we’d better come up with a dry skin strategy.

Keeping your body moisturized is the first thing to do.  When cold weather sets in, drinking cold water might not be uppermost in your mind.  A nice, large café latte sounds more enticing right?  That may be, but water is still incredibly important, especially if you’re downing those lattes (or hot toddy’s for that matter).  Try keeping a water pitcher on the counter, instead of in the fridge, that way at least the water you need to drink won’t be quite as chilly.

There are also foods that can help soothe dry, cracked skin.  Foods like low-fat yogurt, which is full of vitamin A and acidophilus, helps keep digestion normal and that can enhance your overall health and will reflect in your, improved, healthier looking skin too.  Blackberries, strawberries and blueberries are also excellent for your skin due to their high antioxidant content, which helps protect cells against free radical damage. And let’s not forget our friends omega-3 fatty acids found in foods like nuts, flax seeds and salmon, for example.  Omega-3 fatty acids help to maintain healthy cell membranes that can aid the skin in holding moisture.  Essential fatty acids, or EFA’s also mitigate inflammation in the body.

So grab a good moisturizer, your water bottle and make sure to integrate plenty of healthy foods into your diet this winter.  With a little effort, you can kick dry, scaly skin to the curb and welcome in a kinder, gentler, winter.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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For Whom the Cake Tolls

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

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Sometimes I equate a really messy car-I’m talking gym shoes, old magazines, big gulp containers, and wrappers littering the backseat-with bad eating habits.  It seems as though, when I get off on the wrong track, i.e. it’s a Monday and I’m already in  the break room at work scarfing down cake from Friday’s birthday party, that I’ve sabotaged myself, and the only way to deal with it is simply to order a large pizza.

But take my word for it: this is a slippery (and fatty) slope.

We’ve all been tempted to just give up, even in the throes of healthy eating and systematic exercise.  Just like the old, trashed car that we drove around in college, it just seems easier to throw another steak on the bbq, just like we threw another big gulp container in the backseat, rather than committing to cleaning the car out.  The thing we have to remember is that the more trash we fill the car with-or that we stuff down our gullet-the longer and harder it will be to clean it (and get rid of the excess weight.)

It’s also important to understand what may be causing this self-defeating behavior.  Stress and anxiety can be catalysts to poor eating habits.  Getting enough sleep, taking a yoga class or going for a long walk can help.  And taking a natural supplement such as Solanova’s Relora®, which can alleviate stress, tension, irritability, and may regulate stress-related eating behaviors and subsequent weight gain, can also aid in your fight for control of your cravings.

Ban the it doesn’t matter now anyway self-sabotage.  Because in truth, it really Does matter.  So you had a piece of cake.  Hey, to eat junk food is human, to forgive yourself and not eat a sheet cake, is divine.  One 300-calorie indiscretion can lead to a 2000-calorie burrito-margarita-ice cream sundae glutton-fest.  Don’t give in to it.

There’s always a second chance for a healthy tomorrow. So get on it.  Oh.  And save me a piece of cake, will ya?

To learn more about healthy  habits, check out our health information section of Solanova.com.

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