Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Do you have an energy debt?

I am not sure if it is because it is winter or what but I always feel tired mid afternoon when my son goes down for a nap. I really liked this article about how to feel more energized w/o resorting to quick fixes that leave us feeling drained.

Article by Health columnist Lisa Byran

Many of us rely on “energy loans” to get us through the day.

Caffeine, sugar and nicotine keep us running, but they do so at a high cost, and for only so long. These temporary lifts will always leave us depleted because they are like a bank loaning out money at high interest.

We use these “energy loans” to get us through our immediate energy needs, but end up straddled with the “debt” of exhaustion at the end of the day. When these crutches are used over a long period of time, the cycle spirals and our body never has a chance to catch up on sustainable energy or to restore and repair itself.

How do we stop this cycle and begin to nourish and care for our bodies so they are full of vibrant energy all day, throughout the day?

Here are 16 ways to begin to bring more energy into your day.

1. Choose nutrient-dense, real foods.

  • Choosing nutrient dense foods are essential for our energy because they give more to our bodies than they take to digest.
  • Start by increasing vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.

2. Balance your meals.

  • Our bodies need all the major nutrients (fats, proteins and carbohydrates) to function properly.
  • Include some protein, healthy fats and whole-grain carbohydrates together in each meal.

Photo by Sharon Mollerus

3. Increase your fiber in the morning.

  • When we eat a fiber-rich breakfast we stay satisfied and energized for longer, breaking the need for that mid-morning sugary snack or cup of coffee.
  • Try oatmeal, granola or fresh fruits - especially berries, apples, or pears in the morning.
  • Consider eating a lunch-type meal in the morning. I often eat avocado on sprouted grain toast or a bean and veggie soup for breakfast.

4. Consume more raw foods.

  • Raw fruits and vegetables have all the enzymes and nutrients intact (cooking food destroys some of the energy-giving enzymes and nutrients). The life energy of these foods leaves us rejuvenated.
  • Add more raw produce to each of your meals by having a side of raw cut veggies or fresh fruit every time you eat.

5. Eat your greens.

  • Focus especially on the dark leafy greens like kale, collard greens, bok choy, mustard greens, broccoli rabe and swiss chard.
  • These vegetables are full of vitamins, nutrients and phytochemicals (like chlorophyll) that improve circulation, purify the blood, and strengthen the immune system.
  • Associated with springtime, these vegetables increase vital energy and aid in detoxification.

Photo by Judith

6. Increase your physical activity.

  • Some daily movement is essential to healthy levels of energy.
  • Start by incorporating even 10 minutes of activity, like walking, yoga, or dance - preferably in the morning to jump-start your metabolism.

7. Reduce toxins.

  • Removing toxins requires a lot of energy and taxes the body. Manage your environment to reduce the toxic load on your body.
  • Begin by using non-toxic personal care products and household cleaners, and organic foods whenever possible.
  • Cleanse the air and water at your work and home with a purifier.

8. Oxygenate your body and mind.

  • Practice deep breathing techniques throughout the day to bring in more oxygen to your body and mind.
  • Try this simple breathing technique: Sit comfortably with your torso straight. Breathe through your nose, inhale a deep breath for as many counts as is comfortable. Now exhale slowly to double that count. So if you inhaled for four counts, exhale to eight counts. Repeat for five minutes throughout your day, or when you begin to feel tired or stressed.

9. Take a cold shower.

  • Well, not exactly. At the end of your shower, change the temperature of the water to slightly cooler. You only need a slight decrease in temperature to get the benefit. The cooler water (after the warmth of the shower) will essentially close your pores and “massage” your nervous system.
  • When your nervous system is engaged and stimulated in this way, it is prompted to flush toxins and increase circulation- which brings more oxygen to your tissues. This translates to a healthy energy boost that leaves you feeling refreshed.

10. Twist and stretch.

  • Engaging and “massaging” any of your internal organs or systems will leave you invigorated - this is one of the many benefits of a full body massage.
  • Try this simple “Tom Tom” stretch to engage your lower organs and reduce stagnation: Stand up straight, knees soft and legs hip-width apart. Let your arms dangle softly by your side, hands in soft fists. Slowly twist your torso, looking right and then left. Allow your arms and hands to rotate freely and softly hit your lower back and lower stomach. Gain momentum and twist farther as your body loosens up to the degree it feels comfortable.
  • This is a wonderful stretch to do when you have been in one position too long, especially sitting at a computer.

11. Hydrate.

  • We all know there are many benefits to staying well hydrated, and retaining a high level of energy through our days is one of them.
  • Be careful to not only drink enough water throughout the day, but to also avoid the major dehydration culprits - caffeine, nicotine and alcohol.

woman sleeping with a cat
Photo by Agnese

12. Get enough rest.

  • Seems obvious enough - we will feel more energized if we have enough rest, but most people have a hard time getting enough restful sleep.
  • Your body must produce melatonin to sleep properly. Overstimulating our senses, especially with artificial light, can prevent this chemical from being made.
  • About an hour before you want to go to sleep, dim the lights, and shut off the TV and computer screen. Create a calm mood with candle light or soft music. Engage in calming activities like light reading or taking a bath.
  • Naps work! If you aren’t able to get the right amount of sleep at night, utilize midday power naps. Most people need between 60-90 minutes to feel fully refreshed, but even mini-naps can help recharge our batteries.

13. Use your sense of smell.

  • The power of scent is often under appreciated. Research shows the certain scents have a profound impact on our mental and emotional states.
  • Use pure essential oils of peppermint, orange or lemon to awaken all your senses. Put a couple drops in your palms, then cup your hands around your nose and breath deeply.

14. Listen to your body.

  • Sometimes the key to feeling energized is knowing when to slow down, stop, or say no. When we consistently overextend ourselves we burn out. It’s okay to have a mellow day, to take it slow and not push yourself. In fact, it is a sign of wisdom to know your limits and to honor them.

15. Reconsider draining relationships.

  • Some relationships that require a lot of energy are necessary, rewarding and important (I’m not tossing my two-year-old out the door any time soon), but some simply zap us of energy and bring negativity into our lives.
  • There may be relationships in your life that are exhausting and draining. When you identify a person that is draining, think of ways you can re-establish boundaries or transform the relationship to be more positive in your life.

woman walking alone
Photo by Patrick Kennedy

16. Connect inwardly.

  • Our lives are increasingly interconnected with others, yet disconnected with ourselves. Through the people we live with, work with, interact with on our daily errands, and communicate with on the internet - we often spend most of our days with an outward focus. Cultivating an inward focus in order to know ourselves and our spirit is essential to feeling renewed and energized for the work of our days.
  • Take time daily to sit still with yourself, learn to hear your inner thoughts, come to know your spirit’s voice - its dreams, fears, longings, needs. Give your whole self the opportunity to grow and be cared for.

The next time you are feeling a lull in your day, try something from this list to help boost your energy. Or better yet, be proactive and begin to incorporate some of these techniques throughout your day to stay at the top of your game.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Meat eaters....

I wanted to share this little story on the life of Edna Parker who recently passed away at the young age of 115!! Incredible. Listen to this...

Last year, Parker helped Guinness record another feat when she met another super-centenarian, then-113-year-old Bertha Fry of Muncie, Ind. The meeting took place at Parker’s nursing home a few days after her 114th birthday. A Guinness representative on hand to witness the event said their combined age of 227 was “the highest aggregate age of two people meeting each other.”

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels commended the two women, who both grew up on small Indiana farms, became schoolteachers and ate a lot of meat and starch over the course of their exceptionally long lives. Parker especially enjoyed eggs, sausage, bacon and fried chicken. “I guess we’ll have to rethink lard,” Daniels quipped after hearing about her high-fat diet.

Here’s 2 centurians who loved their meat and fat (along with some starches, my guess it was predominantly vegetable based mostly from corn and/or potatoes….since they grew up on farms). What you probably do NOT find is high amounts of sugar, processed foods or cooking with vegetable oils. Lard and butter were probably used the most for cooking and not vegetable oil based fats. Again this is just an educated guess seeing the quote above lard and thinking about living on a farm.

Wonderful stuff. Moral of the story….meat doesn’t give you heart disease, fat (stable cooking fat like the sat fat in lard/butter) is good, and sugary/processed foods & drinks are not present in most people’s diet who live long and healthy. I’m sure she also kept an active lifestyle as much as she could while also not excessively overeating. Maybe it’s time we all go back to farm living! Ok maybe not going to happen but at least we can imagine we are.

I just thought it was interesting how all of these processed food and chemicals we put in our bodies affect us. We need to go back and eat how they ate 100 years ago:)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Checking in with Kristy.....

My friend Kristy from way back to my freshman year of college has a great website i wanted to tell you about. she was once a size 16 and now is twig like. she changed her life, her habits and even became a personal trainer! I love her tips. Go check it out! I love her before and after on the right of her blog!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Intuitive Eating....

I have a bad habit of reading health blogs when I should be doing my statistics homework. I was reading HERE tonight about intuitive eating. I thought it was very interesting. I think I might try to use this more in my life. The more natural way of eating and thinking and behaving around food. I feel like my body is mad at me. I recently got pregnant and gained 8 or 9 pounds then after having a miscarriage I lost it in a couple days. I must have been retaining lots of water. The doctor said to hold off the exercise for 2 weeks after the bleeding stops. I just feel lazy when I don't exercise. I feel like my body needs a change. I am really excited for summer and to be able to jog outside again! ONe thing about Intuitive eating that I don't like is that you cannot really check it off your list. I like something that is more exact like Weight watchers but I think if slowly over time, using these principles could really make a big difference.

10 Principles of
Intuitive Eating

1. Reject the Diet Mentality Throw out the diet books and magazine articles that offer you false hope of losing weight quickly, easily, and permanently. Get angry at the lies that have led you to feel as if you were a failure every time a new diet stopped working and you gained back all of the weight. If you allow even one small hope to linger that a new and better diet might be lurking around the corner, it will prevent you from being free to rediscover Intuitive Eating.

2. Honor Your Hunger Keep your body biologically fed with adequate energy and carbohydrates. Otherwise you can trigger a primal drive to overeat. Once you reach the moment of excessive hunger, all intentions of moderate, conscious eating are fleeting and irrelevant. Learning to honor this first biological signal sets the stage for re-building trust with yourself and food.

3. Make Peace with Food Call a truce, stop the food fight! Give yourself unconditional permission to eat. If you tell yourself that you can't or shouldn't have a particular food, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings and, often, bingeing When you finally “give-in” to your forbidden food, eating will be experienced with such intensity, it usually results in Last Supper overeating, and overwhelming guilt.

4. Challenge the Food Police .Scream a loud "NO" to thoughts in your head that declare you're "good" for eating under 1000 calories or "bad" because you ate a piece of chocolate cake. The Food Police monitor the unreasonable rules that dieting has created . The police station is housed deep in your psyche, and its loud speaker shouts negative barbs, hopeless phrases, and guilt-provoking indictments. Chasing the Food Police away is a critical step in returning to Intuitive Eating.

5. Respect Your Fullness Listen for the body signals that tell you that you are no longer hungry. Observe the signs that show that you're comfortably full. Pause in the middle of a meal or food and ask yourself how the food tastes, and what is your current fullness level?

6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor The Japanese have the wisdom to promote pleasure as one of their goals of healthy living In our fury to be thin and healthy, we often overlook one of the most basic gifts of existence--the pleasure and satisfaction that can be found in the eating experience. When you eat what you really want, in an environment that is inviting and conducive, the pleasure you derive will be a powerful force in helping you feel satisfied and content. By providing this experience for yourself, you will find that it takes much less food to decide you've had "enough".

7. Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food Find ways to comfort , nurture, distract, and resolve your issues without using food. Anxiety, loneliness, boredom, anger are emotions we all experience throughout life. Each has its own trigger, and each has its own appeasement. Food won't fix any of these feelings. It may comfort for the short term, distract from the pain, or even numb you into a food hangover. But food won't solve the problem. If anything, eating for an emotional hunger will only make you feel worse in the long run. You'll ultimately have to deal with the source of the emotion, as well as the discomfort of overeating.

8. Respect Your Body Accept your genetic blueprint. Just as a person with a shoe size of eight would not expect to realistically squeeze into a size six, it is equally as futile (and uncomfortable) to have the same expectation with body size. But mostly, respect your body, so you can feel better about who you are. It's hard to reject the diet mentality if you are unrealistic and overly critical about your body shape.

9. Exercise--Feel the Difference Forget militant exercise. Just get active and feel the difference. Shift your focus to how it feels to move your body, rather than the calorie burning effect of exercise. If you focus on how you feel from working out, such as energized, it can make the difference between rolling out of bed for a brisk morning walk or hitting the snooze alarm. If when you wake up, your only goal is to lose weight, it's usually not a motivating factor in that moment of time.

10 Honor Your Health--Gentle Nutrition Make food choices that honor your health and tastebuds while making you feel well. Remember that you don't have to eat a perfect diet to be healthy. You will not suddenly get a nutrient deficiency or gain weight from one snack, one meal, or one day of eating. It's what you eat consistently over time that matters, progress not perfection is what counts.

what do you guys think?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Too much of a Busy Bee to exercise??

We all have 20 minutes a day, right? Feeling tired, rushed for time, or just plain don’t want to exercise today? How about the 20-minute workout? I think that a short workout is better than not exercising at all. This workout combines cardio and muscular endurance training. It is designed to get the body pumping by increasing your heart rate, increase blood flow to the muscles, and relieve stress. You can do it at home, at the gym, or any place in between. I think the hardest part is getting your shoes on and getting out the door. Once you do it feels so great! I am ready for winter to be over so we can be more outside for exercise. I'm feeling trapped!!! Here's the work out....
  • 10 Minute Jog (Jog in place if lack of space)
  • 50 Push-Ups (Do as many as you can and then finish the rest later) & you can do them girly style!
  • 100 Crunches (Do as many as you can)
  • 50 Squats (Do as many as you can)
Happy workout, you won't regret it, you'll feel great!

Friday, February 6, 2009

All Bran Productss....

This week I got an e-mail about a previous post. I talked about my favorite healthy snacks in which one of them is All-Bran Crackers. Yum...esp. the garlic ones. Here is the e-mail.....

" Hi Kathy,

I found your blog while surfing through blogrolls of blogs about healthy eating and lifestyles. I've been reading for a few days now and I think you've put together a really good resource. Not only do you share your own struggles and successes, but you also post a diverse range of topics. I work with Kellogg and I noticed you mentioned that you and your son like All-Bran Crackers, so I wanted to send you some information about a couple other All-Bran products that you might be interested in: All-Bran Fiber Bars, Drink Mixes and All-Bran cereals.
All-Bran Fiber Bars come in two flavors, Strawberry Drizzle and Apple Cinnamon Streusel. These multi-grain and psyllium snack bars pack 10 grams of fiber each - that's 40 percent of the recommended daily intake! They're a great option for an on-the-go snack. You can find them in the fiber supplement section of the grocery store.
All-Bran Drink Mixes come in convenient single-serving pouches so you can just pour the mix right into your water bottle. The drink mixes are available in Pink Lemonade and Iced Tea flavors and have 10 grams of fiber and only 20 calories per serving. They're another great option for boosting your fiber intake easily. They'll be in the fiber supplement section as well.
All-Bran has a variety of high-fiber cereals, including Original, Extra-Fiber, Strawberry Medley and Yogurt Bites. With at least 10 grams of fiber per serving, a bowl of All-Bran cereal is a good way to start the morning and promote digestive health. And the All-Bran Promise says you'll feel the difference after 10 days of eating a bowl of All-Bran cereal a day.
So I hope this information is useful. Let me know if you decide to share this information with your readers and if I can help with anything. Also, check out the All-Bran Web site to see the complete product line, more information about the health benefits of fiber and recipes using All-Bran.
And if you have any other ideas about ways we could work together, I'm totally open to hearing them. Thanks & talk to you soon!
Libby Krah"

I decided to get a few of the products and try them out this week. I really loved their fiber bars, they are like my dessert because they are sweet. I also tired the lemonade drop in's. They taste similar to crystal light but w/ fiber! I like the cereals and have had them before. As for my husband he likes captain crunch, haha. He will put 1/2 all bran cereal and 1/2 of his sweet cereals- I thought that was a great idea, get the best of both worlds. They have a 10 day challenge, go HERE to read about it. And go HERE to find out why you NEED lots of fiber in your diet. Thanks Libby for the information. My favorite part of the website is where you can print off coupons. They have one right now where you can try any one of their products for free! Go try it!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

You look good? You feel good.....

Can I ask you a question? Why do they call them skinny jeans? They do not make people look skinny. Sometimes I think don't dress right for their body type. Dressing for your body type can really make you look and feel better. One thing I really hate is when you can tell someones jeans are way too tight and there is muffin top all over the place. I think people get stuck on a size. If they would just by one size bigger it would make them look one size smaller! I really liked THIS article on dressing for your body type. When you look good , you feel good, you want to eat good and exercise good to so where clothes that fit well on you and accentuate the positive!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Veggies!!! Eat em' up!

I like vegetables but I wouldn't say that I love them. I have to tally how many I have eaten each day to make sure I get enough, otherwise I would probably only get one serving. I found this list from WebMD. It introduces 15 tips and tricks that will certainly convert veggie haters to veggie lovers.

  1. Hide veggies you kind of like in dishes you love. For example, add peppers or mushrooms to an omelet or layer fresh spinach leaves in lasagna.
  2. Add to soup. When making homemade soup, fill with your favorite veggies. Or, bolster the veggie content of reduced-sodium soups by adding more carrots, green beans or edamame.
  3. Fill a salad. Use spinach leaves and baby greens instead of lettuce, and fill with every vegetable you like.
  4. Serve raw. Some people prefer the fresh crunch, texture and flavor of uncooked vegetables.
  5. Dip them. Dip vegetables in a low-cal dip like hummus, salsa or a light dressing.
  6. Go Italian. Pizza and pasta are great places to hide veggies like mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, zucchini, bell peppers, fresh basil leaves, or artichokes.
  7. Drink them. Make your own veggie juice at home, or try quality brands like V8. For a sweeter alternative, try V8 Splash.
  8. Make it fun. Grilled vegetable kabobs, corn on the cob, stuffed mushrooms or peppers are all fun finger foods that kids and adults will rave about.
  9. Grill. The flavor of grilled vegetables cannot be beat. Lightly brush with olive oil and asparagus, zucchini, mushrooms, peppers and eggplant perfectly complement any meal.
  10. Learn to cook them properly. The stronger flavored or more bitter tasting vegetables, like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and eggplant, need special attention when cooking. Try saute or stir-fry, or add special flavors like balsamic vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice.
  11. Surprise yourself. Put roasted red peppers on a sandwich, include fresh basil in a wrap or stuff a pita with shredded cabbage. Unexpected flavor in familiar places will change your thinking.
  12. Choose fresh. If all you’ve ever had are canned vegetables, you don’t like them for a reason! Steamed, grilled and roasted fresh vegetables have a completely different flavor and texture.
  13. Fast-food veggies count. Get salads, carrot and celery sticks or a baked potato. Just be mindful of the calories in dressings, sauces and dips.
  14. No prizes. Don’t reward yourself or the kids for positive vegetable behavior. You’ll learn to like the treat, and forget to learn to like the veggies.
  15. Be cheesy! Bake veggies topped with low-fat or skim milk cheese for a gooey treat.

You can find more sneaky vegetable tips in Jessica Seinfeld’s popular book, Deceptively Delicious. I have made a few things from her book and they turned out pretty good although I try not to hide my families veggies cause they need to get in the habit of eating them.