Summer Slimming Ideas

Replace some of your meat salads this summer with refreshing lower calorie salads that don't include high fat ingredients such as mayonnaise.  Using spices and fruits added to corn, red potatoes, beans, or pasta can turn a boring salad into a wonderful taste experience and not add extra unwanted fat and calories.  A recent study shows that replacing meat with beans, even if it is the same amount of calories, will take weight off.  Perhaps it is because of the type of fat that is in meat, although research is inconclusive about the exact reason.  Beans are also a great meat substitute; because they are high in protein and fiber.

Roasted Corn, Black Bean Mango Salad

from: Eating Well Diabetes Cookbook

2 tsp canola oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1 1/2 C corn kernels (from 3 ears)

1 lrg ripe mango

1 15oz or 19oz can black beans, rinsed

1/2 C chopped red onions

1/2 C diced red bell pepper

3 tbsp lime juice

1 small can chipotle pepper, drained, chopped

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp salt

     Heat oil in skillet, add garlic for 30 seconds.  Stir in corn until browned.  Put corn in large bowl with remaining ingredients. Enjoy!

Rheumatoid Arthritis

For those of you who want to be fit and start an exercise routine, but the pain of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is getting in the way, there is hope with some natural remedies that can help. The drugs used to ease the pain sadly have many side effects such as liver damage, nausea, anemia and weight gain.  

Omega-3 fatty acids are a natural anti-inflammatory. They are found in fish such as salmon, sardines and tuna. The side effect is that it is also healthy for your heart and brain. If you are not fond of fish, you can get the same benefit from fish oil capsule.

Gamma linolenic acid is found in botanical oils from evening primrose, black current seed and borage oil. Studies show people who take this have less joint pain and stiffness.

Spices such as turmeric, cur cumin and ginger can help as a natural anti-inflammatory. They can also be found in capsules if you are unable to use them in cooking.

An anti-inflammatory diet is replacing processed foods which promotes inflammation with foods such as whole grain, fruits, veggies,olive oil, fish, beans, herbs, spices and green or white tea. Red meat, sugar, flour and saturated fats cause inflammation chemicals that make RA symptoms worse.

Probiotics is a beneficial microorganism that works with good bacteria in the colon to help break down food. Harmful bacteria in the colon which proliferates with the change in intestinal environment from medications, can cause increase inflammation. Probiotics, taken in supplements, can help prevent the harmful bacteria. If you are taking RA medication, talk to your doctor before taking probiotics.  

Herbal supplements such as bromelain  (found in pineapple) EGCG (from green tea) oleanalic acid (from olive oil) boswellia (Indian frankincense) devils claw, ginkgo and thunder god vine have many anti-inflammatory benefits. Be patient because the relief from pain might not start right away.

Water aerobics or swimming can help. Also cold may ease the swelling of painful joints. Wrap a towel around ice or bag pf frozen veggies and hold it directly to the joint for 10 min.

Stress relieving practices such as yoga, meditation, tai chi, biofeedback or message can help with stress which is a major factor with RA.

Summed up with these lifestyle changes, eat a healthy diet, reduce stress, and exercise will make a big improvement in RA joint pain. Remember when exercising, do a low impact workout like swimming or walking, and be sure to do a lot of stretching.

The Importance of Gum Health

As we try to improve our health through diet and exercise, you should also know that oral health is just as important. Many times gum disease is not detected until it has already negatively effected you total health. Bacteria from the gum diseases gingivitis and periodontal can enter the blood stream and travel throughout the body. This bacteria has shown to lead to serious health issues such as increased risk for cardiovascular disease, aggravation of diabetes, respiratory diseases, stroke, and problems with pregnancy.

Gum disease is caused by bacterial plaque which irritates the gum and becomes toxic. Some signs of gum disease can be bad breath or bad taste in your mouth, pain in chewing, sensitive teeth, loose teeth, gum tissue that is red, swollen or bleeds easily, or pus between teeth. If it is not detected until advanced stages, it can lead to loss of your teeth along with the health issues.

Some factors that make someone more susceptible are poor oral hygiene, poor nutrition, smoking, aging, genetic predisposition, hormone imbalance, medications, stress, viral and fungal infections, systemic disease, disease that lowers immunity and pregnancy. In the early stages there is little or no pain.

Maintaining good gum health is very easy. First, brush at least two times a day, making sure you include the gums with gentle brushing. The sonic brushes may be a little costly, but have been proven to remove plaque better than an ordinary tooth brush. Floss one time a day. And, you should see a dentist two times a year for professional cleaning and to detect any problem areas you may not see.

Signs of Women's Heart Disease

A typical heart attack does not come on suddenly as we see in movies where you grab your chest and fall over and die, but comes on gradually and with some obvious and not so obvious signs.  Some of these signs can be mistaken for other things going on, but you should always be aware that it might be an oncoming heart attack.

In the days or weeks before a heart attack, 70% of women experience extreme fatigue.  Take note if your fatigue cannot be explained by other illness or medication.

Be aware of prolonged sleep disturbance for more than a week.  About half the woman who suffered a heart attack, experienced this.

Unexplained shortness of breath while doing normal activities could be a sign of an oncoming heart attack.

Along with sudden nausea or vomiting, nearly 40% of women experience heartburn or indigestion shortly before a heart attack.

A heart attack can mimic a panic attack which means unexplained anxiety.

Women explain their chest pain when having a heart attack as sharp, fullness or tingling, but also complain of discomfort in other areas of the body such aching or burning in upper back, neck, shoulders, arms, jaw or throat.

Some women break out in a cold sweat or become dizzy or light-headed, which can also be symptoms of a stroke.

How do you recognize these symptoms that suggest you might be suffering a heart attack?  First, know your body and where the usual aches or pains are and what triggers them.  Ask your doctor if you are at higher risk because of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, or smoke.  If you experience any of these symptoms and feel not quite right, discuss it with your doctor, or if you experience any of these symptoms together go to the hospital ASAP!

New Alzheimer's Research

On a Dr. Oz show, he talked about new developments in Alzheimer's research that surprised me and you might find very interesting also.  In many of my articles, we promote good eating habits along with exercise.  This is a re-firmament of the importance of eliminating some of the unhealthy "convenience" foods we have become addicted to.

Alzheimer's has mostly been thought of as an inherited disease... it is in our genes, and we had no control over whether we would get it or not.  This may not be completely true.  New research shows a direct link between diabetes, insulin and our increased intake of nitrosamines.  Nitrosamines or nitrites, are used to preserve foods such as processed meats (bacon, hot dogs, lunch meat, etc), fresh vegetables and fruit that have a far distance to transport, fish, and even beer, and is found to have caused an increase of insulin-related diseases.  The exposure of low doses of nitrites for a long period of time in our foods are the major cause of this increased epidemic in the United States.  

This is a huge discovery and a welcome relief for some of us who thought we were destined to inherit the disease.  The good news is that there are many alternatives of healthy diets to lesson our chances of contracting Alzheimer's.  The first thing, is to be aware of food that contain nitrites.  Avoid any food that lists sodium nitrite as an ingredient and  processed foods.  Buy vegetables and fruits from local markets or the organic food section.  It is also important to educate your children... best by example.  You can also support policies to farming back to local communities.  Of course, growing your own gardens is the best way to be sure you are getting the healthiest produce.

Grass Fed vs. Grain Fed Beef

Some of our supermarkets are now carrying some choices in many of the meats.  You see labels such as "farm raised", "free roaming", "organic raised", and one I want to discuss today, "grass fed beef".

Basically, most beef we buy today has evolved from small farm businesses to large production farms.  These large beef farms raise cattle as quickly as possible and are often inhumane.  In order for rapid growth, cattle are fed a mix of corn, soy, grains and supplements like hormones and antibiotics.  Of course this ends up in our own bodies and some researchers and scientists believe is the cause of some chronic illnesses that have increased rapidly over the last several decades.  Grass and hay fed beef is their natural diet and is better for our bodies and society in general in the following ways. 

Grass fed beef has less fat and more omega 3 fats (good fat).  A 6oz grass fed tenderloin has 92 fewer calories than grain fed.  It does not contain unnatural hormones or antibiotics.  They are raised in a more natural and humane environment.  The meat is tastier.  It is better for our environment (requires a long explanation - just trust me on this one).  You can opt to buying beef directly from local small farmers which helps your local economy.

There is a downside to this however.  Grass fed beef is usually more expensive.  This is due to the fact that large cattle farms have made strides in lowering the cost of feed, but is not necessarily healthy for us.  There are some options you can consider to lower your cost.  One is to buy a cow directly from you local farmer to have butchered.  This is economical, but requires a large freezer.  You can find a buddy to share a cow with.  Or, you can pay a little extra for better nutrition and better quality all around.

Ski Walking or Fitness Poles

How about a new way of doing your cardio walking that can burn 40% more calories?  It is called ski walking.  Just as it sounds, it involves poles similar to ski poles that you use in conjunction with walking.  Using poles forces you to stand more upright and therefore a lengthened stride.  You also generate a faster tempo naturally.   This combination of better posturing, longer strides and quickened pace, results in  all-around better results.

Ski walking is also recommended for those with balance issues, knee problems, hip problems or replacement, back issues, weight issues. multiple sclerosis. Parkinson's, arthritis, bursitis, sclerosis, lumbar stenosis, fibromyalgia, post polio, osteoporosis and stroke recovery.  The type of walking action used with fitness poles, reduce stress to shins, knees, hips and back.  Using the poles strengthens arms, shoulders, and abs. 

There are several companies that sell these trekking, fitness, or ski walking poles at prices from $25 to over $100.  They have different features and I recommend that you research which is best for you at the price that fits your budget.  It is necessary that you get the poles in the right length for your height.  To shop you can either Google ski walking, or go to these company sites... Nordic Ski Walking, Summit Antishock Trekking Poles, Leki, Komperdell Trekking Poles, Easton Trekking Poles, Black Diamond Trekking Poles, or Atlas Trekking Poles.

Thyroid Health

Did you know there are about 13 million Americans who have thyroid disorder and don't know it?  That might explain why some people eat healthy, exercise regularly, but can not seem to loose weight, while others eat whatever they want, don't exercise and can not gain a pound.

The thyroid is a gland at the front of your neck and just below the voice box.  It's function is to produce a hormone that regulates the rate the body uses energy and burns calories.  An under or over active thyroid can, among other problems, lead to heart disease and a chance of birth defects in pregnancy.

Here are some symptoms that might help you recognize if you have a thyroid that might not be functioning correctly. Hypothyroidism (too little hormone) you will feel fatigue, heavy periods, weight gain, constant coldness, and constipation.  The opposite, hyperthyroidism, (too much hormone) will show the reverse symptoms which are, anxiousness, lighter periods, weight loss, and frequent bowel movements.

So, what steps can we take to insure thyroid health?  First of all, if you feel like these symptoms might pertain to you, see your doctor for an easy blood test.  If your family history includes type 1 diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis you may be at a higher risk.  Be sure to get enough iodine in your diet, as that is the mineral that is the building block of thyroid hormones.  Iodine is found in iodized salt, seaweed, and milk.  If you don't consume these foods, there are also supplements.  Breast-feeding women should take a daily supplement with 150 mcg of potassium iodine.

Stress may also be a factor in thyroid health.  It is important to find a way to deal with every day stress, whether it be a visit to a fitness center, meditation, or even just venting to a friend.

the Power of Two Words

As we learn to take care of our physical health with good diet and exercise, we also need to compliment that with good mental health.  One small but powerful part of that is two simple words... I'm sorry".  Those words can be equal healing for the giver as the receiver.

When giving a sincere apology, it should never be followed by the word "but".  If the next sentence starts with "but", it immediately voids the apology because it is usually followed by an excuse, justifying, or blaming others.  An apology should also be given the moment you realize you have done wrong.  Don't wait, thinking there will be a better time.

In order to be completely effective in a good apology, you must first acknowledge what you did wrong and accept responsibility.  Then, offer a truthful explanation.  An explanation is not solely for the other person, but can give you an insight to a personality flaw you might have.  Next, express remorse.  Last, repair the damage you action or words might have caused.  Reassure that it will not happen again.  Ask what you can do to repair the damage and act on their suggestions.  Healing power comes from the knowledge that one is heard.

It takes a lot of courage to apologize.  There is no guarantee the recipient will accept it.  In that case, release them of any expectations of forgiveness.  Understand it is their choice and right to forgive.  An immediate and well-meant apology will solidify a lifetime of good relationships.  Stress is one of the fastest aging components.  Knowing the proper steps in a sincere apology can help eliminate future stress about that situation.

Why Gluten Free

Recently as I read more about a "gluten free" diet, I began to wonder why all of a sudden we want to be gluten free.  After all, man from ancient times learned how to cultivate wheat, rye and barley, all which contain gluten, and make it into flour for breads and tortillas, so why suddenly now are they saying for some of us to stay away from these grains?  Gluten protein is an adhesive like property that can interfere with the breakdown and absorption of other nutrients, resulting in a constipated lump in your gut. Over time it can cause an array of medical problems.  Some of these are rheumatoid arthritis, damaged central nervous system and in rare cases, celiac disease.

Evidently the wheat we consume today is not the same as what our ancestors ate.  Wheat today, like so many of the other foods, has been generically altered to produce a higher yield crop. The proportion of gluten protein is much higher.    

Dr. William Davis discovered quite by accident when treating patients for heart disease, that wheat gluten was a cause of many other health problems.  When he asked patients to eliminate wheat from their diet because of the high sugar content, they also experienced weight loss, relief from acid reflux, gas, cramping, diarrhea, irritable  bowel syndrome, had increased energy, more stable moods, deeper sleep, relief from arthritis, improved cholesterol levels, and improvement in other illnesses.  Gluten allergy can even lead to cancer.  For more information on Dr. William Davis's studies, he has written a book called "Wheat Belly".

So, the next question is how to find out if you have gluten allergy.  The first thing to do is to take all gluten out of your diet for at least 2 to 3 weeks.  By then you should show an improvement on your health.  This might not be as easy as you think because gluten is hidden in many products.  Of course eliminating the obvious like cereal, cookies, cake, gravy, pancake mix, bread and pasta is a start.  Look for these products labeled "gluten free".  Gluten is in many processed foods such as soup, candy, cold cuts and low-fat or no-fat products.  It could be listed in ingredients as malts, starches, hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), texturized vegetable protein (TVP), or natural flavoring.  Alcohols such as beer and liquor made with grains like gin, whiskey and some vodkas contain gluten. Celiac.com has a long complete list of foods that contain hidden gluten.

I also found a web site that can be very helpful that lists restaurants in your area that provide a gluten free menu, or stores that offer gluten free foods.  Go to "gluten free registry" and click on your state, then your city.

Herb and Spice Guide

For some of us that are trying to eat healthier, replacing sugar, fat and salt with herbs and spices has two benefits. The first is obviously using them to enhance flavor of food cutting down on unhealthier choices, and the second would be the health benefits they have to offer.  They can help protect against some chronic conditions such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.  The following is a guide to some of the more popular herbs and spices, and how to use them.

Herbs are the leaves of plants and spices are made from flowers, berries, bark, seeds and roots. ( * ) signifies super spices or herbs.

Anise Seed - With the sweet taste of licorice, it can be used in baking cookies, cakes and bread. It adds a good flavor to macaroni and potato salad. It relieves gas and bloating, is an expectorant and can ease congestion and coughing.

Basil and Sweet Basil - It enhances any kind of pasta dish. Like all herbs in the mint family, it improves the appetite and helps settle the stomach. It can be applied to insect bite or wasp sting to draw out the poison. It is also a good insect repellent. 

Black Pepper - It stimulates the digestive system and helps clear lungs of congestion.

Caraway Seed - Has a sweet peppery taste that is good in soups, bread, cheese and potato dishes. It is rich in vitamins and minerals. Prevents gas and bloating. Helps with colds and congestion because it contains mild antihistamines. Also helps with rheumatism, eye infections and toothaches.

Celery Seed - You can use this with any recipe that you want to add celery flavoring to such as soups, dressing, or potatoes. It flushes toxins from the liver, helps lower blood pressure and helps with water retention. Although not a lot of research has been done, it is believed to help with gout.

Cilantro - With a pungent flavor, it is used in Mexican dishes, soups and salads. It is the same plant that produces coriander seeds. It improves digestion, eliminates excess water, proven to help reduce joint swelling and reduces fever.

Cinnamon*- It has a very sweet flavor that can replace sugar in most foods like cereal, sweet breads, cookies and cakes. It has a powerful antibacterial. It is shown in studies to help diabetics control their blood sugar.

Clove - Uses include to enhance flavor of meats, marinades, curries, fruit and baked goods. It is an antihistamine and soothes the digestive tract muscles to aid in digestion.

Cumin - Is best known as a partner with chili powder and used in Tex-Mex recipes, soups and stews. It is a diuretic and treats upset stomach.

Dill - Traditionally used in pickling, but also good in soups and potato dishes. It eases gas, bloating, and settles the stomach. Other uses are for nausea, liver ailments, jaundice and headaches.

Fennel - Has a similar flavor as anise and used in Mediterranean cuisine, eggs and fish. It improves digestion and is good for bad breath and body odor.

Ginger*- Is primarily thought of as an additive to Asian food, but can be used to season almost anything you want a sweet, spicy flavor to.  It is one of the super spices because of all the valuable things it does for our bodies.  It is known to eliminate toxins and raise body heat. Is a blood thinner so lowers blood pressure and relieves abdominal cramps.  Is also valuable for nausea and arthritis. 

Mustard - Good as a condiment with meats, or added to soups, eggs and potato salad.  It helps to digest your food and also stimulates circulation throughout the body.

Nutmeg - Teamed with allspice or cinnamon, it is an excellent additive to sweet baked goods.  It is known for treating illnesses of the nervous system, digestive system and coughs.

Oregano*- This is another herb that can be added to almost any food, but is mostly known for flavor it gives pasta dishes.  A super herb because it is high in antioxidants to help protect against heart disease, cancer, allergies and Alzheimer.

Parsley - Used as a garnish on meats, rice, potatoes and salads. It is high in iron and vitamins A, B, C. Aids in digestion and gas prevention. Is shown to help with gout and rheumatism and also can treat sinus infections.

Rosemary*- Used as flavoring for stuffing, lamb, chicken, turkey and pork. Is a potent antioxidant, stimulates central nervous system, lowers blood pressure, alleviates the pain of arthritis, improves circulation and memory.  Using rosemary oil on your hair can help with premature balding.

Sage - Has a slight peppery flavor that is added to many European dishes, casseroles and meats.  Good for digestion, remedy for colds and fevers, sore throats, gingivitis and sore gums. Helps eliminate body odor. Also helps relieve hot flashes and slows heavy menstrual bleeding. Also helps with memory and concentration.

Thyme*- A versatile herb that goes with many things along side of oregano, parsley, and sage.  It can relieve coughs and colds, settle upset stomach, soothe sore throats. Also helps eliminate toxins.

Turmeric*- Used in Indonesian and Asian dishes mainly, but can add flavor to many other savory foods.  It is a proven anti-inflammatory herb with is linked to reduced occurrence of cancer, cataracts and Alzheimer.  Relieves pain of rheumatoid arthritis and helps with psoriasis.

Benefits of Tea

I have heard about several teas that have healthful qualities, but also confused on what teas are good for what.  After researching this article, I decided that I don't drink enough tea.  This is a guide of  more common teas and what they do for our health.  Keep in mind that this is a very small sampling of the huge variety of teas, but every kind of tea i read about had some kind of health benefit. 

To start, the main teas that we are familiar with, white, green & black refer only to the age when they are cultivated.  White is the early leaf, green is a more mature leaf and black is the most mature leaf.  All of these have good qualities but in different ways.

WHITE High in antioxidants.  Helps prevent heart ailments.  Lowers blood pressure and improves artery function.  Fights cancer by attacking free radicals.  Promotes strong bones, healthy teeth and gums.  Lately is recommended for help in weight loss.

GREEN Studies show a significant lower risk of cancer.  Has polyphenols  which is a potent antioxidant. Lowers cholesterol and the formation of blood clots that lead to heart attack.  Lowers blood pressure.  Helps prevent tooth decay.  Lowers blood sugar levels.  Helps with weight loss.

BLACK Rich in antioxidants. Prevents clogging of arteries and reverse poor arterial function that can trigger a heart attack.  Will lower risk of stomach, colon and breast cancer and stop cancer growth.  Neutralize germs that cause diarrhea, pneumonia and skin infections.

CEYLON Is a type of black tea with the same health benefits. 

CINNAMON Shown to lower blood glucose.  Helps people with diabetes metabolize sugar better in adult onset (type 2) diabetes.  Also used to treat gastrointestinal problems and helps calm the stomach.  Used to combat diarrhea and morning sickness.

GINGER For morning sickness, post-op nausea and vomiting and sea sickness.  Also helps with treatment of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.  Eases inflamation of joints and muscle tissue.  Is thought to open blood vessels that cause migraine headaches.

GINSENG  Reduces the effects of stress.  Stress increases acidity which leads to back pain, cancer, Crohns, depression, diarrhea, hair loss, headaches and hypertension.  May reduce risk of several types of cancer.  Controls blood sugar levels and helps with type 2 diabetes.

OOLONG may help reduce cholesterol build-up in the bloodstream. Helps burn fat.  Can help or prevent heart ailments.  Treats digestive disorders.  Strengthens the immune system to promote longevity.  Promotes healthier and stronger bones. 

THE FOLLOWING ARE HERB TEAS

CHAI Helps ease sore throat, cough and cold symptoms.  Enhances the immune system.  Helps fight bacterial infection.  Contributes to healthy cardiovascular health.  Helps in prevention of cancer.

CHAMOMILE Boosts the immune system to fight infections like colds.  Relieves muscle spasms and menstrual cramps.  Relaxes the nerves to promote better sleep.

DANDELION An agent for keeping optimum liver, kidney and gallbladder function.  Enhances detoxification and replaces potassium.  Helps in type 1 and 2 diabetes.  Helps in treatment of liver disorders.  Purifies the blood.

FENNEL Good for abdominal cramps due to nervousness or menstrual cramps.  Also treatment for respiratory congestion and coughs.

GOJI The berries are called "superfood" because of high antioxidant strength.  May help clear eyesight.  May also protect the liver and strengthens kidneys.  Enhances sexual function and fertility especially in men.

HIBISCUS Lowers blood pressure and high cholesterol.  Rich in vitamin C

JASMINE Helps in prevention of some cancers.  Keeps heart disease at bay.  Helps reduce fat and helps in weight loss.  Helps in regulation of insulin.  Fights bacteria and viruses. 

LAVENDER Calms nerves and anxiety.  Helps with insomnia.  Helps treat upset stomach, flatulence and colic.  Alleviates depressive and migraine headaches.  Reduces body temperature during fever.

LEMON BALM Helps for stress and anxiety.  When you apply a steeped tea bag directly to a cold sore, research shows a tremendous reduction.  Also works with herpes simplex virus to relieve itching and redness.  

NETTLE Fights colds, tuberculosis and asthma.  Counters arthritis rheumatism and tendinitis  Combats intestinal disorders.  Fights skin problems.  Used to treat urinary tract infections.

RED CLOVER Relieves pre-menstrual symptoms.  Reduces bad cholesterol levels.  Reduces build-up of plaque that contributes to heart disease. Helps in blood flow.  Helps delay bone loss due to osteoporosis.  Helps treat inflammation and infection.

WHITE PEONY Aids in liver health.  Promotes blood circulation and nourishment and helps lower blood pressure.  Helps alleviate menstrual disorders.  Helps in treatment of headaches, dizziness and tinnitus.  

Protein Shakes

I get A LOT of questions about this, so here is a comparison...

WHEY/SOY VS. ARBONNE VEGAN (Yellow pea, brown rice & cranberry blend) Protein

SOY - Is allergen and cannot be used to build muscle because of its low incorporation levels, it contains phytoestrogens that can lead to estrogen dominance which leads to fatigue, weight gain, insomnia, increase risk for chronic disease and feminization of men.

WEHY - Is a mild derivative, it is allergenic (not just milk allergy), it is loaded with bovine white blood cells. It is hard to DIGEST so it can deposit in the intestinal track and colon and it can lead to long term kidney and liver problems.

Arbonne Vegan Protein - Yellow pea, brown rice and cranberry blend is the MOST EASILY DIGESTIBLE PROTEIN WITHOUT ALLERGENIC REACTIONS (100% hypoallergenic) that dairy & egg protein creates. Because it is so digestible it decreases the gas and bloating and can be absorbed and used to create muscle, promote healing, etc.

Arbonne Protein has an AMINO ACID SCORE of 100 = HIGH quality.

Amino Acid Score is a method for evaluating the relative nutritional quality of different protein sources based on the digestibility and usability.

If you cannot DIGEST IT, YOU CAN'T USE or...ELIMINATE IT PROPERLY! Amino Acid Scores less than 100 has low quality protein source.  Amino Acid Scores greater than 100 has high quality protein source. 

We sell Arbonne protein shakes at Guiding Fitness.  They are by far the best for your body.  Feel free to ask us for more information.

Improve Brain Function

Unlike like adolescence, adults use both hemispheres of our brains.  Because of that, we are able to reason better and make better decisions.  Our problem solving skills improve.  We understand ourselves better and our people skills are constantly improving.  We are able to prioritize as we become aware our years on earth are limited.  We have better control over our emotions.  From past experiences, we can better cope with new situations.  However, as we age, our brain's processing system slows down and we loose the ability to recall as easily.  Researchers have recently discovered there are ways to keep our minds as capable as when we were young.  Here are some suggestions to help keep our brains sharp.

     1. Exercise may increase the number of capillaries which helps new cells grow.  Aerobic activity will help you loose weight, plus increase the amount of oxygen and nutrients to the brain.

     2. Tutoring or teaching will develop sharper cognitive skills, which help in problem solving.

     3. Learning a new skill or constantly improving a skill, such as playing an instrument or sport, helps the part of your brain that controls eye-hand coordination. 

     4. Extra pounds can actually shrink you brain.  Overweight adults have and average of 4 percent less brain tissue than normal weight adults.

     5. Taking naps have shown to improve scores on memory tests.  Resting your brain will help it store information in the proper place and leave space for fresh data.

     6. Eat foods high in nutrients vitamin B12, antioxidants and essential fatty acids.  These include bananas, kale, tomatoes, blueberries, salmon, brussel sprouts, olive oil, coffee beans, and oranges.

     7. Stay away from chronic stress by surrounding yourself with a large social network of family and friends.

     8. High cholesterol can cause plaque to form and thus inhibit blood flow to the brain.  Exercise and raw nuts can help lower cholesterol.

Avoid Gaining Weight

 With the holidays coming fast, there also comes our yearly battle to not over-indulge.  Here are some suggestions that might help defeat the usual holiday weight gain. 

When you keep holiday "goodies" such as pies, cookies, fudge and candies out in plain sight, you will snack more often on them.  Instead, put the goodies out of sight and save them for a special treat.  Replace the sweets on your holiday setting with nuts, cinnamon tea, or Fall fruits.

Even though you are busy with holiday planning, don't forget your workouts.  Even if you need to shorten them a little, try to keep on your daily routine.  You can also break up an hour workout slot into 3-20 min. slots when you can fit it in your day.  A brisk walk for 20 min. or lifting weights while watching your favorite tv show can substitute a few lengthy visits to the gym.

Some alcohols, such as beer or red wine, can trigger your appetite hormones and you will want to go back for seconds you may not really need.  White wines like chardonnay or Riesling don't have the hunger-boosting effect as reds.

When eating buffet style, check out the entire spread before starting.  You won't overfill our plate if you see everything first, and see that there might be a healthier choice down the line.  Also, sit away from view of the buffet table if possible, so you won't be tempted by sights or smells after you are already full.

If you have a party or two coming up and you want to splurge a little, cut down on calories the other days.  It is easy to cut corners like skim milk in coffee or vegies for your snacks.

Before going to a party where you know food will be plentiful, eat your own healthy meal at home first so you won't be hungry and want to consume everything there.

Caring for Ill Loved Ones

As baby-boomers come into their later years, and as statics show, we are living longer, there is a growing need for caregivers. Often times those caregivers are family who take in the elderly relative for either financial reasons or concern that a senior home is not the right answer. In 2008 there was an estimated 65.7 million Americans caring for a relative and of course that number by now is much higher.  It can be very rewarding to take on the responsibility, but also can be very stressful at times. Caregivers spend at least 40 hours a week on the tasks of preparing meals, taking them to Dr. appointments, bathing, doing laundry, dressing them and paying their bills. All this, plus the painful process of watching a love one's health fail, can take a huge toll on your own health. As you give into the stress, many other things in your life can be effected such as your job, sleep, and you won't do as good as a job of caring for your loved one. It  can lead to higher cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and weight gain which can lead to heart disease, stroke and emotional suffering. These are some helpful suggestions for maintaining your own physical and mental health.

First, accept all your emotions, even negative ones. Dealing with negative emotions will help you find wisdom in them. Assess your abilities and limitations. Be aware of anyone that might be taking advantage of your kindness. Do not be shy about asking for help from other family members to take on certain tasks. Learn all that you can about whatever the illness is that they have and read about the best care for their particular needs. Find any support groups in your area or on line that can be of any assistance, or when you feel the need to talk to someone who can relate to whatever challenges you are facing at the time. There are several charitable organizations that can help. (www.lotsofhelpinghands.com) Ask your employer for assistance in a better more flexible schedule. 

For your own physical health, make sure you eat a healthy diet and find a means of stress relief such as exercise, yoga, and meditation. There are several nutrients with stress-fighting ingredients such as vitamins B and C, mineral magnesium, and herbs ginseng and rhodiola.

Last, be sure to maintain your friendships, hobbies, and your relationship with the person you are caring for. Don't forget your own regular Dr. maintenance care.

Super Vitamin D

New studies show that vitamin D is a key substance in fighting cancer.  Cancer of the colon is one of the main cancers vitamin D helps, by destroying cancer cells that could be growing there.  Breast and uterine cancer can also be prevented by the proper amount of D.  Vitamin D lowers inflammations of the body which are what Alzheimer's, M.S. and Parkinson's are caused by.  70% of people diagnosed with Parkinson's have low levels of vitamin D.  Some of the other things it is also good for is brain function, boosts thyroid, fibroimyalgia, muscle pain and fatigue.

     Most of us do not get enough vitamin D.  The main source is by the sun.  People who live north of the southern states are at risk for not getting enough sun to process D in our bodies, especially in the winter months.  Also people with dark skin do not get enough D from sun.  Some food sources high in vitamin D are sun dried shitake mushrooms, milk, yogurt, cheese, salmon, tuna and mackerel.  However, even including these foods in your diet, does not provide enough D.  It is highly recommended you take a supplement of D3 in pill form found in the vitamin section in most stores and should be at least 1000 units per day.  If you think your levels could be low right now, take 2000 units per day for a few months, until your levels are what they should be.  Also, cod liver oil is a good source.  A simple blood test done by your physician can tell what your level of D is.

     If everyone in America had enough vitamin D, it would reduce deaths by 400,000 per year and medical costs by 40 to 50 billion per year.  One pill every days costs you about 10 cents.

Fit In vs. Belong

We all have different reasons to work out... some of us do it for health, some for a beautiful body, and some to give us more energy, but all of the reasons lead to better self confidence.  Self confidence for some of us is what we might feel we need to better "fit in", but have you every thought about how fitting in can be the greatest barrier to belonging?  Let's examine the difference between fitting in and belonging.  Brene' Brown PHD explores this concept in a recent article.  She writes "Fitting in I've discovered during the past decade of research, is assessing situations and groups of people, then twisting yourself into a human pretzel in order to get them to let you hang out with them.  Belonging is something else entirely - it's showing up and letting yourself be seen and known as you really are...".  It takes a lot of self acceptance to present yourself as who you really are.  We all know people like that, usually artists, scientists or deep thinkers, and have thought "I wish I could just be myself like that and not care".  But, in the end, the need to fit in takes over and we mold ourselves to whatever group we are with.  If you think about yourself with your work group, close friends group, neighbors group, in-laws group, or partying group, can you honestly say you are yourself in all these different groups?  I think most of us tweak our personality in order to fit in.  For example, have you ever joined in an office gossip group and agreed or even commented negatively about a fellow worker, but later regretted not stopping the gossip?  It is a survival technique in order to be liked, but in reality you are not being true to yourself.  In truth, belonging starts with self-acceptance.  Believing you are enough will give you the courage to be yourself in all groups or situations - authentic, vulnerable and imperfect.

Foods for Belly Fat

We all know the first rule in losing weight or maintaining weight is to burn more calories than we take in.  The best way to do that is cardio exercise to burn calories, along with resistance training to build muscle. However, some of us need extra help to lose belly fat, so here are some foods you might try.

     Black beans, as all legumes, contain a lot of fiber and protein, both of which make us feel full.  Black beans have the highest amount of flavonoids and research shows may hinder the storage of belly fat.

     Pears are high in fiber and loaded in catechias and flavonols that hinder storage of belly fat.

     Popcorn without butter or salt is a whole grain that studies show helps reduce belly fat.

   Cold potatoes like in potato salad create hunger-fighting hormones.  They must be chilled overnight to be effective.

     Peanuts contain healthy fats that burn more readily and a better choice for a snack than cookies or chips.

   Sunflower seeds unsalted can be added to almost any food like soups, salads, sandwiches, or cereal.  They also contain a healthy fat that burns quickly.

     White tea has something that causes cells to absorb 70% less fat.

    Apple cider vinegar contains a compound called acetic acid which helps the body burn fat and hinders fat storage.

   Safflower oil, thanks to omega-6 fatty acid, will speed up metabolism with only a few tablespoons a day.

Stress Relievers

All of us have some kind of stress, some are under more duress, others not so much.  The following are 10 proven ways to get a grip and help regain your serenity.

1.  Breathe Deeply.  When you feel stress, your muscles tense and breathing is fast and short intakes of air.  Stop and inhale through your nose as you count slowly to 5, hold it for another 5 count and exhale for another 5 count through your mouth.  You can do this anywhere and anytime.

2.  Drink water.  Stress tends to dehydrate you an dehydration leads to stress.

3.  Sleep peacefully.  Be sure to get a full night's sleep.  Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.  Keep the bedroom dark and cool.  Of course avoid caffeine and alcohol before going to bed.

4.  Eat nutritiously.  Poor eating habits weaken the immune system and put your body under stress.

5.  Exercise.  Many studies have shown the direct relationship between exercise and and decreased stress.  It gives you the "feel good" hormones in replacement of the stress hormones and eases muscle tension.

6.  Give and receive love.  Having a loving emotional connection with people will decrease the stress hormone, and studies show will help you live happier and longer lives.

7.  Be forgiving.  Letting go of deep resentment will free you to enjoy life, thus healthier relationships and the blessing of inner peace.

8.  Practice gratitude.  Stress thrives of negative thinking.  Focusing on what you have to be grateful for every day will make your life better.

9.  Develop acceptance.  Recognize the things you can't change and let them go.

10.  Develop a relationship with a higher power.  Nourishing your spirituality will help you manage stress experts say.  It helps us feel a sense of purpose and thus we are able to cope with life's unexpected interruptions.