Heidi

My Photo
Mom, desperately trying to get the health thing right! I started this blog so that I can pass along all the great things that I learn everyday on damage control for our wonderful bodies. It is tough to keep up sometimes with all the things going on in our daily lives so hopefully some of the helpful hints that I provide can make your life easier and healthier. I welcome your comments and tips as well! I am a vegetarian, animal rights advocate and avid animal rescuer.
View my complete profile
Google
 
2008-05-31

My Life As It Was, Is, and Will Be


Looking For A Little Inspiration, Fun And Spirituality? Look No Further!

I am sharing with you today some health for your soul and mind. I think that if your heart and mind are in the right place your body will soon follow. The blog I am telling you about today will be food for your soul-it is for mine and I never miss reading this blog.

You know that feeling when you meet someone for the first time but feel like you've known them your entire life or you read something and it just clicks and speaks directly to your soul like it has always been there? That is how I felt immediately upon reading the blog My Life As It Was, Is, and Will Be . It was such a wonderful relief to read someone else's words that spoke straight to who I was, and to who I think that most of us are. Sarah, the author has a real knack for expressing her own feelings that draws the reader in. Her blog is described by her as- a
blog that takes everyday occurrences and finds personal value in them. Using inspiring quotes and a spiritual theme the blog should be something just about anyone can relate to (she is also a big yoga fan for you yoga lovers). Several times I have gotten tears in my eyes (I am not one to tear up or cry often) at a post she has written. Not because I feel sad but because of the intensity with which she writes and the familiarity that her situations brings to most people's lives. Her words can really dig deep down and touch your soul (I am not trying to be corny but it is just so true). If your looking for inspiration, spirituality or even a little entertainment you will want to visit My Life As It Was, Is, and Will Be . Below are a few of my favorite posts by Sarah from her blog.

My Life As It Was, Is, and Will Be -A Few Of My Favorites

**Everything I Needed To Know I Learned From My Dog
-So true (how does she think of this stuff?) . I think she should write a book of inspiration and this should be the title.
1.) Do not beg for food. It will arrive sooner or later.
2.) Wait 'til it's polite to excuse yourself to the bathroom.
3.) Pamper yourself at a salon with a good shampoo rinse.
4.) Don't yell at your neighbors. It's impolite and a nuisance.
5.) Look both ways before you chase your tennis ball into the street.
6.) Brush your hair every day so you won't lose it.
7.) Treats are good for you once in a while. But you must earn them.
8.) Do not bite strangers.
9.) Obey your parents.
10.) Learn to trust with an open heart. Practice loyalty

**She Embodies Kindness-A post about Mother Teresa, her unwavering kindness and how you can share kindness.
I can think of five ways we can recapture Kindness:
1.) Offer to take a new co-worker out to lunch. You buy.
2.) Shovel snow for your neighbor who is unable to. Do it anonymously.
3.) Meet that friend for coffee so she can share her troubles. Listen intently.
4.) Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Take your children.
5.) Drive your grandmother to her Doctor's appointment. Sit and wait.

**Chicken And Eggs-A wonderful post about perfection and how some of us strive for it. My favorite quote from it is-"
The problem with perfection is that you miss out on what you've accomplished along the way. You're blind to how far you've come. And in doing so, you lose the pleasure of moving forward." I posted this on my refrigerator so I remember it everyday.

There is not one post that I do not enjoy from Sarah's blog so it was hard to only pick those three to share with you. I didn't want to spoil all the fun for you so that when you visit My Life As It Was, Is, and Will Be -you can feel as enchanted as I was. If you are looking for a little peace and some food for your soul please visit Sarah today here. I promise that you will glad you did.

2008-05-29

Miracle Foods That Help Fight The Signs of Aging

I love to recycle! Great for the earth and apparently for my blog because I am recycling this post from when I was just a young baby blogger and I had maybe two readers (my mom and myself). I really liked and found this information helpful so I wanted to put it out there again for you.

Being about to hit forty (oh my, can it really be? Now I know what my nana meant when she would say she didn't feel old and I was a kid and would roll my eyes) I have found myself contemplating all kinds of anti-aging possibilities. I worked in the beauty industry so I know several great anti-aging products (which I will talk about at a later date) for the outer skin but now I want to do more and it starts on the inside. Here are some great foods to help fight the signs of aging!!!

**DRINK LOTS OF WATER (you probably knew that was coming)! Water jump starts your digestive track and bowels, removes toxins from your body, and even prevents and diminishes the appearance of wrinkles. The old standard of 64 ounces of water a day (eight 8 oz. glasses) still holds, but the more water you can drink the better.

**MAGNESIUM-Magnesium is an important, but often overlooked, part of a healthy diet. Foods high in magnesium, such as beets, dates, raisins, and soybeans, help fight a variety of cancers and keep you looking young (that's what we want, right?).

**TOMATOES-Rich in lycopene, tomatoes help prevent prostate cancer in men, plus they’re chock full of antioxidants to slow the aging process and keep you looking young. Specifically, tomato sauces and tomato paste are the way to go. Tomatoes must be cooked to really release their cancer-fighting properties, and a few tablespoons of concentrated tomato sauce are nutritionally equivalent to pounds of fresh tomatoes.

**BERRIES-All black and blue berries such as blackberries, blueberries, blackcurrants and black grapes contain phytochemicals known as flavonoids-powerful antioxidants which help to protect the body against damage caused by free radicals and aging.

**WATERMELON-Both the flesh and seeds of the watermelon are nutritious so try blending them together in a food processor and drinking as a juice. The flesh contain vitamin A, B and C ; the seeds contain selenium, essential fats, zinc and vitamin E, all of which help against free radical damage and aging.

**BEST FATS FOR ANTI-AGING(ACCORDING TO DR.PERRICONE ON THE OPRAH SHOW)-Extra virgin olive oil, flax oil, flax seed, nuts (esp. almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts and macadamia), pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds.

**BEST PROTEIN SOURCES FOR ANTI-AGING (ACCORDING TO DR.PERRICONE ON THE OPRAH SHOW)-Wild Alaskan salmon, halibut, trout, anchovies, sardines, poultry, yogurt, high EFA eggs, kefir, cottage cheese, tofu.

**BEST CARBOHYDRATE CHOICES FOR ANTI-AGING (ACCORDING TO DR.PERRICONE ON THE OPRAH SHOW)-Artichokes, avocados, dark-green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, spinach, escarole, romaine lettuce, cherries, berries (blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, etc.), apples, pears, barley, beans (dried and fresh), bean sprouts, endive, eggplant, cabbage, kale, red and green peppers, bok choy, celery, cucumbers, kidney beans, pinto beans, chick peas, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, honeydew melons, lentils, bean sprouts, mushrooms, tomatoes, turnips, pomegranates, snow peas, slow cooking oatmeal.

Now I just need to find some healthy anti-aging food recipes to incorporate some of these things. Wouldn't that be fun!!

P.S. I have a really exciting review coming up on my next post of one of my very favorite blogs. I read this mystery blog everyday and am uplifted by it!!! You won't want to miss discovering the mystery blog so check back in the next day or two. No more recycling, I promise.
2008-05-27

Unlock Your Strength: 100 Keys To Improving Your Workouts And Your Life


You Are Going To Thank Me For This!

For those of you who read my blog you know that when I find something that has really helped me and that I love, I naturally want to share it with you. Recently I found the ebook- Unlock Your Strength: 100 Keys To Improving Your Workouts And Your Life by Christopher Warden. C.S.C.S and Eugene Thong, C.S.C.S. -fitness professionals extraordinaire (they share a combined 15 years of client training experience).

I am all about anything that will improve my life and my workouts (sometimes they can be so hard-enough complaining) so when I saw this I ordered it and hoped that I would find some tips to use in my everyday life. I was so surprised and excited because sometimes I find it hard to focus on all the information in the health, nutrition, fitness and self-help (I could probably use more of these) books that I purchase. Unlock Your Strength had me from page one. It is written in an easy to read format-Tip, then picture so you can easily focus. The tips are easy to include in your day to day life, I understood what the authors were talking about and did not in the least feel overwhelmed. I was amazed at how quickly I read through it and how much I was able to get out of this book in the short time it took me to read it. I love to read but I have to be interested, I cannot stand being bored or overwhelmed and Unlock Your Strength kept me mesmerized. I was excited after reading it because I had several ah hah moments that I have since incorporated into my life. Another great thing I liked about this book was the realistic tone it had (you know- nothing too technical but real tips for real people) to it. The authors are both fitness experts who have trained hundreds of people just like you and me so they know what people want and need to know to get in shape and stay in shape. There are tips on fitness, exercise, lifestyle and more, along with pictures. The best part of this is that you can download 25 keys of the Unlock Your Strength book for FREE (I love free). There are no strings attached-you can just download the following link and part of the book is yours.

Try Before You Buy! FREE Download of 25 Keys to Unlock Your Strength


Just A Few Of My Favorite Tips From Unlock Your Strength

**Key #100-Be content, because things will never be perfect- I don't know about you but I always want things to be perfect and when they are not (which is pretty much all the time)then I wind up feeling like I did something wrong so this one really helped me. "One should always strive for perfection, but should not be despondent if it isn't reached. Ideal form is just that; an ideal to be strived for. But realize that if one is working hard enough, ideal form certainly cannot be maintained. But in striving to maintain perfect form, a trainee will certainly utilize form that is "good enough." The key point is that you tried. One will almost never be satisfied with one's body; even supermodels and bodybuilders have hang ups over certain areas of their bodies that they are unhappy with. But that doesn't mean all their hard work was for naught. On the contrary, they benefited from the journey itself. The key point is that they tried. The steps one takes towards perfection are the most important aspect of the journey - and the most rewarding. Recognize that by taking the steps, by trying, you are improving who you are. By all means, "chase the rainbow", but be content with your progress every step of the way." (Do supermodels really have hang-ups? That would make me feel a little better about my library of hang-ups).

**Key #15-Perform the most physically demanding exercises first-Some days I don't want to perform any exercises but this tip really helped me because by doing the tough ones first I don't dread the rest (I know, I know, I should be bursting with excitement at exercising and most days I am but other days I would rather jump in a pool of quicksand-it would be so much easier to be swallowed up). "Generally speaking, exercises that involve multi-joint movement, total body integration or high neuromuscular effort are best performed early in the workout, when you're the most alert, fresh and focused. Doing so increases the probability that you’ll generate maximal power and strength while reducing your chance for injury."

**Key #24-Eat food, not powder-"Whole, raw foods are best for you in just about all cases. Recently, manufactured fats like those found in margarine have been proven far more deleterious to your health than the saturated fat found in butter (which actually helps you absorb vitamins and nutrients from foods, especially veggies). Similarly, we get the majority of the benefit from foods if we leave them whole. An egg without the yolk may have no cholesterol, but also no lutein, and less than half the protein! If foods provided by nature were really so bad for us, wouldn’t the human race (and all other animal species, for that matter) have died off by now?"

**Key #26-Time your feedings around the workout-Three is nothing more uncomfortable than being full while exercising. Once I went to the Chinese buffet with my friend Tai (I don't know what I was thinking) right before the gym. It was about 6 years ago and it was such an awful feeling that I still remember it to this day. "A meal should be consumed no sooner than 1.5 hours prior to a workout – 3 hours is better. In order to digest your food, your body utilizes large amounts of blood in and around the organs of the gut. This blood will be unavailable to feed your muscles during your workout. In addition, exercising with a full stomach may cause you to feel queasy and/or regurgitate, especially if your workout is performed with a high degree of effort. Not only is sloshing around with a full stomach an unpleasant sensation, it will distract you from giving your full attention and effort to your exercise. Save the steak for after the workout."

**Key #14-Reduce the amount of processed carbohydrates/refined sugars in your
diet-
This one took me by surprise but I feel so much better now having done it! "Let’s make one thing clear -- carbohydrates are an essential part of our diet. After all, the end product of
carbohydrate metabolism, glucose, is the primary fuel for our nerve cells. Carbohydrates are not the enemy; it's the source of the ingested carbs that can create problems. Your body prefers complex carbohydrates from whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes; they provide a nutrient dense fuel source that is gradually metabolized to produce stable blood sugar levels. Refined sugars, on the other hand, have very little nutritional value. Furthermore, long-term effects of excessive sugar consumption include increased fat storage, heart disease, bone loss and chronic fatigue. Steer clear of simple sugars and you'll do more for yourself than simply improve your workouts -- you'll improve your health."

"This is more than a mere book of exercise tips. It's a collection of wisdom gleaned from countless hours of research and client contact. It's a mash-up of strategies and concepts that unlock your inner excellence. It's that little voice in your head that tells you to stop eating when you're full, to rest when you're tired, and to pick the bar up that one last time, no matter how badly you want to give up. It also happens to be about exercise and nutrition. Explore this book and expand your possibilities.

Go download the free sample book you have nothing to lose. Just click on the link above and it will take you straight to the book (you don't even have to enter your email-just some great information by two guys who know what they are talking about). Don't take my word for it-go see for yourself. Also, pass this on to anyone who you think might be interested in some tried and true tips. You can just copy and paste the above free download link into an email and send to others who might be interested.

Heidi

P.S. You can contact Christopher Warden one of the co-authors at christopher@christopher warden.com or here and please check out his blog The Fitness Philosopher (I'm addicted to reading it). Keep in mind that I do not make any kind of commission from telling you about this ( I am always suspicious of people who recommend things that they get paid for). I just thought it could be helpful to health nuts and health nut wannabe's like me!
2008-05-26

Mmmmmmm These Foods Sound Good And Healthy But Aren't

Don't you just hate when you are all proud of yourself, thinking how well you have eaten only to look at the label and discover that you actually could have just had the candy bar instead because the label didn't really coincide with your idea that this was healthy? That has to be right up there on my most frustrating things. I take food and trying (key word is trying) to be healthy very seriously so if I eat a something I didn't really want but thought was healthy and gave up the much coveted candy bar for-I get a little upset. I want to share with you a few foods that you might think are really good for you but in reality are not so you won't run into that problem.

Don't Be Fooled By These Food Frauds

**Tuna Fish Sandwich With Mayonnaise-
The typical tuna fish sandwich found in a restaurant has about 700 calories and 43 grams of fat. Tuna fish has about 35 calories per ounce and is packed full of omega 3's but mayonnaise has 100 calories per tablespoon. Maybe better to try a low-fat cheese sandwich or Turkey with mustard.

**Multigrain Tostitos-A one-ounce (8 chips) serving of Multigrain Tostitos has more sugar (1 gram) than any of its “Four Wholesome Grains.” That is tricky advertising I think.

**Protein Bars-I am sure there are a few good ones out there but overall most are just glorified candy bars according to Ms. Zuckerbrot author of the F-Factor Diet. They are often high in calories, fat and do little to satisfy a persons hunger. This one really gets me. I can't tell you how many of these I have had in lieu of a nice piece of fruit or some berries thinking I was being so healthy.

**Kelloggs Nutri-Grain Pancakes-Now I have to admit that whenever I hear grain, whole wheat I instantly think-ooohhhhh, that must be good for me. Apparently not always because the box boasts that these pancakes are “Made with Whole Wheat and Whole Grain,” but they consist primarily of white flour. More here.

**Pretzels-Are you kidding me? I cannot tell you how many bags of pretzels I used to eat in college thinking I must be just about the healthiest girl in the place.
Some people go under the misguided notion that pretzels are a healthy alternative to crisps. Certainly, one serving of pretzels contain one gram of fat compared to the 10 grams contained in the same serving of crisps. However, they basically have no nutritional value at all. In fact, any they did have, such as fibre, has been taken out in the process of making them. It explains why you never feel full eating them. More here.

**Granola Bars-While granola is made with whole oats that are high in fiber, the oats in granola bars are glued together with ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup, honey, and barley malt -- all of which quickly raise blood sugar.

**DanActive Immunity Dairy Drink-This Dannon product claims to help “strengthen your body's defenses.” But the only study Dannon did to see if drinking DanActive kept people from getting sick found that it didn’t! More here.

**Fat-free, Sugar-Free Muffins- Regardless of whether a muffin is fat free or sugar free, they still usually have around 600 calories, according to Zuckerbrot from the F-Factor diet."It’s nothing but cake in disguise, especially these double chocolate chip-type muffins,” she said. “But even bran muffins, they’re very dense, very high in calories. The same thing goes for scones. People think that because they’re not sweet, they’re healthy. But scones are full of butter.Baked Beans-Beans are a great source of fiber and protein but most pre-made cans of baked beans are loaded with sugar. 1 cup of baked beans may contain up to 24 mg of sugar (about the same as an 8 oz can of soda).

**Fruit Cocktail Or Applesauce-I know they seem healthy because of the fruit but keep in mind that many are loaded with added sugar and heavy syrups. Eat some fresh fruit instead.

**Reduced Fat Peanut Butter-I must admit to really falling for this one. I love peanut butter and what could have been better but lower fat, right? Wrong. Real peanut butter that is made with plain peanuts is high in protein and fat but they are the healthy fats that your body needs. Reduced fat peanut butters are generally made with a bit of real peanut butter and then mixed with fillers like sugar. I recommend sticking with regular peanut butter,obviously.

I learned a lot doing this post and am glad to know these things so that I can avoid these pitfalls. I think it can be really hard sometimes to weed through all the food hype so hopefully this helps you on your journey to living a fit and healthy life.




2008-05-23

Chocolate-The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate! I can't think of many things much better. This was actually a post I wrote a couple of months ago but as I was a new blog back then and did not have many readers I thought that I would publish it again because discussing the benefits of chocolate is high on my priority list. I mean even if you are one of those perfect nutrition health nuts (I'm talking to you Christopher) you still have to enjoy yourself and why not lift your spirits and see the benefits of eating one of the tastiest and most gratifying foods ever created (I love whoever created chocolate-bless them). If you are a chocolate lover like me, this should cheer you up!

Chocolate Pros

**If you eat chocolate, only eat dark chocolate-Dark chocolate has many beneficial polyphenolic bioflavanoids that have powerful antioxidant properties, which can actually help to protect you from damaging oxidative stress. (This is good news-definitely cheers me up a bit)

**Chocolate contains the same type of disease-fighting "phenolic" chemicals as red wine and fruits and vegetables, says Andrew Waterhouse of the University of California at Davis.

**Boosts brain chemicals More Americans crave chocolate than any other food. Some explanations: chocolate's "melt-in-the mouth" consistency and mood-lifting chemicals such as caffeine and theobromine. And when mixed with sugar and fat, chocolate appears to boost "feel-good" chemicals in the brain (endorphins and serotonin), thus promoting euphoria and calm. Some women use chocolate candy to "self-medicate" for premenstrual syndrome, studies have found.

**Doesn't cause acne. Giving up chocolate won't cure acne or pimples, according to a famous test at the University of Pennsylvania. In the test, 65 acne-plagued adolescents ate the amount of chocolate in 1 pound of bittersweet chocolate a day for a month. For another month, they ate a dummy chocolate bar. Their acne was no worse on the real chocolate than on the fake chocolate.

**Helps lactose intolerance .Chocolate makes milk easier to digest if you are lactose-intolerant. Researchers at the University of Rhode Island found that adding 1 1/2 teaspoons of cocoa to 1 cup of milk blocked cramping, bloating and other signs of lactose intolerance in half of 35 subjects. Cocoa stimulates lactase enzyme activity, they found.

**Also, researchers at the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego recently found that chocolate contains anandamide, a chemical that mimics marijuana's soothing effects on the brain.

**Tests show chocolate contains antibacterial compounds that may discourage, not promote, tooth decay.

**Tastes really, really good!

Chocolate Cons

**Chocolate's greatest crime is that it usually is combined with animal fats, dangerous trans-fats and sugar in high-calorie, bad-fat baked goods.

**Can cause heartburn. Chocolate is a common culprit in heartburn, according to tests by Donald O. Castell, M.D., of the University of Pennsylvania. The reason: Chocolate contains concentrations of theobromine, which relaxes the esophageal sphincter muscle, letting stomach acid squirt up into the esophagus. If you suffer from heartburn, he advises, go easy on chocolate.

**Does contain caffeine. Most people have no negative reaction to small amounts of caffeine. If you're sensitive, you should know how chocolate stacks up with caffeine sources:
5 oz. brewed coffee has
85mg caffeine
5 oz. loose tea or 1 tea bag, 30mg
6 oz. cola, 18mg
1 oz. chocolate candy, 6mg
5 oz. cocoa or hot chocolate, 4mg
6 oz. chocolate milk, 4mg

Fun Fact

The average American eats almost 12 pounds of chocolate a year. World chocolate consumption rises 3 percent a year, while cocoa bean production rises just 1.5 percent. To avert an eventual shortage, growers are working to increase production. http://www.usaweekend.com/98_issues/980607/980607eat_smart_chocolate.html

Best,

Heidi

2008-05-21

EZGreatLife.com-Family, Fitness & Finances


Hold On To Your Hats! You Are Going To Love This Blog!

I really love when I get to write about someone or something that I really enjoy and learn a lot from. That is why I am excited to share with you one of my favorite blogs-EZGreatLife.com. John, the author of this blog discusses life, family and getting fit, both physically and financially. Discussing any and all aspects of attaining a great life. John writes in a manner that makes you feel like you have known him your whole life and you can tell that he really has your best interests at heart while dishing out easy to do financial, fitness and lifestyle tips. He talks about the experiences that he and his family have had saving money, losing weight and just living a good, happy, and healthy life. I love when someone can actually share with you their experiences and show you how they can enrich your life as well. He updates his blog daily so I always have something new to look forward to reading (thank you John!).

I am especially grateful to John for his tips on how to save money and his healthy lifestyle ideas. He offers ideas in a way that makes you shake your head in I can do that too manner. He writes with such a positive and enlightening force that keeps you coming back for more. He has some terrific while healthy recipes (the pasta salad one he just posted is a must try). One of the biggest benefits that EZGreatLife.com offers are John's tips on how to save money. Thanks to him I have started a savings account (one that I promise not to use and abuse), am saving money by not eating out as often and am joining Upromise to earn money while shopping (check out the 5 tips to cut your grocery bill today post for information on this). Here are a few of his posts that I personally found most helpful-Enjoy!

Some Of My Favorite Posts From EZGreatLife.com

**How We Saved $25,480.00 And So Can You
**No thanks, I'll Just Have Water
**A Great Way To Get Some Extra Exercise!
**Put Your Savings On Autopilot!
**Easy Veggie Pasta Salad
**Family Pets

John has put together such a professional and easy to read blog that I could go on and on and on about all the tips, articles, recipes and fun I have reading it. You may just find yourself healthier, richer and happier if you follow his well thought out and tried ideas (I am). Why not check it out for yourself, you will be glad you stopped by .
2008-05-19

Carbohydrates-Good Or Bad? Answers To Your Most Common Carb Questions


Being a health nut wannabe mom is not easy. I always feel like I am just on the verge of actually becoming one of those real health nuts but then seem to be bogged down with more questions than answers (or more brownies than berries). So, thank goodness for people like Christopher Warden, a New York City fitness professional and co-author of the book Unlock Your Strength who was kind enough to agree to do a guest post here and clear up some of the most complicated and important questions that I have found on health and weight loss. I kept asking him (he is also getting me in shape for the dreaded swimsuit season as my online personal trainer) about carbohydrates and was so confused (it was like math to me-which I was absolutely hideous at my whole life) and his answers were so helpful that I asked him to share his knowledge with you.

The Most Common Questions about Carbohydrates

Christopher Warden, CSCS

Invariably, every fitness professional gets asked about the topic of nutrition. And why shouldn't we be? After all, sound nutritional habits are the foundation of enhanced performance, aesthetics and health -- as much, if not more than strength training itself. One of the most confounding topics for the fitness enthusiast -- carbohydrates. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about the topic. If more arise after reading this, please feel free to leave a comment at the end of this post or contact me HERE .

What is a carbohydrate?

Carbohydrate:

•is one of six nutrients utilized by the body. (The other five are protein, fat, vitamins, minerals and water.)
•exists in simple or complex form. Simple carbohydrate is sugar. Complex carbohydrates (simple carbohydrates linked together) are known as starch and fiber.
•is primarily used as a fuel source. The building block for (nearly) all carbohydrates - the simple sugar glucose - is a universal source of fuel for all cells, particularly the brain.

Where are carbohydrates found?

Anything containing sugar, starch or fiber is a carbohydrate. Bread, pasta, oatmeal, cereal, baked goods, candy, rice and potatoes are considered most often, but it's safe to say that every food source from the plant kingdom (leaves, vegetables, fruits, legumes, fungi) - as well as nuts and dairy products - contains carbohydrates.

What is sugar?

Sugar is the simplest form of carbohydrate. It either "stands alone" - as sugars like sucrose (cane/table sugar), lactose (milk sugar), maltose (malt beverages), fructose (fruit/corn sugar) and glucose (blood sugar) - or it's linked together in chains to create the complex carbohydrates -- starch and fiber.

What's the difference between sugar, starch and fiber?

Sugar, as mentioned above, is the simplest form of carbohydrate and requires little/no processing before being absorbed and used as a fuel source the body. Sugar (especially glucose) is also the building block for starch and fiber.

Starch is a complex carbohydrate that is able to be broken down, absorbed and used by the body.

Fiber is a complex carbohydrate that is unable to be broken down and absorbed by the body.

Are carbohydrates essential for survival?

Contrary to common belief, carbohydrate is not an essential nutrient for survival. Is it tolerable and usable? Absolutely. But if carbohydrates were unavailable to us, we could get/create all the energy we needed from fat and protein.

Why are carbohydrates such a significant topic of conversation?

Countless studies show that one of the key factors to health and fitness is the control of insulin - the hormone whose primary role is to regulate blood sugar levels. Chronic, excessive consumption of starches and sugars - something very easily accomplished with the prevalence of grains and processed foods - contributes to chronic, excessive secretion of insulin. This, in turn, has been linked to many of the diseases of civilization: diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, obesity, colitis and cancer, to name a few. Carbohydrates are and will remain an important topic of discussion as professionals educate the masses about the ideal carbohydrate sources for controlling blood sugar, insulin release and overall health.

Stay tuned for Part II of this Q & A when Christopher unveils more answers to some of the most common questions about carbohydrates. . .

P.S. If you would like to see a free sample chapter of Christopher's book Unlock Your Strength please click here and you will be directed to an area where you can download the free chapter. I personally bought this book and use it daily to help me with fitness, weight loss and health.I like it because these are real tips set out in an easy to read format (please note that I don't make any money by telling you this, I just like to pass on information about products that I really like and help me).


2008-05-18

From Weight Loss To Herbal Remedies- Give Mint A Try

When I worked as a makeup artist years ago we had this incredible mint cream in a bottle (It was made by Origins, I think) that we would use on our clients to relax them (thank goodness because there were some cranky ones). I remember that it did actually work and relaxed me too. I never thought about the effects of mint much until recently when I was at a friends house and was watching her pick some fresh mint that she had grown. It brought back memories of that fresh smelling mint cream so I decided to look into it and I am excited at what I have found. Mint works as an herbal remedy and has been shown to promote weight loss. Anything healthy that promotes weight loss and I am in-plus it can aid what might be ailing you!

Miracle Mint

**A whiff of peppermint may help you shed those unwanted pounds(this is easy! Hurrah!)-A study at Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia tracked 27 adults for two 5 day periods and found that those who wafted peppermint oil under their nose every two hours ate almost 350 calories less a day than non-sniffers. You can also try chewing mint leaves or a stick of mint-flavored gum. I think this may be one of my all time favorite weight loss tricks. It smells great, requires very little effort (with the exception of people wondering what you are sniffing at and looking at you suspiciously) and is healthy. ref-Good Housekeeping May 2008.

**Cures Afternoon Hunger Pangs-Try a sugar-free mint or even a chocolate mint for those chocolate lovers. The small portion and satisfying mint will help cure those afternoon hunger cravings without the big calories.

**Gets Rid Of Bad Breath-If you are looking to smooch with that special someone you may want to try a drop of peppermint pure essential oil on the tongue. It can freshen your breath quickly and naturally.

**-Apply fresh mint juice (can usually purchase mint juice at your local health food store) over the face every night for the treatment of acne, pimples, insect stings, eczema, scabies, & other skin infections.

**Swollen gums, mouth thrush or mouth ulcers-mix together 10ml (2 tsp) cognac or whisky, 5 drops mint oil and 300ml (1/2 pint) hot boiled water. Gargle with this several times throughout the day until finished, leaving the liquid in the mouth as long as possible each time. More here.

**Toothaches and headaches-Drinking 5 grams of fresh peppermint boiled in a cup of water with a pinch of salt is believed to relieve toothaches and headaches.

**Inhaling peppermint oil can help relieve severe nasal congestion, but should not be used too often. It can irritate your mucous membranes if used frequently. Young children should not use peppermint oil and nursing mothers should stay away from peppermint oil, as it can decrease your milk flow.

I think that we are going to grow some mint of our own (I hope I don't somehow kill it-I am just not good at growing things regardless of how hard I try) and make mint tea as well. It certainly can't hurt and will probably help in more ways than I know. I will never look at mint the same way again.

P.S. This week I have a great guest post by Christopher Warden, a New York City fitness professional and co-author of Unlock Your Strength (see widget on lower right) and am doing a review of one of my favorite websites. I hope you will check back for this exciting week at Health Nut Wannabee Mom!
2008-05-16

Chapped Lips, Dry Skin, Cuts, Burns-Try This Natural Calendula (Marigold) Recipe-Easy And Works

Recently I was reading a book about this doctor who somehow traveled back in time to the 1700's. In the book during her time travel in the 1700's she was always healing people with her knowledge of using all kinds of plants. I was fascinated by the myriad of ailments that she could cure simply by using common herbs. I am a big believer in herbs that heal and found this recipe for Calendula (pot marigold) in the Whole Foods Market magazine. I made it and love it so I wanted to pass it on to all of you to enjoy!

Calendula (pot marigold) is an annual flower with yellow or orange flowers that are edible and can be tossed in salads (never knew this but may try it). It does kind of feel weird for me to eat flowers but hey you never know. I'm open to new experiences. Pot marigold is extremely easy to grow (thank goodness because I have a knack for not being the best gardener-to say the least) and can be bought as seeds or as young nursery plants. It likes lots of sun and well-drained soil, but will tolerate quite rough conditions and still bloom all summer and fall until the first hard frost hits.

Calendula (Pot Marigold) Salve Recipe

When the flowers are slightly past full bloom (where the petals are open and not curled) pull off each petal (like when you were a kid and did the he loves me, loves me not game by pulling off the flower petals and the last petal revealed the answer) and drop them into a small jar of good olive oil (I use extra virgin olive oil). Keep it in the jar for two weeks , then open the jar and blot up the layer of water that has risen to the top with a paper towel. Pour the oil into a pan and add about a third as much beeswax (you can purchase beeswax online by googling-"where to buy beeswax"). Warm, stirring occasionally, over low heat until the beeswax has melted into the oil. Pour the mixture into a small jar and let cool. If it is a bit runny when it cools, reheat it and add a little more beeswax.

Soothes

**Chapped Lips
**Scratched Hands
**Irritated and dry skin
**Cuts and burns-The German Commission E (considered the world authority on herbal remedies) approved Calendula for healing cuts and burns.
-
Calendula salve was more effective than steroid cream in reducing skin toxicity, a dry itchy, painful skin inflammation in breast cancer patients, reported the Journal ofClinical Oncology in 2004.

This salve seems to be helping with my daughter's eczema and dry skin which is a relief because I do not like using the steroid creams on her that the doctor prescribed. If you have any of the above symptoms, why not give this salve a try!
2008-05-14

Love Your Pet- It's Good For Your Health !


If you ever have had or currently are lucky enough to be a guardian of a pet ,you probably understand the wonderful calming affect a pet can have on you (unless you come home and find your chair and love seat completely eaten like I have in the past-it can be a bit stressful). After a long day there is nothing better than relaxing with my dogs and cats. Just their presence is calming to me and if I am really upset there is nothing that can calm me down better than a few minutes of snuggling with my cat Baby Jaap. I could not imagine a life without animals as their humorous antics, intriguing habits and unconditional love make my life so complete and enjoyable. Don't just take my word for it-read on.

Health Benefits Of Having A Pet

**More and more studies are beginning to show evidence that children who live in homes with animals that have fur (cat, dog, guinea pig,etc) and large animals are less at risk for allergies, eczema (skin rash condition) and asthma. There is also some discussion that children in those homes may have stronger immune system activation.

**
Heart attack patients who have pets survive longer than those without, according to several studies.

**People with pets actually make fewer doctor visits, especially for non-serious medical conditions.
-
**Pets help fight depression and loneliness-The antics of animals at play keep you lighthearted. The presence of a dog prompts the daily walk you otherwise might postpone. Having a cat means regular exposure to contented purring, with its guaranteed-to-be calming effect on your psyche. Furry critters encourage life-critical social interactions and feeding and grooming routines offer structure and purpose to a life lived alone. More here.

**Pets can help lower your blood pressure-Dr. Karen Allen, a researcher at the State
University of New York at Buffalo, showed that people with hypertension who adopted a dog
had lower blood pressure readings in stressful situations than did those who did not own a pet.

**Dr. Meredith Wells, an assistant professor of psychology at Eastern Kentucky
University, surveyed businesses that allow pets in the workplace and found that
employees believe that the animals reduce stress and improve their mental and
physical health. More here.

**Pets promote social interaction, decrease the feeling of loneliness and isolation,
and increase morale and optimism.

**Pets satisfy the need for touch and to be touched, and give nonjudgmental
warmth and affection.

**Pets encourage playfulness, exercise, and laughter.

I would like to also point out that a pet is a responsibility and getting one is not to be taken lightly. Taking care of an animal is a lifelong commitment so if you are not in it for the long haul I do not recommend a pet for you (animal shelters are full of wonderful abandoned pets so please be responsible). If you are looking for a pet I highly recommend adopting one from an animal shelter. All my animals are from shelters (or they just showed up) and I really believe that they know you saved them. Shelter pets are wonderful and you save a life.

Go hug your pet-you'll feel better!



2008-05-13

Tired Of Dry Or Oily Skin? Give These Healthy Tips A Try

I have dry, dry, dry (we are talking the desert dry) skin. My good friend has the oiliest skin and the other day we were talking about skincare products that we use to help each of us with our skin issues. Sure, I can go spend a fortune on something to apply to the outside of my skin but what about helping my skin from the inside out? These are easy and great tips to follow- will not cost a fortune like some of the creams on the market and you will feel a lot better.
-
Characteristics Of Dry Skin

This type of skin feels dry to the touch (boy do I know about this) and tight especially after cleansing until some type of moisturizer is applied.

**Pores are very fine
**Lacks oil rather than water and is sometimes confused with dehydrated skin which lacks water rather than oil
**Some flaking can appear with no oily areas at all
**Hardly ever breaks out
-
Healthy Tips To Combat Dry Skin

**Drink Lots And Lots Of Water
- You want to stay hydrated, so women should aim for 72 ounces of fluid a day (from water and other beverages or water-based foods); men need 100 ounces (readers digest).
**Cut Down On Diuretics such as alcohol and caffeine intake.
**Avoid Smoking-Smoking does not cause dry skin but it does cause wrinkles and if your skin is exceptionally dry this only emphasizes their appearance.
**Avoid Sweets- They create useless food nutrients that deteriorate your skin, causing it to age and dry out (if you have a sweet tooth like me maybe we can just have sweets in moderation. You do not want to see me without chocolate).
**Ditch The Fast Food-Most fast food is created using oil and frying, the oil in the food changes it chemical makeup and leads to the creation of free radicals which breakdown the elastin in your skin and cause it to age prematurely. Aging skin tends to dry out quicker than healthy skin. More here.
**Make Sure You Have A Diet Rich In raw fruits and vegetables (especially orange and yellow because they are known for their antioxidants and beta carotene) , garlic, onions, asparagus, and flax seed oil, salmon or walnuts which all contain omega 3 fatty acids.

How To Care For Dry Skin
-
**Cleanse your skin morning and night but make sure to use a cream or milky cleanser or one that specifically states it is for dry skin. We highly recommend that you do not use soap as this will only make dry skin even drier.
**After cleansing apply a hydrating day cream (one with an spf is always good to protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun and the environment)
**In the evening apply a nourishing and hydrating night cream that can help repair damage while you sleep.
** Exfoliate once or twice a week with a mild exfoliator and a hydrating mask is always helpful!



Characteristics Of Oily Skin

Usually has a shine to it and may be prone to blackheads, blemishes and acne
**Pores are usually enlarged and skin may have a coarse look to it
**Usually dull colored and thick appearance of the skin
-
Healthy Tips To Combat Oily Skin

**Choose Foods-
That are high in B vitamins such as whole grains, legumes, and nuts. Lowering the amount of fat in your diet will also help.
**Avoid pork and fried and highly seasoned foods- Consume no animal fats, or heat-processed vegetable oils.
**As Above With Dry Skin Tips- make sure to drink lots of water, avoid alcohol, caffeine, sugar and fast foods.

How To Care For Oily Skin
-
**Do not wash more than two or three times a day with a basic soap as this may cause your skin to produce more oil.
**Avoid Skincare Products that leave your skin feeling taut and dehydrated. They cause the upper layers of the skin to shrink. This restricts oil flow through the pores leading to blockages and breakouts.
**Rub Oily Skin areas with apple cider vinegar for a neutralizing effect.

Some other tips for healthy skin include getting a good nights sleep (skin repairs itself at night), and exercising as this increases circulation and can help nourish skin from within. I hope these help and of course if you have any tips I would love to hear them!
2008-05-08

Weight Loss And Diet Myths Revealed

In my life I have probably tried just about every diet and perpetuated most of the below myths. It seems like we are forever hearing about the latest and greatest diet, foods to eat or not to eat to lose weight, and waiting for the next diet pill that will instantly dissolve all our fat (I am personally waiting for the get bigger breasts, see ya later cellulite, and the instant tone and give me muscle pills). It can all get quite confusing so I decided to try and clear up some of these diet myths so that if you are trying to lose weight you can avoid these pitfalls.
-
Top Diet Myths To Ditch

**Eating mostly low-fat or no fat foods will make you lose weight-Before you run to the store and stock up on fat free and low-fat foods, keep in mind that it is all about portion control. Even though light versions have less fat than their regular counterparts, they often have as many or more calories (some diet foods contain more sugar than the regular versions).

***Food eaten late at night is more fattening-Many diets tell you not to eat after a certain time in the evening. They say the body will store more fat because it is not burned off with any activity. A study at the Dunn Nutrition Centre in Cambridge suggests otherwise. Volunteers were placed in a whole body calorimeter, which measures calories burned and stored. They were fed with a large lunch and small evening meal for one test period, then a small lunch and large evening meal during a second test period. The results revealed the large meal eaten late at night did not make the body store more fat.It's not when you eat that's important, but the total amount you consume in a 24-hour period. Lyndel Costain adds: 'It is true that people who skip meals during the day, then eat loads in the evening are more likely to be overweight than those who eat regularly throughout the day.'This may be because eating regular meals helps people regulate their appetite and overall food intake.' More here.

**Fad diets work for permanent weight loss-I can attest to this one. In my life for every fad diet that I lost weight with I gained it right back. Think of the Cabbage Soup Diet, or similar when you would eat only a few bizarre things and then of course when you went back to eating normal the weight came back too. Fad diets may be unhealthy because they may not provide all of the nutrients your body needs. Diets that provide less than 800 calories per day also could result in heart rhythm abnormalities, which can be fatal.

** Certain foods, like grapefruit, celery, or cabbage soup, can burn fat and make you lose weight-MMhmmm, I have tried those too and I am sorry to say that anyone who joined me in eating grapefruit like it was the last food on earth will be sad to know that no foods can burn fat. Some foods with caffeine may speed up your metabolism (the way your body uses energy, or calories) for a short time, but they do not cause weight loss.

** Skipping meals is a good way to lose weight-Another painful method I tried that never yielded results. Studies show that people who skip breakfast and eat fewer times during the day tend to be heavier than people who eat a healthy breakfast and eat four or five times a day. I eat all day now in little meals. I much prefer eating little meals to big ones and I am thinner and almost never hungry.

**Lifting weights and strength training will make you bulk up and not lose weight-Lifting weights or doing strengthening activities like push-ups and crunches on a regular basis can actually help you maintain or lose weight. These activities can help you build muscle, and muscle burns more calories than body fat. So if you have more muscle, you burn more calories—even sitting still. This is what my online personal trainer Christopher (see widget on right to check out his site) has me doing and in just 2 weeks I lost 3 lbs and I was not trying. More here.

**Nuts are fattening and you shouldn't eat them if you want to lose weight-I thought this for years and never ate nuts (I was missing out). I now realize that nuts actually help me lose weight and I call nuts my no. 1 diet secret. Although high in calories and fat, most (but not all) types of nuts have low amounts of saturated fat (the bad fat). Nuts are a staple of my diet and I love how they fill me up and help my chocolate cravings (really).

On that note, even though it is almost midnight I am going to go have some cashews . Years ago I would have been horrified at the thought but now that I know better I can enjoy.
2008-05-07

Before You Fire Up The Barbecue Grill Check Out These Tips To Avoid Health Hazards

It's about that time when the barbecue grills will start to come out, friends over for a fun time and those wonderful summer nights. To be honest with you I had never thought about the hazards of grilling out except for the obvious like scorching yourself, the house or even your deck (I almost burned our house down once and will not go near a charcoal grill again). Apparently there are some health hazards that go along with grilling (besides burning down everything in sight) so be informed but not overwhelmed because here are some easy tips to make grilling safer.

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) warns studies have found grilling and broiling cause "muscle meats" (red meat, poultry, and fish) to produce cancer-causing compounds. These compounds, called heterocyclic amines (HCAs), have been shown to produce tumors in animals and possibly increase the risk of cancers of the breast, colon, stomach, and prostate in humans.

Tips To Reduce The Health Hazards Of Grilling

**Never use charcoal lighting fluid or self lighting packages of charcoal. They have a tendency to put residues from toxic chemicals in your food (yuck).

**Don't inhale, and cut off any charred or black parts.

**Marinating meats really helps to reduce their level of carcinogenicity on the grill. Marinate for at least four hours.

**Wrap fish in foil before placing it on the grill. This will prevent your fish from drying out as well as prevent deposition of chemical-containing smoke.

**Place food on grill after coals have cooled to embers, or adjust gas flow and rack height when using a gas grill.

**Try to do most of the cooking inside, in an oven , and then cook it over the coals just enough to impart that great flavor. This will reduce the time spent over the coals and still give you that grilled taste.

**Substitute grilled vegetables or fruits for part of the meat in your meal.

Happy and healthy grilling!
2008-05-06

Bad Hair Day? Try These Foods For Healthy Hair

Who hasn't had a bad hair day? You know the kind of day that regardless of what you do your hair just doesn't look or feel right. I have had more than my share of bad hair days and for some reason it just throws your entire day off. I have had some horrible hair cuts, hideous shades that there aren't even names for and there was even the time that my hair was a not so subtle shade of lavender purple (there was some arguing at my office as to whether it was truly purple or more of a dusty blue hue) due to the combining of one to many colors. Needless to say I don't ever color my own hair anymore. Good news though! If you are looking for shiny, healthy looking hair then you will be happy to know that you can achieve such wonders merely through a healthy diet including some of the foods below.

Manage Your Mane With These Healthy Foods

**Salmon and Flax Seeds- To have healthy hair you need to have a healthy scalp and omega-3 fatty acids are an absolute must! Fortunately you can get your omega-3 fatty acids simply by eating salmon, or if you are a vegetarian like me you can sprinkle some ground flax seeds in your cereal, on a salad or try some flax seed oil.

**Beef-Not only does beef have alot of protein that hair needs but also B vitamins, iron, and zinc. I personally recommend that if you are going to eat beef that you only eat grass fed organic beef that does not contain all the hormones.

**Eggs, Poultry, And Low-Fat Dairy Products-All these foods are high in protein which is an absolute must for healthy hair. When you do not take in enough protein on a regular basis this can cause hair to shed. Eggs are a great way to get your protein if you are a vegetarian like me.

**Nuts-Are a terrific source of zinc. Brazil nuts are said to be a great source of Selenium-a great mineral for your hair. Cashews, almonds and pecans are loaded with zinc so enjoy!

**Soybeans And Brown Rice-These are a great source of biotin, which if you want your hair to be its best you must have.

**Broccoli, Fish, Onions And Sea Vegetables-These are all foods that are rich in silicon and sulfur that hair loves (great for fingernails too).

**Carrots-You have heard that carrots are great for your vision but they are also a wonderful source of vitamin A which promotes a healthy scalp(if you don't have a healthy scalp then you won't have healthy hair).

Go enjoy some of these delicious foods and before you know it you will have the shiny, healthy hair you have always wanted.

Heidi
2008-05-05

Bikini Boot Camp-Swimsuit Sensational-An Update!

I wanted to give everyone a quick update on my bikini boot camp progress (yes, I know it has only been a day since I discussed this but I am a bit obsessed here). I have been doing the exercises (strength training) that Christopher Warden- a New York City fitness professional and my online personal trainer -recommended in my previous post in sets of two. Well, I must be some sort of woman (just kidding) because now I am doing them in sets of three. Christopher says that I need to challenge myself but not overdo it and I felt like I was ready to move on plus I get 48 hours in between for my body to rest so I imagine it won't be too bad (famous last words). I really want to convey here that I am just a health nut wannabe and a mom and I have not been exercising since I had my last daughter (she is two now and they aren't kidding about the terrible two's) so having someone guide me is key . I just never made time to exercise and would make up excuses. Having someone to be accountable to is a great motivator for me. I really thought that this strength training would not raise my heart rate and I would have to do it in addition to cardio but that is not the case at all (hurray for that). By the end of my sets I am almost at my challenge point, my heart rate is up and I feel like I have really worked out (keep in mind I'm just a beginner all you super exercise people). I used to (a hundred years ago it seems like) run, do aerobics and lots of cardio because I thought that was the way to go to tone up and lose weight. I can now see why this program with Christopher is much more effective-even after only a week. I really enjoy it much more than hiding in the back of an aerobics class (I can never get those moves right) with a red face, bumping into everyone. I can do these exercises at home or a gym like I said before and I can really feel the muscles being challenged (trust me-my booty can really feel it).

I am a complete newbie at strength training and this is so exciting to me! I really just wanted to pass on my excitement and results from just a week. Until I was lucky enough to find Christopher I had no idea about exactly what I needed to do to achieve the results I was looking for and was adrift in exercise oblivion. I highly recommend if you have any interest whatsoever in getting more toned, stronger or losing weight (he even helps you map out a diet-is there anything about health and nutrition this man doesn't know?) that you at the very least contact Christopher for a consultation (you can click on the widget on the right margin or here). I am still working on a more optimum diet with him since I am doing this strength training and not looking to lose weight (will do a post on that soon). I also made it very clear to Christopher that I did not want to get bigger or very muscular. I had the misconception that anything to do with weights or strength would equal a muscle woman-again I was wrong. I am amazed at how my exercise thinking and what I have been doing my entire life were really quite backwards.

In additon, I wanted to point out what changes I have made since starting this blog in March (only 2 months ago). Please see my previous posts if you have any questions on why I have done these things as it is all a direct result of the research and lifes lessons learned from this blog. It is startling and wonderful and my friends are still recovering from the shock.

** Gave up my microwave-I used to think people who did not use microwaves for health reasons were fruitcakes (okay, now I am one too and I like it).

**Quit drinking all diet sodas because of the dangerous aspartame (used to think it was jus a bunch of hype) and instead now drink, water, tea with stevia and Zevia all natural diet soda alternative that I LOVE. I used to drink 6-8 Diet Pepsi's a day (scary).

**Gave up my vitamins and take Whole Food supplements religiously and really can tell a difference.

**Try to buy as much organic as I can (even on a budget).

**Eat lots, and lots of berries, nuts, other fruits and vegetables and only whole grains.

**Really watch out for sugars (they make you age amongst other things) and processed foods.

**Made lots of great friends and read amazing blogs everyday.

**Am not too hard on myself and remember that every day is a step towards good health and know that once in awhile I am going to have that chocolate bar or cookie and that is okay.

**I am exercising again and love how I feel!

All these things (plus, I don't smoke, drink alcohol or eat animals) really equal a much happier Heidi! I feel better, I am nicer, I look better, I sleep better, I like myself more and I have more energy than I know what to do with. I just never realized what small everyday changes in my diet and life could do for me!! I want to thank all of you who read this and blog too, you inspire me.




Heidi




2008-05-04

Bikini Boot Camp-Swimsuit Sensational-Let's Get Healthy and Fit Together!

After much thinking and talking about it, I have officially started my bikini boot camp! This year I am going to put on my bikini and feel great-goodbye insecurities, sucking in my stomach and wanting to hide behind anyone or anything. I don't want to lose weight but rather tone up. I am going to tell you exactly what I do as I do it and chart my progress here on this blog. I am on the path to get more fit, toned and healthy .

To get started I consulted with a New York City fitness professional named Christopher Warden (you can access his sight through the widget on the lower right sidebar of my blog or here) who asked me lots of questions to prep me for my journey into bikini wonderland. He interviewed me and designed a program online to specifically fit my needs and desires. We talked about my exercise level (I'm no muscle woman that's for sure), my nutritional needs and the things that I liked and disliked about exercising. Once he got an idea of those things and my health history he was able to get me started on a program that I could stick to. Finding a routine and diet that I can stick to is important. If I don't like it I will make up just about any excuse to get out of it. Fortunately, Christopher understands this and makes his clients feel extremely comfortable with him while discussing their needs (I mean really, I don't like to go around talking about my after baby stomach, and flab with just anyone), all the while maintaining a professional point of view with a bag of solutions for each individual he encounters. I like having an online personal trainer to guide me in the right direction because usually I am going every which way (by the way, he is very helpful and I am sure could help you too). Now, on to the important stuff.

My Beginners Exercise Routine To Get In Shape


a1) abdominal bracing-Check out Christopher's blog for a post on how to do this-he has an entire post dedicated to this subject here.

a2) Standups (squats)-The squat is performed by bending the legs at the knees and hips, lowering the torso between the legs, and then reversing direction to stand up straight again. The torso remains relatively upright throughout the movement (ref-Wikipedia).

a3) Pushups (when Christopher told me to do pushups I thought he was nuts-don't hardcore army and marine people do that?-I did them and was pleasently surprised and can feel the difference).

b1)Horse Stance -- Kneel on all fours, with the hands directly beneath the shoulders, the knees directly beneath the hips, your spine neutral and parallel to the floor. While maintaining a stable, neutral hip and spine, lift your left arm and right leg off the floor. Extend that arm and leg as far as you can (think: elongate), and hold for up to 5 seconds initially.

b2) Stiff-Legged Deadlift - The premise of the deadlift is simply squatting down to pick something (a "dead weight") off the floor.

b3) Split squats -Squat down by flexing knee and hip of front leg until knee of rear leg is almost in contact with floor. Return to original standing position by extending the hip and knee of the forward leg. Repeat. Continue with opposite leg.

Do the "a" exercises and the "b" exercises in circuit fashion, beginning with two sets of each for 12-15 repetitions .For the movements you train, give 48 hours rest (thank goodness) so the corresponding muscles can get ample rest and recovery. I am also adding walking and running on the treadmill because I enjoy it.

The program you're reading about here, while basic, is more specifically designed for me, based on my client interview with Christopher. If you decide that you want to follow my suggested training regimen, please note that it is best to consult with professionals before you begin any type of training. Fill out the appropriate paperwork (in the form of a health history/exercise history questionnaire), get a doctor's permission (if your health deems it necessary) and then have a fitness professional screen your movement capabilities. Following this procedure will ensure that a program is specifically designed for your needs and capabilities. For more information, please feel free to contact Christopher at christopher@christopherwarden.com. He'd be happy to consult you or direct you to a qualified professional in your area.

Tips From Christopher Warden

1. Control what you put into your mouth. (especially in terms of sugar and processed foods). And listen to your body! It'll tell you if it's satisfied with your food choices. . . but you've got to develop that awareness.

2. Sleep. Allow rest and recovery. . . . however you want to put it, you've got to give the body time to rebuild/rejuvenate/refresh itself.

3. Control your stress levels. . . chronically elevated stress levels, no matter what the source, can lead to chronically elevated levels of cortisol. . . which will take its toll on your body. . . one of those issues being the increased difficulty of burning abdominal body fat.

An important thing to remember is that your body always functions as "a whole" -- never in isolated segments. Focus on training MOVEMENTS, not muscles. . . and not just "problem areas." If your training plan is put together well, if you train with enough intensity, and if you take control of what you put in your mouth, you can see amazing results. . . with the "problem areas" taking care of themselves.The movements that are important to train?

***
1. Horizontal Push (Pushups)
2. Horizontal Pull (Rows)
3. Vertical Push (Overhead Press)
4. Vertical Pull (Pullups/Lat Pulldowns)
5. Quadricep Dominant Movements (Squats, Split Squats, Lunges)
6. Hip Dominant Movements (Deadlifts, Stiff-Legged Deadlifts)
7. Rotational Patterns

*** These are the movements that we all perform as humans, and we want to be able to perform them all proficiently. Specifics of your training program are determined after screening your health history and movement capabilities.

I may join a gym but right now I can just work these in to my daily hectic life at home. If you have ever considered a personal trainer I highly recommend it. If I did not have Christopher to guide me I would still be sitting here thinking about doing it and instead I am doing it. I am going to talk about my diet and nutrition in the next segment of Bikini Boot Camp. Want to join me and go from flab-u- lots to flab-u-less?


Heidi


2008-05-02

Laugh Your Way To A Healthier You!

It is true that laughter is the best medicine. Think about it-you have had a horrible day and your cranky and starting to feel down. It seems that things are going to only get worse and you just can't shake your mood. Then you see something funny, read a funny book or watch your favorite comedy and you feel lightened, the dark clouds seem to fade and things just don't seem as bad as they did before your mood was lifted with laughter. I love to laugh. I laugh at myself (I'm pretty clumsy and have learned that I HAVE to laugh at myself otherwise I'd be pretty pathetic and embarrassed all the time), I only have friends that I can laugh with and I love to hear my children laughing. Isn't it fun to just listen to others laughing-sometimes I start laughing and don't even know why. The great thing is that as far as your health goes-laughter can actually reduce your stress levels and boost your immune system. Did you know that there is even an emerging therapeutic field called laugh therapy?

Laugh, Laugh And Laugh A Little More-Here Are The Benefits

**Hormones- Laughter reduces the level of stress hormones like cortisol, epinephrine, dopamine and growth hormone.
-
**Laughing relaxes the body and reduces problems associated with high blood pressure, strokes, arthritis, and ulcers
-
**Increases stamina through increased oxygen supply .
-
**Effective antidote for depression, anxiety and psychosomatic disorders: laughter boosts the production of serotonin, a natural anti-depressant.

**Laughter can help you burn calories-There is even a new exercise movement called Laughtercising .

**Medical experts in the USA found laughter helped children relax, which had a major impact on how they dealt with and accepted pain. They believe the healing power of humour can reduce pain and stimulate immune function in children with cancer, Aids or diabetes and in children receiving organ transplants and bone marrow treatments. More here.

** Laughter also helps breast milk to fight skin allergies. Breastfed babies with eczema experienced milder symptoms if their mothers laughed hours before feeding them, according to a study by Hajime Kimata at the Moriguchi-Keijinkai Hospital in Osaka, Japan. More here.

I've always known how laughing makes me feel but was surprised to find so many health benefits. Each night/day that I do my blogging I always make sure to visit a few blogs that make me smile. It is a fun distraction to doing research for my site and really keeps me going . One of my favorite sites is Sogeshirts presents by Tim. You know how some people just have a knack for being funny and they can say the most mundane thing in the world and have you laughing in stitches on the floor? That is what Tim at Sogeshirts does. He just has a way of turning just about anything funny. He updates his blog on a regular basis and is my daily dose of laughter. I don't know how he does it but if you want to reap some of the benefits of laughter check out http://sogeshirts.blogspot.com/ . He also has some really funny t-shirts that are unique and hysterical.
-
Go Enjoy A Laugh And Feel Better,
Heidi