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Super Cute ‘How To’

19 Sep

This was ‘Freshly Pressed’ today and it just caught my eye. I had no idea it was about running, but it’s very true – and a handy ‘how to’ guide!

 

Click the picture to learn how to say good morning to fellow runners!

Caffeine & White Willow Bark

15 Sep

First of all – I can’t believe it’s been over a week since my last post. It feels like it’s been a day. I’ve been super busy at work, class three nights a week, gym, family, friends, cleaning/chores/errands (or at least attempting)…where does the time go?!

Anyway, I’ve started taking caffeine and white willow bark about 30-40 minutes before my workouts. I read about this in Jillian Michaels’ book “Making the Cut” – the concentrated caffeine increases your adrenaline (and is more effective/streamlined because it’s not diluted or mixed with processors or sugars like coffee), which increases your stamina, heart rate and ultimately your metabolism. The white willow bark is ‘nature’s aspirin’ and works together with the caffeine.

Personally, I don’t notice an increase in adrenaline – I feel the same before and during my workout as I do without taking anything, but I do feel like my ‘after burn’ is having more effects. It seems that having the increased metabolism during and after my workout (coupled with doing weights first and cardio last) help burn more fat/calories even after I’ve left the gym. I’ve noticed that my ‘problem areas’ that haunt me to no end are showing a little bit of improvements.

Basically, I haven’t experienced any negative side effects from taking caffeine and white willow bark (which could include headaches, heart palpitations, etc.) but think I may be seeing some benefits – granted, these aren’t magic pills (you still have to eat right and exercise) but they help make your body help you. The two supplements cost about $14 at my local NutriShop, so they didn’t break the bank either.

Have you tried any supplements? What works/doesn’t work for you?

Colbert Tackles Fitness Health

7 Sep

I’m stealing away from work to post this link to a hilarious clip from the Colbert Report I saw last night.

Enjoy!

Colbert Report: Cheating Death – Placebocisers and Vaxamalgam

Portion Sizes: Then and Now

31 Aug

My best friend sent me a link and a quick sentence that said, “I wish food was still this small.” I was shocked when I read the article.

In the past 20 years, a bagel has doubled in standard size and more than doubled in calories.

A standard soda has tripled in size and nearly tripled in calories.

A regular blueberry muffin has quintupled ( QUINTUPLED – 5 times bigger than it used to be!!) in size and has 2.5 times as many calories.

When did giant food become acceptable? When did the massesĀ  decide that their meal sizes just weren’t cuttin’ it anymore?

It’s crazy to see the portion sizes compared side-by-side. I just keep hearing a news anchor’s voice saying, “Studies show that ___ is among the fattest cities,” “Childhood obesity increased by XX% in the last year,” “Diabetes is on the rise.”

Well no frickin’ wonder. If you QUINTUPLE a serving size (and don’t have proportionate increases in physical activity), it only makes sense that people will quintuple in size as well.

Read the whole article here: Delish: Portion Sizes Then and Now

And when you’re done reading and finish your Andre-The-Giant-sized blueberry muffin, read this post, followed by this and this post.

Consider this your Public Service Announcement for the day. You’re welcome.

Dairy, Sugar and Acne – Oh My!

5 Aug

I met my friend Sarah in Italy and not only is she a great travel buddy, she’s a wealth of information regarding skin care, beauty tips, hair secrets and all kinds of other girly stuff (that I normally don’t pay much attention to). But when she started talking about diet changes that affect your complexion, my ears perked up real quick!

She posted this link on her Facebook about how dairy and sugar cause acne no matter what age you are.

Here’s a sample of what the study said:

“Two large controlled trials found that cow’s milk increased both the number of people who got acne and its severity. Other large randomized prospective controlled trials (the gold standard of medical research) found that people who had higher sugar intake and a high glycemic load diet (more bread, rice, cereal, pasta, sugar, and flour products of all kinds) had significantly more acne. The good news is that chocolate (dark chocolate that is) didn’t seem to cause acne.”

Sorry, had to bold that last line. My recommendation for excellent dark chocolate? Dove Silk. Pair the squares with raspberry sorbet and you have my new favorite dessert.

Back to the study: The dairy and sugars cause a spike in hormones, androgens and insulin which causes pimples! The article lists a slew of hormones that are found in cow’s milk (even organic, raw, etc.) which quickly makes it become as bad for you as all the sugar in soda.

Basically, cow’s milk is essential for growing calves just like mother’s milk is essential for human babies. Do humans continue drinking breast milk after being weaned? No. Do cows continue suckling other grown bovines? No. Why do we then continue to drink hormone-filled cow’s milk as adults?

The Alternatives

Personally, I love carbs. And after taking a test on what my specific metabolism is like, my body needs carbs. So I can have wheat and grain-based breads and pastas (that are better than bleached, heavily processed carbs that cause acne) without feeling guilty. Thank God! Eventually I’ll start exploring starch substitutes and post on those, but for now I’ve got a few dairy replacements to talk about.

I’ve already tried almond milk and recently picked up Trader Joe’s low-fat original soy milk. The soy milk’s texture and consistency is much better for cereal than almond milk. It’s thin like the fat-free cow’s milk I drink but unlike fat-free milk, the soy milk is a little bit sweet. I’ve heard people say that fat-free milk is basically water (heavily hormoned water…) but low-fat soy milk is just as light and has more taste. It also works great in my coffee, taking the bitterness out and complimenting the splash of Splenda I use.

The shelf life of soy milk is also super long – my half gallon doesn’t expire until October!

However, this particular soy milk has more calories than the almond milk – 110 per 8 oz. serving. Yikes! 2.5 grams of fat (in the low fat variety) and 10 grams of sugar. BUT! No hormones. There’s also 5 grams of protein and a substantial amount of calcium, Vitamin A and D.

Different brands may have lower-calorie varieties and I believe there may be an unsweetened type with less sugar. (I’m new to the soy milk party so I just grabbed a carton and went on my merry way.)

There’s also the option of rice milk, which is next on my “To Try” list.

Little adjustments like these are a great way to be healthier and have prettier skin, too!

Italian Adventures: Fun Tidbit

31 Jul

Before I left for Italy, I posted about my grandma and throughout this trip I’ve thought of her many times.

I’ve seen dresses and shoes in store windows that reminded me of things she brought to the States from Germany. I’ve been to different places in Italy and wondered if she was in the same spot many years ago during her travels. And yesterday, I smiled to myself in Venice when I heard something I haven’t heard in a very long time.

I was in a crowded area following my tour group when we passed by this family. I believe they were German but I could be making that up in order to fit my memory better. Anyway, as we passed, one of the children lost their balance and started to fall as one of the adults quickly grabbed the child and said, “oops-sa-la.”

I haven’t heard “oops-sa-la” in years. My grandma always said it when “oops” or “uh oh” was called for and I’ve never heard anyone besides her say it.

It was a nice way to bring my trip full-circle.

Food For Thought

20 May

I’m reading “Eat Pray Love” and there’s this great paragraph on an Indian guru’s teachings on happiness:

“…people universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you’re fortunate enough. But that’s not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don’t, you will leak away your contentment. It’s easy enough to pray when you’re in distress but continuing to pray even when your crisis has passed is like a sealing process, helping your soul hold tight to its good attainments.” (p. 260)

I think that’s a very true concept. While reading this, I related it to something more physical, more tangible – exercise/physical fitness. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people (even myself) lament about how hard it is to get in shape and yet, it’s so easy to fall back out of shape. Then they turn to crazy diets to shed pounds before an important event (praying during distress). It’s because you have to continue working to maintain whatever fitness level you want to keep, otherwise you will fall back into old habits and routines – just like happiness.

Consider this your motivation for the day: Exercise your ability to be happy!