Tag Archives: Wellness

Friendly Friday: How Much Is Too Much?

It’s an odd question to ponder. Especially when it comes to something that makes someone feel so good. Do people get spoiled? Do they start to take it for granted? Can you ever show someone too much love?

One of the goals of my Happiness Project is to set up a day each week to talk to each of my siblings. It’s a joint effort and we’ve all succeeded. Makenna is on Tuesday, Cam is on Wednesday, and Nikki is on Thursday. It’s wonderful to hear about their lives more frequently and I’m really excited for it to become a regular thing.

I am the oldest of four. I’ve been a third parent to my siblings from the time I could reach the kitchen counter. There must have been some natural motherly tendencies there already but ay caramba, being an oldest sister really brought it out of me. Our childhood groomed me to nurture and care for people and generally just give them a lot of love.

But is there ever too much love? I tell my friends and family, multiple times in a conversation, that I love them and miss them. Because I do! I never want the special people in my life to question it. Do you think they ever just stop listening? Shrug off or tune out the doting words I throw their way. Not because they don’t appreciate it but because I say it (and try to show it) as often as possible?

I think that people act the way they want to be treated. Maybe I feel the need to express my love because it’s awesome when I get it back. I don’t know. What I do know is that it feels great to have so many people who are worthy of my energy. What a lucky lady I am 🙂

 

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“The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food”

I’m not the only blogger or author writing about health, wellness, and design. There are others; thousands of others. Sometimes it makes me feel tiny and insignificant but then I realize: this is awesome! These people are so passionate about health and wellness that they take the time (a lot of it) to research and educate others.

Their articles are interesting and, a lot of times, align perfectly with subjects that I’d like all you to know. I consider myself a source of information, motivations, and amusement for you guys. So … from now on, Monday posts will be articles (or links to articles) written by other people.

I don’t want you to think I’m copping out. I love writing for you guys. But if someone else wrote it better than I ever could, why don’t we boost that person’s traffic and feedback instead?

So here is my first Spread The Knowledge repost. Mike passed it on to me after one of his marathon internet-learning sessions. I was hesitant to use it as my first repost because it is LONG. But even if you only read the first page or two, it will be worth it. It is dense with hard-earned research. Michael Moss gave me information that I never would have known without his intensive detective work. I’m impressed. The article has changed the way I think about the Standard Westernized Diet. It’s awesome. So just read it.

The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food 

– Michael Moss (New York Times)

Thriving Thursday: Whatchu Know About Sugar?

The people in the Wellness industry (including myself) have been battling America’s sugar overload almost like it’s the plague. Unfortunately, our addition of sugar to EVERYTHING processed means that it kills almost as many people. However, surprisingly enough, there is a time and a place for sugar. Let me explain . . .

SugarGranules

Every kind of sugar that enters your mouth, including carbohydrates, needs to be turned into glucose in order for your body to use it. GLUCOSE. This is the kind of “-ose” we’re going for here. Remember it. Unfortunately, there are very few food sources that contain pure glucose. Some examples of them are: glucose syrup (found in some of the good sports supplements), plant fiber (indigestible to humans), and amylose (plant starch). Plant starch sounds like the best options here and can be found in potatoes, wheat, and oats but with these forms of glucose our body absorbs it in chains of molecules and those chains must be broken down before we can absorb the glucose itself.

Keep up with me here!

There are TONS of other forms of sugar that contain glucose but they inevitably come with another kind of “-ose.” Because I try to eat food closest to its original form, I’m going to focus on sugar that has been through very little processing. Let’s see what’s in some of the most natural sugars:

  • raw cane sugar = glucose + fructose
  • honey = glucose + fructose + up to 22 other kinds of “-ose”
  • agave = glucose + fructose
  • fruit = sucrose = glucose + fructose
  • plant starch = pure glucose = dextrose (yes dextrose is 100% glucose)

It’s important to note that, although most of these natural sweeteners are made up of glucose and fructose, they are all combined differently. Some are found in molecular chains, some are just floating around, some are a combo of chains and floaters. I’m not going to dive into what combos are better but I can help you figure the correct time and place for eating sugar. Yay!

So clearly, if you’re consuming the forms of sugar listed above, you’re going to be eating glucose and fructose. But what does your body do with all that? Glucose, once our bodies break it from whatever chain it’s in, goes straight to our muscles and liver to be stored. If we don’t use it quickly enough, it turns into fat. Fructose has to be processed and goes to your liver. Some of it turns into glucose and joins the other glucose in the muscles OR stays in the liver. From the liver it turns into fat which, unless burned immediately, stays fat and makes you fat!

Basically, unless you burn the glucose in your muscles and the fructose in your liver before it turns to fat, you’re going to get fat! The only way to burn those sugars is through physical exercise. You knew it was coming!

Strength Training (anaerobic): during the workout your body breaks down your muscles and then, over the next 48 hours, it uses all kinds of energy (and protein) to build them back up again. The muscle-building energy comes from the glucose and fructose. Muscle building keeps those things from turning into fat and, if you train hard enough, it will use some of your fat as energy too. That’s how people burn fat!

Cardio Training (aerobic): after a certain period of time, your body is just continuously burning energy. This energy must be replenished DURING the workout in the form of glucose (and inevitably fructose).

Action steps:

  • If you’re happy with your weight: sugar is ok! But only during a cardio workout over an hour-long or within an hour after an intense strength training workout. These amounts of time are heavily debated but this is what I believe.
  • If you’re trying to lose weight: no sugar is better. If you avoid sugar then your body will burn fat as fuel. Just monitor how you feel. If you start to get dizzy, light-headed, or shaky, eat half a banana and allow your body 10 minutes rest to stabilize.

SugarSources

Some good forms of sugar as fuel during and after your workout:

  • honey
  • brown rice or quinoa
  • bananas
  • carrots
  • sweet potatoes

Bad forms of sugar. Really bad, don’t EVER eat them, they are neurotoxic. As in toxic for your brain:

  • Nutrinova (acesulfame potassium)
  • Nutrasweet or Equal (aspartame)
  • Twinsweet (salt of aspartame)
  • Nutrasweet (neotame)
  • Sweet N’ Low (saccharin)
  • Splenda (sucralose)

Some good news for high intensity athletes:

Skratch

If you’re looking for a fantastic, delicious, and quick powder to mix in your workout drink, try Skratch. It’s made by my new friend, Allen Lim, and combines cane sugar and dextrose. Dextrose, if you remember from above is 100% glucose. Perfect! It doesn’t have all the crappy sugar and other additives that most exercise drinks (like Gatorade) have. I’ve tasted raspberry and he gave me a sample of lemon-lime on Sunday which I drank during my workout last night. Oh-my-goodness it tastes SO good. No disgusting after taste and you can drink it for hours without getting that slimy feeling in your mouth. It’s delicious.

Have any questions or comments? Let me hear them!

Related Articles:

Thriving Thursday: Ten Steps for Fighting the Flu (new, improved, and tested)

Get your flu shot!! Oh crap, that didn’t work…Get your flu antiviral! Is anyone out there connecting the dots?? This year Fluzone and EVERY “health” department in the US ramped up their efforts to get every man, woman, and child a flu shot. They offered them almost for free on the doorstep of every pharmacy and work place. They put it on billboards, the radio, and TV. So why are we now close to an epidemic of flu outbreak? Because, like I said in this post, FLU SHOTS DON’T WORK.

Why does anyone think it is a good idea to put the virus plus a whole bunch of very toxic chemicals into your blood stream, effectively killing your immune system? Why not focus on doing everything you can to strengthen your body to fight the virus when you finally come in contact with it. Same goes for the antiviral.

The concept of vaccines are great. Inject the virus so that your body can learn to fight it off. Except that they are never sure which strain of the virus you will come in contact with and they mix it with lots of fun stuff like aluminum (thimerasol), antifreeze, bleach, and embalming fluid. Do you think that stuff helps your immune system? Really? Click here to read the CDC dancing around all the variables that make the shot useless.

Update (1/22/13): If you’re interested in a scientist’s research and opinion, please check out this article by Dr. Mercola.

Now, I have to admit, I got the flu. I had a fever, sore throat, sneezing, and coughing for three days. 36 hours. Five days later, the runny nose and coughing continues but now I’m coughing up some yellow stuff (sorry for the sordid details) because the crap that grew in my lungs is clambering out. I’m healing. Most other people I’ve talked to had the severe symptoms plus stomach issues for multiple weeks and the less severe ones for several weeks after that. I gave my body a chance to fight and it’s doing just that. I’m the very proud owner of a healthy body.

Ok, so now I’ll step off my soap box. If you didn’t get the flu shot, great job! If you did, just don’t do it next year. Please? For both healthy and not so healthy people, here’s how I dealt with the symptoms (even the severe ones) well enough to work 10 hour days.

NoDrugs

1. NO MEDICATIONS. None. No Tylenol, no Advil, no cough medicine, and especially no anti viral like Tamiflu or Relenza. Regarding the over the counter drugs, dulling your symptoms is never a good thing. Listen to your body. If you’re tired, get some sleep, if your nose is running or you’re coughing, your body is trying to get rid of something, please just let it. And regarding the anti viral, the list of complications is SO much longer than the list of potential benefits. See here for what the CDC has to say about that. If you body can learn to fight off this one, it will have a better chance of fighting the next one.

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2. DRINK WATER. Keep a water bottle near you at all times. Constantly be drinking from it. You should be peeing about every half hour. I’m not joking. Give your body the conduit it needs to flush out those bad cells. I can’t stress this one enough.

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3. LOTS OF VEGETABLES. Eating a diet of mostly veggies has never been more important. Eat a varied diet of dark leafy greens (like spinach and kale), aliums (like onions and garlic), root veggies (like carrots, beets, and sweet peppers) and every other kind of veggie (like mushrooms, zucchini, and squash). Eat as many as you can in their raw form but if you get bored with that you can roast them, make them into soup, or even into pancakes! Cooking while you’re sick is no fun so make everything in big batches.

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4. DON’T FORGET THE FRUIT. Keeping sugar out of your diet is really important right now but so many nutrients and immune strengtheners are found in fruit. Try to stick to fruit that is low in sugar but high in good stuff like Vitamin C and antioxidants. Eat oranges, granny smith apples, and all kinds of berries.

5. KEEP THE CRAP OUT. Completely eliminate dairy, refined sugar, red meat, and grains (including oats, rice, and bread) from your diet. Your body has to work extra hard to process that stuff and right now it needs all its energy to fight a virus. Definitely still get in your protein and healthy fats with things like beans, nuts, and organic poultry but cut out everything else.

MLD3 RawD3

6. VITAMIN D. Vit D3 is one of the most necessary and under-appreciated vitamins in the human body. We aren’t outside to produce it even close to as much as we should be. I am all for getting your nutrients from your food but this one is very very hard to get without being outside all day. So find a cleanly sourced brand and take a very high dosage. About 10,000 IU. Yep 10,000 every single day. You will be amazed at the results.

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7. HOT TODDIES. Add a Hot Toddy to your pre-bedtime routine. My mom taught me this one and it works like a charm. Stir together boiling water, the juice of half a lemon, a tablespoon of honey, and a tablespoon of whiskey or bourbon. The lemon disinfects your throat, the honey soothes it, and the whiskey makes you sleepy. And it tastes and feels SO good.

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8. STEAM YOURSELF. Take a hot bath before bed to loosen up your congestion and your muscles. If that nose still won’t come unstuffed, do an intense steam. Add some rosemary extract and boiling water to a bowl. Put your head over the bowl and then a towel over your head and the opening of the bowl. Breath deeply taking breaks whenever you need to. Keep the towel on until the steam stops flowing from the water.

photo 1 copy

9. HUMIDIFY. If you have a humidifier, put it right next to your head when you sleep. It will counteract the dry winter weather and keep you from coughing the night away.

10. SLEEP. Lots and lots of sleep. Cancel your plans and go to bed at 8:30. Sleep in. Sleep all weekend. Take naps. Anytime you’re asleep, your body has a chance to repair itself. And isn’t it awesome to have an excuse to sleep all day anyway?

Eating, sleeping, and drinking like this is hard. Seriously hard. You have to do every single step in order for it to be effective. I’ve been doing it for 8 days now and will continue to do it until I’m back to 100%. And while it’s difficult and frustrating at times it’s better than skipping work or school and feeling like crap all the time. A runny nose and a cough is infinitely more appealing than being bed ridden for two weeks.

Update (1/22/13): In the article at the top of this post, Dr. Mercola also recommends

  • Optimizing your Gut Flora
  • Regularly take, high-quality doses of animal-based Omega 3.
  • Eat natural antibiotics like oil of oregano and garlic.
  • Wash your hand frequently (but not with the completely unnecessary antibacterial soap!)

Why don’t you just try this? What do you have to lose?