Wednesday, June 27, 2012

{WW} Motivation

I went on a trail run recently and took this picture.  Thought I would share it!  I was starting to get stuck in a rut so I decided to change it up to keep myself motivated.  When it comes to exercise you need to be creative! I always love to feel like I am going on a new adventure because this just makes it fun.  Take advantage of beautiful places like this where you live.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Super Spirulina to the rescue!

One of the oldest forms known on this earth is Spirulina and it doesn't go without cause that it has stuck around.  It is a blue-green algae that is jam packed full of nutrients. It is often called the "original superfood." It is around 70% protein which is more than other protein sources like chicken and soybeans and is also complete with all 8 essential amino acids and 10 other non-essential aminos. It will increase your health, vitality and energy.

WHO SHOULD TAKE SPIRULINA? Everyone! They say it is especially useful for people who have low energy levels, people who are overweight, people who exercise, people who eat a lot of animal protein, people who take prescription meds, people with poor digestion, and people who eat processed foods.  I think just about all of us have fit into at least one of these categories from time to time.

WHAT DOES IT CONTAIN? It contains protein, vitamin B12, gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), linoleic acid, arachidonic acid, iron, nucleic acids RNA & DNA, chlorophyll and phycocyanin, omegas, beta carotene, all the other B vitamins, vitamin D, vitamin K, vitamin E, calcium, chromium, copper, iodine, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium and zinc, phytonutrients and carotenoids. Just to name a few! ;)

It boosts your immunity. It activates all your necessary cells and macrophages to attack invading organisms. By doing so it will help with many viruses and keep them from making copies of themselves, such as HIV, AIDS, herpes, measles mumps, influenza and others. It also helps cleanse your body and helps heal wounds quickly. It is great for people who need an extra boost of immunity like pregnant women and people who are going in for surgery.

It will fight hard for you. As well as fighting the things mentioned above, with its array of excellent nutrients it will help protect and fight many other things. So to name a few....
Omegas- helps protect and fight against heart disease, osteoporosis, bad cholesterol, diabetes, depression, and arthritis.
B12- helps with nerve damage and and related diseases like fibromyalgia. It promotes metabolism of all your cells and the development of  healthy nerve tissue.
Beta Carotene- protects and is essential for your eyes, skin, teeth, bones, mucous membranes and inmunity. To get more specific it helps acne, improves age spots, eczema and rashes. It will help improve glaucoma, poor vision, and cataracts.
Antioxidants/Phytonutrients/Carotenoids- these will detoxify your liver and kidneys and protect your brain. It will also fight aging and free radicals. Helps to fight and prevent cancer.

It will balance your pH.  You all know I love the word balance especially when it comes to our bodies. By balancing your pH it will help with inflammation, which is said to be the root of many diseases. Spirulina will help aid in balancing inflamed immune systems as well which is the cause of autoimmune diseases.

It will help with weight control. Spirulina is an appetite suppressant.  Taking it daily will help with getting in your daily nutritional needs without taking in too many calories.  It is so nutrient dense and so low in calories it almost seems impossible (500mg tablet is only 2 calories). Due to its easy digestible protein it helps with lean muscle building and is also known to help with stamina and burning more fat when paired with exercise. Testing has shown that there is a definite advantage for people taking it over people who aren't when it comes to their weight loss program and exercise routine.

Other benefits...  It works as a histamine blocker and helps with allergies, improves digestion and gastrointestinal health, creates beneficial flora that also helps digestive tract, helps you fight germs and viruses by producing more red and white blood cells, oxygenates the blood, cleans your blood with chlorophyl, helps control the growth of pathogenic bacteria and yeasts with its microbial effects, protects against harmful radiation....... I could seriously go on and on! And I sincerely apologize about the disorganization of this post!  There is so much it can do it has made it so hard to categorize it.  Just as a quick summary though...... Remember, it is the most nutrient rich food known to man and will greatly help your quality of life and help maximize longevity!

 WHERE DO I FIND IT AND HOW DO I TAKE IT?  Spirulina can be found at health food stores, online, and even some grocery stores.  It comes in powder, pill, and liquid form.  Which form you choose to take just depends on your preference.  It has a pretty nasty taste so many people who use the liquid or powder form will try and mask the flavor by adding it to green shakes, or add it to other foods.  If you can't handle the taste you can always take the pills, however you have to take alot of them to get the recommended dose.  The suggested dosing for Spirulina is said to be anywhere between 1-60 grams a day.  I have also read that a prevention dose (if you are fighting something off) is 20 grams a day, a maintenance does is 10 grams, and if you are an extreme athlete you can even take up to 60 grams a day.  So clearly opinions on dosing vary.  I suggest you start out slow and work your way up to whatever you feel is best for you.  Also, it is always best to check with a health professional to make sure you won't have any interactions with other medications you are taking.  As far as what brand to go with your best bet is to stick with the organic options and to do some research on your own.  It's important to always read the labels! Companies can be tricky!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

{WW} Tips for the Perfect Running Shoes

One thing people don't always realize is your shoes can make a difference on how your body feels.  Think about it..... Your feet are holding all of your weight, so naturally if you don't have the right support on your feet you are going to be more prone to aches and pains.  This is especially true with running!

  • What kind of a runner are you?  Do you run flat on your feet with the pressure balanced across your whole foot?  Do you tend to run on the outside of your foot?  Or with  your feet turned inward?  A great way to check this is grab a couple pair of old running shoes and check it out!  You should be able to see if it is more worn in certain places. So if you are an inward runner (we will call it) you will want to check out the motion control shoes.  These will help keep your feet in a more neutral position.  Outward runners will find that shoes that have some kind of a shock absorption and are greatly cushioned will help better support their feet.  And finally, neutral runners are pretty lucky... they can go for almost whatever running shoe feels best!

  • Do they fit?  It is super important to try on running shoes before you purchase them!  And take the time to try on a few or more to make sure you are getting the ones that feel the best for you.  We are all different and have different strides so one brand might work better over others.  Also, you will have to try them on to make sure that they fit you.  Many shoe companies size scales vary from one to the other.

  • How do they feel when you run?  Go for a mini run around the store or down a big isle.  (This might save you a trip back to the store if they don't work.)  You are going to want to pay attention to the fit.  Make sure you have plenty of move room for your little piggys.  They shouldn't be too loose or tight (your heel shouldn't slip).

  • Do you run everyday?  If so it might be a good idea to get 2 pairs of shoes.  This will save you a trip to the store every couple of months for a new pair.  They say that you are suppose to replace your shoes somewhere around 400 miles.  Being able to alternate between 2 pairs will extend the life of your shoes as well as give the shock absorption material time to un-compress from your last run. (If you run everyday sometimes the material doesn't have enough time to go back to normal before your next run).

Hopefully this gave you an excuse to go buy some new shoes! We all love new shoes! Happy 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

{WW} H.I.I.T. Me

The best way to burn fat fast is by doing H.I.I.T. or High Intensity Interval Training. When you are doing this training you are alternating between a low to moderate intensity and high intensity intervals which rev up your calorie burning engine and enables you to burn more calories even when you are not working out.   With H.I.I.T. you will be working a little bit harder than your normal routine but will only have to work out a half or a quarter of the time you would during other workouts.  This sounds like my kind of workout! Short and effective!

Before you start:
  • Make sure you have water.  Being hydrated is very important when doing a high intensity workout.
  •  You will also need a watch and a good pair of running shoes.
  • Warm up for 5 minutes and do some light stretching.  
 The Workout:
 *You can incorporate H.I.I.T. into really whatever exercise you want.. But today we are going to do a jog/run workout outside in the beautiful weather and soak up some vitamin D.  
  •  Start with a low to moderate jog for 1 minute.
  • Then you will sprint for 30 seconds.... and I mean PUSH IT!
  • Recover with a moderate jog for 1 minute.
  • I think you get the idea.......  Repeat this for about 15-20 minutes.
Happy trails!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sugar is the Devil!

Sugar..... This is probably something most of us have a love/hate relationship with.  It is very delicious but even more damaging.  Sugar is so harmful, it is the source of many problems we are facing today.  This generation is exposed to more processed food than ever, which is laced with sugar and has no nutritional value whatsoever.  When you eat sugar, which is a refined carb, your body has to steal nutrients from your healthy cells to metabolize it. What a waste of your body's time and energy!

Sugar is my biggest weakness so realizing all the problems that come from eating it has helped me stay away.  I think it is important that everyone understands what it does to your body, so I have compiled a handful of things to share to help curb your sweet tooth. Please keep in mind.. below is only the short list.  There are hundreds and hundreds of horrible things it does to you but I hope this at least helps get my point across.

Rotten Awful Effects:
  1. Makes your blood acidic (We know this is a big no-no! Nothing good can come from being too acidic)
  2. Causes wrinkling and premature aging
  3.  Leads to weight gain and obesity
  4. Robs you of energy and minerals
  5. Can cause cancer (This is scary! Cancer cells thrive off of this crap!)
  6. Contributes to diabetes and can cause hypoglycemia
  7. Can cause autoimmune disorders such as: MS, arthritis, asthma... (Just to name a few)
  8. Weakens eyesight
  9.  Contributes to heart problems
  10. Rots your beautiful smile
  11. Can cause hormonal imbalances
  12. Increase chances of depression, anxiety and irritability (Will also intensify these if you are already dealing with these problems)
  13. Increases chronic fatigue
  14. Can cause acne
  15. Increases candida
  16. Can cause gallstones, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, heart disease, appendicitis, high cholesterol, and basically negatively effects every organ in your body
  17. Causes food allergies
  18.  Can impair the structure of DNA
  19. Constipation
  20. Contributes to Alzheimer's Disease

Scared yet? I sure hope you all answered yes and are now ready to take action to kick your sugar addiction.  Some people have said that sugar can be as addicting as some drugs. So below I have some advice to help you curb your cravings and maybe ease some withdrawal symptoms.

  • First, and the most important thing you should do is clear your house of all temptation. Just throw it away! And don't feel bad.... it is poison!
  • Go at a pace that works for you
    • Going cold turkey is a common way.  This is probably the hardest way to do it and has the least success rate.  But for some people having any sugar tends to trigger giving in to more unhealthy food choices.  If you choose to go this route it is a good idea to do it on your day off.  You will be more likely to have withdrawal symptoms which can include irritability, feeling like you have the flu, headaches, as well as intense cravings.
    • Gradually limiting your sugar might be the better option. Start by cutting your intake in half the first week and then slowly lowering your consumption over the next few weeks until you are once again in control.
  •  Make sure you are drinking enough water.  Sometimes we mistake hunger for dehydration.  Making sure you are well hydrated can help with cravings.  It is recommended to drink at least 8 glasses a day. 
  •  The 3 S's: Sweat, Sunshine & Sleep  Not only will these help with cravings but they can help with stress and anxiety, which are triggers for people to eat comfort foods like sugar. Also, use exercise, talking with a friend, a hot bath and meditation as healthy alternatives to de-stress yourself when you are having a rough day.
  •  Eat 5-6 small meals a day.  This will keep your blood sugar level and cravings in check.  Make sure you are eating healthy meals that include complex carbs (preferably lots of leafy greens, some fruit, and some whole grains), lean protein, and some healthy fats.
  •  Supplements.  Two of my favorites to help combat cravings are:
    •  L-Glutamine
    • 5-HTP
      • These two supplements have many other awesome benefits as well. I highly recommend you research what else they can do for your health.
  • Be patient with yourself.  It is important to not get discouraged if you do slip up.  Get back on track as soon as you can and be forgiving of yourself.  And remember, it takes about a month for a new behavior to become your new habit.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

It's all about the lemons!

These days it seems like the drug companies have taken over, and they have a pill for everything.  But usually with these pills there are many dangers and side effects.  And I am not here to dis on the medical field and pharmaceuticals because I do believe there is a place for it and they have done wonders.  However,  I do believe there are healthier, more natural paths to try as well. Things that will help current ailments but also act as a preventative measure for future ailments.

One of my favorite "fixer/helper," we will call it, is the LEMON!  Not only are these beautiful yellow fruits delicious they are one of the best alkalizing foods.  They have so many health benefits and have been used as a natural remedy for centuries.  It is amazing to me that something so simple can have such wonderful effects on our bodies.  So lets get into it.....

  •  Detoxifies & Purifies:  Lemon is a diuretic which helps remove toxins from the body and also helps purify your blood.  It can help flush out a urinary tract infection or kidney infection faster.  And due to its anti-inflammatory qualities, help with the pain associated with these infections.  It has also been known to help treat arthritis.  
  •  Digestion: It will help your liver produce more bile which helps with digestion.  If you have good digestion that will also help with heartburn.  Drink a glass every morning and evening to prevent constipation.
  •  Immune Booster:  Lemons contain vitamin C and potassium which helps fight colds,  sore throats, controls blood pressure, and will also stimulate nerve and brain function. It can also help with many respiratory problems such as asthma, allergies, and coughs.

  • Mouth:  Lemon juice has been known to help achy teeth and bleeding gums when applied to these areas.  It also helps freshen breath.  However, you will want to be careful with this since it can erode tooth enamel if it comes in direct contact on a regular basis.

  • SkinLemon has antiseptic qualities which can help acne, eczema, bee stings, and stop burns when applied topically.  It also helps fight aging, yes aging, and can help remove wrinkles and blackheads.  They say if you want a glowing complexion to drink lemon water with a touch of honey.
  •  Stress:  Lemons are full of vitamin C.  They are saying that vitamin C may help alleviate stress by reducing the stress hormone.  It can create a sense of calm and not only that, the smell I think is quite soothing.  It reminds me of a warm summer day!
  • Weight Loss:  We all love this!  It contains fiber to help you feel full longer, kicks up your metabolism & balances out your pH so your body will lose the weight faster.

A great way to start out your morning is with a glass of lemon water! (Use 1-2 tsp in warm water) It helps you feel energized and hydrated quickly. A challenge for all you coffee drinkers out there.... Try replacing lemon water with your coffee and see what happens after a week.  I would love a report back!  Remember.... coffee= acid producing "ash" and lemon water= alkaline producing "ash"  (For those of you who are new go read the Getting Started post to better understand)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Ideal body pH & how do I measure this?

Although the pH scale is a moderate range, your optimal pH level only ranges slightly.  They say it is between 7.35 and 7.45.  You want to always strive for this level because anything too low is called 'acidosis' and too high is called 'alkalosis', and extremes in either direction can cause cell damage.

There is great article on this website that explains in simple terms what alkalosis and acidosis is and how it can occur:

Being able to test your pH is very helpful and almost necessary especially if you are striving for that optimal level and the best overall health.

 The most accurate way to check your pH is at the doctors office with a blood pH test, however this is not really convenient for most of us and would probably end up being expensive if checked regularly.  Not only this, most places you have to wait for blood results.

SO.. Your next step, which is the most commonly used way is with testing strips that you can use for saliva and/or urine.  Saliva testing tends to be a little bit more acidic than your blood test and urine testing can vary since your urine pH tends to fluctuate throughout the day.  But overall you will get a close enough result.

The testing paper usually comes in a roll that you can just tear off and use.  The paper will turn a different color according to what your pH is and you will just match it to the color scale they have on the box or container.  Amazon has a bunch of different brands of testing strips at affordable prices!  I just love Amazon :)

Getting Started

Life is all about balance.  This is especially true when it comes to your body.  Our bodies have a pH level that is trying to stabilize between alkalinity and acidity.  So if put on a scale from 0-14, 0 would be the maximum acidity and 14 the maximum alkalinity.  And 7 would be neutral between the two.  Our body's normal blood pH usually sits around 7.4, which is in fact slightly alkaline.  Now let me clarify,  although striving for a more alkaline blood pH is the goal, being highly alkaline or even highly acidic is life threatening.  However, this will not have to be something you have to worry about if you keep the word "balance" in mind. 

Maybe you are wondering why we even want to lean towards a more alkaline body.  How does this affect me? Why do I care?   As a girl plagued with constant colds, sickness, UTI's, other bladder conditions, anxiety, pre-arthritic... (I could go on and on and on)  I realized this was not normal. After seeing many doctors over the years, that were basically a waste of my time and money, I did meet with one doctor that diagnosed me with a bladder condition and mentioned a more alkaline diet.  This was a completely new concept.  He gave me a pamplet that had a very brief description but intrigued me enough to do more research.  Basically the idea behind it was this...  All foods after being digested, absorbed, processed in our bodies create either an alkaline or acidic waste or "ash" (Refer to the tab, Alkaline vs Acidic Food List).  The more acidic the environment the more likely you are to get sick. 

So why was my body so acidic?  Well I was eating crappy, processed foods that were creating havoc on my body.  I was endulging on fast food, white breads, and lots of sugar.   The theory some doctors have on why America is the way it is today, with more sickness and disease than ever, is because our diets are full of acidity.  Back in the day they did not have as much obesity, cancer, and other life threatening illnesses, because they were eating a diet full of greens, fruits, and other alkaline producing foods that were natural, without the use of pesticides and herbicides and were also not high processed foods. 

Common signs that you might need to switch up your diet:
  • fatigue
  • colds
  • sickness in general
  •  low energy
  • achey body or pain
  • bad digestion
  • overweight
  • foggy brain

As a person who has really benefited from this new lifestyle and is a walking example of how it has helped me please consider doing this for yourselves and I encourage you to do research on your own.  I will be making posts often and would love to try to answer any questions you have.