So, I am happy to announce that I have been invited to be a resident “Expert” on Wizpert- a unique website that is connecting individuals with experts instantly over Skype! What a fantastic idea! No more message boards… weeding through junk responses- immediate, fast, reliable answers to your questions.
So, if you have questions about health, disease, medications, weight loss, nutrition, exercise, beachbody, meal planning or any other health-related topic please feel free to connect with me!
Hurry while I am still offering this service for FREE! 🙂
I am SO EXCITED about this project!!!! I have been working on it for about a month and it is finally a reality! 🙂 I really believe it is going to help us so much in terms of healthy eating, saving money, saving time and the stress and arguments over “What’s For Dinner?!??!?!?”
It’s 4:00 pm and the dreaded call from my husband…
Him: “So, What’s For Dinner?”
Me: “Well, I don’t know! You tell me! I’ve been working all day- have not given it one thought. I’m a busy person & don’t have time to come up with a new and exciting meal every night. Why does this responsibility always somehow end up in MY lap? Why don’t you figure it out?”
Him: “I’m easy- whatever you want, honey.”
Me: “No. That is not an acceptable response. That does not make it ‘easy.’ I still have to do the thinking, the planning and the figuring out if we have all of the ingredients for whatever I come up with and then if we don’t I have to re-think and re-plan…”
Him: “Jeez! I’m sorry I asked!”
Okay, so to give him some credit- he does occasionally come up with dinner plans. And, he doesn’t mind if I suggest eating out- but then he still wants me to decide WHAT we will be eating from outside.. and trying to come up w/ healthy options from outside is not easy, nor cheap, nor necessarily any faster… uggg. Honestly, the hardest part ISN’T the cooking. It’s the PLANNING. And planning for healthy, cheap and easy is NOT easy!
I considered various methods: creating a google calendar, writing it down on a physical calendar. I even tried using a dry-erase calendar on the fridge. I tried the meal planners online- spark people etc. but they always included recipes i wasn’t familiar with and didn’t have the ingredients for… None of it seemed like a great solution- for a variety of reasons. I am a visual person- I needed something that I enjoyed looking at- that would make me inspired, motivated & happy. A black & white calendar or even one printed in color just wasn’t doing it for me… and if I got on the computer to create it I’d be tempted to look up new recipes all the time- which I don’t have the time or energy to incorporate into our routine on a regular basis- even with my best intentions. I’ve been wanting to make butternut squash SOMETHING for months- I’ve bought at least 3 and they’ve all gone bad b/c I didn’t have what it took to find a good recipe and go do it. And it takes a WHILE for those to go bad!!
The SOLUTION? A MAGNETIC DRY-ERASE MONTHLY MEAL PLANNING CALENDAR!!!
So, I came up with a list of the meals we eat the most frequently that are healthy, cheap and easy. That part wasn’t really that difficult. I chose meals like Turkey Burgers, Grilled or Baked Salmon, Chicken Salad, Roasted Veggies, Steak, Cranberry Chicken- things that are easy to pre-prepare in the freezer, throw in the crockpot, in the oven or on the grill. I selected healthy veg side items: roasted brussel sprouts, simple salads, stir-fried veggies and healthy carb sides: quinoa, low GI rice, sweet potatoes, whole grain breads…
Then, I made codes for: if I’m going to make extra of that meal to put in the freezer for later, if it’s already in the freezer and just needs to be pulled out, if we are having guests, eat with friends, out of town, if it’s a holiday and who will be cooking! (It seems to fall mostly on me but it’s just by default b/c he doesn’t seem to be able to do the planning and so I think of meals that I can make easily.. plus, the things he comes up with are not always the healthiest options… like, eggs & hot dogs…??) So, now he’ll be more involved in cooking, too! *evil laugh* *cough* I mean… 🙂
Here’s the prototype (before it transformed into a LIVE creature!)
ANYWAY. This process took a while… measuring, formatting, coming up w/ how many magnets I would need etc. It wasn’t super cheap- it cost around $65 I think, altogether. But I LOVE IT! 🙂 And, I think it will be great when there are kids- they’ll love playing w/ the magnets and it’s a good opportunity to teach about diet, nutrition and meal planning. And, I can recycle these over and over and over and over… you get the picture!! I’m still looking for the ‘perfect box’ to hold my magnets- will have to make a trip to the container store… But I like this one for now.
Several of my friends have already asked for one! I’m working on a smaller version that will fit on a fridge.
I am seriously considering selling these if I can figure out a way to lower costs… probably by buying in bulk… I could sell a set of standard meals or customized magnets. 🙂
Haven’t decided if making a Breakfast/Lunch calendar would be worth it… that seems like a little much… breakfasts are fairly easy to come up with on the fly- shakeology, oatmeal, fruit, a protein bar if you’re in a hurry, eggs… would seem a little silly to plan that. Lunches are another matter, though… But I’m afraid to try to plan too much at once. I usually pack fruit, leftovers from the previous night, throw a salad together in the morning or make a stir-fry if I’m at home… I should probably keep other quick-to-grab items ready… like frozen grilled chicken strips to throw on the salads… That’s a project for another day!
The final product? Well… I can’t share the whole thing b/c I’ve already set it for this month and well.. I don’t like to display when we are out of town on the internet. (I couldn’t wait to start it at the beginning of the month!! lol)
But, here’s a sample:
Oh, and did I mention that it’s COLOR CODED?!?! Ahhh!!! I love it…
Oh my goodness! I have been a WP Slacker! There is so much to post… It gets overwhelming when you have so much to say and don’t know where to begin! So, if you want a full update go stalk my Tumblr or my Facebook (feel free to ‘friend’ me!)
So- where to begin?!
Whew! This is an INTENSE workout! I thought I would be a PRO after doing Turbo Fire but OH NO… not even close! The first time I couldn’t even get through the warmup! (I really stopped like 4 times! By the end of the first month I could USUALLY get through it but not every time. I definitely saw improvement in my Fit Test at the end of month 1:
Switch Kicks: 107 v 113, Power Jacks: 44 v 47, Power Knees: 83 v 94, Power Jumps: 29 v 28, Globe Jumps: 5 v 7 (That is A LOT of Globe Jumps! Those suckers are HARD!), Suicide Jumps: 15 v 18, Push-up Jacks: 20 v 26 (wow!), Low Plank Oblique: 46 v 60. So yeah, definite improvement!! 🙂
But, I haven’t seen significant changes in weight or measurements… but I do suspect that I have greater muscle mass vs. fat. I’m going to invest in a scale that does BF% or one of those hand-held devices that measures it. I’d really like to be able to track that! I believe it is one of the best ways to measure progress along w/ Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, Fitness ability and Heart Rate.
Sadly, I have not been tracking what I eat… which I know has worked against me! Mostly I have been eating clean- not a ton of junk food. Still using Shakeology almost every day and have come to the conclusion after much research (including reading Dr. Weil’s Books- which I highly recommend) that supplementation w/ superfoods, probiotics etc. is essential to establishing and maintaining optimum health.
You just can’t POSSIBLY get all of these nutrients from your diet! You can’t physically eat enough! I can’t even FIND maitake mushrooms to cook for myself- and wouldn’t WANT to eat them every day… If I didn’t use this supplement I would absolutely be using at the very least a probiotic, an adaptogen, a phytonutrient and an antioxidant blend. I know these would cost me $$. So, I’ve come to the conclusion that Shakeo is worth it to me. Also adding flax seed (see previous post). Let’s see… have been eating less: breads, rice, red meat, lunch meats, ice cream, cereal, milk, yogurt, cheese (learning that dairy is not so excellent for you and the good yogurts are actually really high in sugars…. Eating more: quinoa, kale (roasted- YUMMO), sauteed veggies (onions, snap peas, zucchini (love!), peppers, korean sweet potatoes, LOTS of fruit including berries, mangos, bananas, more TEA (excited about this new addition!! Decaf Herbals at night mostly- so far really like STASH’s blueberry the best), and more oatmeal (trying out stone ground). Also eating Clif Bars as a mid-afternoon “on-the-way-home” from work ‘meal’ – trying to get ready to workout & also prevent the craving when I get home – doesn’t always work..
Buuuuutt… in between meals have not been as fabulous and have included such items as: PEANUT BUTTER (especially when I arrive home… and before bed… WHY? I add 1 Tbsp to my Shakeo in the AM which would be OK except then if I have 1 TBSP when I get home & then another before bed I am eating nearly 300 cal/day in PB..), jelly bellies (they were on sale…?), marshmallows (hungry at the store..), rice cakes (on sale.. why did I buy those yesterday?), dog biscuits (Just kidding! Making sure you were reading!), skittles (lunch was gross that day- didn’t have a mint to cover up the taste..) and luigi’s italian ice. Now, I don’t think these things would be so bad BUT I shouldn’t be having them every day… I fool myself into thinking that “This is my ‘treat’ today.” and I usually don’t have more than one (I don’t have skittles & jelly bellies on the same day- for instance.) But, I still shouldn’t be eating a ‘treat’ every day of the week.
What am I doing to try to counter these poor choices? Well…. I learned how to make Shakeology no-bake cookies & peanut butter cup candies! & YUM – YES, YUM!! Using PB2 instead of regular PB- 1/4 the calories, all natural, less sugar & fat, no preservatives & junk! Trying to replace nighttime cravings w/ herbal tea (not quite working just yet…) I need something to ‘chew on’… Any suggestions what I could add to my tea?!? Like… a chewable stick or something?! lol
And yes, I really did make those beautiful candies! They were not nearly as difficult as I thought they would be- I’ve never made candy before. 🙂 I’ve also been carrying fruit with me (mostly apples but also peaches, bananas, cherries or blueberries) Problem: when they are not ripe… 😦 I get very disappointed & discouraged… Hmm should try carrying pears too.. those are pretty tough suckers & not too sensitive to heat… (peaches & other soft fruits can be problematic.)
Ok- That’s enough for this post. I won’t overwhelm you with everything all at once!! 🙂
Very Interesting! Perhaps Saturated Fats are not so bad after all… My husband will be pleased… Of course, you still need to be vigilant about the calorie content (Fat has more calories per gram than carbs or protein.) Protein should also be moderated if you have liver or kidney issues. Avoiding highly processed carbohydrates is the new recommendation since it has been shown to be damaging to blood lipids. Low Glycemic Index foods are still favored. This doesn’t necessarily mean eating more meat, just eating less refined carbs and not worrying quite as much about the gristle in your steak… What are your thoughts?
50 Fitness Facts
- Carbohydrates, protein, fat, and alcohol have 4, 4, 9, and 7 calories per gram respectively.
- It takes a 3500 calorie deficit to lose 1 pound.
- Insulin and growth hormone have an inverse relationship.
- The average person can store 500 grams of glycogen.
- Only fat and protein are essential macronutrients – carbohydrates aren’t.
- Muscle glycogen is about 3 parts water to 1 part glucose.
- You burn more calories during the 23 hours you don’t exercise than the 1 hour you do.
- You don’t need to do cardio to lose weight.
- The fat burning zone does not burn more total fat calories – only a higher percentage of calories from fat.
- You’re never too old to do squats.
- Weight loss is not a physical challenge – it’s a mental one.
- The scale cannot measure body fat percentage.
- You can eat anything you want and still lose weight – but weight doesn’t always equal fat.
- You can’t target fat loss – fat loss is systemic.
- Muscle does not weigh more than fat – it’s just denser than it.
- 0 grams of fat on a label doesn’t always mean there’s no fat in the food product.
- Whole grain bread is still a processed food.
- Eating healthy is not more expensive than a junk food diet.
- You can’t calculate body fat percentage from height and weight alone – you need to physically measure it.
- You can get glucose from both protein and glycerol – not just carbohydrates.
- Just because a box says “whole grain” on it, it doesn’t make it healthy.
- You should never attempt weight loss at the expense of your health.
- Being vegetarian doesn’t just mean you don’t eat meat – it means you follow a plant-based diet.
- Workout times and negative side effects are positively correlated.
- Gym membership prices are negotiable.
- Cooking your food can both lower some nutrient content, and make some more bioavailable.
- There’s a high correlation between the fitness level of the people close to you, and your own physical fitness.
- It’s harder to put on 10 pounds of muscle than it is to lose 10 pounds of fat.
- Once an adult, fat cells can be created, but they cannot be lost – only shrunken.
- Eating at night does not make you fat – overeating does.
- You don’t need to do curls to get good biceps.
- Being skinny does not automatically mean you have a low body fat.
- The perimeter of the grocery store is where 90% of the healthy food is.
- If bad food is in the house, you’ll be more likely to eat it.
- Thyroid hormone output and exercise intensity are positively correlated.
- Healthy levels of testosterone are good for both men and women.
- You don’t need a gym membership to strength train.
- Unless you weigh less than 100 pounds, it’s unlikely you need less than 1000 calories to lose weight.
- Workout intensity is positively correlated with the degree of EPOC – the afterburn effect.
- There are 3 types of skeletal muscle fibers – type I, type II-A, and type II-B.
- 80% of people who begin an exercise program will quit.
- The body has 3 energy systems – ATP-PC, anaerobic glycolysis, and aerobic.
- Strength gains come from muscle hypertrophy and improved muscle fiber recruitment.
- Dehydrating a muscle by 3% can cause a 10% loss of strength.
- The thermic effect of food (TEF) is highest for protein.
- Lactic acid is not the cause of delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
- The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn at rest.
- Direct abdominal exercises are not necessary to get good abs.
- You can lose weight and still gain muscle; likewise, you can also gain weight while still losing fat.
- Consistency and patience are key to long term successful weight loss.
King Charlemagne believed so strongly in the health benefits of flaxseed that he passed laws requiring his subjects to consume it. – WHAAAT?? Wow!
Cancer- Recent studies have suggested that flaxseed may have a protective effect against cancer, particularly breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer. (and likely endometrial cancer)
Cardiovascular – “Lignans in flaxseed have been shown to reduce atherosclerotic plaque buildup by up to 75%,”
Cholesterol – Eating flaxseed daily may help your cholesterol levels, too. Small particles of LDL or “bad” cholesterol in the bloodstream have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
Inflammation – Two components in flaxseed, ALA and lignans, may reduce the inflammation that accompanies certain illnesses (such as Parkinson’s disease and asthma) by helping to block the release of certain pro-inflammatory agents
How to use it – “Ground flaxseed, in general, is a great first choice but there may be specific situations where flax oil or the lignans (taken in amounts naturally found in flaxseed) might be as good,”
How much? – 1-2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed a day is currently the suggested dose
News interview w/ Kathy who lost 120 lbs with P90X and Shakeology! 🙂 One of the greatest things about being part of Team Beachbody is that we see these transformations every day! They are so inspirational! 🙂
H. Pylori and Gastrointestinal Ulcers
Up to 50% of the world population is colonized with Helicobacter Pylori- a bacteria that lives in the gut. The trouble is that this bacteria can overgrow and cause stomach ulcers (which can present as heartburn, acid reflux and other GI upset.) Up to 80% of all ulcers are caused by H. Pylori. The majority of people will never show symptoms. However, these people will always be at risk for developing ulcers- especially as they get older and their immune system does not function as well. This colonization also puts folks at a higher risk of Stomach Cancer.
Many people will never ask their doctor about their symptoms- they figure it’s common to have heartburn and so they will use antacids (tums, zantac, prilosec) indefinitely, treating the symptoms but never resolving the cause of their discomfort. Left untreated, stomach ulcers put you at a higher risk for other problems down the road including Stomach Cancer and GI Bleeds (these can go very bad, very quickly!)
Other people who do ask their MD’s about it may never be tested. Many doctor’s don’t test for H. Pylori (the tests are expensive, some are unpleasant and many MD’s may not realize how common the problem is.) They may mis-diagnose your condition as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) – prescribe Nexium, Prilosec, Protonix or other Rx-strength antacid and the symptoms will resolve but you are still in the same predicament as if you never saw the MD!
If you ARE tested and found to be positive (also a problem because the most common tests are unreliable…) your MD may prescribe a long-term regimen of Antibiotics, GI protectants and Antacids. These regimens are EXPENSIVE and difficult to follow. You may not be able to afford it or may not take it properly which could result in (at best) a failure to cure and (at worst) antibiotic resistance and further illness (including an overgrowth of Clostridium Difficile – a horrible diarrheal infection that is difficult to treat.)
But, there’s great news! Probiotics (specifically Bifidobacterium) may actually Heal ulcers caused by H. Pylori! Why is this such great news- besides the fact that it will eliminate your ulcer and your symptoms? There are several reasons: Probiotics are easy to take (usually only once a day), there is no risk of developing other infections like with the use of antibiotics, they are relatively inexpensive AND they have additional health benefits including: seasonal allergies (YEP), eczema, IBS and others. 🙂
So, what exactly are some of the symptoms of an H. Pylori infection and when should you see a doctor?
Signs & Symptoms
- An ache or burning pain in your abdomen
- Frequent burping
- Weight loss
When to see a doctor
Make an appointment with your doctor if you notice any persistent signs and symptoms that worry you. Seek immediate medical help if you experience:
- Severe or persistent abdominal pain
- Difficulty swallowing
- Bloody or black tarry stools
- Bloody or black vomit or vomit that looks like coffee grounds
Bifidobacterium Study Abstract:
Helicobacter pylori is considered one of the major risk factors underlying the development of gastritis and gastric and duodenal ulcers. Moreover, 50% of the population carries this bacterium, and consequently, when it is detected, eradication of H. pylori is strongly recommended. Regarding the use of probiotics as functional agents, several studies have shown that there is a direct relationship between the addition of certain probiotic bacteria and in vitro inhibition of H. pylori; however, in vivo studies showing bifidobacterial activity against H. pyloriremain scarce. In this study, a Bifidobacterium bifidum strain which proved activein vitro against H. pylori has been isolated, with inhibition levels reaching 81.94% in the case of the supernatant and even 94.77% inhibition for supernatant purified by cationic exchange followed by an inverse phase. In vivo studies using a BALB/c mouse model have proved that this strain partially relieves damage to gastric tissues caused by the pathogen and also decreases the H. pylori pathogenicity ratio. This novel strain fulfills the main properties required of a probiotic (resistance to gastrointestinal juices, biliary salts, NaCl, and low pH; adhesion to intestinal mucus; and sensitivity to antibiotics). Furthermore, the absence of undesirable metabolites has been demonstrated, and its food safety status has been confirmed by acute ingestion studies in mice. In summary, the results presented here demonstrate that Bifidobacterium bifidum CECT 7366 can be considered a probiotic able to inhibit H. pylori both in vitro and in vivo.
Have you read this book? Thoughts?
Let me tell you about my friend, Carissa. She’s one of my best friends from undergrad- back in the days before pharmacy when my life consisted of conjugating French verbs and watching Italian films… She has since found her way into a career in the music industry- working with artists of all sorts and organizing festivals and other exciting things like attending the Queen of England’s Diamond Jubilee..
So, she’s fabulous. I truly admire her. She works hard and I am so proud of all that she has accomplished.
Her birthday was this past Monday. Fortunately, I was in town and was excited to be able to spend the evening with her and some friends. We had a great time. But… I did feel a little out of place. Her friends are also in the entertainment industry. The conversation topics were: music videos, music, photography (Oh yeah, Carissa is also an AMAZING photographer…), art, dance… My standy-by conversation starters “So, I saw a leg amputation last week…” and “I was working on a Medication Not Given report…” or even “I went to a Shaun T workout…” just didn’t seem appropriate…
There was dancing (I don’t know the last time I saw people dancing… My first thought was “Disinhibition” as a side effect of a paralytic agent…). There was impromptu live music and there was fire spinning… All things that are outside of the realms of “pharma” and “fitness.” I thought to myself, “Wow. I am really dull. I need more art in my life. I’m not sure I even know what fun is anymore…”
So, you might have expected that the next day I would be searching the internet for creative inspiration- uncovering unique art and music and trying to learn bellydance…
But no, the next day, I was researching herbal medicine! Scouring the internet for classes, resources and Continuing Education opportunities… I had completely forgotten that I was supposed to be on an artistic quest as I excitedly texted my fellow pharmacist friend, “I just found some great CE’s on the NCCAM website!!” and spent a fascinating hour and a half on the phone with another pharmacist comparing notes about Medication Therapy Management. And yes, these activities got my heart pumping, gave me goosebumps at times and I even experienced shortness of breath due to my excitement…
After a full day of pharmacy-related adventures I killed myself doing Insanity with my mom – went to bed, exhausted and happy… and didn’t bellydance once.