Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Organization: How it Can Improve Your Health!

Life is busy!  I once sat down and named all the "job descriptions" that I filled on a daily basis.  Included on the list were:  nurse, chef, teacher, personal trainer, grocery shopper, laundress, taxi driver, psychiatrist, cheerleader, maid- to name a few.  Without organization, my health would be on the decline.  I know this may not be making sense, but stay with me on this and keep reading.  I schedule my exercise each day to make sure it happens.  I discovered a time that works best for me and that's when I do it.  It is a priority enough to me that it makes it on my daily schedule.  On previous blog posts I have listed all the benefits of exercising and there are a lot of them!  In order for me to be able to do all my "jobs" on a daily basis, I have to set a little time aside for myself  to exercise, if not, I may not have the energy to get done everything I need to get done.  And, I know that if I didn't schedule my exercise, the day would get away from me and before I knew it, it would be time to go to bed.

 I apply those same organizational skills to my eating. Obviously, we are all busy and we have those days where we are running out the door going from place to place and forgetting to eat.  Then, we realize how hungry we are and what usually happens is we stop somewhere for fast food or an unhealthy snack.  I have everything I need to do on a schedule so that I can see if we have to be out of the house during mealtimes or if I can avoid it.  I do a meal plan each week, so that when it hits 5pm, I know what I am going to make for dinner so I don't end up ordering pizza.  My meal plan also helps me save money at the grocery store because I know exactly what I need to buy instead of just throwing things in my shopping cart.  Eating healthy can be a little bit more costly, so every penny saved helps.  I try to have healthy snacks made up ahead of time, so we aren't reaching for something that's not unhealthy (I try not to keep that in the house anyway, so the temptation is not there).  I can look at my schedule and see which day I can set aside to do my bread baking and snack making.  Now, I am all about special occasions and not denying yourself treats- but until you learn how to do that in moderation, just stay away from it!  I can look back at my week and see how my schedule has kept my family on a healthy track with exercise and meals.  We live in such a fast paced society, where we are constantly on the go that without a schedule of some sorts, we start living an unhealthy lifestyle and start making bad food choices because we are so hungry we just have to have something to eat.

So, I would encourage you to set up some type of schedule for yourself and start meal planning to help you meet your health and fitness goals.  Happy planning!!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Benefits of Eating Grass-fed Beef

Mmmm- nothing beats a big, juicy, grass-fed beef hamburger!!!  And, you are probably thinking: "I can't believe she would eat all those calories and fat!!!"  Well, lower fat content and fewer calories are just a couple of the benefits of eating grass-fed beef.  All cows used to be grass-fed until the small farmer got taken over by big, money making corporations.  They wanted the cows to grow bigger and faster so that they could make more money quicker.  God designed cows with a stomach that has 4 compartments so they could properly eat and digest grass.  They were not made to eat corn, but it was discovered that feeding them corn, would fatten them up faster and give the steaks that marbled look.  Corn actually has one of the highest rates of e.coli, which is why cows that are corn fed get put on antibiotics- to fight the bacteria.  Then, on top of that, they are given hormones to make them grow faster- for cows used for meat, and to produce more milk- for dairy cows.  All of this is unnatural!!!!  In fact, there is growing evidence linking the hormone given to cows, rBGH or rBST, to breast cancer in women.  Yes, cows naturally produce hormones just like humans do, but, the hormones they give cows are genetically engineered- not natural.  So, along with fewer grams of fat and calories, grass-fed beef also has a natural presence of ALA- alpha linolenic acid, the omega-3 fatty acid that serves as the building block for all other omega-3 fats. Research has shown that omega-3 fats help to protect against high blood pressure and heart attack.  Grass-fed beef also contains CLA- conjugated linoleic acid.  Research has found that the benefits of CLA include: a reduction in cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and triglycerides, osteoporosis, insulin resistance, inflammation, food-induced allergic reactions, and body fat.  Yes, that last one was:  a reduction in body fat!!!  Researchers are also seeing a reduction in the size of cancer tumors.

We have heard all about the dangers of eating too much red meat, but, that only applies to corn fed beef.  Eating grass-fed beef is very healthy for you.  I would encourage you to use the computer to find local farmers in your area where you could purchase grass-fed beef.

Now, go grill up a big, fat, juicy grass-fed burger!!! Enjoy!!

Friday, February 3, 2012

February's Challenge!!!

So, did you complete January's goal of removing high fructose corn syrup from your home?  I hope you found that you could find plenty of things to eat that did not contain the harmful chemical.  We're doing these monthly goals to try and help you weed the bad things out of your diet without the stress and anxiety of doing it all at once.  This month's goal is going to be:  remove all dyes from your diet.  This includes any dye you see on the ingredients list of a package such as yellow #4 or red #40 (not sure if those numbers go with those colors or not- I don't have any in my house to check!!), but, you get the idea.  You will be surprised as to what foods really do contain these chemicals.  Foods like pickles!!!  They actually put yellow dye in pickles.  I don't understand why, because the pickles I eat, which come from Earth Fare in the packaged meat section, taste delicious and look great.  No need for dyes!!!

How is your exercise goal, which for the month of January was to exercise at least 5 days a week for 20 minutes?  I hope you have found ways to get active.  We started slow so that you didn't do too much too fast.  So, for the month of February let's bump that up to 5 days a week for at least 40 minutes.  You can split that between cardio and weight training.  I would suggest combining the two, such as:  do a set of bicep curls and in between sets jump rope or do pushups to exhaustion, then do another set of biceps.  Do three sets of each.  You could also do a set of biceps and in between those sets do squats.  This way you are working your upper body and your lower body and doing them without resting you are super setting, which is a great way to get your heart rate up and burn lots of calories. Be creative!!!  A great way to get started is to hire a personal trainer for a few sessions to be able to learn more about ways to work each muscle group, or attend a boot camp.  Take advantage of the internet and find exercises on there.  Many sites give very specific instructions so that you don't hurt yourself.  Always remember to protect your back by not locking your knees and no jerky or flinging motions with weights in your hands- this will protect your joints.  Use slow and controlled movements.

How important is your health to you?  Remember, exercising is more than just losing weight.  It's about decreasing your chances of a heart attack, stroke, type II diabetes, osteoporosis, and cancer, lowering your blood pressure and stabilizing your blood sugar levels, decreasing stress and anxiety, improving your balance and flexibility, and improving your muscle strength.

Happy exercising!!!