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Sweet on You – The Scoop on Natural Sweeteners

By now you likely know how detrimental highly processed, granulated white sugar is to your health. If you need a refresher, here are some of the many ways white sugar wreaks havoc on your biochemistry, courtesy of UCSF’s Dr. Robert Lustig, a crusader against sugar and author of Fat Chance:

  • Sugar contributes to obesity
  • Sugar contributes to insulin resistance and diabetes
  • Sugar is addictive and toxic
  • Sugar makes you want to eat more—and move less!

If sugar is this harmful, it makes good sense to minimize or eliminate it altogether. But some occasions just call for a sweet treat! In those instances, you CAN have your cake and eat it too—with these 5 sweet, all-natural alternatives:

1. Honey

Raw honey has myriad health-promoting qualities. It contains natural antioxidants, although the quantity does vary across varieties (buckwheat honey reportedly delivers the most). Honey is also chock-full of enzymes, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Note that baking with raw honey will destroy many of the nutrients in honey. If you want to use it to flavor your tea or coffee, wait until your beverage has cooled enough to drink.

Sugar substitute: In dressings, and slaws; warm beverages 

2. Blackstrap Molasses

Blackstrap molasses is a sweetener that is actually good for you—it’s high in antioxidants and several health-promoting trace minerals that are difficult to find in other foods, such as: iron, calcium, copper, manganese, potassium, and magnesium. Opt for unsulphured blackstrap molasses as it doesn’t contain the processing chemical to which some people are sensitive. Unsulphured means it’ll have a cleaner and more clarified taste.

Sugar substitute: Use in place of brown sugar or when you want to impart a slightly smoky flavor. Great in baked beans and gingerbread.

 3. Coconut Sugar

Proponents argue coconut sugar tends to be less refined than granulated sugar; they say it also contains minerals like magnesium, potassium zinc and iron. In addition, coconut sugar has been touted to have a lower glycemic index than the uber-refined white stuff, which means that it can cause a less dramatic spike in blood sugar. Since studies on this sugar are largely unavailable, you need to take these claims with a grain of salt. As always, moderation is key!

Sugar substitute: Can be used as a 1:1 substitute for sugar in baking and cooking. You can also find it in syrup form; in that case, adjust your measurement in baking to ¾ cup for 1 cup sugar, reduce liquid by 2 tbsp for each cup and reduce cooking temperature by 25ºF.

4. Date Sugar

This may be the rock star of the group. Made from ground dates, this sweetener delivers all the nutrients in dates, including potassium and calcium—and is similar in healthful polyphenols as green tea! But that’s just part of the story: Date sugar is also low in calories, helpful for constipation and makes you feel full longer. Look for varieties that have one ingredient only.

Sugar substitute: Yummy in bars and cookies, substitute this way: for every one cup of sugar, use 2/3 cup of date sugar.

5. Stevia

Derived from a plant with sweet leaves, it doesn’t get much more natural than this. The glycosides in the leaves of the Stevia Rebaudiana plant account for its incredible sweetness.

Stevia is calorie-free, and the powdered concentrate is 300 times sweeter than sugar. Stevia is widely used all over the world and is becoming more commonly found in the U.S. Stevia can help keep blood sugar levels in check and despite being very sweet, it doesn’t contribute to cavities.

Sugar substitute: A little stevia goes a LONG way. A fraction of the amount and you’ll have ample sweetness. You can even grow your own!

Above all, for optimal health, try to keep your sugar consumption down to 15-25 grams per day. This means you may have to stop at one cookie, but it doesn’t mean you need to cut out all of the sweetness from your life.

This article came from the Sprouted Content wellness article library. The library’s mission is to help holistic practitioners SAVE TIME and GAIN CLIENTS. By providing more than 100 high-quality done-for-you articles that can be dropped into newsletters, blogs, video scripts, or e-books, Sprouted Content makes practitioners’ marketing effort much easier, which means they’ll feel less stress as they grow their practices. Go to www.sproutedcontent.com to learn more and take advantage of a special 10% off coupon – just enter coupon code: SAVETIME at checkout.

Nutella Granola Bars

The following recipe is sweetened only with fruit – no sugar is needed. Even if you do opt to use sugar in yours, the amount will be much less than is found in most store-bought bars (and no high fructose corn syrup!).

They are perfect for a lunchbox and are also great for on-the-go snacking, and you can easily freeze leftovers for up to 2 months.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup applesauce or mashed banana (120g)
  • 1/4 cup chocolate hazelnut spread or Homemade Healthy Nutella (60g)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract (4g)
  • packed 1/3 cup dried dates (55g)
  • 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts (35g)
  • 1/2 cup puffed wheat or puffed rice (9g)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (45g)
  • 1/8 tsp plus 1/16 tsp salt
  • pinch pure stevia, or 1 1/2 tbsp sugar of choice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 F and line an 8-in square baking pan with parchment paper. In a bowl, stir together the applesauce and chocolate hazelnut spread until smooth. Stir in the vanilla, then set the bowl aside. In a food processor, combine the dried fruit and hazelnuts until they form fine crumbles. Pour into a large mixing bowl and stir together with all remaining dry ingredients. Add the nutella mixture and stir until evenly combined, then smooth into the prepared baking pan and cover with another sheet of parchment paper. Press down VERY firmly. Bake 26 minutes, then allow to cool 10 minutes before slicing into bars. Frost with more chocolate hazelnut spread if desired.

Recipe compliments of chocolatecoveredkatie.

Jet Lag Cures – 7 Rules for Just Saying No to Jet Lag

Who wants to get to this beach and feel like a disoriented, constipated grump-head?

Travel does not have to take all of the stuffing out of you.

There are a few basic travel-savvy jet lag cures and strategies that can keep you feeling more like a functional human and less like a depleted drone. It is all about circadian rhythms and, in my experience, a little self-trickery.

My husband for example, keeps his watch at the old time zone and checks in with himself (and me though I try to shut him down) to see where he would have been and compare it to where he is.

I say be here now and ignore that old reality as though your life depends upon it!

Also:  Read this for some great summer travel ideas from Indagare, the online luxe travel resource.

And Now for the Jet Lag Cure List:

1.  Stay Hydrated. Drink drink drink. Two days pre-flight and during, sip hot water. Never alcohol and less coffee which can act as a diuretic. Add an Emergen-C packet to your room temp water.

2. Pre-Set:  Start to jiggle your schedule towards a sleep schedule closer to your destination in the week before travel.

3. Re-Set the Circadian rhythms:  Try Melatonin at least 3 days pre-travel – 10mg 20 minutes before sleep time. During your trip and once you’ve returned. Try homeopathic tablets (like Jet-Zone) in flight.

4. In-Flight Rules:

  • Lots of water and no alcohol.
  • Do deep breathing exercises periodically to keep the oxygen flowing. Check out this Well-Snap.
  • Get up and stretch:  do lunges in the aisle, side stretches, reach for the sky/reach for the toes. Alternate leg lifts. Shoulder rolls front and back. The staff and passengers will look at you oddly but ignore them!
  • Self massage the arms, legs shoulders and neck to keep circulatory system active. Use a lavender scented oil on feet (cover with socks) and neck.
  • Place a few drops of Nasya Oil on tip of pinky and insert into each nostril and ear canal to moisturize and keep bacteria from settling in on dried out passages.
  • Use Rosewater Saline Drops as often as you like to moisten and cool the eyes.
  • Spritz a Farmaesthetics facial tonic waters like rosewater on the face and neck to hydrate skin, follow with Tri-doshic Facial Oil or try the Tammy Fender Anti-Aging kit which has everything you need for travel and is super hydrating.

5. Eat Bananas! They are packed with melatonin, seratonin and magnesium.

6. The Elixir:  Take Travel Well Elixir drops to ease exhaustion, digestive issues and constipation and other disorienting effects of schedule and food changes.

7. Be on your new Time Zone and Move It, Move It: When you land get on your new schedule right away. Avoid that nap and stay exposed to natural sunlight. Get some exercise (a leisurely walk, swim in the sea, gentle flow yoga keeping your gaze down ward to promote grounding) and get a massage. I take my travel yoga mat everywhere I travel because it fits easily even when all I have is carry-0n and keeps me motivated on my very own little piece of home.

Here is a gross note that means keep washing your hands in flight:  A new study performed at Auburn University in conjunction with the FAA says that bacteria can stay alive and continue to be infectious for more than a week on the arm rests, seat pockets, seats and bathroom doors of commercial aircrafts. The dry air is said to contribute to their extra-long life on airplanes. Use Purell, wash with soap!

Post courtesy of LAH Life.

Lisa Hedley is a dedicated student of ways to harmonize and align body, mind and spirit in the context of a busy, contemporary life. A long-time student of yoga practices and its literature including Sanskrit, Hedley is a Certified Holistic Health Practitioner, professional member of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA), a graduate of the Kripalu School of Ayurveda as an Ayurvedic Practitioner and Yoga Specialist, a Yoga Alliance certified yoga professional, and is a Master’s Degree candidate in Social Work from New York University. Hedley previously practiced law with a special interest in Medical Ethics and holds her Juris Doctorate from the New York University School of Law.

Hedley sees clients privately in Florida, Connecticut, New York and via Skype and sees patients at a clinic for traumatic brain injury and neurogenic conditions in New York City. She also hosts a weekly regional NPR Radio show (WHDD 91.9FM), Strategies for Dealing with Stress, where she offers insights, tools and strategies for balancing the need for harmony with busy modern lives. Visit Lisa’s personal website and blog at www.lahlife.com.

 

Three Fever Myths Every Parent Must Know

When your child is sick and uncomfortable with a fever, your natural instinct is to make him or her feel better. But, did you know that some of the most common therapeutics for fever can actually sideline recovery?

First, let’s understand what goes on in fever. Fever is the body’s normal response to invasion by bacteria or viruses. Animals will sit in the sun when sick, and fish will swim in warmer water. The ability to mount a strong fever is a good sign. It’s actually the person who hasn’t been sick for the past ten years that we worry about; he or she may not be [I recommend “he or she” throughout, as you did at the start with “him or her”] healthy enough to mount a strong fever. The common cold virus (rhinovirus) can live only at the temperature of the nose. That’s why it can’t invade further into the body–it’s too hot. The simple process of heating the body kills germs. Fevers also cause the body to be achy (so you’ll stay put and rest) and have a diminished appetite.

MYTH #1: When sick with fever, it’s important to keep your strength by eating, even if you’re not hungry.

TRUTH: Animals don’t eat when they’re sick. Why? If the body has to send blood to the stomach, there is less focus on attacking the virus or bacteria. Also, bacteria need iron to replicate, so eating may feed them as well. If you see that your child is feeling somewhat better, but perhaps still slightly feverish, and you feed him, you may see the fever and illness return that night. Once you feed an almost better family member, only to see the infection return, you will not make that mistake again! Restricting food for one more night gives the body a chance to finish the job. If you want to shorten the duration of illness, never feed someone until the fever is below 99.6F AND the person is hungry.

MYTH #2: High fevers may cause seizures or brain damage, and these can be devastating.

TRUTH: Hyperthermia from sunstroke can cause coma or delirium. This is very different from a fever, which is a normal response to infection. There have been no studies linking high fevers with any permanent damage. While it is true that 2-4% of children may develop simple febrile seizures, these seizures, though scary, have no long-term effects and do not increase the likelihood of seizure disorders (epilepsy). In fact, even temperatures of 107.6F do not cause any brain injury. If the sick person is not made to eat, the fever shouldn’t need to go that high anyway. Yet, parents of children who have had febrile seizures are often told to strictly control their child’s fevers in the future. However, we have no studies showing that this actually reduces seizures from fevers, which, as mentioned, don’t have long-term effects anyway. By reducing the fever, though, the child will have decreased ability to fight the infection and an altered immune system (See below). Not surprisingly, it’s been shown that giving the fever reducer ibuprofen to a child with an ear infection doubles the duration of the illness.

MYTH #3: Acetaminophen (commonly sold as Tylenol) is safe during fevers or when used to prevent fevers commonly associated with vaccinations.

TRUTH: Acetaminophen lowers fever by stopping some of the normal pathways associated with feverish diseases, and it also stops some of the normal immune functioning. Recent research published in the British journal Lancet revealed that children who received this drug with vaccinations had their immune system so affected by the drug that they had lower levels of immunity to the vaccinated diseases than children who didn’t receive the drug. When your child is sick with a bacteria or virus, or is getting vaccinated, the last thing you want to do is lower his immunity. Additionally, the risk for side effects increases when a child is sick due to dehydration and undernutrition. Acetaminophen toxicity is the leading cause of liver failure in the US, and it likely causes this by decreasing essential antioxidants needed by the liver (and the brain).

To put things in perspective, acetaminophen replaced aspirin in the 1980s in the US as the drug of choice for febrile children. There were two scares of contaminated acetaminophen during that decade, which decreased its consumption. In the 1980s, significant increases in the rates of asthma, ADD, and autism occurred. However, during the drug scares just mentioned, decreases in rates of these conditions were noted, while increases paralleled its use during the other years.

To more adequately observe the risks of acetaminophen, let’s compare our US practices to a country where this drug is rarely used. Although economically challenged, universal healthcare is readily available in Cuba, and vaccination rates are extremely high. Yet, the incidence of autism is a fraction of ours (300 times less). In Cuba, drugs are not given to prevent fevers that occur with vaccinations. In Cuba, acetaminophen is a prescription drug.

Babies (and unborn babies) have a decreased ability to process drugs. Moms who took this drug in pregnancy also had higher rates of asthma in their children. Currently 35% of pregnant women take acetaminophen.

What’s a parent to do? If you want to help your child recover quickly from illness, supporting rather than suppressing the fever is the answer. Keep your child comfortable with cool compresses to the forehead and plenty of clear, no-sugar beverages and fresh soup broths. Sugar decreases the function of the immune system by half for 5-7 hours, so never give soda to a sick child. Be sure to keep him warm if he’s chilly. The correct homeopathic remedy can support the immune system and optimize the fever, helping the fever be stronger or more effective for a shorter period of time. Let his body do the tough work of destroying the bacteria quickly, so he can be back to feeling like himself sooner.

For references and links, please visit www.drlachman.com.

Dr. Lachman uses natural remedies for healing. A Naturopathic doctor in Bucks County, PA, Dr. Lachman is devoted to restoring your health naturally. Her medical training occurred at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Phoenix, AZ. This 4-year program includes basic medical sciences, as well as drug therapy, botanical medicine, homeopathic medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

As a naturopathic doctor, Dr. Lachman has helped decrease the pain of arthritis, reversed depression and helped women normalize their hormones. Naturopathic doctors can help patients even if they’ve been told, “You have to live with the pain,” “Drugs are your only option” or “There’s nothing more that can be done.” Naturopathic doctors are experts in complex cases. Visit her personal website HERE.

5 Reasons Kids Should Try Acupuncture

“You treat children?” I’m often asked this question by patients and others thinking about trying acupuncture. They are surprised that yes indeed acupuncture is used on children, in fact about 150,000 children in the US experienced acupuncture in 2007, according to the most recent large study of use of acupuncture.

“But doesn’t it hurt them?” This is often the next question. In my experience, treating children from newborns to young adulthood, the experience is not painful. The children are interested, they ask questions and they tell all of their friends about it. Results of a recent study revealed that 67% of patients and 60% of parents describe acupuncture experiences as positive or pleasant.

My practice is focused on fertility and pregnancy issues, so I often continue care by seeing my patients’ newborns. Another part of my practice is pain management. It’s through educating my adult patients about how I may be able to help their children for their pain like sport injuries that I see older children since 70% of patients and 59% of parents reported the treatment was helpful in alleviating pain. I’ve listed here the most common conditions I treat for kids.

1.  Allergies:  Running nose, headaches, post-nasal drip. How can we expect even the most dedicated young students to focus in school during seasonal allergies? Acupuncture works to open the nasal passages and reduce hayfever symptoms. A recent study of 72 children received acupuncture over 8 weeks. During the following three months, these children reported a reduction in rhinitis and more symptom-free days then the control group, which did not receive acupuncture. Food allergies may also be positively effected with acupuncture. Digestive issues of all kinds, from constipation to diarrhea, can be relieved with acupuncture and herbs.

2.  Hormone Changes:  During puberty is often when I meet my adult patient’s daughters for the first time, as they are looking for an alternative for painful periods. Acupuncture can be a wonderful solution and has been used to regulate the menses and reduce cramping for thousands of years.  Often western medicine’s solution to irregular and painful menses is oral contraception. With side effects of headaches, acne, weight gain, breast tenderness and serious long-term possible effects of blood clots, breast and liver cancers, strokes and heart attacks, surely we can look at natural alternatives for our young daughters. By moving the energy, or qi, in the body, young women often respond quickly and positively to acupuncture.

3.  Chronic Pain:  Pain is the number one reason adults try acupuncture. Why should it be any different for young people? Well-documented studies have proven over and over the effects of acupuncture in reduction of pain. Most studies translate this effect to the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkiller, along with an increase in blood circulation and reduction in muscle tension. In a recent study, almost half the participants experienced a 50% reduction in current pain ratings after acupuncture. There was also a significant increase in functioning according to both child and parents’ reports, and a reduction in pain during physical activity and activities with friends. Over 140 hospitals in the US are using acupuncture for children. Common conditions treated include cancer pain, fibromyalgia, headaches, migraines, neuropathic pain, muscle pain and rheumatologic conditions.

4.   Teething Pain:  I asked myself during my own children’s teething pain, “why can’t we just be born with teeth already grown?” The experience of watching our little ones in pain is intense. We’ll try anything from teething necklaces, homeopathic remedies, even whiskey to help them, but how about a gentle insertion of an acupuncture needle? Small, pediatric needles can be quickly inserted and removed along the stomach meridian to expel heat, which is inflammation and pain in the gums. I’ve watched children go from red faced and screaming to calm and relaxed by utilizing acupuncture for teething pain.

5.  Ear Infections:  When a physician friend of mine came desperate for help for her two year old for an ear infection, I knew acupuncture was the last resort. This small child had incurred numerous ear infections and rounds of antibiotics and the ENT doctors had suggested surgery. Using acupuncture and moxibustion, a technique using a burning herb (mugwort) to warm the ear, two treatments were able to drain the dampness and fluids from his ears and allow the surgeons to withdraw their surgical recommendation. Now the happy two-year old comes to our office at first signs of an infection for the “warming stick” which he says “tickles a bit.”

This is a short list of the conditions I currently see in my practice and by no means a complete list of pediatric conditions acupuncture can treat.  ADD/ADHD, autism, cystic fibrosis, and asthma are another few conditions currently being studied for pediatrics. Consult a licensed acupuncturist in your area to have your young loved ones treated with natural medicine.

Kerry Boyle Jenni is a nationally board certified and licensed acupuncturist in private practice in Montpelier, Vermont.  Kerry’s practice, Integrative Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, is in affiliation with their local hospital, Central Vermont Medical Center and treats patients of all ages.  Kerry is a mom of two young boys who have both experienced lots of acupuncture!  Connect with Kerry at www.integrativeaom.com and www.facebook.com/integrativeaom.

 

Healthy Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

Lately I have been craving some of the recipes from my childhood. Casseroles were a dinnertime staple, but many were made with the not-so-healthy cream of mushroom soup. This recipe is a healthier version of one of my favorite chicken and wild rice dishes. Easy to make and absolutely delicious, it’s sure to become one of your new favorites too.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 pound chicken breasts (about 2), boneless, skinless, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (plus additional for sprinkling on top)
  • 3 cups cooked wild rice (i cooked 1 cup uncooked wild rice in 4 cups water for 50 minutes)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Place 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat and cook the onions for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the mushrooms, season with 1/2 tsp of salt and cook another 4 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender and the onions are translucent.
  4. Remove the mushroom mixture and place in a bowl.
  5. Heat 1 tsp of oil in the sauté pan and cook the chicken, garlic powder and remaining 1/2 tsp of salt for 3 minutes or until cooked through.
  6. Combine all the ingredients together, place in an 8 x 8 inch baking dish and sprinkle with additional shredded cheese.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes.
  8. Serve.

Recipe compliments of weelicious.com.

Why You Should Be Foam Rolling

Negligence Leads to Injury

What you don’t know about your body probably will hurt you. You should know your body better than any doctor you ever see for it.  The problem is that most people don’t know how to be the healthiest versions of themselves. In six years of working with well over a hundred people, I’ve never met anyone who had one solid incident that led to an injury unless it was an accident. There is rarely one thing that causes an injury because the body is naturally resilient if it is getting the attention and maintenance it deserves. Injuries typically happen due to:

  1. inflexibility
  2. stress on the joints due to overactive muscles
  3. an accident or injury from movement

This image is an example of why you need to foam roll. You can’t stretch a muscle to its full length of the muscle fibers if it has adhesions in it. Adhesions are what inadvertently lead to injuries as seen below. Adhesions are like knots in your back, only super small and they typically exist in the fascia (or muscle tissue) keeping you from having full range of motion of that muscle tightness.

Hands down, the number one reason why so many people have injuries is due to negligence of all three. Unfortunately, there is no real education for how to correctly live one’s life in a physically healthy state. In an ideal world, Physical Education in school would be to teach kids how to properly take care of their bodies via nutrition, exercise, foam rolling and stretching. As adults, the understanding is simply to exercise and eat right. Perhaps we are too impatient and are always looking for a quick fix. We live in a society that deals more with killing the pain than preventing it.

SPRING ACTION POINTS

Health really does come down to balance. Knowing your limits, physically and mentally, is essential to being the healthiest version of yourself. 

Pain and inflammation happen more readily as the body starts to age. Hydration is diminished. Collagen fades and joints start creaking. The body starts to age as the boing starts to fade. One day you’ll be moving a piece of furniture, bend over to pick up something or take a misstep and your back gives out, you can’t get back up or you’ve twisted your ankle. But none of these things are going to happen to you if you’re foam rolling, stretching and balance training regularly. It just won’t. This is why we train and this is why paying attention to your body is worth the time.

Whenever I start to work with new clients I get to see the quick results that people discover from foam rolling, consistent exercise and a change in their eating habits. I get to see that tweaking one’s lifestyle (just a little) creates vast amounts of healthy change, improvement of moods, daily energy and a general sense of “I feel better.”

It’s still so amazing to me that just a few remedies exercised throughout the week can make such a drastic difference. So here they are:

1.) FOAM ROLL 3-5x a week. I foam roll (and have my clients foam roll before every workout). Check out one of our earlier blogs on stretching and foam rolling called Tight Hips Can Cause Lower Back Pain. Check out M.E.L.T for specifics on foam rolling (as seen on the Dr. Oz show). Foam rolling is for self-myofascial release. It is a technique performed with a foam roller to release adhesions in the muscle and connective tissues. Just as you have knots in your back, you probably also have them all throughout your body. These adhesions consist of liquid and toxins. You want to hold each sore spot (there might be countless adhesions in any one area) for 30 seconds. Try foam rolling your calves, gluts, IT band, quads and lats.

2.) GO TO YOGA so that you have a regular flexibility program in place at least once a week. Yoga will give you better range of motion. (Or stretch the tightest muscles on your body right after foam rolling).

3.) STAY FOCUSED on what your body needs….if you have pain in a certain area, address it. Ask your yoga instructor or other fitness professional how to properly foam roll! We have shown countless people how to have zero knee and back pain just by demonstrating to them how to properly and consistently foam roll and activate weak muscles.

With a background in dance and yoga, Mindy Berla views strength training as the ultimate method for sculpting the body. Mindy considers herself a “BODY COACH” because she believes that the key to living a healthy and balanced life starts with the body. Our bodies are a manifestation of our minds. To sharpen the mind, we must learn how to better communicate with our physical selves. Mindy has trained over 100 clients in NYC and the SF Bay Area. Mindy excels at helping her clients successfully achieve weight loss and keep it off by learning how to maintain a healthy lifestyle via nutrition. Fitness certifications include NASM-CPT, CES, TRX and Pilates Academy International. Mindy is a Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant from Bauman College in Berkeley and created and produced iPhone app Pregnant and FIT!  which has reached over 3,000 sales. Mindy Berla specializes in nutritional weight loss, digestive issues and back and knee pain.

Learn to Love Your Early Morning Workout

So maybe you’re really not a morning person, 8 or 9am is a big enough push already and the idea of getting up at 6 or 7am is right up there on the list with bellyflopping off the high dive. Maybe the motivation isn’t there right off the bat, but why not give it a try for a few weeks. I promise you that after your early workout you will feel a heck of a lot better than when you woke up. You will feel more energized, be more productive and overall be in a better mood for your whole day. Working out early is a great way to relieve stress and start your day off on the right foot. Here are a few tips I use to make the waking up and working out a little easier.

1. Pack your things before you go to bed 

For me, getting things ready the night before is a MUST! I pack my workout bag, make my lunch and snacks, fill up my water bottle and set out my clothes the night before. That way when the alarm goes off I can just roll out of bed and get dressed with as little thinking as possible. My brain is definitely still asleep first thing in the morning!

2. Eat something!

I always eat something to kickstart my metabolism, even if it’s just a shake or a piece of fruit or half a bar. It’s like turning the lights on in the house and it’s so much easier to get going when your not stumbling around in the dark. Your body has been in a fasted state for the past 8 hours or so it’s good to have at least a little fuel in the tank and then you can have a good breakfast after your workout.

3. Get moving!

I try and get myself out of the house as quick as possible! Wandering around the house in a mild stupor never helps my motivation.

Once I start my workout, I’m in it for the long run. Even if I’m lagging a little at the start, it only takes a bit for the blood to start pumping. Without fail, I finish my workout in totally different mood than when I started. By the end of then workout, even if I’m physically exhausted, I mentally feel great! I’m energized and refreshed, the light bulb in my brain is turned on and I actually feel motivated to start my day! And it’s not even 9am! Yew!

We have all heard that exercising generates endorphins which in turn make you feel good. So if you start your day with a workout you are going to be in a better mood for the rest of your day. This not only benefits you, but everyone else that’s around you!

So maybe start small, walk or ride your bike to go get a smoothie, progress to a short run, work it up to a solid workout. You never know until you try. Maybe your motivation and positive energy will inspire somebody else! And who who knows, we can all make the world a happier place!

See you bright and early!

Written by Bianca Simonetti of EZIA.

EZIA was co-founded in 2009 by Isaiah Truyman and Jason Waiton to help people achieve elite performance in all aspects of their life. Their portfolio includes EZIA Performance Labs, EZIA Mobile, and EZIA Corporate Wellness. Their Programs inspire and infect the champion in everyone.

EZIA trains and rehabilitates people at all ability levels from beginner to advanced. Their ESP Program was built on a foundation of training professional athletes. Today, they apply the same proven, scientific methods to all their members. EZIA’s athletic training team of experts includes Performance Coaches, Physical Therapists, Nutritionists and tech geeks. Together, they’ve created a family of services that personalizes the holistic approach used with Olympic-level athletes for any level of fitness and athletic performance. Visit their website HERE.

Watermelon Limeade

Blending chunks of watermelon and giving it a quick strain through cheesecloth yields a sweet liquid that is a perfect foil for tart lime juice. It’s normal for the watermelon juice to separate a bit in the fridge, but that’s nothing a quick stir won’t fix.

Photo: Autumn Giles

Ingredients:

  • Flesh of a 5-pound watermelon, cubed, seeds removed
  • 1/4 cup lime juice, from 3 to 4 limes
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar

Directions:

In two batches, pulse the watermelon cubes in a blender just until it looks like a chunky sauce, about 10 to 12 short pulses. Transfer pulp to a colander lined with cheesecloth set over a large pot, stirring occasionally until most of the liquid has dripped through. Transfer 3 1/2 cups of liquid to a large pitcher and reserve remainder for another use. Add lime juice and agave nectar to pitcher and stir to combine. Refrigerate until completely cool. Serve in ice-filled glasses, garnished with lime zest or rings if desired.

Recipe compliments of Serious Eats.

Why a Wellness Program?

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A growing number of companies, small and large, are offering their employees wellness programs. Why? Because these types of programs attract top talent and save employers time and money.

The majority (87%) of job seekers use an employer’s health and wellness benefits as a determining factor when deciding where to apply.

And over half (61%) of companies have found that wellness programs keep their healthcare costs down. With 90% of healthcare expenditures spent on preventable illnesses, it’s no wonder why.

Looking for more data to convince your execs that a wellness program is worth the investment? Our latest whitepaper provides the stats you need.

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