Friday, June 10, 2011

The BEST spaghetti ever!



I love bread and pasta, but I hate eating all those unnecessary carbs!!
Today I tried eating Spaghetti Squash in place of the actual pasta, it's pretty easy to make and tastes great!
Preheat the oven to 375 Degrees F
Cut your squash in half (this was the hardest part, you will need a pretty sturdy knife!)

Clean out the seeds (this is much like the inside of a pumpkin)
Drizzle the inside of the halves with coconut oil or melted butter

Bake for 45 min (or until you can stick a fork in it with minimal resistance)
Let squash cool for awhile

Spoon out the insides add low fat sauce and cheese



As you can see, even my small squash made a pretty large plate!
Enjoy!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Supplements that actually help with weight loss



I found this chart and thought it was pretty interesting. Here in the US we have a real problem with obesity, and the number of children who would be classified as obese is on the rise.

There are a few simple changes we can make that will help, to get us started on never ending journey of health and weight loss.
These are NOT fad diets or drugs, these are supplements that should be a part of your diet anyway.
*Fish Oil
Fish oil improves our body's ability to do darn near everything!!
Including lose fat!
he omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil have been scientifically proven to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes, lower blood pressure, decrease inflammation and joint stiffness, and treat various mood disorders. Fish oil has also been shown to either help improve or prevent Alzheimer's disease and dementia, depression, heart disease, cancer, arthritis, diabetes, hyperactivity, ADHD and more.
Many people who take it also report an overall improved sense of well being and mental clarity.

How does it help with weight loss?

Well, while it's not some magical pill that will actually cause fat loss itself (there is no such thing), it WILL help your body do everything required of it (lose fat, build & maintain muscle, recover from exercise, etc.) just a little bit better. This includes improved insulin sensitivity and calorie partitioning (meaning calories would be more likely to be used for something useful rather than get stored on your body as fat).

*Protein Powder
Protein is an essential part of every diet no matter what your goals are (weight loss, building muscle, just being healthy in general, etc.), as it plays a key role in muscle, cell and organ function as well as being present in bone, skin and hair.

How does it help with weight loss?

First, protein is satiating (which is a fancy word for "filling"). Studies have been done and all modern research shows that protein is much more filling than either fat or carbs, and this makes it an extremely important factor in controlling your appetite and avoiding hunger cravings. It's one of the main reasons most weight loss diets are high in protein. It will keep you fuller longer, and that will prevent you from eating something you shouldn't or just eating too much in general. But wait, there's more!

The second reason protein powder is on my list of best weight loss supplements is that, in addition to being necessary for building and repairing muscle tissue, protein is also a requirement for maintaining muscle. Your goal might be "weight" loss, but it's really fat that you're looking to lose, not muscle. Ensuring you eat enough protein each day is key in preventing muscle loss.


*Multivitamin

We all know what a multivitamin is. We all know they contain the vitamins and minerals our bodies require to keep us alive, healthy and functioning properly. This is all very obvious information, right? So what is it doing on this list?


How does it help with weight loss?

Simple. In order to lose weight, we need to be alive, healthy and functioning properly. If a multivitamin contains the things our bodies need to help make this happen, then it indirectly helps make weight loss happen. Obviously we were meant to get these important vitamins and minerals through the foods we eat, but unfortunately, the average person these days doesn't eat the way the human body was meant too. This usually leads to most diets being low in many of the good things it shouldn't be low in.

And that's where a multivitamin comes in. It sort of works as your diet's backup plan. That's exactly why I take one. My diet is quite good. I eat better and healthier than most of the population. But, I still love the idea of taking a multivitamin each day to serve as my little nutrition insurance policy making sure my body gets everything it needs everyday.

*If you have any known medical conditions, are pregnant, or nursing, please consult your doctor before starting any new vitamin regiment, or exercise program.

For more information and to see the full post click here.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Low back pain fixes


I read some interesting stats today, thought I would share;

*What’s the #1 reason people visit the family doc? The common cold.
*What’s the #2 reason? Lower back pain.
80% of adults report lower back pain at some point in their lives and 10-15% of all sports-related injuries involve the spine. Low back pain accounts for more lost person hours than any other type of occupational injury and is the most frequent cause of activity limitation in those under age 45.
If you are experiencing lower back pain, once again, think mobility! Since sitting or lying around can actually increase the pain! The exercises (posted above) will help to strengthen the core, thus lessening the pressure on the lower back. 

*Please read the dis-claimer and take it easy on the Superman exercise (especially if you have back injuries, such as herniated disks)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Some answers for pain

In my experience, I have noticed that a big deterrent for people in working out is pain. If it's the pain they experience post workout, or more concerning, less easy to explain pains that occur during the workout.
I found this very helpful article on one of my favorite web sites, Precision Nutrition. I stole a few key points from that article to share with you.

If this is all too much for you, a basic sum up would say that (pain free) movement is key to health as well as to healing. To work through the pay keep moving, in your pain free zones. 


*Silencing pain signals

In the gym or on the field, if we experience a twinge, we often ignore it until it becomes a scream. The best response to an immediate pain, however, as soon as it happens is:
  1. Stop what we’re doing – whether it’s a muscle cramp or just a twinge.
  2. Reduce speed – recheck.
  3. If there’s still pain, reduce load – recheck.
  4. If there’s still pain, reduce range of motion.
  5. If there’s still pain, do some other movement that incurs no pain.
In each of these tests, the advice is not to stop moving our body but where possible to keep moving the affected body part without pain.  Find a pain-free way to move.

*The importance of movement

Movement is a key signal to our bodies about how well we’re doing. We are designed as “use it or lose it” systems, constantly adapting to what we do (see discussions of Woolf’s Law for bone formation and Davis’ Law for tissue; also see Lederman reference below for reducing scar tissue formation).
Our bodies adapt to the demands — or lack of them — they experience. If we don’t move something for a while, our bodies begin to adapt to support that lack of movement. Unused bone disappears. Unused muscles atrophy.
Our bodies compensate in other ways too, to make up for the lack of mobility. We often get new pain as a result of those compensations. For instance, our joints may swell, or muscles may complain when asked to do work for which they were not designed.
For instance, let’s say you have pain in your right hip. You start favouring your left leg to compensate. While this makes your right hip feel better (sort of), you eventually get pain in your left leg and hip, because you’re suddenly doing much more unbalanced work on the left hand side. Then, maybe your right shoulder starts to hurt, or your neck, because you’re walking around lopsided like a boat with one oar, and it’s pulling on your spine.
Here’s another common example. Your back hurts. So you go to bed. After a few days of lying around, you feel worse. Now your shoulders and neck hurt too. Your hips hurt from the pressure of lying down. Not a great solution!
Thus, immobilizing oneself can create a vicious cycle. Compensating for one painful movement induces other restricted movements.
By staying as mobile as possible, at every joint, without pain, we signal two things.
First, movement says we are still using this part of our body and thus this body part needs resources for healing and growth.
Second, the movement signals themselves can overwhelm a pain signal to say there’s more right than wrong going on in the area: there are more nerves that tell the body how we’re moving than nerves that say there’s something wrong.
Movement nerves (mechanoreceptors) are also easier to turn on than nerves that trip in the presence of noxious stimuli. This receptor ratio is used to great effect when we drop a weight on our thumb and then shake and rub the area and find the pain is reduced, as per the Oh Canada section in All About Dynamic Joint Mobility.

*Moving forward, pain free

  • Pain takes place in the brain. It is an outcome of the cognitive interpretation of multiple signals, from social to physical to neural.
  • Pain is a response to actual or perceived threat to the body’s homeostasis. The same action may be interpreted differently under different circumstances, depending on whether the body thinks it’s a threat.
  • The site of pain does not equal the source of pain.
  • Pain is individual. Our experience of pain can change, depending on who we are, what we’re doing, and the context in which we experience it.
  • Pain is a signal to change; it is not a prescription of what to do or where to go.
  • Pain often directly affects quality of movement. However, one of the worst things we can do in response to pain is either ignore it and keep going (the tough it out, “no pain no gain” response) or respond to it by shutting down movement (the chronic pain vicious circle).
  • Movement that does not cause pain is often an effective path to better function. It both reduces the duration of acute pain and helps to address the intensity or frequency of chronic pain.
  • A movement assessment – especially one that considers somatosensory responses from the integrated visual, vestibular, and proprioceptive systems — can provide insight about movement strategies to help address a particular pain and improve performance.

Halloween Workout

Happy Halloween Ghouls and Ghosts! I've put together a super spooky workout for you. Click the exercise name for a video on how to d...