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What does 365 days of eating look like?

22 Aug

american-average-food-consumption

Everything may seem all peachy when you are quickly glancing at this chart. You see the fruits, the vegetables, some meats, dairy…what’s the problem here?

Some disturbingly real facts for you – 

  • 32.8% of American adults are obese (Not just overweight, but obese – Yes, there is a difference.)
  • 25.8% of American children are obese (that’s 1 in 4 and 1 too many)
  • 13% increase since 2010
  • $147 billion spent annually to treat obesity

Yikes!! No wonder why we’re the most obese nation in the world. You know the saying of “you are what you eat?” Well, the U.S. is definitely a walking example of that.

The amount of fast food and processed foods consumed by an individual is alarming. We’re looking at 29 pounds of french fries, 53 gallons of soda (about 1 gallon/week), 24 pounds of ice cream, 23 pounds of pizza! Seriously? What’s wrong with this picture here?

What’s important here is that we need to re-program our brain and our attitude when it comes to health and wellness. It is not a “crash diet” or a “diet fad,” it is a new way of thinking, a new way to live your life. Eat to live, not live to eat.

The goal is to significantly cut down (eventually eliminate) the processed foods with high sugar and fat content that serve no nutritional value whatsoever, and increase intake of lean proteins, fruits, veggies, whole grains and nuts. Never forget your body’s BFF – H2O. The human body is made up of anywhere from 50-70% water, so it only makes sense to keep it hydrated with water.

I promise you your body and quality of life will improve if you start making changes today. Start somewhere, even if it means starting small. Let’s say you are a soda drinker who consumes 2-3 cans of it every day. Start with cutting down to 1 a day for the first week, then every other day the next week, then 1 a week. Within a month, you’re soda free! Your body will be free of that 53 gallons of waste for the year. If not now, then when?

Remember getting in shape and losing weight is 80% diet 20% exercise. It goes beyond the 1 hour you put in at the gym, it’s also the other 23 hours that count. U1st!

 

 

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Year in review: Have you been Naughty or Nice?

31 Dec

naughtyorniceAs 2013 comes to an end, I’m thinking of all the good and bad things that happened in my life this year. All the accomplishments, big or small that deserve to be celebrated; All the mistakes, big or small, that I can learn from and improve on for 2014. When it comes to health and fitness, it is also important to reflect on what you’ve done right and what you can continue to work on. Remember, no one is perfect, not any personal trainers (myself included), health gurus, or anybody. The point is to congratulate yourself on the things that are worth praising and take accountability for things that need improvement, so you can/will celebrate later!

Here are my top “naughty” and “nice” health and fitness items for 2013: 

Things I can pat myself on the back for:

  • No more late-night desserts –  I must admit, I have a sweet tooth, sometimes the chocolate chip cookies are simply calling my name! But I’ve swapped them out with fresh fruit or yogurt. It’s hard still, but it definitely pays off! Six-pack, here I come! Stay away from high calorie/fat items before going to sleep.
  • Changing up my cardio routine – I’ve always valued the importance of cardio and practiced it. However, the treadmill and elliptical were getting a little stale. I switched it up by running outside when the weather permits. I’m telling you, running outside is a whole different ball game than your regular old treadmill – The scenery is great and the variation in terrain keeps my run challenging and interesting. I also took a turbo kick class – I was a skeptic at first, but the high-intensity cardio + strength training kicked my butt, literally. Whenever you feel bored, just switch it up! It will keep you motivated and focused in your training.

What I slipped on (naughty):

  • Working though an injury  I’ve been experiencing a shoulder injury for the past couple of months. As much as I told myself to be patient, I continued to work through my injury. This not only slowed down my recovery process, but also increased the pain of the injury. When you have an injury, the first thing you should do is go see a professional (doctor, physical therapist), then  give it a rest for a while. When you feel ready, start with lower impact exercises for the injured area and slowly build up to where you were. Be patient. You will lose some strength, but overtime you will build it back up. Don’t let a little impatience impede your recovery process, or worse, damage the injury even more.
  • Lack of post-workout stretches We all know that stretching is essential when it comes to exercise. But when do you stretch? Before or after the workout? The answer is both. I am pretty diligent on stretching prior to the workout, but not nearly enough after I’m done. I guess my mentality is that when I’m finished with my workout, I’m exhausted and just want to go home! But did you know that right after a workout, your muscles are more open to movement  and it is actually one of the best times for some deep stretches? Yes, I’m talking about the ones that usually feel uncomfortable. Take advantage of your muscle being  more flexible and get a couple of deep stretches in – This will not only prevent workout injuries, but also enhance fitness results!

This is my health & wellness “nice” and “naughty” list for 2013…What’s on yours?

I hope you take some time to reflect on the accomplishments and setbacks for this year and learn from them for a better and healthier 2014!

Fun Fitness Facts

24 Jul

Here are some of the interesting facts about the human body and health that you probably never knew. Knowing these should give you yet another reason to love your body and take care of your health!

40 Facts about Fitness

Source: Visual.ly

Superfoods for the Summer!

10 Jul

Wondering what to snack on this summer? Here are 5 of my favorite foods that are in season all summer long, which means not only they are available locally, but their tastes are at their peaks! Take advantage of organic and or locally grown products,they contain less harmful pesticides and are more yummy. Click here for a list of Farmers Markets in Delaware. Shopping for produce at farmers markets is a great way to support your local growers and the difference in TASTE, well, let’s just say that there’s no comparison to your regular grocery store produce.

avocados_FotorAVOCADOS
Don’t be afraid of the green! Some shy away because of the high concentration of monounsaturated fats, but keep in mind that not all fat is bad for you. As a matter of fact, consuming monounsaturated fats (in a reasonable amount) along with a balanced diet can actually reduce belly fat. Fighting fat with fat? You bet ya! The benefits doesn’t stop there, others include decreasing risk of heart disease, stroke and even breast cancer. It’s also incredibly easy to incorporate avocados in your diet: Slice ’em up and throw them in your salads and sandwiches! Or better yet, make a shake out of it.

corn_FotorCORN
Although you can buy corn all year-round, but it really tastes the best and costs the least during the summer months because it’s in season. Matter of fact, have you tasted corn from the farmers market? They are sweet, crunchy and delicious all by themselves without any seasoning. Trust me, once you’ve had the good ones (sorry, not the supermarket kind, canned or frozen), there’s not going back! Tastes aside, corn contains tons of digestive enzymes that help metabolize your food. It is also high in antioxidants to keep your immune system strong. No one wants to be sick when you could be out having fun!

pepeprs_FotorPEPPERS
Peppers can taste very different in season vs. off season. So take advantage of the summertime to experience what they are really supposed to taste like. The sweeter bell peppers (red & yellow) are full of vitamin A, keeping your skin nice and strong while fighting off infection at the same time. If you are a spice freak like me, then hot peppers such as jalapenos, cayenne, chipotle, and habaneros contains almost no calories and on top of that, they speed up metabolism and enhance fat burners. So whether you like it sweet or spicy (or both), peppers are the way to go to add taste and color to your summer dishes.

raspberries_FotorRASPBERRIES
They say good things come in small packages, and this couldn’t be more true with raspberries. One cup alone of these little ones contain approximately 30% of your daily dose of fiber. But the it doesn’t stop there, it also makes up 60% of your RDA of manganese, which is critical for building strong bones and cartilage! They’re also a great post-workout snack, due to their high levels of ellagic acid, a compound that reduces inflammation.

watermelon_FotorWATERMELON
Who doesn’t love the refreshing taste of watermelon on a hot day? The fruit clocks in at 92% water, which is the perfect way to stay hydrated when the temperature sores. The beta-carotene and flavonoids in this superfruit have been proven to reduce the risk of sunburns and sun damage caused by UV rays. Watermelon and summer were practically made for each other!

Fun fact: Wonder why watermelons are red? Well it’s not just for looks. The hue comes from lycopene, an antioxidant known for reducing inflammation and promoting cardiovascular health.

Questions? Comments? Ideas? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you!

Google Search + Nutritional Info

13 Jun

All of us love Google, we’ve incorporated the word into our vocabulary without even know it. Did you Google it? Is it on Google? You name it. We use this search engine to find answers for just about anything. The company has recently loaded hundreds of nutritional info for fruits, meats, vegetables and meals into its system – All accessible using Google Voice search on your phone or the regular search engine. You can either search for simple info such as “How many calories are in a banana?” or “How many grams of protein is in a steak?”

pasta_google_search_Fotor

Here’s an example of when I searched “How many calories are in pasta?” As you can see, It quickly populated an easy-to-read display right on top of the search results page. On the right-hand side, it also gave other nutrition info as you would find on the product label. What I like the most is the drop-down menu when selecting the kinds of pasta, choosing from different types to even store-brought vs. homemade.

This tool is great for planning meals, grocery shopping or just for knowledge and kicks!

For the original article on PSFK, click here.

On the run: Keeping heart rates & spirits high!

19 May

It’s safe to say that spring has finally arrived! With the temperature warming up, it is the perfect time to not only take your exercise routines outdoor, especially getting your kids involved. Children often mimic what they see in the adults’ behaviors around them. By setting a good example yourself, it is not only establishing, but reinforcing the necessity of physical activity.

There are many local programs and initiatives that focus on children’s wellness.  Girl on the Run Delaware had its Spring 5K walk/run this past weekend at the Wilmington Riverfront; Ramping up not only heart rates, but spirits as well. The adorable girl below is my 8-year old niece, Mia. Mia, like many other girls her age, love keeping active and doing things with friends her age. The 5k was the perfect way for her to not only benefit from the exercise, but also establish the concept of incorporating physical activity in her life. Go Mia! I’m such a proud uncle. I am a strong believer in events like these because it also serves as an educational tool for parents!

Girls on the Run Delaware is a non-profit that uses interactive curriculum to promote self-respect and healthy lifestyles in pre-teen girls. The organization has been positively received in the media in anywhere from NBC to Better Homes and Garden magazine.

girslontherun

Calories burned in 10 minutes & what you can do to speed it up! (infographic)

5 Apr

Who doesn’t love infographic? Seriously, they have the best charts, photos and texts designed for easy and pleasant reading and you learn so much relevant statistics! Here is one titled ‘Feel the burn…in 10 minutes’

From the looks of this, we all ought to do more kettle bell work outs! Chew more gum, drink more water & tea and possibly eat more spicy foods? Check this out yourself and let me know what you think! (Source: http://dailyinfographic.com/)

Awesome Kid & Adult-friendly recipes

1 Mar

Like many, I love watching NBC’s Biggest Loser. It is inspiring, motivational and simply, it makes my heart happy to see people fighting for their health. On the show’s website, I came across a section for “Kid-Friendly Recipes” and liked the name immediately. Parents are responsible for educating their children on healthy eating habits and the first step is to lead by example. REMEMBER, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR CHILD’S HEALTH and a great step you can take towards the right direction is to provide them with notoriously well-balanced and tasty foods.

Click here to view all the recipes.

The ones that caught my eyes especially are:

152112910_0Garlic & Chive Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Click here for the recipe

Sweet potatoes are rich in Vitamin C, potassium and B6. But it outweighs regular potatoes as a fantastic source of Vitamin A and beta-carotene. It also has more dietary fiber to help the digestive system.

140758590_0Creamy Carrot Soup
Click here for the recipe

Carrot is one of the top super foods. But it’s often hard to incorporate it into our kids’ diets besides the usual raw baby carrot sticks (and that’s if your kid actually eats them)! Some benefits are: Improved vision (rich in beta-carotene), cancer prevention (Falcarinol, a natural pesticide produced), great for preventing infections, healthy teeth and gums (consumed raw) and much more!

This recipe is also create because the low-fat buttermilk substitute over your typical cream-based soups.

Enjoy!

Start clean with a detox

4 Feb

A lot of us have heard of detox and detoxing. But why? How? Think about all the  junk foods we eat and the harmful things that we come in physical contact with on a daily basis. Your body is not a garbage can, so it is absolutely important for you to detox once in a while to give your body the proper ‘rinse’ it deserves. Detoxing can lead to better skin, balanced energy, better night’s sleep, improved sex drive, weight loss and so much more.

In my opinion, the easiest way to detox is in a smoothie form. You take all the ingredients you need, put it in a blender, give it a whirl, then you’re good to go! Better yet, if they actually taste good! This is one of my favorite recipe for a kale, pineapple & ginger detox smoothie inspired by Dr. Oz.

What you’ll need (Makes 4 servings, so you can drink it all day long or share it with the family):

  • 1/2 pineapple chopped
  • 1 bunch of kale (remove stems)
  • 1/2 lemon freshly squeezed (you can add the zest in too if you like the texture)
  • 1 small knob of ginger (sliced or shaved)
  • 1 cup of ice
  • Extra: throw in a few mint leaves for a refreshing kick!

DetoxSmoothie

Video

Standing Abs: More fun & no more sore necks!

22 Jan

This is a great video by Jillian Michaels, perfect for the ladies. Everybody wants a toned & sculpted mid-section, but honestly who wants to do traditional crunches on the floor? They are uncomfortable and a lot of times create unnecessary neck and shoulder strains if performed improperly. Exercising your abs by standing up will prevent injuries and you can do so in a much smaller space needed.

U1st tips:

  1. Make sure to keep your core and butt tight while performing these exercises.
  2. Also, like Jillian mentioned, don’t go crazy on the dumbbell weights just because you can perform them. You want to trim and shape your obliques, not bulge them!
  3. For the high-knees demo, I would keep the arms straight out in front of you, same levels as your shoulders and make sure you are driving your knees high using your abs, instead of your legs.
  4. For women, it is not necessary to increase the weight, but more important to perform high repetitions, so gradually increase reps once you feel comfortable.

For the days you can’t make it to the gym, commit to doing this while you are watching TV or whenever you have the free 10 minutes to do this. There are 1,440 minutes in a day, I’m sure you can spare ten, especially they help improve your abs!