Jump-Start Your Metabolism at Work

I have recently been studying more about the dangers of sitting too long without doing exercise – something that affects the majority of workers in America.  If you have problems jump-starting your metabolism I will be sharing information about this with you very soon.  You’ll know if this includes you if

  • You’ve been gaining weight, particularly around the mid-section that is very difficult to lose
  • You find that weight is piling on and doesn’t want to leave no matter what you do
  • You try to exercise in the evenings after work but nothing seems to be happening
  • You’re even eating less, trying to bring in my vegetables and fruits and less saturated meat products but still not losing weight.

It can be discouraging to keep trying different diets and even working up a sweat on the treadmill but seeing little to now results.  When you find out that your work doesn’t have to be in vain you’ll feel better inside, the thing is getting you to be healthier inside too.  First of all it’s important to know that if you have been sitting for long hours each day such as up to 8 hours (common if you work at a desk all day) and haven’t exercised during the day, your metabolism might be on the blink.

Recent research in this area of sitting too long without movement is starting to show that exercising after sitting all day doesn’t have the positive effects you want.   The metabolism might be so negatively affected that it isn’t burning fat at all.  This can have serious consequences for your health and longevity.  The thing to do is to get moving right away.

During the day, time yourself.  Get up and move every 30 minutes.  That can be as simply as walking to one place to the next.   If you’re in an office you might not be able to get up and leave your desk that often so here’s some ideas.

  • Stand up by your chair and stretch
  • Stand up and sit down ten times
  • Do a series of 5 to 10 deep knew bends
  • Learn desk exercises and do them without getting up including pumping your legs to your chest 5 to 20 times.

Start there.  Of course, during your real breaks, be sure to get up and walk around. Don’t stay at your desk – move.  This will help to start getting your metabolism to wake up.


Some Hard Truths About Cancer

200BreastCancerRibbonCancer is a disease that has no respect for persons. That means it strikes anyone. I know, as I’ve recently experience this in my immediate family with great sadness. Baby Boomers are totally concerned with the ravages of this disease.

The question continues to be, can cancer be cured?

More than that, the concern could be, can cancer be prevented? Here is an articles that gives some new information and thoughts on this question. Note the relevance of nutrition and healthy eating and healthy foods as well as an active lifestyle as preventative measures.

Click the title to go to the article:  Proof That Cancer is a Manmade Disease

Diet and Cancer Prevention

As a vegan, I no longer eat animal products.  It’s my intention to stay this way for the rest of my life as I believe it is the200BreastCancerRibbon healthiest way of eating.  But I realize that not everyone feels this way.  I will be sharing more about plant-based, vegan diets as a way to prevent and sometimes reverse some cancers later during this Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  However, I know it’s difficult to change eating habits and if you are a meat eater, it can take time to learn how to make the switch to eating as a vegan.  

However, a major disease can be a tremendous motivator to inspire change.  My prayer is that you never have to experience the ravages of cancer.  But the chances are that a large amount of you will as the numbers of incidences are unfortunately high.  Few people are informed about the importance of how food affects your health and relates to cancer.

There are some foods actually increase the risk of cancer, while others support the body and strengthen the immune system to help prevent the disease in the body.  The way of eating that has been foundt o be the best to prevent or fight cancer is one that is predominantly plant-based.  This diet includes a variety of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains nuts, seeds, sprouts, and beans. 

Increasing fiber in the body and avoiding trasnfats are additional dietary helps.  If you do eat meat, remember it has a high level of saturated fat which can feed cancer.  Eat as little as possible, just the size of the palm of your hand.  Instead of making meat the main part of your meal, make it the side dish and the vegetables the main dish.  These steps might seem simplistic but simple things can bring big results.  Read more about an Anti-Cancer Diet  for long-term health.

For McNugget Lovers …

I used to love Chicken McNuggets.   In fact, there was a time when the only food I would pick from McDonald’s as nuggets since I thought they were “healthiest” selection at that restaurant.  I mean, what could be wrong with little pieces of white meat chicken in a little bit of crust? 

Of course it should have hit me that this little piece of so-called meat was fried and eating several of them gave you almost more fried covering than meat.  And if I remember correctly, there wasn’t that much flavor in the nugget itself, the flavor came from the dipping sauces. And finally, I should have wondered about the whole thing because what part of the chicken did a “nugget” come from anyways? 

Today, I still know people who love the nuggets.  But now I get to tell them what I’ve learned about them.  Sounds kinda like a spoiler type of thing since I used to love them but remember knowledge is power.  Here’s the thing, it’s mainly the pink slime thing that got me.   Don’t know if explaining it can really do justice.  It’s probably better for you to see it for yourself.  Just go here to find out how McNuggets are made then decide if you still think they’re worth eating.  


Living the Vegan Lifestyle

Becoming a vegan has been a great journey even though not a smooth one.  I was vegan once before in life – before leaving for the Peace Corps in West Africa.  I didn’t know that was what you called it back then, I just knew I had gradually starting taking more animal products out of my diet.  I probably was down to a little bit of cheese before leaving and then very little. 

My initial forage into vegetarianism was to be able to eat without feeling pain, bloating or having a hard time digesting my food.  Red meat was the worse so I dropped it, sticking to chicken and fish.  That was so much better, until I decided to get rid of that too.  I thought I was fine with cheese and eggs.  But the ole’ stomach was still not satisfied.  If only I knew what being lactose intolerant meant; that would have saved me a lot of time and trouble.    

By the time I left for Cameroon, West Africa to do my peace Crops duties I had been off animal produts for almost two years.  I felt energetic and excited and still attribute my ability to stay healthy during those first few weeks of being in a new place to this new way of eating.  If you haven’t tried it, I hope you’ll consider taking a few steps in this direction very soon.

Time to Check Your Blood Pressure

The word is out; high blood pressure has been branded a top public health enemy in  the US.  According to the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it only trails tobacco when it comes to affecting lives.  Having high blood pressure makes you at risk for heart disease and stroke.

And the problem is that you can have this disease without ever knowing it.   If something makes you four times more likely to die of a stroke and three times more likely to die of heart disease, it’s something to take very seriously.

That means taking the time to find your blood pressure level.  You can do this through having a check-up with a person who knows how to read blood pressure levels.  But the best thing to do is see your doctor and have her or him take your pressure for you.

If you are in normal ranges, strive to stay that way.  If not, do what needs to be done to get your pressure under control.

Many doctors will prescribe medications.  However, some will allow you to try to adjust your lifestyle habits first.  That means stop smoking if you are a smoker.  Get you weight under control.  Losing even 10 pounds can dramatically affect the levels of blood pressure in a positive way.  Be sure to get on a regular exercise program and watch your diet.  You want to stay away from the salt and eat whole foods including grains, fruits and vegetables.

High blood pressure is nothing to ignore.  If you dont’ know your readings, get it checked as soon as possible.

Raw and Vegan Doesn’t Mean a Lack of Iron

Getting enough iron is vital, particularly for the seasonsed woman.  Lack of  iron in the system can result in anemia.   Anemia occurs when there are not enough healthy red blood cells in the body.  These red blood cells provide oxygen to body tissues.  There are several forms of anemia.  One of the main reasons for its occurance is the lack of important elements in the body including certain vitamins and minerals as well iron, B12 and folic acid, which is another B vitamin.    

Avoiding anemia means having healthy red blood cells that are formed primarily in the bone marrow.  An interesting thing is that a hormone created in your kidneys signals the body to replace healthy red blood cells every 90 to 120 days.  Without the right nutrients, the bood (hemoglobin) will not produce healthy red blood cells.

It is commonly believed that people who don’t eat red meats or other animal proteins are at particular risk of being deficient in the substances needed for the body to produce healthy hemoglobin and avoid anemia. That means if you prefer to eat raw, vegan or vegetarian, you would be of higher risk for anemia.  However, the good news is that you don’t necessarily have to become anemic because of not eating animal products if you are careful to eat in a balanced manner and take care to ingest the right vitamins and minerals.  

For instance, iron is found to be very high in green leafy vegetables.  In fact, some have been found to have a higher concentration of iron than animal flesh.  According to the USDA, gram for gram, kale has fourteen times more iron than red meat and spinach, strawberries, cabbage, bell peppers, and cucumbers have more iron per weight than ground beef or sirloin steak.

Also, eating Vitamin C foods help with the assimilation of iron in the body.  Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits and many of the foods listed above as high in iron.  All of these foods are found in diets eaten by those who don’t consume animal flesh products. 

What really needs to be watched is the potential intake of B vitamins and B12 overall which is not found in plant foods.  This is probably the vitamin you might need to supplement to avoid a deficiency.  

It’s good to know that eating a raw/vegan or vegetarian diet means being able to take good care of yourself.  When you’re armed with information on how great fruits and vegetables are in maintaining overall health you can be even more motivated to live this lifestyle.

Gluten Free Cooking Day

The Wellness Kitchen in Templeton, CA. was the location of a wonderful gluten-free cooking event day.  I had a wonderful time with Rosemary, the owner of the Bless Your Heart Bakery and about 13 other women (and one man), learning her techniques for gluten-free cooking.   The atmosphere was peaceful and the community of participants was one of graciousness and friendship.

I’ve been trying to cook gluten free with mixed results for about a year.  The problem included putting in a lot of effort (not to mention money) in gluten-free products only to see my precious baked goods crumble before my eyes.  As recently as last week for Thanksgiving, I had a disaster with a carrot cake. 

Today, the mystery of using xanthum gum as a binder in gluten-free baked products was solved.  All you have to do is add it to the mix – DUH!  Simple and done.  I came home with a perfectly backed pineapple loaf and a stomach full of gluten-free cookies, quiche, and rolls. 

The fun demonstration of making a yeast bread right in class was the best part.  Now I feel empowered to pull out my mixer to create those hamburger buns my husband really wants to eat without worrying about getting a stomach upset. 

To round out the day, we had a session on mindfulness presented by Susan McIntosh of Stress Less for Life.  I was so relaxed I skipped a planned trip to Trader Joe’s to come home to take a nap! If you’re in the Central Coast area, be sure to stop by and support the Wellness Kitchen or the Bless Your Heart Bakery.  Also, give Susan a call so you can learn to stress less and relax.  It will definitely be worth it.

How Do You Care For Yourself?

When was the last time you stopped to take care of yourself?  In the morning before leaving for work or to start a hectic day, how do you care for yourself first?

The question might seem philosophical, therefore one to just ponder for a while.  But in fact, it’s extremely practical, meaning it is one to use, to put into practice in order to change behavior.

Self-care is really under-rated in American society and perhaps in many other societies too and particularly with women.  For some reason, it seems less than professional to stop and take care of self instead of always being on the go, taking care of others. 

A lack of self-care means facing a potential deteriorating of effectiveness in all aspects of your life over time.  For example, without good nourishment, your cells will become undernourished.  This can lead to all types of diseases including high blood pressure, diabetes and more.  With this, you begin to diminish in effectiveness and abilities to function at a peak level. 

If you are consistently tired, worn-out, your brain is not functioning at peak levels. You’re drawing on adrenaline to keep going, over-taxing your adrenal glands and causing fatigue to overtake your body.

Not caring for your skin can cause you to look older.  Your skin will be less fresh, having dead cells that make your appearance seem dull and faded.  

If you are a professional woman, all of these things can have a negative effect on your ability to appear energetic and productive.  The competition in the world is fierce.  Self-care could be the factor that allows you to be selected over the competition for the big deal or promotion because your “look” exudes confidence and potential.

Think again about the question, “How do you care for yourself?” This time, think about the real, practical ways you do this on a regular basis and what you can do to improve the response.

Simplicity of Foods

Putting delicious dishes together doesn’t to be complex.  I always wonder why people say they don’t’ like to cook, but coming from a tradition of cooks who spend the whole day in the kitchen, I can understand when people think cooking has to take to much time out of a busy day.

That was my experience until just recently.  I started using the Healthiest Foods in the world cookbook a few months ago and realized that the meals were very simple.  While I was used to having at least four sections of a plate filled with a different dish, I noticed that only one or two dishes were presented in each meal.  This downsizing was odd to me at first.  The question was would there be enough food?  Would the eaters be satisfied with only two tastes instead of multiple ones? 

As I gave into this way of cooking I soon realized how much the palette enjoys the simplicity of pure flavors brought on by only a few tastes. For instance,  a piece of salmon on a bed of pureed peas.  A scoop of Lima beans cradled in the hollow of low-fat mashed potatoes.  Very comforting and providing the ability to actually taste the foods.

Simple cooking protects the meal from being too muddled with so many seasoning that you can’t guess what’s in them.  Of course, there are times for complex seasonings, such as in curries or some Southern foods.  But as I think of it, I know that I was always amazed at how simple the cooking was in Creole cooking from New Orleans, yet the tastes were so rich and hearty.   There was something about the skill of molding flavors together in just the right way.

After this month of eating simply, I’ve learned the pleasure of eating only one food at a time.  A baked sweet potato with just a teaspoon of coconut oil and a bit of sea salt.  A salad of simple lettuce, tomatoes and avocado with a squeeze of lemon.  A baked squash pureed with a dash of cinnamon and red pepper flakes.  Simple, pure and delicious.  The whole mouth feel is different as this allows you to really taste your food. 

There’s a lot to be said for the simplicity of foods.  Perhaps approaching cooking and food preparation in this way will make a difference for the home cook who depends on take-out instead of firing up the stove or learning a few quick and easy no-cook raw recipes to satisfy the taste and nutritional needs.