New Years Resolutions

With the new year just around the corner I started to think about new years resolutions. And you know what I’ve noticed… NO ONE FOLLOWS THROUGH! People make these resolutions and do good for the first two weeks and then BAM all hell breaks loose. People aren’t able to stick to it because they try to do too much too fast.  So, my plan to succeed with my resolution… Make 12 of them! I’m going to do 1 resolution each month. That way, there is not as much pressure to have to go 365 days with one resolution. Only having to go a max of 31 days makes resolutions seem a little more obtainable and manageable. These little resolutions are my new plan to try and follow through for the first time!

Goal by the end of the year: Run a half marathon.

January’s Resolution: Run 4 to 5 times a week and get up to 8 miles at least twice by the end of the month.

Good luck to everyone with their goals and have a happy and merry new year!

Christmas= Christmas cookies

People tend to gain a lot of weight over the winter holidays. Everyone watching and is pretty good about what they eat up until Thanksgiving, then it seems that not only do people start eating all the holiday treats but they also forget about exercising. I’m not saying that you should never eat another christmas cookie again but during this time of season we need to stay mindful not to eat an entire tube of cookie dough. Yo-yo dieting and gaining and losing weight in such a fashion is not only unhealthy but it is extremely hard on our bodies. And every year it is going to be that much harder to get those extra holiday pounds off. I have gathered a couple of tips that I have found to be beneficial for me while trying to fight off some of the holiday temptation.

1. Eat a small healthy meal before going to Christmas parties. I find this a great way to watch how much I munch at the parties because I already am somewhat full before entering so food isn’t the first thing on my mind.

2. Fill up your party plate once, then that’s all. Don’t every try to completely avoid things such as those delicious but oh so sinful peanut butter cookies. As soon as you tell yourself you can’t have something, you’ll be craving it all night. Try just to have one instead of ten!

3. Drinking tends to be a big part of people’s holiday spirit but keep in mind that that candy cane martini may have up to 750 calories in just one! Try to stick with your traditional gin and tonics or rum and cokes. Those special drinks usually aren’t worth those extra calories.

4. Try to stay active. I know with the holidays come too much stuff to do with too little time to do it but trust me, a little exercise will not only do your body good but it will also help you keep your mind  destressed when the in-laws come into town.

So many things drop of the priority list during the holiday season. Don’t let your body be one of them. This way you not have to make that New Years resolution to get back into shape. Staying in shape is easier to do then getting back into shape, trust me. I hope these little tips help you out during the rush of the holidays and I hope everyone enjoys their fiestas!

Runningmap.com!

So I just found this awesome site called runningmap.com. You type in your city and you can easily track how far of a run you went on or plan out routes to do later. You can save these routes and go back to look at all of them so you can compare and decide where to do. It is a great site, especially if you are training or like to have a training plan. You can plan out different distances, choose flat or hilly routes, and even add photos to help you remember what routes you loved and which ones you always want to stay away from. I love this site because it puts you completely in control of what you want to do. It is really interactive and gives you the opportunity to search for other routes in your area. Everyone should definitely check it out!!!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I Just finished making one of my favorite soups! It is such a great thing for meals, especially in the winter time! Soup is a great and easy thing to make and keep in the ridge for meals and for quick snacks. My favorite soup is chicken tortilla and the best recipe I’ve tried is an Emeril Lagasse recipe, Tortilla Soup with Fire-Roasted Corn and Chipolte Crema. It is extremely flavorful and very filling. I always make a few alterations to recipes, like most people, to make it more to my taste. I always boil and shred my chicken for soups, instead of grilling or pan-frying it. I hate the texture of chucked chicken in my soups. I strongly believe that some making small changes to recipes is a key to cooking wonderful meals, if you know you dislike something don’t put it in. Part of the fun of cooking is trying different things and making changes to find what you like, it can be as small as adding some spices to make your meal have a little bigger kick. Experimenting helps you learn what goes together and what just doesn’t. Here is the recipe I used today in case anyone wants to check it out and try it!

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/tortilla-soup-with-fire-roasted-corn-and-chipotle-crema-recipe/index.html


DeSTRESS yourself!!

HOW STRESSED ARE YOU?!?

Life can be extremely stressful and stress has a large impact on our lives and health. So what makes something stressful?

Stress comes from…

… Events that we perceive as endangering our physical or psychological well-being.

… Negative events that are, uncontrollable, unpredictable, or inexplicable

… Change positive or negative

When we get stressed our physiological response is known as the fight or flight response. This response is essential for safety and is activated, while non-essential processes are inhibited to help conserve energy. Stress is an essential part of life and can be good for short periods of time. This is highly adaptive in the short term, but it is very damaging if sustained long term. If you are under chronic stress it has many negative effects. Stress has been associated with many different physical health problems such as ulcers, asthma, headaches, coronary heart disease, and hypertension. There are many ways to help cope and reduce stress.

  1. Social support: Talk to your friends and family. Even just saying things out loud can have a huge benefit in our stress levels. And lots of times they end up having some good advise to give you too!
  2. Exercise: Physical activity is a great way to get your mind off your stress. It can help relieve some of that excess tension. It is also a good time to do some thinking and do something beneficial for you.
  3. Things you love: Do activities that you love. Sit down and listen to a favorite album or do a puzzle.  Anything that you enjoy and helps you relax is a great thing to take up during times of great deals of stress!

ANTIOXIDANTS!

You constantly hear people talking about antioxidants and making sure to get lots of them within your diet to stay healthy, but what are antioxidants? Antioxidants are compounds the prevent oxidation of other molecules. And what does that mean? Lets take a step back. Humans along with everything else are made up of atoms. Stable atoms contain an even (paired) number of electrons. When an atom has an unstable (unpaired) electron the molecule is called a free radial. Free radicals happen through oxidation and reduction reactions. Although free radicals are necessary and have some benefits, free radicals are also the reason that people can develop cancer, atherosclerosis, and other diseases. This is where antioxidants come into play. Antioxidants are able to donate an electron with another atom to make that atom stable without becoming unstable itself. This seems great right, get lots of antioxidants and you won’t have to worry about anything! WRONG!!! You need to be careful with how much antioxidants otherwise it can lead to pro-oxidants with are extremely dangerous. So where do we get these magical little compounds? Vitamin A, C, E, zinc, copper, magnesium, manganese, and beta-carotene all have antioxidant properties. I am only going to share the benefits of Vitamin C, E, A and beta-carotene.

berries-antioxidants

VITAMIN C

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that helps with our immune function. It functions as an antioxidant and aids in collagen syntheses. If you do not consume enough vitamin C you can develop a disease called scurvy (although today a vitamin C deficiency is extremely uncommon). There is no dangerous toxicity from too much vitamin C because it is a water-soluble vitamin so you excrete excess when you pee. The best sources of vitamin C are in fresh fruits and vegetables.

Daily Recommended Intake

RDA men = 90mg/day

RDA women = 75mg/day

Upper limit = 2000 mg/day

VITAMIN E

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin. It functions as an antioxidant and helps protect cell membranes. If you do not consume enough vitamin E you can end up with hemolysis or anemia. Because it is a fat-soluble vitamin your body will not excrete the excess and if you consume too much you can end up with hemorrhaging (uncontrolled bleeding). Vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds are the best source of vitamin E.

Daily Recommended Intake

RDA = 15mg/day

Upper limit = 1,000mg/day

VITAMIN A

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is actually not really an antioxidant but is similar to one. It helps with our vision and producing mucus. It is necessary for cell differentiation and growth. If you lack vitamin A it can lead to night blindness or xeropthalmia (you no longer produce tears to flush particles out of your eye). If you consume too much vitamin A it can lead to liver damage, or birth defects. Animal products such as liver and eggs are some of the best sources, along with colorful fruits and vegetables.

Daily Recommended Intake

RDA men = 900mcg/day

RDA women = 700mcg/day

Upper limit = 3000mcg/day

BETA-CAROTENE

Beta-carotene is a carotenoid, which is a precursor to vitamin A and functions as an antioxidant. Because it is a precursor to vitamin a there is no real deficiency or toxicity effect. The only toxicity symptoms can be yellow-orange skin, which is not dangerous to your health. Sources of beta-carotene are red, orange, yellow fruits and vegetables and dark green fruits and vegetables.

There is no recommended intake for it.

Stop osteoporosis now!

No one thinks about osteoporosis in our 20’s because it is something that won’t affect us until we are 70. The thing is that while in your 20’s you still have a chance of helping preventing osteoporosis. Our bones keep growing until we are around 30, so we have many chances to try to build up our bone health while we are younger. Most people don’t even think about it until they are 70, fall down and break their hip and find out they have osteoporosis, I want to get people thinking about this while they still have a chance of preventing this damage. There are five nutrients that are important and related to our bone health: calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus, magnesium, and fluoride. I am going to focus of the importance of calcium and vitamin D because they play the biggest role in our bone health.

There are two main types of bones in our body we have trabecular (spongy) bone and cortical (compact) bone. Trabecular bone is found at the ends of our long bones and cortical bone is very hard and surrounds all of our bones. Bone is constantly being remodeled, through osteoblasts, which build bone, and osteoclasts, which break down bone.

b.bonedraw

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in our body, 99% is found in are bones and teeth and the remaining 1% is found the blood. When we do not consume enough calcium in our diet osteoclasts will break down our bone to get calcium for our blood. Trabecluar ones are the most effected from low amounts of calcium. To insure a greater amount of bone density it is highly recommended to take a calcium supplement to reach the recommended 1000mg/day of calcium. It is also helpful if your supplement contains vitamin D as well. Vitamin D helps increase the calcium absorption and retention in our bones. Our body can make most of the Vitamin D our body needs through cholesterol and UV radiation. However, if you live in an area where you do not receive much sunlight or do but it is cold in the winter, you can become deficient during those times. Since most American do not meet their calcium recommendations once again I emphasize, TAKE A SUPPLEMENT. It will help to insure maximizing your bone density.

Up until around the age of 30 our osteoblasts keep up fairly well with the osteoclasts. So at age 30 we reach our peak bone density. Now, everyone will begin to lose bone mass later in life, it is inevitable, the goal is to get as much bone as possible before the age of 30 that way you have more to lose. Females tend to be more effected by osteoporosis. The reason for this is our sex hormones regulate our osteblasts, and once women go through menopause, estrogen levels significantly decrease where as men do not have as great of a reduction in testosterone.

So, what can you do if you are under 30 to help spare yourself from dealing with this fate?

  1. Make sure you are getting an adequate amount of calcium in your diet everyday, 1000mg.
  2. Physical activity: weight-bearing activities are the best way to stimulate bone growth. So running, jogging, kickboxing…
  3. Stop smoking and watch your caffeine intake, smoking and caffeine both decrease your absorption rate.

Probiotics

Probiotics are something that not many people know or understand. Many people have heard the word but do not really understand what they are. I want to help clarify what probiotics are and what they are believed to do for the body.

Probiotics are living microorganisms that are believed to give health benefits to human if we eat them. They help to restore the balance of the good bacteria in our stomach and raise resistance to harmful germs. They aid in digestion and help create a protective barrier inside the intestine. Many other health claims have been made such as, helping lower cholesterol and blood pressure, preventing colon cancer, reducing inflammation, and many more. Probiotics have not been studied enough to guarantee any of these claims but more and more research is being conducted to try and help figure out the mystery behind probiotics. It is a rising field of interest and it will be interesting to see what they find in the next 5 years! Although the research is still going on they are nothing to shy away from while the studying is being done. A great way to get probiotics is through yogurt. It is good and good for you to help increase these friendly bacteria!

probiotics

The Freshman 15!!!

The biggest fear for many people entering college is gaining the freshman 15! I’ll let you in on a secret… not that many people gain 15 pounds their first year, so don’t sweat it. First off the majority of people who gain that weight, don’t put on those pounds just because they entered college, it is usually either because they worked out and stayed in shape during high school through sports or other means and then stop exercising upon entering college or because they get so excited being on their own for the first time and they binge drink the first 60 days of college and have really bad eating habits. If you are generally concerned about your health you do not have much to worry about. Here are some simple things you can do to help get exercise on a somewhat regular basis, especially those of us in Boulder!

  1. Those who life in pretty active communities (Boulder is awesome for this), take advantage of all the open trails, mountains, and bike paths available. It is so easy to get around by foot or bike that once or twice a week try to get out and explore this awesome gorgeous campus. Boulder is one of the few places that have trails that can go on for over 50 miles without having to come in contact with a car.
  2. Walk around campus. Try taking a little longer route to your classes some days. You’d be surprised how much more energy you feel when you get a little extra activity in your day.
  3. Be mindful of how much food you are putting on your plate in the dorms. It is not that the food is bad for you so you gain weight; it is that we eat at a buffet and people tend to overeat when they are allowed an abundance of food. Take smaller plates of food and then go back and get more if you are still hungry, there will always be plenty of food, trust me.
  4. Take advantage of your free pass to the gym. Almost all college campuses give you gym access with your tuition so get your money’s worth. Exercising is a great way to stay in shape and feel less stressed, it is an awesome replacement to eating due to stress.
  5. Don’t eat out everyday. I know it can be difficult to eat really healthy when in college but find recipes that don’t take much preparation so you can make yourself a dinner or pack a lunch a couple times a week.

Overall have fun and enjoy yourself without the worry, make little changes in your lifestyle to help keep yourself active. I can’t say it enough MODERATION IS ALWAYS KEY!!!!!

Mindless Eating! Our Food ILLUSIONS!

Dr. Brian Wansink is a world-renowned food psychologist. He wrote a book called Mindless Eating that I believe everyone should read. So many people read his articles and believe that it doesn’t pertain to them and that they are fully aware of what they are eating and how much they are eating. The scary part… EVERYONE DOES IT. People are so caught up in the world around them that we do not realize the little things we do that have a huge impact on our diet.

10 Tips for Mindful Eating:

  1. Read food labels, know what you are eating, and what’s in it
  2. Buy smaller portions
  3. Repackage large portions into small containers
  4. Use smaller plates, bowls, utensils, glasses
  5. Plan to eat “seconds,” leave some food behind, especially at buffets
  6. Split restaurant entrees with friends (or yourself)
  7. Keep tempting foods out of sight and out of mind
  8. Pre-measure TV portions before sitting down for your favorite show
  9. Slow down, sit down, shut up
  10. Eat mindfully
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