Tag: healthy options

Are Genetically Modified Foods Dangerous?

Are Genetically Modified Foods Dangerous?

From breakfast cereal to beef jerky, 80% of processed foods are made with ingredients from genetically modified crops. They’re called genetically-modified organisms (GMOs); plants that have been genetically transformed to be resistant to bugs, drought, and disease.  Millions of North American consumers have been eating dozens of GMO foods grown on hundreds of millions of acres, but is this science experiment on our food safe?

Misconstrued Food

It’s genetic engineering to the max, altering crops in a laboratory to create plants having valuable traits that can’t and don’t occur naturally. They can also be enhanced to be healthier by carrying vitamins, minerals, and proteins that they otherwise would not have.

These Frankenfoods are inspected and tested by the US Department of Agricultures’s  (USDA)Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)to review the environmental impact of genetically modified crops prior to hitting the shelves at the grocery store.

And when new traits are introduced, they’re examined and studied by the EPA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for toxicity and allergens. Since the 1990’s, when GMO foods hit the market, there have been  no documented adverse effects, and no studies have shown that GM foods are less safe than traditional counterparts.

But there’s a twist. These crops are also altered to be resistant to herbicides (a.k.a. weed killer).  It can be costly and time consuming to kill the weeds without killing the crop too, but with GMO plants, farmers can spray herbicide all over the weeds… and the crop. And it’s the weed killer that’s the trouble maker.

Weed Out  

Mixing genes between plants may be safe for consumption, but weed killer is not, and herbicide residue can stick to crops. Studies on both rats and fish have shown that the ingesting weed killer causes cell and tissue damage in the kidneys, liver, heart, and adrenal glands.

A simple solution would be to avoid GMO foods, but they aren’t required to be labeled, so it’s difficult to determine which of the thousands of products on the market contain genetically altered ingredients and potentially dangerous herbicide residues. However, more and more non-genetically modified foods are now being labeled as GMO Free. Also know what to avoid or choose organic!

In Training – Your Best Fit Self

In Training – Your Best Fit Self

I wanted to title this post “The Best Weight-Loss Program”, but I knew that once people started reading it and realized that it was not a magic pill, they may move on to something else.


If you want to lose weight, the best way is both the easiest and the hardest:

Change your lifestyle

Changing your lifestyle boils down to changing your habits. Changing habits can take time, but once you have new habits, a healthy and fit lifestyle will fall into place fairly easily.

You must develop healthy eating habits. If you instead change your lifestyle and how you approach food, then you’re looking at a long-term plan for health and easy weight management.

 

Think about your habit forming period like you are in training. This training is not going to last forever, but it is critically important to set the groundwork for living a fit and healthy life. During this training period you will need to do a few things that you may not want to do and may not have done in the past; however, you will only need to do these things while you are in training. Set a goal for 30 days… that’s it.

 

Yes – you do need to record everything you eat and keep track of your calories every single day.

Yes – you do need to do some type of physical activity every single day.

Yes – you do need to eat healthy every single day by adding lots of fruits and veggies into your diet.

Yes – you need to clear out ALL of the junk foods from your house.

It all comes down to calories. If you eat 100 more food calories than you burn each day, you’ll gain about a pound a month. If you eat fewer calories than you burn, you slowly but surely will lose weight.

1. Figure out how many calories you should be taking in to maintain your current weight. Here is the easy way to figure it out:

For sedentary people: Weight x 14 = estimated cal/day

For moderately active people: Weight x 17 = estimated cal/day

For active people: Weight x 20 = estimated cal/day

 

(Note: Moderately Active is defined as 3-4 aerobic sessions per week. Active is defined as 5-7 aerobic sessions per week).

 

2. Adjust your physical activity to match or out burn the calories you take in every day. Please see the Activity Calorie Calculator 

 

3. Make Smart Food Choices by choosing your foods carefully to maximize nutrition while minimizing calories.

Let me help you with the details. Check out my blog for a variety of information on exercise and nutrition. Email me anytime with questions. Musclemommy@ gmail.com.

How Not to Quit

How Not to Quit

I started thinking about the many classes and events that we have enrolled the kids in over the years. Swimming lessons, tennis lessons, karate, gymnastics, soccer, t-ball, animal camp, kids’ dash, Spanish camp, and choir.

Some of the classes were great from the start and continued to be fun for the duration of the class schedule. Some of the classes started out horrible. During my daughter’s first swim class she cried the ENTIRE 30 minutes. The next class she only cried for about the first 10 minutes, and by the third class she couldn’t wait to get in the pool. Some classes started out great but went downhill after that. And finally, some classes they complained about the entire drive there, but when they got into the class they had a blast each and every time.

One common thread among these classes is that the kids were never allowed to quit going – no matter how much they complained. A life lesson to instill responsibility and commitment. This is one of those non-negotiables that my husband and I have created for our kids – no quitting.

Every parent has their own non-negotiables for their kids and family. You know, those “rules” or ideas about behavior that you will not budge on…ever.

So, now to my point. As we hold our kids to certain standards like not quitting, we should also hold ourselves to the same kinds of standards, especially when it comes to health and wellness.

When you start a new health and fitness regimen, you are sure to experience what my kids experienced in their different classes.

Some parts of your new routine will start out great and stay great. Those parts are easy to stick with.

Some things will start out great and then go downhill after the newness and motivation wears off. These things may or may not continue to be a part of your routine. If an activity becomes so dreadful that it causes you to skip your workout all together, then get rid of it. If it is just something that is not as “fun” or easy as something else, stick with it.

Other activities will be horrible at the start. These are the activities that you want to be sure and stick with for at least a month, as they may turn into your favorite. After my first spinning class, I thought I was going to vomit, but I kept going back to give it a fair chance. Now I go three times a week, and I would love to be a spinning instructor.

Lastly, you may complain (or make excuses) before you exercise, or feel like complaining because you feel a little deprived in your menu selections; however, if you hold yourself to a non-negotiable standard and go exercise and eat healthy, you will feel fantastic each and every time!

Calorie Blast: Four Exercises

Calorie Blast: Four Exercises

I have been writing a lot about goals, staying focused, and nutrition, and I realize that I have gone a little light on exercise information. So here is a quick calorie burning workout that you can do anywhere. One reason I love these four exercises is that they are hatefully awesome.

(Courtesy of Active.com these four explosive moves created by Kim Blake, a trainer at Nike World Headquarters Sports Center in Portland, Oregon. )

You’ll push your body weight off the floor and then absorb it when you land. Translation? Your muscles will work hard, and you’ll blast fat.

Do 12 to 16 reps of each move, resting for 15 seconds between each exercise. When you’ve finished all four, rest for a minute or two, then repeat the circuit two more times. Do this calorie-burning workout three times a week, or anytime you need a little “damage control” when you have overdone it on the calories.

 

Four Power Moves

1. Runner’s lunge to knee skip

Start in a pushup position, then bend your left knee and place your left foot between your hands (a). Push through your left foot, raise your torso, and drive your right knee and left arm into the air, hopping off the ground (b). Return to start, then switch legs and repeat on the other side. That’s one rep.

2. Plie jumping jacks

Stand with your hands at your sides (a) and jump into the air, bringing your arms overhead and your feet wide, knees and toes turned out, then lower into a squat (b). Quickly jump back to the starting position. That’s one rep.

3. Quarter-turn squat

Lower into a squat (a), then jump up, swinging your arms overhead and rotating 90 degrees to the left while in the air (b). Lower into a squat (c), then jump up and rotate to the right. That’s one rep.

4. Donkey kick

Start in a pushup position, legs extended directly behind you and hands under your shoulders (a). With your legs together, brace your core and glutes, then kick both legs into the air, bending your knees to bring your feet toward your butt (b). Reverse the movement to return to start, trying to land softly on the balls of your feet. That’s one rep.

Healthy Foods for Unhealthy Cravings

Healthy Foods for Unhealthy Cravings

0910-chocolate-potato-chip[1]I have always heard that a food craving is your body telling you that it’s lacking a certain nutrient. I came across an article in Medical Daily that not only explains what cravings mean, but also offers healthy alternatives.

Food cravings can seem strong enough to pick us up and send us straight to the refrigerator, drive through, or local grocery, going against our better judgment. Our hunger pangs can often lead us astray, forcing us to make unhealthy choices when it comes to satisfying our food cravings. While we may blame our sweet tooth or stress for these compulsive cravings like chocolate, or a bag of chips, our body may be longing for something we cannot buy at the grocery store. These intense cravings may be a signal that something is amiss in our bodies such as vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients we lack.

Since most of us in eat a fair amount of processed foods, and not enough whole, nutrient-rich foods, we actually can suffer from very mild malnutrition. This explains why we end up craving what our body is currently lacking.

For healthier food choices, it’s important to recognize what types of key nutrients we’re missing, and how to put ourselves back on a healthier path where we remain just as satisfied.

1. Swap Chocolate With Raw Nuts

Craving chocolate can mean our body is in need of magnesium. Chocolate provides up to 10 percent daily value of magnesium for 2 ounces (and a whopping 290 calories), actually making it a pretty good source of magnesium.  But our craving for chocolate may be a learned response instead of the body actually thinking it’s getting the best source of magnesium. Dieticians recommend eating raw nuts, as a better source, on a regular basis to make the craving go away.

2. Swap Coffee Or Tea With Hydrating Juice

The desire for coffee or tea is quite common, especially during the early hours of the morning. In the AM, after the body has been on an eight-hour fast of anything liquid or solid, we tend to be more dehydrated. This is due to our metabolic processes still running, and water being lost in the processes.

Starting the day with a hydrating juice such as watermelon juice, or diluted orange juice (half water and half OJ) can be a healthier alternative. Once you hydrate your cells you may find you don’t need a caffeine boost which can actually cause dehydration. A sliced orange or sliced grapefruit in the morning is also great for hydration, vitamin C, and fiber.

3. Premenstrual Cravings

A week before a woman’s menstrual cycle, she tends to crave random foods like chocolate, and those laden with saturated fats. These cravings hint that the body needs more zinc. The level of zinc in your system fluctuates depending on your estrogen levels. Therefore, zinc increases as estrogen rises, leading up to ovulation, and then drops right before ovulation and stays lower until the beginning of your next cycle.

Zinc deficiency has been linked to lower levels of the hormone leptin, which is responsible for regulating the body’s energy expenditure, fat storage, and appetite. Leptin communicates to the brain when it should feel full and stop eating. Insufficient leptin levels are believed to be the primary cause of food cravings and overeating. Good sources of zinc include red meats, seafood, leafy vegetables, and root vegetables.

Rather than cave to your food cravings, understand what your body really needs, and replace the junk with healthy substitutes! Now you know.

Eat This, Not That: 5 Healthier Substitutes For Unhealthy Food Cravings

The Fab Five Must Haves for Losing Weight

The Fab Five Must Haves for Losing Weight

 

The Fab Five Must Haves for Losing Weight:

 

Diet: Eating a healthy and nutritious diet is the most important factor to lose weight. We all have a daily nutritional requirement and anything extra gets stored as fat. Diets are highly individual, but all diets should provide sufficient food throughout the day, plenty of options to choose from and should be balanced in providing nutrients. Your diet shouldn’t be some random plan that you saw online or heard your neighbor talking about, but it should be a plan made according to your current diet, routine, and habits. If you dislike raw veggies and work at a job that doesn’t allow you to snack throughout the day, a diet that requires eating veggies every two hours is just not going to be successful.

 

Exercise: It is difficult to get maximum weight loss results without a workout. Yes, you could probably control your diet and calories, but it takes longer to lose weight, and what do you think is under those layers of fat? When you exercise you build muscle, which creates a tone fit body underneath. When the fat goes, the muscle shows. Without it, you will probably get SSS – Saggy Skin Syndrome. Diet helps you lose the weight, but exercise gets you into shape. Exercise burns calories, burns fat, increases your metabolic rate and flexibility, and helps to increase your endurance.

 

Motivation: Diet and exercise are the most important but being motivated is an absolute requirement. If you are used to eating whatever you want, once you start restricting your choices, cravings and feelings of deprivation set it. Motivation is what gets you through. Motivation is also highly individual. What motivates me may not make sense to you, so it’s gut check time to figure out what’s going to be your motivation. Only you can decide.

 

Stress: Stress wreaks havoc on the mind and the body. And for many people, eating and stress go hand in hand. There are those who eat when they are stressed, and on the flip side, those who can’t eat because they are so stressed. Both are bad. The first step to reducing stress is to recognize it and accept it. Then take steps to minimize it… this can be as simple as taking a few deep breaths or getting up from your desk and walking outside for a few minutes. Or it might require something more involved like a day at the spa or a yoga class.

 

Sleep: Sleep is essential for weight loss. The body needs to recover and reboot. Crazy sleep patterns will decrease the efficiency and recovery time for the body. Sleep also regulates the hormones that stimulate appetite and control hunger, so even the best diet and exercise plan can get derailed if you don’t get enough sleep.

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