Monday, December 20, 2010

Work hours

People who work 60 hours a week
are TWICE as likely to have a heart attack
than people who would 40 hours a week.

So for your own health, take a break, get home for dinner
and make this a new years resolution
only 40 hours a week.

Friday, December 17, 2010


Its the holidays!!  Time to spend more money than normally, have family in town, or go out of town, things need to be wrapped and mailed, malls are crowded, there is traffic everywhere.

-while I Love the holidays, I admit they can be a little stressful.
And while seeing family, and everyones happy faces after a big meal, or opening  a great present
sometimes we need a little relief in the middle of it all.

So the next time you are stuck in traffic, the perfect gift is sold out, or you are sitting in an airport
try this breathing exercise

Take a deep breath in through your nose for the count of 5
Then slowly let it out through your mouth for the count of 6
Breathe deeply, drawing air into your abdomen
Try this for 2 minutes and see if you feel better!

Happpy Shopping!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Stem Cell Transplant Cures HIV

A recent article in the journal Blood says that a man who was treated with extensive bone marrow transplants and chemotherapy in 2007 is now free of HIV
read more here

This treatment is considered life-threatening and its not a feasible treatment for the 33 million people in the world infected with HIV . However it does provide a lot of hope for the people infected and their families.
Hopefully it points the science in the right direction for a cure.
Its now been 30 years since the first case in the USA and world wide it has claimed an estimated 25 million lives
In 2008, 7400 people were infected - Every Day
in the same year approximately 14 million children lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS
{stats from USAID}

Click To learn more about the Unicef Global Campaign on Children and AIDS or to donate

To order a custom tie dye shirt -the proceeds of which will go to a volunteer organization in Kenya
or to Donate a t-shirt to a child in Kenya
check out T4A Apparel on facebook

Monday, December 13, 2010

Thinking about exercising?

Are you sitting there thinking "I should exercise"
-I will go to the gym tomorrow
-on monday I am going to start running again
-my New Years resolution will be to go to the gym 3 times a week
-as soon as the holidays are over I will start exercising again

well STOP

stop putting off your exercise and start TODAY
change those thoughts to things like
-Lets got for a walk after dinner
-I am going to the gym today after work
-Im going to hot yoga this morning
-Instead of tv, Im going to run - right now

Friday, December 10, 2010

Walking and Mental Health

A ten year long study has shows a link between walking and slower cognitive decline.

While walking cant cure Alzheimers it can slow down the progression.
Patients who walked 8km a week had slower progression of Alzheimers and mild cognitive impairment in comparison with those who didn\t walk.

Patients who walked 8km/week had better preservation of the frontal lobe and the temporal lobes (including the hippocampus) - all areas associated with memory and learning

Start walking now to prevent a problem before there is one!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Did you know flossing daily can add up to 6.4 years to your life?

Because the same bacteria that causes gum inflammation is also linked to heart disease
-more specifically, the inflammation of ateries.

So floss every day to get rid of this bacteria and live longer and have better breath!

read more here
{image from}

Monday, December 6, 2010

Health Link

British scientists have correlation between the length of a mans index finger and his risk of prostate cancer.

Studies have found that men whose index finder is longer than their ring finger are one third less likely to develop prostate cancer - which is the second more common cancer in men.

 Lower levels of testosterone while a fetus is developing is linked to the length of fingers and lower risk of prostate cancer. 

There are suggestions that looking at the finger length could be used as a simple test for determining risk of prostate cancer in men under 60.
Read more at the Globe and Mail

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Good News for Joggers

A new study from German Researchers has shown just how good running is for you!
We already know that running is good for leg and core strength and cardiovascular health

Turns out that running also targets fat tissue - specifically visceral fat AKA belly fat!
The first 10 minutes of your jog are the most effective for burning this type of fat
(Don't forget that at least 30 minutes is needed for cardiovascular health)

So what are you waiting for! Strap those running shoes on today!!

originally seen on vitamin G blog

{image from}

Monday, November 29, 2010

Yoga for Runners

Two common problems that runners face are short/tight quads and hip flexors and runners knee - when the knee cap doesn't track properly.

Dancer's Pose - this will help stretch quads and hip flexors

Warrior II - this helps knee tracking

click here for descriptions of how to do these do yoga poses.

Runners knee is caused when the muscles on the outside of the quad are stronger or tighter than the ones on the outside. This pulls the kneecap to the outside and is very painful.
To prevent runners knee- the inner quad (VMO) and Hip Adductors need to be strengthened.

Sit in a chair, or lie on the floor- feet planted.  Place your fists side by side between your knees, or use a ball, or rolled up towel and squeeze.  Start by doing 3 sets of 10 reps.

Leg lifts - raise the leg behind and hold for 10 seconds. Then pulse for 10 seconds. Repeat 3 times.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Take the 100 Push Up Challenge

This is a 6 week program designed to help you be able to do 100 pushups. 
Why would would want to do 100 pushups?  Because they are one of the most effective exercises ever! Yet are often over looked.
Push ups work you arms/triceps, chest, shoulders, back, and torso (core strength with increase right along with your arms!)
Imagine what you New Years Eve dress will look like with newly tones arms, shoulders and back.  - and imagine how good you will feel!

click the link to get started with a test, and a week by week program.
Keep me posted on your progress.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Food Cravings

What is the best way to combate food cravings or late night snacking?
Distract yourself.  Even better - distract yourself by doing something active

The average food craving lasts about 4-12 minutes.  So the next time you feel yourself reaching for those salty crackers, or hidden stash of cookies try these things first

1. Drink a glass or water. A lot of the time thirst is mistake for hunger - so try this first, you may be dehydrated.

2. Go for a walk. Go for a brisk 15-20 minute walk, in the park, with your special someone, or take the dog out. By the time you get back - the craving should be gone.

3. Stretch - stretch out your hamstrings, your back, your neck. -click here for a 4 minute yoga routine

4. Do a 20 minute at home workout - try the one here

5. Brush your teeth - you are less likely to snack with minty fresh just brushed teeth

-if you try these tips and you still feel like you want to eat - keep healthy snacks easily accesible. cut up peppers, carrots, apples and leave them in single serving bags/tupperwear in the fridge. Or keep bags or quarter cup bags of unsalted almonds in the cupboard That way nutrient dense snacks ready when you are!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Counting Calories?

When trying to keep track of how many calories you are getting it might seem helpful when restaurants provide calories counts on the menu -

but Boston researchers have found that restaurant meals contain on average 18% more calories than listed.
Frozen entrees contain on average 8% more. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Concerned about beef?

Alberta is known for its beef - but how much do we actually know about beef?

I recently watched the CBC documentary Frankensteer at school.
It explores the mass production of beef at feedlots in Canada.  It definitely raises some good questions (along with a little fear mongering). 
Today, the cows that raised and sold on our market as beef at pumped full of antibiotics even if they are not sick, or at risk of becoming sick. In fact - 50% of all tonnage of antibiotics used in canada end up in our beef.
They are also given growth hormones to make them get bigger, and ready for slaughter faster - in Canada the hormone Estradiol is used - even though it is banned in the UK and has been linked to higher rates of cancer.

We often treat beef like it is toxic when we bring it into our homes - we know we much always wash our hands and all surfaces that raw beef comes in contact with - this is because of the bacteria that is found within the beef we bring home from the supermarket.
E.Coli comes from the intestinal tracts of animals and often gets mixed into meat during processing - especially ground beef. - fortunately heat can kill this bacteria
That's why cooking your beef to the proper temperature is so important
Steaks, roast and fish should be cooked to 62.8C or 145F
Pork and ground beef 71.1C or 160F
Chicken breasts  76.7C or 170.1F

In the case of ground beef - don't be fooled by the meat turning brown, always keep a thermometer close by!
And when travelling to the USA don't forget to order your hamburger well done - because despite what is approved for sale in restaurants in the states - rare ground beef is not safe.

If you want to watch the documentary follow this link

{i also want to caution people to do their research before jumping on the organic bandwagon - know the regulations in your area and consider getting to know your local providers via the farmers market.}

Friday, November 12, 2010

No more toys in SF

A new law in San Fransisco has been passed that will stop McDonalds from adding toys to Happy Meals.
The toy has long been the lure behind getting a McDonalds happy meal - and hopefully this will cut down on how many of these unhealthy meals are fed to kids.

In order for a meal to qualify to get a toy it must meet the following criteria:

-Less than 600 calories
-Less than 35% of the calories come from fat
-Less than 640 milligrams of sodium
-A fruit or vegetable

while this doesn't guarantee a healthy meal it is a least a step in the right direction
The adequate intake of sodium for kids 1-8 is between 1000-1200mg - so this qualified meal could still contain more than half the sodium your child should get in a day.

found on

Monday, November 8, 2010


If you read your nutrition labels you may have noticed a mystery ingredient Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP).  It is especially common in soups. What is it? Well its basically MSG in another form.
Wheat, corn or soy is boiled in hydrochloric acid and then neutralized by sodium hydroxide.  (yummm right??)
Is it dangerous? Not necessarily - if you aren't already sensitive to MSG then HVP wont likely make you sick. However, there is not any information about what additives like this can do in the long run.

To read more about this check out the Glamour blog Vitamin G - link below

Thursday, November 4, 2010


"Witnesses at a recent meeting of U.S. Senate Committee said that if the food industry were propsing sugar today as a new food additive, its "metabolic behaviour would undoubtedly lead to its being banned""
John B. McKinlay A case for refocusinng upstream: The Political Economy of Illness

-the average american adult eats 126 pounds of sugar each year - and for children the number is even higher.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Electronics and Sleep

Many electronic devises can interfere with your sleep.

The lights on your alarm clock or cell phone may be enough to disrupt your sleep
Turn off wireless router when going to sleep.  I have tried this the last couple of nights, and I feel much more rested even with the same amount of sleep

Remove cellphones and cordless phones from the bedroom

Cover up LCD alarm clocks with a pillow

Using electronics before bed may also be to blame

When you send emails or watch tv you are stimulating brain activity. When your brain is active right before you turn out the light, it wont be ready to sleep

Having a 15-30 minute period between when you disconnect and when you go to bed
Make your bedroom electronic free

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Double Down = Double the risk

KFC's new sandwich "The Double Down" was launched yesterday in Canada.

It is two pieces of bacon and two pieces of cheese between two chicken breasts -either breaded and fried, or grilled.
There is no bread - so some are claiming that its healthy because there are no carbs from the bread. They are wrong - this is NOT healthy in any way.
The sand which has 30 grams of fat (half the daily recommended fat intake - and I can guarantee that this is not your healthy poly-unsaturated fats) and 1740mg of sodium (max daily intake should be 1500mg).
And no - the grilled chicken is not healthier.

Some people are ordering the sandwich because the commercials led to the feeling of "needing to man up".
Last time I checked, having a heart attack wasn't very manly.

Do your arteries a favor and don't eat this sandwich.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Muscle Cramps?

Take a drink of pickle juice!

Experts say that drinking pickle juice can help with muscle cramps or spasms.
I assume its because the high sodium helps to restore normal electrolyte levels which is essential for normal muscle contraction.

I have also read that before long runs you should eat a pickle or two in order to help retain water.

read the full article here

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Trouble Sleeping?

There is one pretty simple way to reduce insomnia.
If you have trouble sleeping at night you might want to pay attention to what that is...


A study done by Northwest University asked people who claimed they had trouble sleeping if they exercised and all of them said no.
After they were put on a 16 week exercise program including biking, running and treadmill activity all of them reported an improvement in sleep!

read the article here

Friday, September 24, 2010

After a Work Out

Drink Chocolate Milk

Maybe you have seen the commercials, or maybe this is the first time you are hearing this.
But here is why:  After a work out, your body craves both carbohydrates and protein.
Chocolate Milk contains the perfect ratio of carbs:protein that your body needs.
Plus its yummy.! So drink up!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Flu Season

It may only be Fall every where else but we are getting frost and some snow here in Calgary already.
Flu season is upon us. There is some concern that H1N1 will come back this season so time to get prepared!

The best way to prevent the flu is good hygiene and sanitation.
In my sociology of health and illness class we recently learned that the most drastic decline in mortality rates from infectious diseases occurred before the vaccines were available. This is accredited to improved sanitation and hygiene.

So wash your hands! 
The friction created by rubbing the soap all over your hands is what actually separates the germs form your hands. So use soap! 2/3 don't on a regular basis.
You should lather really well make sure you get your wrists, thumbs, between fingers and under your nails.
It should take your 20 seconds - or the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice.
Rinse with warm water and then briskly dry your hands on a clean towel.

Experts say that you are better off drying your hands on pants than using a hand dryer - they heat up re-circulated bathroom air and then blow it on your hands.

Remember - vaccines are not obsolete either - if you are of high risk, or live with someone who is high risk - talk to your doctor about getting the flu vaccine.

Friday, September 10, 2010


My Mom always tried to get my to drink Ginger tea when I was sick but I never really liked it. I have learned to like a little bit of ginger, but Im still not sure Im ready for her potent tea.

Ginger has been used for thousands of years for nausea, motion sickness, colds, joint pain, and circulation problems. It is a warming spice, like the ones mentioned in the previous post and it can be used to raise the body temperature to help fight infection.

Click the link below to read more about this health-full ingredient and get some recipes

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fight Colds and Flu

Warming spices can help fight off colds and the flu.  Since fall is just around the corner I thought I would share this link with you.
It is from and it gives a little insite into warming spices such as curry, cinnamon and ginger and also has links to recipes using these spices.

click the link below to read:

Friday, September 3, 2010

School Lunches

School is going to be going back very soon. Where did the summer go??

Thinking of healthy ideas for packing school lunches can be very tricky. Nutrition is so important for kids and making sure they get enough good stuff to eat can be tough. You also need to make sure that its yummy enough that they don't trade it for some dunk-a-roos! (dunk-a-roos would be a fun treat though if they still make those!)

Check out this link to for 15 healthy school lunch ideas.  They even sound gourmet: Turkey Brie and Apple Sandwich on Raisin Walnut Bread, Tomato and Bread Salad with Herbed Chicken..
Hope they help!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I am going to be away for a few weeks but I have scheduled a couple of posts for while I am away.
Make sure to check back occasionally!

See you in a couple weeks!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Earlobe Crease

On Dr.Oz today he had 7 signs your body is aging too fast.
One that i thought was important to share with everyone was the earlobe crease.

the linear crease on the earlobe starting near the head and angling out is a predictor of heart disease.

it is a good indication that the elastin in the body is starting to harden. you arteries need to be elasticy to expand and contract when the heart pumps blood.
keep an eye on your earlobes and those of the people you love. if you notice the crease talk to your doctor about the implications.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Fight Fatige continued...

Make a sandwich or salad with these 5 ingredients and you will be getting all of the 7 nutrients mentioned in the previous post

Spinach ( potassium, magnesium, iron, complex carbs)
Avocados (potassium, complex carbs)
Carrots (beta-carotene, complex carbs)
Red Pepper (vitamin C, complex carbs)
Chicken/Cheese/Beans/Egg (protein)

Add a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fight Fatigue

Here are 7 Nutrients that Fight Fatigue
1. Protein:  eat protein at breakfast to maintain energy throughout the day.  People who skip protein at breakfast are more likely to be depressed, stressed and less physically fit.

2. Iron:  deficiency is a common cause of anemia which leads to a decreased volume of red blood cells causing you to feel tired. Iron is most easily absorbed from meat sources, but you can boost how much is absorbed from your dark leafy greens by combining it with vitamin C

3. Complex carbs (vs. simple sugars):  They are found in fruit and vegetables and break down much slower than simple sugars (ie white sugar, white bread, ect) They break down slower leading to a steadier source of energy that is released into your blood stream over a longer period of time.  Sources of complex carbs are also a good source of fibre and B vitamins which help with energy.

4. Vitamin C: Helps with adrenal health. The adrenal glands release cortisol (stress hormone). So if you increase your vitamin C intake, you can decrease fatigue caused by physical and emotional stress

5. Magnesium:  essential for the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) - the molecule that is used in the body for energy. Magnesium also relaxes muscles and aid in sleep.

6. Beta Carotene: Vitamin A precursor. This helps boost depressed immune system and with chronic fatigue. It also helps promote healthy cell membrane, protecting against viruses, bacteria, fungi, and allergies. Its necessary for healthy red blood cells.

7. Potasssium. Deficiency causes muscle weakness and exhaustion. Helps transport nutrients to the muscles, regulates muscle contractions and maintains a healthy nervous system and heart rate.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Most people are getting somewhere between 2 and 3 times the recommended daily intake of sodium.
For people ages 9-50 the RDA for sodium is 1500mg. However - the average Canadian man gets  4,100mg and women are consuming 2,900mg.
This is BAD. While some sodium is needed for normal cell function, and it needs to be replaced because sodium is lost through urine and sweat, Canadians are getting way too much.

Most of the sodium comes from processed packaged foods. Even things such as milk, and pop has sodium. Make sure you are checking the labels when buying processed foods - and the labels can be deceiving because of the serving size  -so read carefully.

This huge amount of sodium can cause a huge amount of health problems. Sodium causes water retention, which no only leads to bloating but also causes high blood pressure. High blood pressure is hard on your kidneys, your heart  and your blood vessels.

Try to reduce your sodium intake by taking the salt shaker off the table, not adding much or any when preparing food. And always read the labels!

read an article from CBC news here

Friday, August 20, 2010

Quick Tip

Think onions hurt your eyes?  Eatting them might actually be good for your eyes.

Red Onions contain more quercetin than yellow onions. This anti-oxidant is thought to prevent cataracts.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Visit or call your mom.

A study at the University of Wisconsin showed that after a stressful event, talking to or seeing your mom will lower cortisol (stress hormone) levels faster. And even raise Oxytocin which is linked to emotional bonding.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Boost Your Brain Power

Listen to music or play an instrument. 

A study recently published in Nature Reviews Neuroscience found that children with musical training had better vocabularies and reading abilities.
Adults who are musical have more Neuroplasticity - which is the brains ability to adapt and change ie. learn.

So grab your ukulele or your ipod and exercise your brain today

Thursday, August 5, 2010


When thinking about starting an exercise program or wanting to change your current program there are a few things you need to think about. FITT

Depending on whether you are looking for Health and Wellness Benefits, Fitness Benefits or Performance benefits those four things should be different.  Here are some guidelines.
                   Health & Wellness                 
Frequency    3-5 days Moderate intensity
Intensity      50-60% MHR                 
Time            30-60min @ 50-60mhr                    
Type            Steady and continuous. low intensity                
                 Fitness Benefits
                  5-7days Moderate intensity.
                  70-85% MHR
                 20-60min @ 70-85mhr
                 Steady continuous
                 Performance Benefits
                  5-6 days moderate-high intensity
                  90% MHR
                 20min-2hrs depend on intensity

                 Steady, continuous
- for health & wellness, fitness and performance you should incorporate as much large muscle mass as you can i.e. legs and hip muscles, core (ab and back). Incorporating small muscle groups (such as arm and shoulders) at the same time will burn more calories.

(MHR = max heart rate calculated using the formula  220-age )

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

circuit training

here is the circuit i have been doing recently at home.  all you need is a step or bench, a mat, and some weights - 3 - 7.5 lbs weights (whatever you can lift 10-12 times and gives you a good workout)

Warm up:
Jog in place 1 minute
Arm swings 30 sec
Jumping Jacks -30

Step Up (I use my coffee table)
Plie squat
45 Degree Lunge
Chair Pose

Cardio:  30 sec each
Jumping Jacks, Jogging on spot, Skipping on spot

Abs 15 each
Crunches w/ legs lifted
Reverse Crunch
V -Sit
Side Plank (30 sec each side)

Cardio (same as above)

Arms: 10-12 reps each
Push ups
Bent Over Row
Bicep curl
Tricep Curl
Chest Fly

Cardio +Cool down
Jumping Jacks, Skipping on spot
Walk on spot

Friday, July 30, 2010

Healthy Popsicles?

Skip the fruit juice with all the added sugar - and make a healthier version at home.

Take your favorite fruit, berries, mangoes, watermelon - cut into chunks and puree in the blender. Add a little water if it looks too thick.  Sweeten to taste if you like.
Then pour them into store bought Popsicle moulds and freeze.

Or try just filling your moulds up with yogurt and freezing them.  Yummm.

These ones look like they have a slice of kiwi!
If you dont have popsicle moulds you can use paper cups. After you fill them cover with tin-foil and then insert a popsicle stick.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Quick Tips

To move more and boost your metabolism by keeping your muscles active throughout the day.

1. Walk when you talk - when you're on the phone, walk around, or pace back and forth.

2. Walk down the hallway to speak to a co-worker rather than emailing. Standford Research Prevention Center found that emailing rather than talking will result in a 10 pound weight gain over 10 years.

3. Lift while you watch - get yourself some weights and do arm exercises while you watch TV. Try bicep curls, tricep curls, shoulder press, shoulder fly..

4.  Fidget More - shaking your foot, bouncing your leg, tapping your fingers, doing calf raises - it all adds up and studies show that fidgeting actually burns a lot of calories.

5. Laugh more - and I mean laugh - laugh til your belly and your cheeks hurt. Belly laughing 100 times is an aerobic exercise similar to 10 minutes on the rowing machine.

-All these tips and more can be found in the Best Health Health Weight-Loss Revolution summer edition.  On stands now

Friday, July 23, 2010

want stronger legs?

try these 4 moves

Step Ups

Leg Swings

45 Degree Lung


For more information, including how to do each exercise, click here

Thursday, July 22, 2010


The loss of bone tissue can be detrimental to your health. With weak, brittle bone tissue, bumping into a table, or tripping and falling can be life threatening.
While most people associate osteoporosis with women, its important to remember that men are susceptible too.  Women are more likely to break a hip from a fall, but men are more likely to die from complications if they do break a hip.

There are two things you can do now to help prevent the disease.
1. Getting enough vitamin D and Calcium.  Bone tissue is alive and constantly being broken down and built up depending on your blood calcium levels. Talk to you doctor about supplements
2. Exercise. Weight bearing exercise - such as weight lifting, or running because of the impact puts stress on the cells in your muscle and bones.  We know this helps build up muscle, but did you know it also helps to build up bone. The stress causes a response in your bones to get stronger, and therefore your body builds more dense bone tissue.

Exercise guidelines:
under 18 - 1hr x day
19-50+ - 1hr x 3 days a week

Women over 50 should get a  bone density test and younger women should be tested if they have 1 major risk factor, or 2 minor risk factors ( listed below)

• A family history of the disease
• Long-term use of steroids
• Loss of menstrual periods in younger women
• Having had a low-trauma fracture (a fracture that results from a fall from standing height or less—usually the wrist, arm or hip)
• Body weight of less than 125 pounds
• Low calcium intake
• Drinking more than four cups of coffee a day
• Drinking more than two alcoholic drinks a day
• Smoking

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

this mom ran her first marathon at 43

Lee-Ann McLean from Halifax, decided to run a marathon after her 4year old daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and because she was frustrated by the 5 pound fluctuations on the bathroom scale.

She joined the Running Room online marathon clinic and ran the Dublin Marathon to raise money for diabetes research.

Read the whole story here.
To find a running room near your, or to sign up online go here -

Monday, July 19, 2010

eat at home

The average Canadian household spends about 30% of their food budget on eating out.  People who eat out more often tend to eat less-healthy foods and be heavier.
Want to try saving some money and maybe cut back on some calories? Eat at home. suggegests keeping track of how often you eat out and how much money you are spending at restaurants and then cutting back gradually.

Interesting fact:  the rise in obesity over the past 30 years has fallen closely inline with the decline in cooking meals at home.

to check out 9 otherways to drop a few pounds or be healthier click here

{image from}

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Outdoor Workout

Now that summer is here why not get outside to do your workout?
Here is a fitness routine you can do at your local park, or when you take your kids to the playground.
So get your shoes, a light resistance band and a bottle of water and head out!

Start by jogging to the park - make sure to set an appropriate pace or start by jogging one minute, walking one minute and repeating

Once you are at the park find a bench. Do;
Dips, Step Ups, and Incline Push ups

Jog around the park for 10 minutes

Then using your resistance band do:
Rows, and Bicep Curls  then do Squats

Finish by jogging home and stretching.

-For a more detailed description - including how to do the exercises check out this link

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Brain Boosters

On msn the other day I found an article about foods that boost brain power. Here is a quick run down - check out the link for more details

Blueberries - they have lots of antioxidants which promote positive signals to be sent from the nerve cells in your brain. This reduced inflammation. Eating blueberries daily may also help you perform better on memory tests.

Walnuts - help with heart health by lowering blood cholesterol. They fatty acids the nuts contain are also good for the brain because they help protect against degeneration. Degeneration can occur with normal aging or with diseases such as parkinsons or alzhiemers.  The antio oxidants also act as anti-inflammatories.
{P.S. studies have shown that people who eat nuts live longer than those who don't}

Strawberries - they have the higher amounts of antioxidants  compared to other fruit of vegetable - when ripe and in season. This high amount of antioxidants makes them great anti-inflammatories which is good for the nerve cells in your brain.

Dark Leafy Greens - mom was right - eat your green vegetables. Kale, spinach, swiss chard.. take your pick - they all help protect the arteries, vision and have anti-cancer properties. They also help to maintain and healthy brain

Salmon or Other Coold Water Fish - eating these fish is linked with lower levels of cognitive decline. The high amounts of omega 3 fatty acids help to protect the arteries which is key for normal brain function. They also help lower blood triglycerides - which is good for your arteries and your heart.

Check Out this link for  a Recipe for a salad that contains the first 4. Grill up some salmon and you've got yourself one brain healthy dinner!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Quick Link

Click Here is a link a List of Warm Weather Exercises -
from Women's Health Magazine (
Try one this weekend!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Diet vs. Exercise

Women's Health recently discussing whether its diet or exercise that is the most important. They looked at 6 common situations.
Here's what they found

To Lose Weight - Diet
To Boost Energy - Exercise
Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease - Diet
Prevent Type 2 Diabetes - Exercise
To Prevent Cancer - BOTH - plant based diet and consistent exercise
Improve Mood - Exercise

To read the full article including reasons why they came to these conclusions check out the article here

To sum up - both diet and exercise are vital to living a healthy lifestyle. Avoid yo-yo dieting or yo-yo exercising and try to maintain consistency with both. Everything in moderation


Thursday, June 24, 2010

What you need to know

About sunscreen and sun bathing...
1. The SPF on the bottle is not a reliable number. The problem? Most people do not apply enough to get the amount of protection the sunscreen claims.  You should apply about 1 -2oz of sunscreen - (1oz = 1shot glass)

2. Environmental Working Group has come out with some new information suggesting that Vitamin A (or its derivatives ie. retinol) can actually promote burning. This is very preliminary information and the studies have only done on mice.
However, it is something to think about when buying sun screen
(read more here and here)

3. Even in the shade you can be reached by UV rays - so put sunscreen on either way. Same goes for sheer or thin clothing.

Now that its getting sunny and hot out we are spending more time outside. It is important to apply sunscreen before you go out, after swimming or sweating, and apply liberally. Most dermatologists (mine included)  suggest anything below SPF 15 is useless. Use broad-spectrum sunscreen so it blocks burning and cancer causing rays as well as those that cause tanning and wrinkling.

-remember to use enough of your spf containing makeup to be protected. - re-read this post

image from Bittersweet Life

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Yoga Thrive

Yoga Thrive is a yoga program developed for people who have or have had cancer, and their support person(s). It was developed by Dr.Nicole Culos-Reed at the University of calgary.
Yoga has been shows to minimize or improve treatment related symptoms such as nausea and fatigue. Participants also have increased overall physical activity levels, improved physical strength decreased levels of perceived stress and improved mood state.

 In order for this practice and the benefits to reach more people there are classes being held all over Canada
-Check out this link to find a class near you - as well as more info on the program 

There is also a DVD available so you can practice at home, or with someone you know who has been affected by cancer.  - a link to buy the DVD can be found by clicking the link above.

You can read more about Dr. Culos-Reed's research by following this link

Dr. Culos-Reed has also developed fitness testing for cancer survivors.
If you, or anyone you know lives in or near Calgary - they can contact the Health and Wellness lab and set up a fitness assessment for either Cadiovascular health or for Strength. For $150 you get a 1.5 hour assessment as well as a 1 hour training session on another day. Follow this link for more information
To book a session:
CALL (403) 210-6983
Please leave your name and contact info, and our staff will contact you to set up your appointment

"Being inactive is not an option. Walking 30min a day, 7 days a week increases cancer survival rate by 50%" - Dr. Culos-Reed

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Health Tip

Steam your broccoli!

Steaming broccoli can increase the concentration of glucosinolates by up to 30% Glucosinolates are a category of phytochemicals (anti-oxidants) found in broccoli and other vegetables such as kale, brussel sprouts, and garlic.
These specific chemicals are knows for lowering risk of cancer by blocking carcinogins and preventing the initiation of tumors in some organs such as liver, mammary glands,  and pancrease.

-boiling your vegetables can cause phytochemicals and nutrients to leach out of vegetables into the water - and then down the drain.  so next time, steam your broccoli!

tip found on MSN BC - 12 quick tips for a longer, healthier life
Check out the 11 others here

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Reebok Easy Tone Shoes

Reebok have a new shoe out called The Easy Tone Shoe (RunTone for men). It claims to tone your butt up to 28% more, Hamstrings and Calves 11% more (more than regular walking shoes). The shoes are for walking only - they are not recommened for running. The way they work is by using balance ball technology to force your muscles to work harder to try to stabilize you body.
The design of the shoes (or flip flops if you prefer) appears to reduce stress on the knee and ankle joints. And one very common testimonial is how comfortable the shoes are.
Check out one of the commercials here - some people say the commercials are sexist, play on womens insecurities and fragment womens bodies...
I however, think it is fantastic marketing - and all the women in the commerical are active ( just remember, these womens butts and legs looked like that when they were hired for the commercial!)

A friend of mine, Trish wears them for her shifts at the hospital that can be up to 12 hours long. She said that she would buy them again purely because of how comfortable they are. She said she has not noticed any extra toning from the shoes, but knows people who say that they have.
That brings up an issue I have with the shoe and reeboks claims - there has been no independent studies done. Which means that all the information out there about the shoes is coming directly from reebok.

On Monday the 21 I am participating in a study where I will be walking in the Easy Tone shoes, regular Reebok Runner as well as barefoot. - the study is for reebok to get more numbers behind their claims
I will keep you posted on what I think of them - if they really are comfortable and take stress of my knee then they might be worth it just for that.

If you are looking for more tone of your leg muscle - I would recommend strength training over buying a pair of runners any day. But if you do a lot of walking already, or having them would encourage you to get more active then check them out.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Katrina Runs

I just found a new blog I thought I would share. Katrina Runs  - the author is a 34year old teacher, runner, photographer, and diabetic. she loves cooking and has lots of great recipes! because she has diabetes she has lots of great information about proteins, complex carbs, balances meals and the dangers of too much sugar.
she posts about running, cooking, clean eating and photography. I would definitely check out her site!
One great post is "Organics, Is It Worth It" - it talks about the growing trend of buying organic as well as a list of foods from WebMD that you definitely should buy organic or make sure you wash!

Friday, June 11, 2010

World Blood Donor Day

Monday June 14 is World Blood Donor Day.
The need for blood donations is extremely high in the summers.
So call 1-888-2-DONATE to find the nearest place near you.
And make sure you tell everyone else to donate blood and save lives.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Hip-to-Waist Ratio

We've all heard of BMI - body mass index. It is a height to weight ratio. Click Here to calculate your BMI.  It is widely used in body composition tests, and by doctors. It is a strong predictor for risk of diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
The problem with BMI is it does not take into consideration fat vs muscle, or where your body fat is located.
That is where the hip-to-waist ratio comes in.
To measure your hip-to-waist ration:
measure around the smallest part of your waist - usually near your belly button.
measure around the widest part of your hips and buttocks.
divide the waist measurement by the hip measurement and you've got your hip-to-waist ratio
According to Health Canada, a ratio less than 0.8 for women, and less than 1.0 for men is associated with lower heath risk.
This measurement is an even stronger predictor for increased health risks than BMI. This is because it gives an indication of where you store your body fat.
We've all heard terms apple shaped, and pear shaped.
Well bad news if you are apple shaped and carry most of your weight around your stomach, and less around your waist. This means that there is more fat surrounding all your internal organs, including your heart. This increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, and diabetes.

So find out your number for both these measurements, BMI and Hip-to-waist ratio. Write them down and talk to your Doctor about the implications. If either of your numbers are higher than recommended by Health Canada - talk to your doctor about an exercise regime and some nutritional advice that will help you become healthier.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

women are catching up with the men!

Historically, Men have always been a lot more active than women. But that is changing. According to the Life Mark Health "Healthier You" newsletter, activity levels among women in Canada are increasing.

This is great news since Heart Disease is the number one killer of women in North America and the risk can be largely reduced by regular exercise.
Next time you are planning a date with your girl friends why not try to do something active. We need to get all women in Canada moving.
Here are some ideas of what you could do with the girls besides high calorie martinis and restaurant food.
Go for a walk - in the park, by a river, go for a hike (here is a link for Canada Trails - you can find information about hikes in your area, they even have information for Hiking groups)
Bike ride or roller blading - you probably haven't put on your roller blades since 1999 but it could be fun!
Jazzercise - yes it does still exist and it is targeting women stating 'its a fun thing to do with the girls"
Yoga - I know a lot of women who go to yoga, so why not get together with your friends and take a class
Join a recreational team - softball, kickball, volleyball, soccer... there are recreation leagues in almost all cities, you can play co-ed or I'm sure there are all women's leagues.
if there is something active you do with your girlfriends, let us know in the comments!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

quick tip for the day

Feeling tired even if you've had a good night sleep?
Eat an apple.

Apples are high in fibre which slows the release of sugar into the blood stream. So instead of getting a quick burst of energy and then crashing, like you would from a chocolate bar, sugar is released into your blood stream in a slow steady pace.

This helps maintain your blood sugar throughout the day which will make you feel more awake.

Megan's story

First, a little background: Megan and I met about 10 years ago.. maybe closer to 11. We met in Jr.High and have been friends ever since. When Megan told me she wanted to start working out I was excited to offer up all sort of information I was learning at school. We went to the gym, I showed her some exercise, we did a circuit that nearly killed us, and we talked about goals. Cut to 9 months later and Megan is still at it. Here's her story

One day in September 2009 I looked in the mirror and muttered "how did I let it come to this?!" I am 5'3" and at the time weighed 171 pounds, size 12. That day was a huge eye opener for me, a chance to make a positive change. My plan was to go to the gym and hope to find motivation there. I worked out at the gym for about 3 months but I didn't look forward to working out. I just didn't seem to enjoy it, and so i stopped going.
I decided to look into routines that I would be able to do at home (in my room). I already had a few random exercise DVD's, so I went out and bought a set of weights. I found a great source for exercise instructions and routines that have been working perfect at home; The Women's Health Big Book of Exercises. As the name states the book is full of exercises for the entire body. I find working out at home to be more comfortable for me and of course more convent.
My motivation is all within. I want to make a positive change to my life! I try to record my progress and this challenges me to work harder and make sure I meet my weekly goals. When setting weekly goals for myself I try to make them a challenge, yet obtainable. And when I feel like I can not push through one more set my music keeps me going!!
PS I currently weight 135 pounds, size 6. :)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

3500 calories

Yesterday I mentioned that you need a deficit of 3500 calories to lose 1 pound of fat. So what exactly does that mean?
Everyone has a unique daily recommended calorie intake. This is based on age, weight, activity level and whether you are male or female.  Lets say your daily recommened intake is 1500 calories.
This is how many calories you need to eat in order to maintain your weight.
So lets say you eat 2000 calories a day, and burn 500 calories a day at the gym. Your net intake equals your recommended intake and you will maintain your current weight.
If you eat 2000 calories a day and burn 700 calories exercising every day after 7 days you will have a deficit of 4900 calories, or 1.4 pounds.
If you eat 2000 calories a day and don't exercise at all you will be in excess 500 calories each day. After 7 days you will have accumulated 3500 calories or 1 pound of fat.
How exactly do excess calories become jiggly thighs?
Anytime you have an excess of any food group - carbs, protein or fat - the body coverts it to fat and stores it in your adipose (fat) tissue.
So the trick is to not consistently take in more calories than you need.

Trying to lose a bit of weight? Don't fall for the latest fad/product/diet ect that promises "lose 7lbs in 7 days" - instead aim for slow and stead. A deficit of about 500 calories a day is a safe number to aim for. Try to cut out 250 calories a day from food, and burn 250 extra calories a day through exercise.
Trying to gain a bit of weight? Increase calorie intake through complex carbohydrates (ie. whole grains, fruit and vegetables), lean proteins (chicken, turkey, salmon, tofu), and unsaturated fat (ie avacados, salmon, almonds).  Avoid the unhealthy versions like simple sugars (ie. white sugar, white rice, and white bread), too much red meat or cured meats (ie. deli meat, bacon, steak), and saturated fat and avoid Trans Fat whenever possible.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

30 Day Shred

I Love the Biggest Loser. I watch as often as possible and I think they teach some really important information on the show. I think one of the biggest flaws of the show is that they send home the people who don't lose enough weight - the people who obviously still need to be there.
I think everyone should get to stay at the ranch the entire time and then who has lost the most should win.
Anyway thats not the point of this post. The point is Jillian Michaels. She is one of the trainers on Biggest Loser. She has a huge amount of products on the market right now, one of those products is the exercise DVD 30 Day Shred.

The idea is to do 20 minutes of intense interval training every day for 30 days. And it is intense. It is a combination of full body strength exercises, isolated strength exercises, ab/core exercises and cardio. I have never done the 30 days in a row because I am always sore the next day.
Im not sure about the 20 pounds in 30 days thing. To lose 1 pound of Fat,  you need to have a calorie deficit of 3500 calories. And if you dont have that calorie deficit, you have lost water - not Fat.
But I would definitely recommend this DVD to people who are looking for a short, intense at home workout.
All you need is maybe a mat, and some 5-7.5lbs weights. It is hard work, it is effective, and it is perfect for people who don't have a ton of extra time in their days.
If you try it, let me know what you think!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Move of the day

Want to tone your glutes, hips, and inner thighs? Then try this move. Its called the speed skaters and it works!
start by crossing your left leg behind your right as you bend you right knee to 90 degrees (making sure your knee doesn't go past your toe).
then either swing your right arm out to the side, or reach down and touch your toe.
then either jump or step a few feet to the other side and bring your right leg behind your left as you bend you left knee.
do 2 sets of 12-15 along with your regular leg strengthening exercises
dont forget to keep your core strong throughout the exercise.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Across Canada For Your Heart

Heart disease is the number one killer  in North America. And it is almost 100% preventable.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation has some health and lifestyle factors that you can control that can reduce your risk of heart disease by up to 80%
Here they are:
-Dont Smoke: smoking causes hardening of the arteries. This will lead to a heart attack. People who smoke have nearly double the risk of certain types of stroke. The good news? Within 24 hours of quitting smoking your risk of heart attack decreases.
-Lower your cholesterol: cholesterol is produced by the body and taken in through the diet. Despite all the negative press cholesterol gets, some cholesterol is needed in the body. The difference is between HDL (high density lipoprotein) and LDL (low density lipoprotein). HDL- "good" cholesterol- helps to remove plaque from building up in the arteries. LDL- "bad" cholesterol - actually promotes the build up of plaque in the arteries - which can lead to heart attack and stroke. Cholesterol can be lowered and controlled through diet and exercise
-Manage your Weight - Being overweight can cause high blood pressure, high cholesterol and blood triglycerides, and increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. All of these increase your risk of heart disease. Manage your weight by controlling your meal portion sizes, getting 30 minutes of exercise every day, getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night, and avoiding excess added sugar.
-Get Physically active! - get moving! it is recommended that you get atleast 30 minutes of exercise each day. But new information has come out saying that you can start to see health benefits from 10-20 minutes. So try getting 10minutes of exercise 2-3 times a day and then build up to a more substantial exercise program - Check out this link for some 10 minute exercise programs!
-Monitor your blood pressure - if your blood pressure is high, some ways of lowering it are: lower sodium intake, exercise, eat a low-fat diet, and talk to yoru doctor
-Manage your Diabetes - by controlling blood sugar, eating a well-balanced diet, having healthy weight and exercising.
-Limit alcohol intake - one or two drinks a day for women or something like red wine has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease. Any more than that is dangerous. And some of the previously mentioned lifestyle changes are much more effective - such as exercise, lowering your weight, eating a well-balanced diet
Reduce Stress - identify stressors in your life and how to manage them. Talk to friends and family about wha is going on in your life. Take time for your self to relaxe or practice mediation, and get active!

I know this is a lot of information but it is important information. I got it from the website of a friend who is riding her bike across Canada to raise money for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
Check out her website Across Canada For Your Heart to learn about the journey and find out how to donate!

Monday, May 10, 2010

vitamin D

the sunshine vitamin.
Did you know it is actually a hormone produced naturally by our bodies. When we are exposed to UVB rays,  our skin produced vitamin D3 and we only produce as much as we need. It only takes about 10 minutes of unprotected exposure to UVB rays to get all the vitamin D that we need.  That being said, I think our hands and faces should always have sunscreen on them because they are typically always exposed to the sun. But maybe consider waiting 10 minutes after going outside before putting sunscreen on your arms. (Make sure you talk with your doctor/demetologist before going out without sunscreen)
Unfortunatly... here in Canada about 6-8 months out of the year, you could go outside without sunscreen all day and your body wouldnt produce any vitamin D.
This is because the sun is at the wrong angle, and the UVB rays are not strong enough to activate the vitamin D synthesis process (this DOESNT mean they arent strong enough to do damage. a sun burn in the winter is as dangerous as a sunburn in the summer).
That is why so many doctors recommend taking a vitamin D supplement.
Currently, the recommended daily intake of vitmin D is 1000 IU but a lot of research is suggesting that the number be increase to as high as 5000 - 10 000 IU.  (check out an interesting article here)

Vitamin D plays an important role in bone density. it raises blood calcium levels by increasing the absorbtion of calcium from the gut, and reabsorption of calcium from the kidneys. When blood calcium levels rise, more is stored in the bones increasing their density and strenght.
It has also been implicated in the prevention of many types of cancer, and Multiple sclerosis.  MS is almost not exisitant in equatorial regions where sunlight and vitamin D levels are typically adequate.
Vitamin D can help improve mood by alleviating Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD/Winter blues), and can also help reduce muscle fatigue and chronic pain.
Some preliminary studies also suggest that low Vitamin D may also be linked to an increased risk in heart disease and stroke (see a brief overview of Vitamin D here)

Vitamin D is found in some foods, such as salmon, and milk and breakfast cereals are typically fortified with vitamin D (fortified means it has been added to a product that did not naturally contain that vitmain/mineral, where as enriched means vitamins and minerals that have been lost during processing have been added back in). Most multivitamins contain about 400 IU (about 10% of the body's daily need)
So how do you know if you are getting enough vitamin D?
Ask your doctor, and get your blood tested for vitamind D levels. Once the results come back talk to your doctor about how much vitamin D you should be taking every day. 1000IU may be sufficient, or they may recommend more. Make sure you follow the doctors advice because, as with all vitamins, Vitamid D does have toxic effects if taken in excess (although up to 10 000IU appears to be safe)
Write down some questions or concerns that you have before you go to the doctor so you don't forget or get overwhelmed!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

did you know...

Yogurt with live cultures can actually reduce your allergy symptoms.
Now its not for immediate relief of symptoms but an italian study has shown that people who suffer from hay fever who ate 2 cups of yogurt every day for 4 months, had half the amount of histamines in their bodies.
Histamines are released from your immune cells to help protect your body from pathogens. And with the case of allergies, your body interprets harmless pollen as dangerous and releases histamines.
This causes inflammation in the tissue - which is responsible for your stuffy, runny nose.

Helpful tip: there is no need to pay the extra money for probiotic yogurt. All yogurt has live cultures because it is a product of fermentation. Most of the extra "probiotics" in the fancy yogurt are actually dead and not therefore are no help to your body. So save your money and just buy the yogurt you like best.

anti-oxidants have also been shown to help reduce the symptoms of seasonal allergies, so load that yogurt up with lots of fruit like strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries.
Enjoy this healthy, yummy, natural allergy relief!

update:  here is an article I found that gives some information on yogurts effects of seasonal allergies. As well as other foods that can help treat allergies.
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