Monday, September 24, 2012

Label Fables: Sneaky Nutritional Information Traps

Watch out: Deceptive packaging and creative serving sizes mean you're eating and drinking more than you realize! Now...a reality check.

Want some fiction to read at the beach this summer? Look no further than your cooler. With cans of iced tea that are meant to serve three people and "individual" snack packs that harbor extra servings, it's no wonder the FDA's latest Health and Diet Survey found that consumers are skeptical of food labels.
Fortunately, the FDA is taking steps to clear up some of the misleading information and pushing for clear, user-friendly front-of-package labeling. In the meantime, we're exposing some sneaky diet wreckers.

Arizona Green Tea with Ginseng and Honey
Serving size: 8 ounces
(approximately 3 servings per 23-ounce can)
Calories per serving: 70

Most of us overlook liquid calories entirely, so you may not notice that this can supposedly serves three. "When you buy any drink in a can, you assume it's a single serving," says Bonnie Taub-Dix, R.D., author ofRead It Before You Eat It. And while antioxidant-rich green tea has a virtuous rep, this particular one packs almost 12 (12!) teaspoons of sugar per can.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Do You Eat Too Much? Break This And Other Bad Food Habits

Nutritionists would call a three-margarita meal a no-no. We call it the highlight of our week. Lots of so-called food faux pas—eating until you're good and stuffed, skipping breakfast to save time—are things we need to do once in a while to survive. Sure, unhealthy eating habits can cause everything from weight gain to sluggishness, as Charla K. Schultz, RD, a dietitian at the Women's Health Clinic at the Mayo Clinic, helpfully points out. The good news is that with minimal effort, you can make up for most not-so-good food decisions. Put these damage-control strategies to work and start gaining healthy food habits.

Bad Food Habit: You Blow Off Breakfast
The thought of food at the crack of dawn makes you queasy. But your brain (which runs on glucose) and body need a little something in the morning.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Taboo: Hybrid Gender

Chris Tina refuses to define herself by society's rigid dual gender system.


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Mental Health And Exercise

Mental Health And Exercise
Want to alleviate stress or cope with depression? Exercise may help. Increasingly, there is evidence from researchers that certain levels of physical activity can positively affect mental health. Len Kravitz, PhD, researcher and program coordinator of exercise science at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, takes a look at what research has discovered about the connection between exercise and mental health.
A growing body of research over the last 10 years shows that physical activity and exercise also improve psychological well-being (Dubbert 2002). Published data show that people with higher levels of fitness are capable of managing stress more effectively than those who are less fit (Hassmen, Koivula & Uutela 2000). It appears that cardiovascular exercise is the method that most benefits stress reduction. The research indicates that moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, performed three times a week (sessions lasting over 20 minutes) for up to 12 weeks, has the most influence on stress management.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Your Dinner Made Healthy in 5 Steps

Your Dinner Made Healthy in 5 Steps you think you're eating healthy meals, but aren't sure?

If your weight loss has slowed, or even stopped, then there's a good chance that you haven't been eating as healthy as you should be.

I'm going to end the guesswork for you, once and for all, with my 5 steps to a healthy meal.

By following these 5 guidelines you'll know that your meals are healthy and fitness friendly. And as a result you'll experience healthy weight loss.

Here are the 5 Steps to a Healthy Meal:

Monday, July 9, 2012

Upside of Eating Fat

Yes, you can eat fat.

New research has turned this nutritional nemesis into a must-eat. Think you have to go low fat? Not anymore!

For decades, fat got a bad reputation because scientists assumed, based on the misinterpretation of a couple of large studies, that eating foods containing fat would lead directly to obesity and heart disease. That fatty foods were made out to be our dietary vice, responsible for raising our cholesterol levels, clogging our arteries, and getting us fat. That gets to us thinking that the fat we consume wind up as the fat that we see on our butt and things.

Experts are getting off the “fat is evil” bandwagon – and we should, too – saying that the low-fat diet has backfired. According to Frank Hu, MD, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health “America’s obesity epidemic skyrocketed even while our fat intake went down.”

The Upside of Eating Fat 

Fat is an essential nutrient, just like carbohydrates and protein. Our body requires fat for the following key functions:
  • absorbing the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
  • fat is an important energy source
  • fat is vital for keeping our skin and hair healthy and smooth 
Research is revealing that eating the right fats can actually lower our risk of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, and improve our cholesterol level. Isn’t that surprising!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Rest time for muscle growth

Two things are required for muscle growth: the first is optimal load during your training sessions and the second is quite long intervals between them because the process of muscle growth and recovery is taking place not during workouts but after them, during rest periods.  That’s why you ‘go on’ doing bodybuilding even when you are sleeping because your muscles continue to grow.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Exercise and Pregnancy

Exercise and Pregnancy - Just because you have a baby on board does not mean that you are done with your fitness training regime. Of course, ALWAYS check with your doctor before you start any physical training, especially when pregnant. But once you get the green flag, you will find things like ball wall squats, arm curls and other exercises can be done with safety and ease. When in doubt, ask your Doc!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Cooling down

Cooling down should be a part of every workout routine - A cool down helps your body recover from the stress of exercise and helps the circulatory system return to a resting state. Not cooling down can lead to dizziness and fainting... not a good idea with the sharp metal objects typically found in gyms! A typical cool down can be light aerobic exercise at a slow, steady pace or stretching.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Use the TV for training

Use the TV for training - The TV can be a great tool for working out, but here's the catch; work out only during your favorite shows. Or, even better, record your favorite shows and exercise then (but don't fast forward through commercials, unless you have more than one hour of programming to watch). This tip can really help time to fly by faster during your workout, and you get the added bonus of spending less time with your butt on the couch.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Toning Overview

Everyone is looking for that elusive, magic weight-loss trick. The only "magic" weight-loss trick I know of is strength training - weight-bearing exercise designed to build and strengthen your muscles. That's what this section of my site is all about toning and firming those muscles!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Are Calorie-Free Oil Sprays Safe for Cooking?

Are Calorie-Free Oil Sprays Safe for Cooking?

Q: I like to stir-fry lean proteins with vegetables, usually using something like a PAM calorie-free olive oil spray. Is this type of product harmful to my health? I tend to avoid straight olive oil from a bottle because of its high caloric content.

A: First off, smart choice on using a spray oil instead of pouring straight from the bottle. This is a great strategy for trimming calories if you're trying to manage your weight — you'll save 120 calories per tablespoon of oil you cut from recipes.

The ingredients used in commercial cooking sprays are considered safe by the FDA (although some people question the safety of the chemical propellants they use). But there's an even better option: Pick up a reusable oil mister at a home goods store (they're inexpensive, around $10) and fill it with your favorite olive, canola, grapeseed or other heart-healthy oil. So, the mister contains 100 percent pure oil and NO additives. The reusable misters are more cost-effective and better for the environment, since you're not constantly throwing away the empty canisters. Plus, I've found that by using the mister with straight oil and no additives, you're less likely to be left with a film on your pans. It's a smart choice for you, the environment, and your wallet!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Quality Does Matter

Quality Does Matter - Take your time in your next fitness resistance training session. Each rep you perform as you lift your weights should last at least 4 seconds.

In fact, the next time you have a training session challenge yourself by going as slow as you can go. See how much you can focus on really keeping your muscles contracted, and I guarantee you will feel it the next day.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Fitness Tip: Warm Your Engine

Fitness Tip: Warm Your Engine - Never start any training session, whether you are lifting weights or doing a cardio work-out, without properly doing a 5-10 minute warm up with your body. A proper warm up that consists of jogging in place, jumping jacks, moderate cardio on a machine, or just taking a quick jog are crucial in making sure that you help warm your core and get your muscles in a flexible ready to train state.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Fitness Tip: Exercise of Choice - Many people are looking for the best overall exercises. If I was to select the best single exercise if you could only pick one, then it would be the Leg Squat. Squats are an excellent lower body exercise that hit the largest muscles in your body which includes glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Will a gluten-free diet improve your health?

( -- Sarah Cooper was a new mom in her mid-20s, busily juggling her family and a career as an electrical engineer, when everything came to a halt.

She lost all her energy. She developed acne. And she began experiencing gastrointestinal problems: bloating, diarrhea, cramping, constipation. Her doctors, thinking something must be missing from her diet, put her on various vitamins, none of which helped.

"It was all I could do to go to work," she says.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Don't Over Indulge

Fitness Tip: Don't Over Indulge - Life is about balance, and when you do anything in excess, your body pays the price. So when it comes to drinking alcohol, you need to be wise about your decision making process. Think of the effects of too much alcohol in your current and future fitness and health.
  • Can Damage your liver
  • Shuts your metabolism so you can't burn food energy
  • Impairs your decision making process - especially with healthy food decisions
  • Adds tons of liquid NO quality Calories to your daily diet: Sugar & Fat
Exercise of the day: The Ball Spinal Twist provides a great stretch and also tones and develops your core region with the support and stability of your exercise ball.   Click Here to see it in action!

Click here to Get Your GoFit Exercise Ball

Fitness Gear: Ultimate Pro Gym in a Bag

Robert Kennedy, publisher of Oxygen, MuscleMag, dies of cancer at 73

The man behind the Ontario-based publishing house that produces a slew of popular health books and fitness magazines, including Oxygen and MuscleMag, has died.

Robert "Bob" Kennedy, who founded Robert Kennedy Publishing, died of complications from cancer on Thursday night at his home in Caledon Hills, Ont., north of Toronto. He was 73.

"He showed me how to live my life as one filled with possibilities. Through him I became what I am today, a story that is familiar to many others who have been touched by Bob’s generous, warm and colourful spirit," his wife Tosca Reno wrote on her personal blog Friday.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Got a Favorite Snack that's a little odd?

Anyone else have some go-to snacks that seem to make those around you nervous? The more new health food novelties I experiment with (kale chips? Bright orange nutritional yeast sprinkled on everything?) the more I'm discovering a great side benefit: I can freely offer to share with those around me, and no one takes me up on it!

My new favorite, which I mentioned last time, is a seaweed snack that the sinister folks at Trader Joe's are seducing innocent snackers with.

I was cheerfully oblivious for many years, because I've never been a sushi fan and thought "seaweed? No way!"

And the first time I tried one of these seaweed snacks, I almost spit it out.  Eww!  It tastes fishy, what a vile and disagreeable thing for a cracker to do! Who would eat these on purpose? That's... hmm, hang on... because it seems there is this also a nice little oily salty crunchy action going on behind the fish taste.... Maybe not so gross? Perhaps one more... No, Eww there's the fish again! Aack! But wait... mmm, oil and salt, yumm!

By the end of the first pack, sadly, I was hooked.  Now, damn it, I am forced to visit Trader Joe's on an ever-escalating schedule. Because if I tried to buy a week, or god forbid, a month's, supply... I'd need a forklift and a dumptruck and it's hard to find parking for 'em in the crowded TJ's lot.

However, it could be worse: as it happens, there are lots of nifty seaweed health benefits, since sea vegetables have "anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anticoagulant, antithrombotic, and antiviral properties."

And despite the lovely oily/salty flavor, the nutritional info isn't too horrible at all:

Hate Me For Going On and On About Trader Joes 'Cause You Don't Have One?

Doesn't it suck that we can have a McDonald's on every freakin' corner throughout the world, and yet getting to your nearest Trader Joe's may require you to drive for 47 hours and cross through several large red states on your way?  Well, there are other brands of seaweed snacks at Asian grocery stores and health food places. And I'm too much of a novice to have investigated other sea vegetables, or even tried the bit sheets of nori that aren't conveniently marketed and displayed as snacks. But I suspect these may be options as well.

Anyone else know of any Scary Snacks, either that you or others around you fear? Or any thoughts on anything at all?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Build Muscle With Light Weights

Many fitness experts maintain that exercisers must work within the 8 to 12 repetition range to initiate muscle hypertrophy. However, recent studies suggests that low-load, high-volume strength training can also impact muscle growth.

Researchers from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, studied 15 men as they performed four sets of unilateral leg extensions at 90% 1-RM and 30% 1-RM. The subjects were instructed to work until failure. The study authors reported that at 90% 1-RM, subjects usually managed 5–10 repetitions before failure; at 30% 1-RM, failure set in at about 24 repetitions. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Which Vending Machine Snack Should You Unwrap?

Ah, the infamous vending machine. It's great and convenient when you need an afternoon pick-me-up, but you probably already know that most vending machine foods are not the healthiest choices.

Here are two common vending staples, both from Hostess: the cherry-flavored Fruit Pie and a three-cake serving of Ho Ho's. Okay, the cherry pie does contain some fruit, but also has lots of sugar.

The Ho Ho's are chocolate cake with cream, but one package usually contains three cakes! If you want a good size treat, which of these Hostess treats will satisfy your sweet tooth for fewer calories?

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Germany RTL Network broadcast of Chris Tina Bruce

Germany RTL Television network broadcast of
transgender body builder and fitness spokesperson Chris Tina Bruce.

What you should know about artificial sweeteners

Aspartame, sucrose, acesulfame potassium, stevia: From yogurt to diet pop, artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes are everywhere, appealing to the growing number of consumers who want to watch their weight.

Despite the sweeteners’ ubiquity in the grocery aisles, however, there’s no end to the confusion about their safety.

Companies that sell artificial sweeteners, or foods made with them, assert they are harmless. Advocacy groups, such as the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Science in the Public Interest, cite studies that link some of them to cancer. The sugar lobby (yes, such a thing exists) argues artificial sweeteners are inferior to the real article. Then there’s the conspiracy theorists who liken sugar substitutes to poison.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Get the best nutrition from a Vegetarian diet

A well-planned vegetarian diet is a healthy way to meet your nutritional needs. Find out what you need to know about a plant-based diet.

You may follow a vegetarian diet for cultural, religious or ethical reasons. Or you may eat a vegetarian diet to stay healthy and prevent health problems, such as cardiovascular disease. Whatever your reasons for choosing a vegetarian diet, this guide will help you make smart choices to ensure that you meet your daily nutritional needs.

Indeed, a well-planned vegetarian diet can meet the needs of people of all ages, including children, teenagers, and pregnant or breast-feeding women. The key is to be aware of your nutritional needs so that you plan a diet that meets them. If you aren't sure how to create a vegetarian diet that's right for you, talk with your doctor and a registered dietitian.

Types of vegetarian diets

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Vegetarian Athlete

As a vegetarian, do you wonder if you’re getting the nutrients you require for your fitness or sport activities?

This is still a common question: can vegetarians perform as well as their carnivorous counterparts in physical competition?

To meet your nutrient needs and improve athletic performance, use these suggestions:

Meeting Calorie Needs

To best meet energy demands, consume six to eight small meals daily. These feedings supply a steady energy source and are easier on the body’s digestive system than three large meals per day.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Reduce Pain Caused By Daily Activities

Did you know that time spent sitting, standing and even sleeping could be hurting your body? The cumulative effect of the long hours spent in these positions can lead to prolonged damage to both your muscles and fascia (strong connective tissue). To keep your body fully functional, it is important to address this damage by performing corrective exercises.

To determine what specific exercises to do, you can work with a qualified personal trainer who has expertise in this area. You can also make the following adjustments yourself.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Walking Boosts Brain Health

Mind-Body-Spirit News:
Walking approximately 6–9 miles a week is associated with increased gray matter in the brains of older adults.  “Just by walking regularly, and so maintaining a little bit of moderate physical activity, you can reduce your likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease and [can] spare brain tissue,” Kirk I. Erickson, lead study author and assistant professor of psychology at University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania. The study participants were subjects in the Pittsburgh site of the larger Cardiovascular Health Cognition Study, a longitudinal study conducted over a 13-year period.