Sleeping Mistakes We Make Every Night

We have all been there a million times… checking the clock every few minutes and telling yourself that you NEED to fall asleep that very second or else tomorrow is going to be a super long day! But what typically happens? We have a terrible time falling asleep when we are under pressure of having to fall asleep!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to scientists, this condition is called psychophysiological insomnia and feeling pressure to fall asleep causes fragmented sleep and worsened sleep quality.

Psychophysiological insomnia affects nearly 15% of all chronic insomnia patients, and while you can’t make yourself fall asleep exactly when you want to, there are some things you can do to help your cause.

Instead of having negative thoughts like “I’m going to be worthless tomorrow if I don’t fall asleep now,” tell yourself “I’ve had sleeping problems before and have been able to function.”

Another suggestion from insomnia researchers is to delay your bedtime until you are truly sleepy, instead of when you think you should be in bed.

They also suggest having a bedtime snack like cheese and crackers or cottage cheese, to combine complex carbohydrates with tryptophan to help you sleep.

Lastly, don’t be a clock watcher as this will only give you more anxiety. Instead turn your clock around so that you cannot see what time it is during the night.

Fitness for All: Spinning Basics

Been to a gym lately that offers spinning/cycling classes and wonder what it’s all about?  Spinning classes are rising in popularity as they provide an excellent alternative to the “same old” exercise routines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to www.aboutaerobics.com, indoor cycling began in 1989 and has endured as a popular exercise routine.  Classes are usually held in the aerobics section of gyms and last between 30 and 60 minutes.

Spinning can burn 500 calories or more in a short amount of time and, believe it or not, is actually a low impact activity for all ages.

Many assume that the class is just like riding a bike – without actually going anywhere.  But spinning actually involves jumps, hills, jogs, runs and other moves that are performed on the bike by either moving your body position and/or adjusting the resistance – or tension – of the bike.

Spinning does take some getting used to. Experts and instructors will warn you that, as beginners, you will encounter soreness in various places on your body.

Many serious spinners purchase padded seats and special shoes to eliminate any discomfort that might come from the bike.

Take it easy at first – try a beginner’s class or incorporate it once or twice a week into your workout routine.  Mix in other forms of exercise such as yoga, weight training and swimming with your spinning routine.

Remember, the first few classes will be uncomfortable, but the benefits of this unique exercise are worth the adjustment!

Eating Healthy: Spotlight on Carrots

  • The beta-carotene in carrots is an antioxidant combating the free radicals that contribute to conditions like cancer, heart disease, and a few other conditions.
  • Cooking carrots actually raises the nutritional benefits of this great vegetable. By cooking them you free the beta-carotene from the fiber, thereby allowing your body to better absorb the beta-carotene.
  • If you eat just a half cup of carrots each day you will get more than the recommended dosage of beta-carotene in your diet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe: Banana Zucchini Carrot Bread

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 extra large egg

1 cup sugar

3 medium bananas

1 cup chopped zucchini

½ cup grated carrots

1/3 cup butter

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 dash salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt butter and pour into large bowl.  Add bananas and mash.  Add grated zucchini and shredded carrots.  Mix well.

Add sugar, vanilla and beaten egg.  Sprinkle in baking soda and salt, and mix.  Add flour and mix well.  Pour in 4×8 loaf pan to two large muffin pans.  (Yields one loaf or 12 large muffins.)

Bake loaf for 60 to 75 minutes.  Bake muffins for approximately 20 to 30 minutes.

Let cool and serve.

Recipe: Creamy Carrot with Curry Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 ½ pounds peeled carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks

1 large onion, diced

1 tablespoon butter

1 pinch salt

3 large garlic cloves, thickly sliced

2 tablespoons curry powder

3 cups chicken broth

1 ½ cups half-and-half (or whole milk)

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Garnish: Chopped pistachios

Heat oil in sauté pan until shimmering.  Add carrots, then onion, sauté until golden brown (about 7 minutes).  Reduce heat and add butter, sugar, and garlic; continue cooking about 10 minutes longer. Add curry and sauté a minute longer. Add broth and simmer.  Reduce heat and simmer until carrots are soft, about 10 minutes.  Using a blender, puree in a blender for about a minute.  Return to pot and add enough half and half so the mixture is soup-like, yet thick enough to float the pistachio garnish.  Add salt and pepper as needed.

Oil 101: Choosing the Best Oil for Your Colon

In a recent animal study, it was found that diets that included canola oil rather than corn oil had less of a chance of growing colon tumors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the reasons that gives canola the edge is the high amount of omega-3 fatty acids, where corn oil is higher in omega-6 fatty acids.  In the animals tested, researchers charted the size and number of colon tumors and tested their blood for its fatty acid amount.  When comparing animals whose diets contained corn oil verses canola oil, the animals whose diet included canola oil had fewer tumors and much smaller tumors on average.

While researchers will next attempt this same study on humans, researchers and nutritionists alike agree that only good can come from including more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet.

Detoxify your Diet

More and more these days we hear about our foods and how they are becoming laced with synthetic ingredients.  If you want to avoid these synthetic ingredients, you need to learn how to detoxify the foods you are eating and choose healthier foods.

Here are some suggestions to detoxify and eat healthier in the New Year:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clean Your Produce:  Before eating or cooking with any fruits or vegetables be sure to wash them very well.  Washing your fruits and veggies eliminates the chemicals and pathogens from your food’s surface and help to eliminate any harmful ingredients.

Watch Your Animal Fat Intake:  Do you know what’s in your animal fats?  They are loaded with synthetic hormones, antibiotics, organochlorine chemicals, and other harmful pesticides. Look for low-fat options when buying your foods and be sure to trim all of the fat off of poultry and meats when you buy them.  

Avoid Cans:  Cans are lined with a resin that contains bisphenol-A, a hormone-disrupting chemical.  While many companies are working to eliminate these chemicals in their products, in the mean time you can avoid these chemicals by choosing frozen, fresh or dried foods.

Think Organic:  According to a study done by the Environmental Working Group, your pesticide exposure can be eliminated by 90 percent by avoiding the most contaminated conventionally grown produce including: peaches, apples, bell peppers, nectarines, celery, cherries, lettuce, strawberries, grapes, carrots and pears. 

Choose Whole Foods:  Whole foods are not processed, therefore they have their own natural ingredients.  Choose whole grains and look for food items that say “whole” on them … but be sure to check the labels, just to be sure.

Resolve to be a Better “You” in the New Year

The easiest way to kill your New Year’s resolution sometimes is to make one at all.  So, why not make the switch in 2018 to not make a resolution that you will most likely break a few days later, but choose a way to be a better person by making some inward and outward changes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get more sleep.  Besides helping you to feel energized during the day and improve your mood, getting more sleep can also aid in losing weight.  Your body repairs and rejuvenates during sleep… even calcium is added to your bones while you sleep!  Getting adequate sleep is the best way for your mind and body to be the best it can be.  While optimum sleep time varies from person to person, the average is 4 to 11 hours each day.  While getting to bed earlier is easier said than done, you should also avoid food for at least 2 hours prior to bedtime and eliminate all sources of light in your bedroom while you sleep.

Get out of toxic relationships.  You may have been talking about it for months or even years, but if you are in a toxic relationship – whether friendly or emotionally – make 2018 the year when you cut your ties. Don’t let your fears control you and break yourself free of when you cut your ties. Don’t let your fears control you and break yourself free of relationships that are doing you more harm than good.   Believe in yourself and good things (and good people) will come into your life.

Eat a fruit or a vegetable with every meal.  Studies show that Americans eat fewer fruits and vegetables than other countries, and disease prevention is directly linked to consumption of fruits and vegetables.  It seems like a no-brainer to get healthier through eating more fruits and vegetables, but for some it may be best to start small.  For example, add a banana to your morning cereal or make sure to eat a salad prior to dinner.

Be more social with friends.  Studies have found that having a very active social life can be very beneficial to your health.  Having an active social life can help you stick to healthy habits, fight disease and depression, reduce anxiety and stress, enhance your purpose in life, promote happiness, and even live longer.  Balance is key, though, so be sure to allow at least one day a week for some “me” time.

Adjust Your Lifestyle to Avoid the Flu

With winter comes the holidays, colds, flus and other events that wreak havoc on our immune system.  To boost our immune systems, we need to make some minor adjustments in our diet and lifestyle to help curb the impact the season has on our body.  Try these small adjustments this year:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adjustment 1:

Get your Essential Fatty Acids

Because essential fatty acids are the key to building super hormones, make sure that you get enough of these fatty acids from nuts, seeds, fish, cold pressed oils and supplements.

Adjustment 2:

Eat Enough Protein

Protein is important for your optimal health no matter what season it is.  Nutritionists suggest .75 to 1.25 grams of protein per pound of your body weight depending upon your physical activity.  But, because our body can only absorb 30 to 35 grams per meal, we need to spread our protein intake throughout the day.  Be sure to eat some sort of protein in every meal and in every snack.  Getting some of that protein through soy-based products is also recommended by many nutritionalists.

Adjustment 3:

Choose low GI carbohydrates

GI or glycemic index, is the measure of how fast blood sugar rises after eating.  One good example is that white sugar has a glycemic index of 100, where peanuts have a glycemic index of 15.  That means that peanuts raise the blood sugar levels at 15% of the rate of white sugar.  Fast rising blood sugar means the pancreas produces and sometimes overproduces insulin.  These spikes in insulin can weaken the immune system and interferes with the production of super hormones.  By choosing low GI carbohydrates, combined with eating the appropriate levels of protein you can better control your insulin.

Overall, the best way to adjust your immune system this winter is to avoid too much supplementation, get enough protein and essential fatty acids, and avoid those sugary carbohydrates to make your way through these next couple months illness-free.

Fitness for All: How Fit Are You?

If you are looking to “get fit” in 2018, take these three self-tests to find out how fit you are first!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How are your muscles?  Do some push-ups.  A 30-year old man should be able to 35 push-ups while a 30-year old woman should be able to do 45, while her knees are on the floor.  For every decade after 30, the number of push-ups decreases by 5 for each gender.

How is your flexibility?  Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you, slightly apart.  Extend your arms placing your one hand on top of your other hand, fingertips forward and reach for the space in between your feet.

Women under the age of 46 should be able to reach at least two to four inches past your feet.  Older women should be able to reach the soles of their feet.  Men under the age of 46 should be able to reach the soles of their feet.  Older men should aim to be within three to four inches of their soles.

What’s your heart rate?  Begin by exercising for 18 minutes at 80 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate – for men, 220 minus your age; for women, 208 minus .82 times your age.  Then exercise all out for three minutes.  Check your pulse.  Rest for two minutes and then check it again.  Your heart rate should have dropped by at least 66 beats.  The faster it drops the more fit you are.

Eating Healthy: Spotlight on Salmon

  • Besides being an excellent source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, salmon is also full of high-quality proteins and low in saturated fat.
  • Salmon has nearly a third of the saturated fat of lean ground beef and 50 percent less saturated fat than chicken, making it one of the healthiest items that you could eat.
  • Salmon is also low in calories. One serving contains approximately 183 calories, making it one of the lowest in calories among other fish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe: Honey-Soy Broiled Salmon

1 scallion, minced

2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

1 pound center-cut salmon fillet, skinned and cut into four portions

1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Whisk scallion, soy sauce, vinegar, honey and ginger in a medium bowl until the honey is dissolved. Place salmon in a sealable plastic bag, add 3 tablespoons of the sauce and refrigerate; let marinate for 15 minutes. Reserve the remaining sauce. Preheat broiler. Line a small baking pan with foil and coat with cooking spray. Transfer the salmon to the pan, skinned-side down. (Discard the marinade.) Broil the salmon 4 to 6 inches from the heat source until cooked through, 6 to 10 minutes. Drizzle with the reserved sauce and garnish with sesame seeds.

To toast seeds: Cook in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.

Recipe: Smoked Salmon Dip

8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature

½ cup sour cream

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon minced fresh dill

1 teaspoon prepared horseradish, drained

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 oz. smoked salmon, minced

Cream the cheese in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until just smooth. Add the sour cream, lemon juice, dill, horseradish, salt and pepper, and mix. Add the smoked salmon and mix well. Chill and serve with crudités or crackers.

Holidays 101: Super Foods to the Rescue

It’s the holiday season and for many people that also means it’s the stressful season.  Instead of sweating every little thing this year, try fighting off your holiday stress with these amazing, stress-fighting superfoods.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Avocado – they give you a burst of vitamin B, which will help to keep you alert and awake, while reducing anxiety.
  • Bananas – help to keep you energized and reduce your blood pressure.
  • Brown rice – complex carbohydrates (like those in rice) help to raise your body’s serotonin levels, without the carb crash that is typically associated with eating carbohydrates.
  • Dark chocolate – also increases the levels of serotonin in the body, giving you those feelings of joy and happiness.
  • Fish – the omega-3 fatty acids in fish help to lower adrenaline levels in the body, which can result in a calming effect in your mind and body.