Thursday, September 26, 2013

How to Avoid the Freshman 15...Even If You're Not a Freshman

It's that time of year when the kids are back in school, you're back to work and you've sent your eldest off to college.  Suddenly you remember how you needed to hit mom and dad up for a quick shopping trip when you came home for Thanksgiving break because you couldn't fit into half of what was in your closet.  What happened?  Why the sudden weight gain?

A major contributor to the Freshman 15 is consuming "cheap eats" -- convenient, prepackaged junk, chock-full of HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), food additives and empty calories.  Combine that with drinking alcohol, unhealthy sweetened coffee drinks, energy drinks and sodas, and anyone is bound to pack on a few.  

Our stress levels also increase when we start anything new.  Deadlines, social life, grades, money are an every day reality in the life of a college student.  Stress puts on weight.  How?

You know when your driving down the freeway and the guy in front of you slams on their breaks, and you immediately have a very sudden, strong reaction and slam on yours?  That rush of adrenaline is known as a "fight or flight" response.  The stress hormone, cortisol, is released from your brain into your blood stream.  Cortisol triggers your body to fill its energy reserves by taking in additional calories by making you feel hungry.  Your brain may tell you to have "comfort" or "feel-good" food, like chocolate cake or fries and a coke to calm you down.  It's easier to give in to cravings when we're away from home because we don't have close friends and family around.  Don't cave!

Exercise, or dropping exercise all together, is a major factor in how your body will respond to changes in food consumption and stress.  If you were big into sports and them drop them freshman year, your body will makes some changes -- with or without consuming convenient junk.

So, how can you avoid the Freshman 15?
• Avoid convenient, low quality pre-packaged "cheap eats".
• Cut all HFCS, food additives and refined sugar.
• Drink plenty of fresh, pure water -- 1/2 your body's weight in ounces per day.   And more if you exercise/sweat.  You'll stay hydrated and feel full.  
• Get into an exercise routine.  Alone or with some friends, dance, get a work out in at the gym or take a walk around campus.  Your body was designed to MOVE!
• Laugh.  Yes, laughter is a great stress-reliever, so make it a habit to spend time laughing every day.
• Go gluten-free.  Grains, even "whole wheat", are depleting and can plump you up.  There are plenty non-wheat options available in your local market.
• Do not buy pre-packaged foods!  You know... those thinly veiled "healthy snacks" that are full of ingredients you can't pronounce?  Leave 'em on the shelf and head to the organic produce aisle.
• Shop the perimeter of the grocery store -- even if you're in Whole Foods or similar market!
• Consume organic produce.  Frozen organic produce is less expensive than fresh.  
• A less expensive, healthy, filling meal option -- Organic eggs, organic beans and organic vegetables.   If you don't have access to a stove, you can boil eggs, warm beans and steam vegetables on a hot plate in your dorm room.
• Sit down to eat! Make it a point to take a break, relax and enjoy your food.  Chew slowly and thoroughly.  It's easy to over-eat pre-packaged junk on the run.  So STOP! This is a great time to pull some friends together and laugh!
• Take time to relax.  For some, it's beyond "slow down"'s a full-on "STOP"!  Note to Type A's (and you know who you are): Just do it!
• Take time for yourself.  Sure, it's fun to hang with new friends, but don't lose yourself in the process. Take the time you need to take care of yourself and you won't have added stress and pressure on your shoulders.
• Sleep!  I know you don't want to miss out on anything, but you want (and need) to be fully cognizant to enjoy your college experience, and make it successful.  Your body and mind needs 8 hours of good sleep every night.  Again, Type A's:  Just do it!

Use your freedom to do "whatever you want" by making responsible choices to best serve your mind, body and spirit.   The habits you form now are the springboard to your future.


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Five Ways to Avoid Incontinence

Most people don't think about bladder control — until the unintended loss of urine interrupts the ability to carry on day to day social and work activities.
Here are five steps you can take to lower the chances of developing this life-altering health issue.
  1. Keep your weight in check. Excess weight and incontinence can go hand in hand, particularly for women. Extra abdominal fat can weaken the pelvic floor muscles and lead to stress incontinence - leaking urine when coughing, laughing, sneezing, etc. In some cases, simply losing weight can improve incontinence.
  2. Quit smoking. Smoking threatens your health in many ways. It also doubles the likelihood that a woman will develop stress incontinence. Nicotine has also been linked to urge incontinence.
  3. Exercise. In the Nurses’ Health Study, middle-aged women who were most physically active were least likely to develop incontinence.
  4. Minimize bladder irritants. Caffeine and alcohol have been linked to urge incontinence, the feeling you need to urinate even when the bladder isn't full. Carbonated drinks, the artificial sweetener aspartame (NutraSweet), spicy foods, and citrus fruits and juices cause urge incontinence in some people.
  5. Don’t strain with bowel movements. This can weaken the pelvic floor muscles. If your stools are frequently hard or take considerable effort to pass, it's time to look into your diet. In a study involving people ages 65 and older, treating constipation improved a variety of urinary symptoms, including frequency, urgency, and burning. Increasing the fiber and vegetables in your diet, and drinking enough water can help prevent constipation.

    Monday, February 18, 2013

    Flu Survival Tips "They" Don't Tell You

    February -- the thick of cold and flu season.  A typical cold may last 8-9 days or longer, while a flu may last 4-7 days.  How quickly you recover depends on your lifestyle.
    A strong immune system is your best defense against colds and flu!

    We all know that getting plenty of rest, regular exercise, drinking plenty of pure water, monitoring stress levels and regular hand-washings are important factors to assist in cold and flu prevention.  But there are more keys to disease prevention you need to know to truly optimize your health.

    • Avoid sugar and processed foods.   Natural sugar (fructose) occurs in many foods -- fruit is usually the first that comes to mind.  Your body knows how to convert this kind of sugar and use it for energy.  But there are other sources of sugar that can contribute to disease.  High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is a food additive which lurks in fruit drinks and many processed packaged foods.  Most Americans consume 75 grams of HFCS per day, a level that can deplete your immune system by creating a gut flora imbalance.  This is crucial because 80% of your immune system lies in your gastrointestinal tract.  Avoid all HFCS products.  Keep your total fructose consumption below 25 grams per day when in good health, and lower it to 15 grams per day if you suffer from diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure or are insulin resistant.  In addition to HFCS juices, avoid foods which process as sugar, such as pastas and breads (grains).

    Vitamin D deficiencies.  One reason why colds and flu rise in winter months is due to lack of sun exposure.  Twenty minutes of unprotected, natural sun exposure per day boosts Vitamin D3 levels.  If this is not possible, a Vitamin D3 supplement is better than not doing anything for yourself.

    Avoid over-the-counter pain relief medications.  Taking aspirin or acetaminophen may actually suppress your body's ability to produce antibodies to destroy the cold virus. When taken in excess, aspirin has also been linked to an abnormal fluid build up in the lungs.  Only use these medications when absolutely necessary, such as if you have a temperature greater than 105 degrees F (40.5 degrees C), severe muscle aches or weakness.

    • The over-prescribing of antibiotics.   Antibiotics weren't created for viruses, and DO NOT WORK against them.  Unless you have a bacterial pneumonia/bronchitis, an antibiotic will likely to more harm than good because you'll be increasing your susceptibility to developing infections with resistance to that antibiotic -- and you'll become the carrier of this bug and can spread it to others.

    Foods that Strengthen Your Immune System
    • raw milk
    • raw, crushed garlic
    • turmeric
    • cloves
    • oregano
    • cinnamon
    • coconuts and coconut oil
    • Reishi, Shiitake and Maitake mushrooms
    • fermented foods, such as raw kefir, kimchee, miso
    • organic vegetables
    • organic eggs from free range chickens (no antibiotics)

    Kick-start your prevention/healing with supplements
    • Olive leaf extract
    • Oregano Oil -- excellent anti-viral
    • Vitamin C

    There's increasing scientific evidence to show that flu shots are NOT effective in flu prevention.  The Cochrane Database Review, the gold standard for assessing the effectiveness of common medical interventions, published five reviews between 2006 and 2010, completely decimating the claim that flu vaccinations are the best course of action to prevent the flu.

    Basic good health practices are still the best prevention.  Homemade Chicken Soup is a favorite remedy.  Be sure to start with pure water and organic, raw, free range, antibiotic-free ingredients --- and skip the noodles!

      Saturday, February 9, 2013

      Fat-Burning Foods That Bust Fat-Storing Grenades

      Read ingredient labels carefully before purchase.

      It's February!  Time to start planning for "bikini season".  Wanna lose a few pounds?  We'll make it easy for you to make good food choices.

      Start by ditching the orange juice, artificial sweeteners (Equal, Splenda, etc.), artificial butter (I Can't Believe It's Not Butter-type products), whole wheat bread and pasta, and processed soy milk.  Many products are advertised to be "natural" or "good for you", but they aren't. Don't be fooled!

      Your enemies:
      • Foods that metabolize as sugar, such as whole wheat bread and pasta.
      When your blood sugar levels are more than 100-120 for an extended period of time, insulin is released, forcing the body to store fat.  There are more benefits to eating an orange than drinking orange juice -- and you'll consume a lot less sugar!
      • Fats that make you store fat versus fats that make you burn fat.
      Hydrogenated oils, canola and vegetable oil, margarine and artificial butter products all make the body store fat.  Read the ingredients label. You won't see real food names, but you'll see chemical names -- and your body will store them as fat.
      • Artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils and processed soy products.
      Most processed foods contain bad fats, a lot of sugar, and a lot of chemicals your body won't break down.  These compromise your liver.  You won't lose weight when the liver is working overtime in an effort to break down chemicals.
      • Packaged 'healthy' snacks, 'health' bars, 'healthy' cereals, etc.
      These are generally fat storage grenades, as they contain artificial sweeteners and chemical food additives.

      Your friends:
      • Millet, quinoa and sprouted grains.
      • Fruits and vegetables (no limits) - fat burners
      • The right kind of fats, such as avocado oil, coconut oil, olive oil, raw nuts and (real) butter increase the metabolic process to burn off unwanted fat.
      • Foods that contain ONE ingredient, like steak, fish, chicken, eggs, fruits, vegetables, olive oil, coconut oil, butter, rice, sweet potato, etc.

      Remember, losing weight is NOT about calories.  It's about the quality of your food choices and the metabolic effect they have on your body.  You can eat a lot of the right foods and still lose weight.

      LNH always suggests consuming organic, Non-GMO Verified foods.