Let’s Talk Sugar

August 17th, 2014

“Sugar (ba-ba-bap-bap-bap-bap) Aww, Honey, Honey…”
[Are you old enough to remember it?]

Did you know…

• The American Heart Association recommends 6 to 9 teaspoons sugar daily – graduated for children on the lower end to men on the higher end.
•The number of grams of sugar in one teaspoon is 4 grams. Therefore, for women, the max amount of sugar that is recommended daily is 32 grams or about 8 teaspoons. Do you know how much sugar you consume in a day?  Keep a tally for a couple of days, and you’ll be amazed.  The key is reading labels, counting the sugar per servings that you eat, google whole foods for sugar content and don’t fudge.  🙂
•Remember we now know that sugar is very addictive, more so than cocaine.  And we also know that most of us are addicted to sugar to some degree.  The good news is that we can detox from sugar pretty quickly.  …it’s the mental side that takes more of a gradual approach.
•We can reduce our intake of added sugars with delicious, satisfying and healthier whole foods — avoiding processed food that is full of added sugars.
•And we can eliminate the fat building result of sugar spiking by eating more whole foods – eating an orange is better than drinking orange juice, because with the orange you’re getting the fiber that slows down the sugar hit.  Plus, when drinking  juice, we also typically consume the juice of more than piece of fruit, making it an even more concentrated consumption of sugar.

Dr. Andrew Weil offer’s helpful information in his brief article, “Are You a Sugar Addict?” .

Is Morning the Best Time to Exercise?

August 14th, 2014

We’ve all heard the recommendation that exercising in the morning is optimal.  …and it is a good, in my experience, to get up and get it done, before cleaning up for the days’ activity.  However, busy schedules and, particularly, those days with the really early start times, don’t always allow early morning exercise as an option!  Here’s a short article by Dr. Andrew Weil, that updates the issue with more information and useful solutions for adapting our exercise routine.  The “cool down” techniques that remediate any sleep issues are good.  …particularly the breathing technique and the Savasana or Corpse Pose! Check it out!  Click here.


Need More Proof?

August 2nd, 2014

In order to make a change in behavior, we need to know why.  …and it usually needs to be pretty important.  Well, this is important.  Your body can only tolerate so much toxicity.  If you’re not already eating organic (and I don’t know how to say this more politely) you need to wake up and look at the facts!

new study “found that while conventional and organic vegetables oftentimes offer similar levels of many nutrients, organic foods have fewer pesticide residues. They also have on average 48 percent lower levels of cadmium, a toxic metal and a known carcinogen—a clear bonus, if you ask me.

One key nutritional difference between conventional and organics however, is their antioxidant content. According to the featured findings, organic fruits and vegetables can contain anywhere from 18-69 percent more antioxidants than conventionally-grown varieties…

Many of these compounds have previously been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative diseases and certain cancers, in dietary intervention and epidemiological studies.

Additionally, the frequency of occurrence of pesticide residues was found to be four times higher in conventional cropsSignificant differences were also detected for some other (e.g. minerals and vitamins) compounds.”

So, start buying the organic version of the foods on the “Dirty Dozen” and then graduate by checking out the full list.  Download the “Dirty Dozen” App for your phone — it’s free (looks like a little shopping cart), a handy reminder when shopping, and also contains the “Clean Fifteen” as well as the full list.

EWG’s Shopper’s Guide Video  (less than one minute)

Watch this if you have children!  (2 minutes, 7 seconds)

EWG’s Executive Summary Article

Fitness Programs and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

August 2nd, 2014

I’ve always been a little leery about the extreme exercise/fitness programs.  I wonder about the physical stress and risks involved for all but an already very fit person, and don’t see the programs as being sustainable over time.  “One size fits all” extremes aren’t good.  They encourage people to push themselves too far, just to keep up.  A better choice is a program that pays close attention to the individual person’s present health, condition, and age, plus has variety and is realistic.

Each of us is an individual and we need a program that (1) starts where we are and (2) progresses and a healthy speed.  As usual, getting good competent advice is a good thing.   If you have, or suspect that you have, health issues/conditions, your physician, and a physical therapist would be a good route to take.   An experienced, certified trainer (with experience in your age/condition type — seniors, pregnant women, handicaps) is also a good approach.

Whether or not a program is sustainable certainly has to do with a person’s commitment and motivation, but it also has to do with accessibility, and workability.  We have to put our health in a priority position as our most valuable asset, but we also have to be sensible — figuring out how we can make a program work and be sustainable in terms of our family, work, and cost.  There are lots of options in putting together a regimen that will work for you, so there’s really no excuse not to take care of ourselves.

Variety is also an often-overlooked aspect.  When you’re talking to your therapist or trainer, ask about variety — outdoor and indoor options, at the gym or at home, structured routines, dancing, swimming, sports, etc…   It shouldn’t be boring!  …just consistent and appropriate for you.  Make a list of all the options and plan a balance of them into your schedule for each week.

And lastly, know that having your own exercise/fitness program is not an option.  We tend to ignore our body when it tries to warn us, and then we suffer the consequences.  Take care of yourself!

In this video, presented by Andrew Weil, Dr. Jim Nicolai demonstrates one example of a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) routine.  Studies support the increased effectiveness of the interval approach, but note Dr. Nicolai’s explanation of how this principal applies to all sorts of applications and levels of intensity catering to the individual.  The video is under 11 minutes, and worth understanding.

Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables

July 28th, 2014

There’s not much to say here…  the video covers it marvelously!  I love this solution to a really sad reality, the fact that it saves a significant amount of money for folks, and that it has been wildly successful.  Kudos to the French Market Chain, Intermarche. One has to wonder why we can’t do this in this country?  Anybody have a contact in a food market chain?

You’ve gotta see this video.  …it’s short.

What do you think about it?

What’s a Pulse? …good to know, and good for you!

July 28th, 2014

In Dr. Andrew Weil’s recent post, he talks about “pulses” and foods based on them, their considerable health advantages — all for only a 3/4 cup serving a day.  Hummus, split pea soup, and black beans (instead of the fatter refried variety) are all favorites of mine and perhaps yours as well.  Many of us are already eating pulses, but it’s good to know what a daily goal can mean in supporting our health.  What are the favorite pulses you already know and enjoy?  Check it out!  …it’s a quick read.

A New Season Ahead

July 26th, 2014

Here in the Southern Arizona high desert, our mid-summer hot temperatures and monsoon humidity make thoughts of the Fall weather-to-come hard to resist.  But it isn’t just the weather.  The whole tempo of activity changes with kids going back to school, summer vacationers and seasonal residents returning, and the start-up of the Fall/Winter activities.  It’s about now that we start looking ahead on the calendar to rough-in dates for Fall events we know we want to be a part of.  …we start to feel, think about and anticipate the coming season.

It’s also one of those times that I tend to think about how I’m doing with what I hoped to accomplish this year.  And it can be complicated with the inevitable changes that have happened since plans were made.  …the plans need adjusting and it’s hard to know where to start with all the details of where time is spent each day.  …and in the rush, it’s easy to put off the thoughts about whether or not I’m spending my time on what is really important.

Have you ever had a life altering experience, that sort of halted you in your tracks, and when you started to really think through what’s important, you wondered what took you so long to really think about it?

I experienced two of those life altering events over this past year, and decided that, even as a Health Coach, I needed to make more time for my own health and wellness.  I reminded myself, once again, that my health is not an expendable asset.

So, don’t wait.  When you’re making plans for the season ahead, give taking care of your health a priority position!


Unique Gardening Solution for Colder Weather Extremes

July 25th, 2014

[…this one is for my family and friends in Colorado, and other non-desert climes!]

I’m always intrigued by the clever gardening solutions I run across on the internet and social networking sites.  This one is not for the patio gardener, but sounds like a cold weather solution for the person with a little land space.  And like so many food-growing solutions, it’s not a brand new idea.  An Aymara Indian word for an underground or pit greenhouse, this “Walipini” has proven itself in the cold, mountain regions of South America for about 20 years — designed to be less costly than the standard greenhouse.

Now, I’m wondering if the earth’s insulation factor — used here for handling colder weather — could be adapted for our toasty, desert temperatures!  🙂

Click  here for more on Walipini greenhouse information.

Good information on Organics at

July 25th, 2014

When we understand the importance of eating organic foods as much as possible, and that we can avoid a preponderance of toxins in our blood stream, just by buying organic versions of the foods on EWG’s “Dirty Dozen” list, we’ve made an excellent start in protecting our health.

Cornucopia Institute is another good resource for staying informed.  The Institute “engages in education and research supporting the ecological principals and economic wisdom underlying sustainable and organic agriculture.”  It’s an independent, non-profit organization that helps educate the public with current reports, handy shopping guides and easy-to-understand charts and graphics on important events and the status quo.

Cornucopia’s website features several current reports (follow the home page links for the reports) and “scorecard” lists that are informative shopping guides: (1) The Organic Egg Scorecard, and (2) The Organic Cereal Scorecard.   Food label readers will also appreciate their Report on Carrageenan (it’s a thickener in a lot of dairy, soy and other foods) and the related Shoppers Guide.  Check them out.  …it’s always nice to have good information to make better selections!

Cornucopia’s site also has several informative and interesting videos in their Media Gallery.  [I respect the efforts of the ladies in Mexico that are protecting their bees!]  Check out the right column on the home page for that and other interesting charts and diagrams.  Cornucopia can also be found on Facebook — check out their page and give them a “Like”.

Structuring Exercise for your Level and Age

July 6th, 2014

Here’s a short video from Dr. Andrew Weil on structuring exercise to work the best for your age and level of fitness.  He reviews his own routines over the years, and talks about the changes he has made and why.  Click here to see the video.