Aug 17

The Life of a Supermom—Identifying and Meeting the Challenges

Please note this is a guest post. Author details of this content below. Enjoy!

How do you find the experience of being a mom? Most likely, you have discovered early in the role that your responsibilities toward your child and the family, as a whole, are not easy. The idea of juggling all your obligations at the workplace and the family while meeting everybody’s expectations of you is daunting even as you think about it. The pressures at work and in the family, as well as the challenge of handling your child as he or she goes through the different phases of growing up, can take their toll on you. Rest assured that if you are going through difficult times as a mom, you are far from alone.

A recent survey on what moms consider are the greatest challenges in playing their role reveals that the early phases of childhood have presented the most number of challenges. This article will discuss the top 5 factors that cause much stress to moms, as well as present ways for you to cope with the stress healthily.

  1. Going through sleepless nights

All moms have had their fair share of sleep deprivation. You might even think that you have had more than your fair share of sleepless nights. Such scenario is especially true when your child is sick. It is only natural that you, as a mom, cannot sleep well while your child is feeling ill. At the smallest wail from your toddler or the pained breathing of your child, you rouse yourself from sleep just to check on them. When you feel that your child needs professional medical attention, you immediately scoot to the nearest hospital even though it’s in the wee hours of the morning. Suffice it to say that when you became a mom, you have found yourself becoming even more selfless than you thought possible.

  1. Dealing with your child’s tantrums

Picture this scene. You are at the mall, and your toddler points to a toy, asking you to buy it for him or her. You say no because you are on a tight budget and besides, your child already has enough toys. When your child realizes that you are not giving in to his or her demands, your child begins to throw a fit and starts making a scene in public. Despite your best efforts to silence your child, other mall goers are now looking your way and shooting glances of annoyance at you while you cringe deep inside. How would you act then? Will you just buy the toy that your child wants to silence him or her? Or will you hold your ground, gently but firmly explaining why you are not going to make the purchase?

Is the scenario above a familiar one? As a mom, you probably had to deal with more tantrums than you can count. In an attempt to quiet their children, some moms give in to their children’s petty demands, which results to even more tantrums in the future.  Indeed, the stress that comes with having to figure out a way to end your child’s tantrums without giving up parental authority is not a small one.

  1. Showing extreme patience

Being a mom requires a very high level of patience. Of all the things you need to do, you need to be willing to keep repeating yourself to your child to make sure that he or she understands you. You also have to learn how to understand the way your child thinks and feels even when you feel utterly lost. You have to admit, however, that despite your commitment to keeping your cool even in the most stressful mother-child situations, you sometimes snap. Such momentary loss of patience can end up with you scolding your child too strongly or hitting your child too hard for a mistake he or she has committed.

Of course, you know you can always apologize to your child for going overboard once in a while. Even then, you know you could not undo the scars you may have inflicted on your child nor shrug off your guilt feelings so easily. After all, your child may not be old enough to understand that you are stressed at work or with a family problem, which led to you lashing out your frustrations on them. It is thus unsurprising that moms find motherhood an emotionally taxing responsibility!

  1. Completing all of your household chores

Being a mom does not end your role of being a wife to your husband. You know that you cannot just neglect your household chores because you now have a baby. Sure, having someone help you out with your chores would make your life easier than doing everything alone. However, not all moms can afford such help at the present and thus need to juggle their responsibilities at home all alone.

A typical domestic scene would, therefore, involve you, as the mom, getting up early in the morning to prepare for your family’s breakfast. Then you would need to help your child prepare for school and then drop him or her off there. When you get back home you find that you have an endless list of chores to do—washing the dishes, washing your clothes, cleaning the house, making yourself lunch, etc. Before you know it, it’s time for you to pick your child up from school and then help him or her with any homework that their teachers may have given them. Then your husband drives home, and you would have to cater for his needs as well. While they are resting, you get busy in the kitchen, preparing for dinner. Most often, your tasks do not end with dinner, which makes you the last person fall asleep at night.

It is no wonder, then, how people call you a supermom! It truly is not an easy role that you are playing in your family.

  1. Getting your children to eat healthily

Training your child to eat their fruit slices, veggie dishes, and drinks their milk, if they’re no longer drinking breast milk; preferably coconut milk is a good alternative. It is often not an easy one though. It most probably involves a lot of coaxings, bribery, and threatening to get your child to eat healthy foods. After all, your child chooses food according to how the food looks and tastes, and not so much for its nutritional value.

For you to keep your child as healthy as possible, you would need to resort to creativity in feeding them. Some have found that mixing in vitamins in their toddlers’ milk is the best way to make them drink vitamins. If your toddler does not like fruits, you could make a puree or a concentrate of the fruit instead so it would be appealing to them. You could resort to any means of feeding your child as long as you get to make them eat the right foods instead of junk ones.

To sum the list above, the top five challenges of motherhood are dealing with sleepless nights, handling tantrums, showing patience, completing household chores, and feeding your child right. However, there is one more challenge that you, as a mom, face as you deal with all your responsibilities. The greatest challenge of being a mom is probably that of staying healthy and fit despite all the stresses that you have to go through. How could you make sure that you do not neglect yourself while caring for the other members of your family? You may think: Where do I find the time to keep myself healthy and fit when I have to complete a dizzying list of To-Dos every day?

Many healthy moms have found the suggestions below very helpful in addressing their challenges in maintaining physical fitness despite a busy schedule. You may also want to consider the suggestions and see how you could apply them yourself.

  1. Follow a schedule

No matter how busy you may be, you will most likely be able to complete your chores satisfactorily if you arrange your affairs beforehand. So instead of waiting for the next day before you plan your tasks out, you might find it helpful to plan in advance. Making a schedule and sticking to it can help you spend your time wisely and also give you time to relax.

  1. Divide the tasks in your family

No matter how much of a supermom you are, you have to admit that you cannot do everything in the house alone. Why don’t you ask other members in your family to help you out on certain tasks? For instance, if your child is old enough to wash the dishes, could he or she probably handle that task? If your husband could help you prepare for dinner every night, you would not be too tired at the end of the day.

  1. Observe a fitness routine

You do not have to take a 30-minute jog every day to be physically fit. Instead, you can try to fit in 10-minute exercises in your schedule every morning, afternoon, and evening. Doing so will help you stay fit and your blood cholesterol and pressure levels normal.

About the author of this post:

Ashley Sotelo is a pro-active health enthusiast; she does research for various leading health companies focusing mainly on the different alternative treatments available for chronic illnesses. Writing health articles has grown to become her passion, becoming the author of roughly a hundred of such articles and currently writing at BRI Nutrition whose sole purpose is to provide natural and safe supplements. When she is not writing or engaging in her regular fitness routine, she could be found curled up in a nook and reading her favorite books.

Jul 23

5 Foods We Should Be Eating Now

We are in the thick of summer, thank goodness. With one too many polar vortexes in my memory, it seems like the sunshine took longer to get to us this year. No doubt, with great temperatures, also comes awesome produce. A few of my favorites that are in peak season and on my plate include:

1. Arugula

This peppery lettuce is a household favorite, which popped on our radar when my husband lived abroad in Australia. This green was termed as “rocket,” and could be found on every menu around town. A few of my favorite ways to enjoy this leafy vegetable includes in a salad with lemon, olive oil and cherry tomatoes; very basic. For my husband I will add some Parmesan cheese, as the salty dairy ingredients marry very well with the arugula flavor. Another idea includes topping some baked eggs with this green. Spinach is not the only lettuce that can be paired with breakfast. Arugula is known for many things including it’s detoxifying powers and antioxidant powerhouse.

Not a fan of arugula, pick up some butter lettuce this month instead. The soft lettuce goes so well with beets, in my opinion; which takes us to the next ingredient on the list.

2. Beets

I used to think of beets in a way that a two year old likes Brussels sprouts; aka no thank you. I have to admit, I gave them another try after attending a health conference and the PhD speaker couldn’t say enough good things about the crop including it releaves constipation and is one of the best foods for our liver. I’ll take anything to help nurture our fat burning organ. I will use beets in my smoothies, chopped on a salad with some grilled chicken and pumpkin seeds or cooked with carrots. I can draft the reasons why we should eat more beets as there is a lot of scientific support, but I can quickly state that days I have beets, I feel better, noticeably better.

3. Radishes

I may have a theme here of peppery foods. First I listed arugula and now I find I have radishes. Either way, all the above are great and obviously in-season making it win-win. Radishes are something I have come to appreciate and my first memory of them goes back to grade school when I was vacationing with my friends on the Jersey Shore and their mom had radishes soaking in water. We walking into the kitchen after a hot morning at the beach and the mom popped a radish from the bowl into her mouth explaining how refreshing they were. This made me want to try them, and I did. They were refreshing and very different than most vegetables. Since this fond memory, every summer I get some fresh radishes and soak them, and put some together for a snack as is, or slice and dice into a salad. This hydrating vegetable aids digestion, detoxing and weight management among many more perks.

4. Tomatoes

Who does not like a homegrown summer tomato? I am certain there is no one. Maybe is someone is following a no nightshade diet, but that is nor here or there. Gosh though, summer tomatoes are the king of the garden this time of year. If you are growing some, I may guess you are also sharing the wealth with those around due to the rate they grow. I love tomatoes with a little olive oil and sea salt, or on one of my paleo burgers. Another treat is when I make the household caprese salads. My mouth is watering thinking about the flavor of a fresh tomato and Buffalo mozzarella and fresh basil. I think I know what we are having for dinner now…

5. Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe, the fruit I once called the cheap filler in a fruit salad. Indeed, it is cheap, but the taste is a new found love. Funny enough, my 22 month old son inspired me to enjoy this fruit as much as I am, with his deep desire of this lush fruit. Cantaloupe has a spectrum of nutrients and research has even shown it can reduce metabolic syndrome. Chop one up for a summer BBQ or wrap some of the melon in prosciutto for a real food choice for dessert. Either way, if you didn’t think you liked this fruit, perhaps give it another look like I did.

 

Jul 23

Better Blood Sugars with a Paleo/Primal Diet?

Last month I had the pleasure to talk to Ginger Vieira with Diabetes Daily. The conversation was posted on their site, but If you missed it, enjoy the below. Here is a link to the original post as well. Have a healthy one!

 

Kelly Schmidt was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she 8 years old. Today, she follows a low carb, real food diet, uses a continuous glucose monitor and predominately an insulin pump.

Kelly-0001-300x200“I take months off from my pump going on shots from time to time (mostly during the summer). Of all the kids in my family (I am the youngest of 4), siblings and their children, I am the only one with type 1 diabetes,” explains Kelly.

Kelly is a registered dietitian, a dietitian nutritionist, and certified group fitness instructor. Her book, “Primal Eating and the Paleo Diet” is a guide for anyone interested in eating a diet focused on whole foods and fewer carbs. Learn more about Kelly’s work at PaleoInfused.com.

Ginger: Okay, first, let’s start with your own definition of the Primal/Paleo diet…

Kelly: Conventional wisdom tells us all food and food groups are healthy in moderation; however, the paleo and primal diet challenges this theory. For example, as nutrition research continues to grow out of its infancy, data is showing that foods that contain gluten-containing grains (including wheat, barley, rye and non-certified gluten free oats) can damage nearly every part of the body, including the brain, digestive tract, skin and pancreas.

paleo dietThe paleo and primal way of eating and lifestyle presents a nutrient-rich diet that affects every cell in the body, which can present itself in long-term health, a strong immune system, energy, glowing skin, and more. To paint a picture of what foods are allowed in a paleo lifestyle consider – all fruits, vegetables, quality protein from poultry, beef, game meat, all animals, seafood, eggs, nuts/seeds and healthy fats including olive oil, palm oil, avocado and coconut. Things that are purposely missing include – grains, man-made/vegetable oils, dairy, legumes, sugar and soy. One distinctive difference between paleo and primal, is a primal lifestyle includes more carbohydrate food sources, such as white potatoes and rice, but also high quality forms of dairy (full fat, grass-fed, raw, organic; read the book for more information!).

Ginger: And how do you feel it would benefit people with diabetes?

Kelly: If I had to provide a one word answer, it’d be “endlessly.” And this would be for everyone, not just those of us with diabetes. But getting to your question, the first and foremost benefit I see with this population is better blood sugar control, and being able to predict blood sugars verses chasing blood sugars. Follow this up with more energy, better sleep, weight loss and more. It’s not a magic bullet, but it’s a road in the right direction. We have to understand eating food dense in nutrients is great for our health, but it’s never good to overdo healthy food. Eating too much of anything is unhealthy and can cause inflammation, high blood sugars etc. Point being, eat when hungry, stop when satisfied.

Ginger: Has diabetes and nutrition ever been a struggle for you?

Kelly: While my diabetes is in great control now, I was a teenager and didn’t prioritize my diabetes or diet at times. Nothing extreme, but I certainly had a need for improvement on my labs, especially while I was in transition of living on my own in college. From my personal experiences in the last two plus decades, I more than understand the struggles and dedication needed for good blood sugar and my choices have come a long way. In life, especially with managing my diabetes, I am a student eager to learn on what I can improve regarding mental health, supplements, exercise, meds and diet.

Ginger: How did you become passionate about this approach to nutrition?

Kelly: Can I copy and paste my book here? I kid. Honestly it all began with the silver lining of being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, a disease that is so influenced by what we eat. From there I planned a way to pursue a career as a dietitian and once I got into the field, I had many personal experiences, predominately controlling blood sugars, which lead me to question conventional wisdom. In 2009 a friend nudged me to participate in a conference her company was doing the event planning for, and speaker after speaker had a common theme among their message and it was to eat more real food. That’s common sense, but wait, what did that really mean?

Fortunately I had some one on one conversations with the speakers and asked how they thought I could tweak my diet to improve my blood sugar. Immediately the response was hands-down, cut the gluten out of my food choices. I was paralyzed. I thought, “How could I do that when I have so much to watch in my diet already?” But I had nothing to lose, and I have never turned back from that weekend. From there I returned home up north, and cut the obvious gluten culprits from my food, and over time, became squeaky clean gluten free. Moving on, I dug further into what using food as medicine meant for me, and truly assessed how certain ingredients made me thrive verse spike my blood sugar, alter my digestion, mood, sleep, etc. Going through this personally, I was and am more than excited to help people learn that “feeling good,” has various meanings, and today I eat foods that I love, and love me back.

Ginger: What are the most common misconceptions people have about the Primal/Paleo diet?

Kelly: One big misconception I discuss often with people is that this diet is not meat only nor meat heavy. Yes, there is a focus on protein, as I believe it’s vital for optimal health, but the lifestyle encourages produce, micronutrients coming from fruits, vegetables and nuts/seeds, maybe even more so than animal protein. Generally the paleo diet is lower in carbohydrates than the Standard American Diet, but it still offers foods rich in nutritious carbs ie. Fruit, yams, taro, sweet potato, white potato, plantains, etc. It is also not a fad diet. I could jump on a soap box here, but it’s a lifestyle. If you really see what the “paleo” experts are eating, it’s not 100% compliant. It’s a template of paleo foods, and non-paleo foods that work for us individually. Did I just have some organic hummus? Yes, and it was delicious. At this point, I tolerate it very well, and above all I truly enjoyed it.

Ginger: Could a person who is drawn to certain aspects of the diet add some of it to their life without going full-blown, 100% paleo?

Kelly: Absolutely. A diet that is enhanced with more real food, replacing something processed, is always a win. And I indeed do not advocate a 100% paleo diet to many, if anyone. Food is pleasure and if we look at what we eat with a black and white frame of mind, we are missing the benefits of such nutrition. For example, I eat quite paleo, but I will enjoy cheese, rice, quinoa and few other items when I want. I just know what works well for my body and my health and progress a diet on this note.

Ginger: Are there certain common mistakes a person might make when they first start down this path?

Kelly: There are some common themes I see. One being, people will eliminate all non-paleo foods from their meals/snacks and next thing you know, they are significantly undereating. When taking on anything new, I advise to have a plan and eat beyond eggs for breakfast, salad with protein for lunch and chicken and broccoli for dinner.

Seek out whole real food, but also nutritious food with diverse nutrients i.e. organ meat, different forms of protein (go beyond poultry), sea vegetables, seafood galore, various fruits and veggies. There are so many veggies that people try when jumping to this lifestyle ie. Zucchini noodles, vegetable-based lasagna, eggplant pizza crust, plantains (my fav!!), and more. Another situation to note, is this diet will likely bring down someone’s total carbohydrate intake if they are coming from a standard American diet, yet, people also tend to, in addition, cut down on fat. No need to be fat phobic. This way of eating it about listening to what your body craves and finding a whole food source to fulfill that.

Ginger: Lastly, what are a few tips you might have for someone who is really interested in adopting this approach to nutrition?

Kelly: Do a little homework before jumping in. Know it’s something to move towards in making it a true lifestyle over time. No need to consider this as a diet you are going to go on, and then jump off once you hit a health goal. Not to plug my book, but I will, find a resource as such, and in the back I have also included a handful of other resources that can further help people including blogs, books and podcasts.

Ginger: Thank you, Kelly!

 

Jun 23

Under Pressure

Does Queen’s song, “Under Pressure,” pop into anyone else’s head with this title? I can’t help play the tune in my mind while drafting this post. And on that note, what does this song have to do with health? A lot.

Do you feel pressure when you ask yourself how your health is? Do you either immediately think of your waistline and if it’s a measure you want, or maybe focus in on some labs you had done most recently? When I ask myself this, I do a little of both, I think of my latest diabetic labs, including my fasting blood sugar and A1C% and also how I feel. With the latter part of that question, I include my thoughts on my weight. Am I alone? I am afraid not, as many of us are on  diet, or attempting one. Granted I just had a child, my second, I still have a weight loss goal, and know how hard it is to lose the lbs I put on in 9 months. As for my labs, my latest A1C% (which is a measure of an average blood sugar over the last 3 months) was a 5.6%; which is pretty darn good. But I want better.

Yet, above all, regardless of where our health is, why do many of us self impose pressure to be at a “better” place than where we are currently? It’s funny really. When I counsel clients I provide nutrition advice, lifestyle habits to improve on, and lastly, to be kind to oneself.

If I were to listen in on some internal conversations that we have with ourselves, I am afraid I’d be confused whether or not we like ourselves. All in all, let’s break down this pressure we consume ourselves with and learn better steps to get to where we want.

Does everyone relate to this post? No, but maybe we all do or did at one time.

Let’s begin with simplifying things.

fam

“The very purpose of our life is to seek happiness.” The Dali Lama

Agree? If so, feeling good, having an optimal quality of life, tucks right into this. So take each day one at a time, and strive to not overthink our food and drink choices, our gym membership, etc. Focus on what is best for us ay hand and in the long-term for happiness. Life is not a promised timeframe, it’s what we had yesterday, hold today and hope for tomorrow. We need to use our time wisely and have no regrets, large or small.

“Eat only when hungry and drink only when thirsty.” Maimonides

Common sense, eh? Yes, but we have lost our ability to do just this around the age of 3 years old. A study done on 5 year old children showed that at this age, most kids ate a plate of macaroni they were served, bypassing hunger cues. When trialed with younger pupils around the age of 3, the kids naturally stopped when they had enough.

Intuitive eating is a practice to be learned again. We should not eat by the clock, use food as entertainment or be swayed by advertisements. We need to know the difference between a craving and true hunger. Again, easier said than done. But little steps and effort can go a long way. Start small with something like thoroughly chewing food. Put down the utensil between each bite, take smaller bites. Goodness, lets eat everything with chop sticks! Too far? Maybe, but I have clients who try to do this at meals eaten at home.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

the courage to change the things I can, 

and the courage to know the difference.” Serenity Prayer

Self love my friends. Religious or not, this statement is strong. Indeed on my phone camera I have an image with this quote, and for example, if I am mellow over a blood sugar that won’t move into an ideal range, I say this prayer. When I do I feel a lot better. Maybe this quote doesn’t tick for you, but find an affirmation that does, and capture it somewhere and say it when needed.

In closing, let’s remove the stress we create. As my mom always says, “don’t invite worry,” and keep thoughts positive or constructive and enjoy the journey of wellness.

Jun 04

Lose Weight Naturally and Healthily

This is a bold title. If weight loss was a matter of understanding a top 3 tip list, then you would probably not be reading this post right now. It’s hard, complicated, confusing and not a one size fits all approach. But with the tidbits I am going to list will help all people in the journey of losing pounds; and surely it is NOT a formula of calories in (eaten) = calories out (exercise).

Chicago Dietitian

Chicago Nutritionist

Chicago RD

Tip #1 – Eat foods ideal for a hormonal/metabolic response in the body.

What does this mean? We want to make meals and snacks from foods that do not cause an insulin/blood sugar spike nor inflammation. What foods does this mean to avoid? Obvious ingredients such as processed foods, man-made oils, vegetable oils, sugar, gluten containing grains, and all grains for some, dairy for some, GMO foods, conventional protein, to name a few. It’s hard to tell what foods we are each individually sensitive to, thus this proves to be one negotiable reason to do an elimination diet, following a paleo template by eating foods of only clean protein (wild seafood, grassfed meat, organic poultry, pasture-raised eggs), heaps of vegetables, including starchy forms like yams, sweet potatoes and the likes, fruit, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats from olive oil, coconut oil, lard, bacon grease and avocado. Once the lapse of time is up, reintroduce avoided foods, dairy, grains gluten free versions and gluten full grains and legumes and assess how the foods affect digestion, sleep, energy, mental clarity and mood to determine if it’s a good fit for you or not.

Tip #2 – Focus on quality over quantity.

I was listening to a podcast yesterday, The Paleo View, and the hosts were elaborating on how other (healthier) countries spend more on food and less on healthcare, vs the U.S. stance on spending more money on healthcare compared to our cheap food supply. What does this indicate? While it does not prove a causal relationship it’s interesting to consider when we are forced to spend more on our food, perhaps we appreciate it more and make better choices. Just a thought, and indeed this is something I brought to light when I lived in Australia where food was much pricier than a grocery run here in the States. Yet, let’s hit directly on this tip. What do I mean by quality over quantity. Do you know anyone who lost weight by eating 100 cal packs? I do. But can I vouch they sustained that weight loss? I am afraid not. When we want to lose weight, we need to choose healthy ingredients, including foods that are rich in nutrition, protein, fat and fiber. Many of my clients come to our first session a bit fat-phobic, and I have to help them feel comfortable in adding more fat items to their meals, enabling satiety and happiness from their food. As well, protein is very important. We need a base of it at each meal to help keep us sustained for hours. Lastly, when and if budget allows, sourcing produce that is organic (I recommend following a dirty dozen/clean 15 list), high quality protein, clean dairy (organic, grassfed, raw, and only if one tolerates it) can also enhance nutrition in one’s diet. Lastly, losing weight is not about tracking every bite of food in a journal or app. It’s not about hitting an exact calorie target. It’s about eating a balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates and growing an intuition of understanding what our body craves and needs. We are naturally inclined to eat ideal portions of protein, where we could use more structure on carbs and fat. To know what can work, think about what your body wants. If it’s ice-cream, dig deeper to understand what can fill that craving. Perhaps it’s an emotional void, perhaps you need more fat in your diet. Work to understand what your body needs.

Tip #3 – Being health is a journey, and bring a water bottle!

One of the easiest things we can do is drink more water. Hydrate throughout throughout the day and keep water handy wherever you may be. And understand health is a journey. If we take 2 steps forward and one step back, that is success. Enjoy the ride because life is short and food is pleasure.

Jun 02

Food For Thought: Spirulina

I had a business counter-part email me last week about the perks of spirulina. He had a client touting the benefits of the ingredient and wanted to know if it was worth investing. Beyond the facts in the graphic below, I suggested yes. I especially use it with vegetarian clients, those with blood sugar variation and more. All in all, though, with anything healthy it can be overdone.

My favorite way to use and consume spiraulina is adding it to a vegetable and berry smoothie. More tidbits can be found from this industry site. Have a healthy and fit day!

https://nuts.com/cookingbaking/powders/spirulina/

https://nuts.com/cookingbaking/powders/spirulina/

May 27

Summer Meal/Salad Ideas

I am craving more variety in my meals with loads of produce to help nourish my body and soon-to-be daughter. I was playing with Yummly and selected the following for inspiration. Perhaps you can enjoy too and you will likely need a Yummly login to access some of the recipes.

A salad with cinnamon? Why not?

What a fun idea for a summer BBQ right? Or perhaps if you are short on time, like I will be with 2 little ones, I may toss all the above in a bowl and call it a day. Fun idea, nonetheless.

This extra serving of gluten free grains will be helpful in keeping my carbs up for breastfeeding. Looks tasty!

I’d make this recipe but omit the sugar. Perhaps swap in lemon juice instead? I’d have to play with it, but a great way to add detoxifying onions to my diet.

May 21

Five Fitness Trends That Might Actually Be Worth Trying

 

(Guest Post)activities in Chicago and beyond

For many of us, finding ways to stay active starts with getting motivated to actually embark on the journey of getting back into shape. This often times is one of the hardest part, especially if your previous workout experiences left you bored and exhausted. If you’re tired of monotonous exercise routines that follow the same order and routine, break away from videos and one-option fitness guides and try something new.

In this article, we will explore five fitness trends which are gaining in popularity which will not only leave you in much better shape, but get you there in new, revitalized ways which yield higher motivation to stick with it! If you haven’t tried these new fitness trends yet, consider giving them a whirl. Some may require memberships to facilities that have the appropriate equipment or trainers, but in this list there should be something for everybody.

  1. Obstacle Course Racing

While obstacle course races have been around for quite a few years now, they are becoming more popular than ever. From mild resistance races like the Warrior Dash (typically 5k) to grueling races such as Tough Mudder and Spartan Race (upwards of 12 miles with over 20 obstacles), there is a growing variance of these races which allows for beginners up to fitness gurus to all have opportunities to grow. These races encourage training regiments that focus on high-level cardio exercise, as well as strength training as both will be required to successfully complete these obstacle races. If your daily run is stagnant and you’re hoping to find an end-goal to train for, consider signing up for an obstacle race coming near you. If you are not already at the level of fitness required for such a race, allow for at least 12 weeks to train (and many of these races even provide training modules for you to utilize).

  1. Aerial Fitness

Aerial fitness is a newer trend gaining in popularity. By utilizing a hammock by which you hang, your body is able to take on shapes and exact maneuvers that otherwise would not be possible. Aside from a tremendous core workout, because of the unique nature of this equipment, you will have the opportunity to utilize both fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscle building to deliver even more effective gains. A simple online search should help you find if any locations that offer this fitness movement are near you. Variations including yoga and other forms of movement can be incorporated, as well.

  1. High Tech At-Home Fitness

If that stairclimber you bought five years ago serves solely as a clothes rack in your basement next to the washing machine now, we have good news. At-home fitness is stepping into a higher level of technology to ensure that you have the opportunity to stay fit and motivated from your own house. If your work schedule leaves it difficult to get to a gym or a 24 hour fitness building isn’t in your town, working out at home can feel like your only option. Enter Peloton. Peloton is an at-home fitness bike that streams live classes from the New York studio and even includes the fitness data of other class participants so you can compete from home. By utilizing this technology, Peloton not only operates on your schedule, it provides the motivating factor many of us need to push ourselves when, otherwise, no one would be looking.

  1. Trampoline Fitness

Similar to the idea of aerial fitness, this movement seeks to introduce a level of spontaneity into your fitness regiment through the atypical workouts trampolines provide. While this fitness trend has had a worldwide following for a few years now, it is only beginning to take hold in the United States. Luckily, while the first official Jumping Fitness gym isn’t slated to open for a few more months in New York City, there are numerous online routines which you can utilize on your very own trampoline. Now you can turn your kids’ toy into your next workout and the continual movement is excellent at torching calories, allowing for a high-speed set of exercises that utilize less impact than typical jump-based movements.

  1. Competition Based Fitness Courses

If you haven’t investigated competitive fitness classes, now is the time. Programs like the most well-known program CrossFit not only introduce a variety of workouts which allow you to stay mentally engaged while physically pushing yourself, the courses very purposefully rely on your competitive nature to push you to work harder than you would in a tradition, partnerless workout routine. Through competition based courses you not only find yourself working harder, you also create accountability with others to stay the course. Between the ever-evolving exercises and the communal sense of teamwork, your likelihood to drop out diminishes.

Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who is trying to be healthier this year. She currently writes for AEDs Today, a leading supplier of automatic external defibrillators.

Apr 30

Just Do It

I honestly can’t think of a better slogan than Nike’s “Just Do It.” It eludes to many things, but simplifies the action for one to get up and go – run, sign up for a race, try something new, enjoy an active lifestyle, etc.

But what if they replaced the word “It” with exercise? Ahh, no bueno. Exercise feels like I am barking an order or a chore. So, how does any of this relate to you and I? Yes, well done Nike, but the point I want to make is when we think about exercise or talk about it, or even put it on our to-do list, we need to keep it positive. And what ticks for one, may not tick for all.

For me – I like to label my exercise as a workout or hobby. And what lies under this changes just as does our mood and the season. I talk about this often with my nutrition clients, so can easily recall what I’ve enjoyed over the last dozen months. I fully embraced tennis as soon as I could postpartum with my first. Man did it make me feel like a teenager again. And the gals I did a weekly class with, made me feel like I was on a team! It was awesome, and indeed I credit my 90 minute tennis lesson per week to my decent shape of running Chicago’s 10 miler in May 2014. Next though, I wanted to move on so I didn’t lose the enjoyment of tennis and fully engaged in pilates and soaked up yoga. Come Fall, I fell pregnant and the strict and intense pilates teacher told me to move onto something else until I had better technique or no bun in the oven. One, I can’t be perfect at everything right?! At least I was trying something new. And, two, I wasn’t going to let this push-back hold me back from being active. Next, I joined aqua aerobics. And guess what, I loved it so much I got my AFAA Group Fitness Certification in March so I can teach it post arrival of baby #2. All things happen for a reason, eh? Nonetheless, you can see I participated in a variety of activities and I believe this is one tactic to be successful in enjoying an active lifestyle. While there is more, keep this in mind.

Making ourselves move is showing up for our health and loving ourselves. The benefits are many, as are the excuses to not do it. But, Just Do It. Find something new and pull along a friend to make you more committed to be active.

At 33 weeks pregnant, riding on some strong insulin resistance (type 1 diabetes for 2 decades plus) in my third trimester, I am still pumping iron, attending spin classes, restorative yoga and core courses. Are there challenges to being active, especially with moving blood sugars and kicking baby? Yes, but pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone brings numerous benefits and happiness.

With diabetes, even pregnancy, I am taking extra measure in what I am eating, how well I am hydrated and monitoring blood sugars, but I am still out there. Are you? Everyone has different things that maybe challenging their physical fitness, but let’s engage, move, set goals and motivate one another.

If you fall into the pregnancy or diabetes camp, I have some tips to offer, yet I am not a pro. As well, I have included motivators for anyone looking to move their body:

TRYING A NEW ACTIVITY – STAYING MOTIVATED TO MOVE – BEING YOUR FITTEST

  • Variety. As eluded select a number of things that sound interesting to you and sprinkle sessions of such over your calendar for the next month. These activities do not have to be in a gym setting either. One thing I always try to plant on our weekend agenda is a bike ride. Beyond something that looks like exercise, broaden your brainstorm to dance lessons, putt putt with a date and more. A great trend here in Chicago is something call ClassPass. Heard of it? It’s growing into numerous other cities, but instead having to have a membership to one type of studio like Core Power or Bikram yoga, it gives you access to a diverse offering for one flat rate. It’s quite genius I think.

PinterestInterval PinterestWorkout

  • Budget. Memberships and personal training can definitely stack up and if this expense isn’t a priority, seek low cost or free things. Since I have been modifying so much in my classes, I have created some of my own workouts and have used Pinterest to help me with a plan. It’s too easy to do the same. One practice I do, is find a workout I like and take a picture of it on my phone, as shown below, and pull it up when I am ready to break a sweat.
  • Efficacy. Being our fittest doesn’t mean the more the better. It’s easy to overdo exercise, just know your limits and when you start to show signs of too much ie. fatigue, poor recovery, soreness, amenorrhea in extreme cases, etc.

DIABETES + ACTIVITY

  • Move – start small and measure. When I had my son Declan, it took a great deal to feel the edge to want to engage in anything more than walking. So I started small; like real small. Instead of giving myself a deadline to get to the gym, I told myself I had to do 5 pushups a day. Not only was this goal small enough for me to easily engage in the objective, but I often did more than 5 pushups. Over the following weeks, I started doing more weight bearing movements and then went to a class. An easy class too. With each enhancement I also kept an eye on my blood sugar. I test before and after activity, and if I sign up for a class, I also avoid large boluses of insulin before the engagement. This helps prevent hypoglycemia and I am better able to predict what my blood sugar is going to do. Also, in a perfect world, I try to place activity before a meal, so if I didn’t use a large enough temporary basal on my pump, I’d already have a plan to eat after. Depending on the activity and the duration I will take my pump off or at a minimum use a temp basal of 80%. What I decide to do, also varies with the time of day. In the AM I need a smaller temp basal or none at all, verse the evening, I am more insulin sensitive. Everyone is different so be sure to test, measure and not guess for yourself.
  • Food – As mentioned, I try to have a meal planned post activity, but this isn’t always the case. Pre-activity if I need something, I will have a handful of nuts any maybe some berries. Overall something lower in carbohydrate to keep active insulin low. Depending on the intensity and what my starting blood sugar is, this can all change. If I was about to do some low stress cardio (running, swimming, non-sprint biking) I’d maybe grab a Raw bar mini. (And I have no ties w/ this product, they just work with my blood sugar really well).
  • Test, don’t guess. I test preworkout every time and post. Even when I know I am low, I will still test to know exactly how much I should treat to put me back at a good level. I have learned the hard way of consuming too many carbs then putting myself of a roll-coaster cycle. What works for me will vary with anyone else. Some of my go-tos include fruit leathers and Kind bars. I will first have the leather and then followup with carbohydrate that is combined with protein and fat. What do you use?

PREGNANCY + ACTIVITY

  • Boundaries. Know your boundaries and trust your intuition. You don’t want to engage in a new activity once you are pregnant, and a positive pregnancy test doesn’t meant to freeze the gym membership. While walking is wonderful pre and postnatal, and all around, so is weights and breaking a sweat. This is a good article to understand more advice on being active while brewing a baby.

 

Apr 22

Sample Low FODMAP Meal Plan

If you have IBS and looking to resolve some of your symptoms, look into what foods fall within the FODMAP family. Either way, here is a sample meal plan of foods that are ideally tolerated by those avoiding FODMAPs.

Breakfast:

3-4 egg (pasture-raised eggs) omelette. Fill the omelette with ingredients such as spinach, bell peppers, olives. Pair with high quality bacon and/or fruit such as raspberries. Cook in ghee.

Lunch:

Stuffed baked potato (loaded w/ high quality protein). Keep it dairy free until it’s known what can be tolerated. Consider veggies on this list. 

Snack:

Plantain chips (made with coconut oil)

Dinner:

Large dinner salad with protein such as grassfed beef, organic poultry or seafood. Use a homemade dressing of olive oil and apple cider vinegar.

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