Fitness & Wellness

Herbs To Boost Your Nutrition

Herbs To Boost Your Nutrition

I’m a huge fan of adding herbs to soups and other dishes for the additional nutrition and flavor. Herbs add nutrients without adding calories. They also contain phytochemicals that can help reduce the risk of diseases and even help recover from some. One of my favorite additions is cinnamon basil. You can make a delicious pesto made with garlic and olive oil. Another use is as substitute for cinnamon in pumpkin pie. I toss a few crushed leaves in chili for a yummy flavor. I’ve created a tea from cinnamon basil leaves and green or black tea (green tastes yummier) and it’s good for regulating the bowels (handling both constipation and diarrhea) cough, headache and kidney problems.

Real cinnamon has its own benefits.

If you’re starting to see cinnamon too many times, it’s because I really like the flavor. I have fond memories growing up to cinnamon toast for breakfast. Cinnamon can help lower blood sugar levels by improving insulin sensitivity. It’s been shown to lower fasting blood sugar levels in diabetics by as much as 29%. It can also act as a powerful anti-inflammatory and helps to improve cholesterol levels.

Turmeric is another potent anti-inflammatory.

There’s still a lot to learn about the power of herbs on overall health. One reason there aren’t as many studies is because it takes money and you simply can’t patent an herb, so drug companies that often fund these find there’s no money to be made from studying the effects. Turmeric fights inflammation, which is believed to cause everything from cancer to Alzheimer’s and heart disease. Because of that, turmeric reduces your risk for arthritis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer. It’s been found effective to relieve arthritis and may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s. Be careful adding it. It stains everything yellow. I actually add it to create the color yellow in chicken soup. It has a mild, yet distinct, flavor.

Adding Cayenne pepper is a hot tip.

There’s a lot to say about the heat from cayenne or chili pepper. It has heat that comes from capsaicin. If that sounds familiar, it’s the same name as the balm for achy muscles and joints. In fact, that’s made from the seeds of hot peppers and aspirin. Capsaicin can help dieters by decreasing their appetite and Feeling nauseous? Try ginger or fennel seeds. Ginger tea is one cure for an upset stomach and munching on a fennel seed is another. Fennel is a gorgeous plant, which is why I grow it, but the seeds are also good, especially in marinara sauce.

  • If you have allergies, try rosemary in your food. The Rosmarinus acid in rosemary helps reduce nasal congestion and allergic responses.
  • Garlic not only keeps vampires at bay, it keeps colds away, too. Garlic contains allicin, which boosts the immune system, lowers bad cholesterol and also lowers blood pressure.
  • Want to boost brain power, try sage. Recent studies show it boosts memory and brain functioning in people of all ages. It’s also thought to help slow the progress of Alzheimer’s.

Exercise Helps You Stay Younger Looking

Exercise Helps You Stay Younger Looking

There are lots of ways to stay younger looking. You can consult the best doctor for a little nip and tuck, but sometimes it doesn’t give the look you hoped to achieve. It also doesn’t make you walk younger or make your body healthier. One alternative to that drastic measure is exercise and healthy eating. Stress can also age you before your time, so learn to take it easy on yourself and others. No matter what the problem, you’ll get through it and get through it better if you don’t stress.

Reduce stress other ways.

Sometimes, you just can’t control stress. That’s another spot where exercising works. It burns off the hormones of stress and replaces them with ones that leave you feeling good and at peace. Whether you’re working hard at the gym pressing weights, running a mile, dancing or even taking yoga, it’s all good and keeps those frown lines away.

Boost the production of stem cells.

Cells get damaged. Cells die. They must be replaced with healthy cells or you get sick. The death and damage of cells also cause aging. When you’re active, you boost your stem cell production. Stem cells are versatile and can replace any cell in the body. There’s loads of research that says exercise boosts stem cell production. Doctors who use stem cell therapy for joint injury promote exercise before the procedure and a study in China found Tai Chi increased the production several fold. Besides staying active and working out regularly, you need can use intermittent fasting. The research has been around on fasting for years. More sleep and protecting yourself from radiation, think UV light, can also help boost the production.

The food you eat can boost your stem cell production or impede it.

Sugar and processed white flour products like pasta can make your blood sugar levels skyrocket. Too much insulin can affect the production of stem cells. Pomegranates, goji berries, cranberries, grapes, kefir or other fermented foods and even green tea all have components that can keep you looking your best. Eat a healthy diet that contains a wide variety of color to promote more than just healthy stem cells, but overall good health.

  • To find out if you’re a sugar addict, use chocolate bars to test it. A 100% chocolate bar would have nothing but chocolate, no sugar or other additives. If you try a 70% bar and think it’s not sugary enough, you’re a sugar addict.
  • Research shows that weight lifters produce more and better stem cells. It’s already known that exercise helps prevent osteoporosis, but just to support that, studies show that older animals that are active have more and better bone creating stem cells.
  • Smile! Simple but sometimes hard to do. If you’re reading this right now, smile as though you’ve just seen someone that you really like. You feel better don’t you. Give everyone you pass a smile. You’ll look and feel better and they will too.
  • Walk faster and take longer strides. Sounds simple enough and maybe a little wonky, but it’s true. Studies show that people who walk faster with longer strides, live longer and look younger.

Give Eight Weeks For A Healthier You

Give Eight Weeks For A Healthier You

I’ve tried all sorts of motivation for various things in life. I’ve had to overcome some bad habits to get where I am today. The most depressing part of giving up those things I thought I loved was saying good-bye to them for the rest of my life. I found that I could do it easier if I thought it was only for a short time. If you’ve had problems sticking with a healthy diet and a program of regular exercise. Don’t give up. You probably will find it easier if you just decide that you’ll do it for eight weeks. If you find a healthier you at the end of eight weeks and want to continue, then add another eight weeks to the schedule.

I learned this trick from an ex-smoker.

My mother was a smoker. In fact, she smoked most of her adult life. At the age of 60, she decided to quit. At first, she cut down on cigarettes, then she lit them and puffed but didn’t inhale. After that, she simply carried them with her wherever she went. When I asked her why she tortured herself like that, she said because she wasn’t really quitting, just postponing her next cigarette. She lived another 28 years smoke free. I used that technique when I was in college and had papers to write. I decided to get busy on them and didn’t have to finish them, but could quit any time I wanted. It worked like a charm. Tell yourself you’re not giving up sugar forever, just for a while. Exercise on schedule, knowing you can quit the routine after you’ve given yourself eight weeks of workouts.

Make the first four weeks a learning experience and make that learning count the last four.

Learning to eat healthier doesn’t happen overnight. You can start with eliminating sugar products and processed foods. However, to tweak it to the healthiest possible diet, even eight weeks isn’t enough. There’s a lot to learn. Trying new recipes until you’ve found ones the whole family likes is part of it, so is learning how to make substitutions. Eight weeks will allow you to accomplish quite a bit, break the sugar habit and eliminate some of the junk food cravings.

Working out for eight weeks will amaze you with the difference.

Whether you want to get healthier, lose weight or build muscle tissue, before you start on your 8 week adventure, take measurements, record your present level of strength, endurance and flexibility and step on the scales. All of these are important. Use the same exercise to measure each fitness level and work until you’ve reached your maximum. Don’t weigh in or take measurements until the eight week mark. You will need to track your workout, since adding more weight and/or reps is important. Compare all things at the end of eight weeks.

  • Some people use daily tasks as a measurement for improvement. For instance, they count how many flights of stairs they can tackle before the 8-week workout and how many they can tackle afterward.
  • Get a wall calendar and mark off the days if you need motivation. A visual reminder is important.
  • This technique isn’t for everyone. Some people do far better with regular weigh ins and charting their weight. It’s a fun way to do it if you enjoy making a healthier lifestyle more of a game.
  • For weight loss, increasing strength training is important. It’s also important not to do it every day. Muscles need time to heal. On those days you don’t do actual workouts, go for a walk as part of your program.

Slimming Snacks

Slimming Snacks

It’s not a sin to eat between meals. In fact, some slimming snacks can even boost your weight loss efforts and improve your health. These aren’t necessarily exotic foods or super foods and can easily be found in Boise. These snacks are filled with nutrition, while being lower in caloric intake. They contain vitamins, minerals and fiber to add to your normal meals and may even lower your hunger level at meals. If you don’t eat between meals, for fear it will spoil your appetite at supper, maybe it’s time to start.

Don’t start snacking blindly. Plan your snacks ahead of time.

If you decide to snack between meals, don’t wait until you’re hungry and then hunt for a snack. Plan it ahead of time or you might find yourself munching on donuts, cookies or a frozen Snickers candy bar. (I had one client that hid the those in her freezer to prevent the kids from a sugar O.D. However, she knew where they were when she had a snack attack.) Stock up on healthy snacks like fruit, cut up fresh veggies and even nuts.

Store your snacks portion ready.

If you’re trying to shed a few pounds, don’t leave anything to chance. If you’re munching on fresh vegetables, but love a little dip with them, measure out and store a one serving amount of dip. Those small plastic containers with lids like you get when you order take home salad or order dressing on the side is the perfect way to do it. Bag up one serving sizes of nuts. While raw nuts are better, roasted ones will also provide nutrients. Don’t worry about serving size when it comes to fresh vegetables. It’s hard to eat too many calories when you’re consuming raw vegetables.

Snacking can boost your efforts to lose weight.

Having a healthy snack ready between meals can reduce your food intake at the meal, just like your mother told you it would. However, there are other ways it can help you lose weight. It lifts your spirits and energy levels, especially in the late afternoon. It also can boost your mental capacity, while giving you a feeling of satiety and pleasure. You won’t feel deprived when you have snacks available.

  • Fresh fruits, fresh vegetables and nuts are obvious choices, but plain Greek yogurt with fresh fruit add is another good one that fills you up and provides a lot of nutrition.
  • When you snack, make your snack count. Make sure it contains healthy fat—such as avocado, protein—like nuts, vitamins—such as vegetables and/or fiber. It should boost your nutritional intake.
  • Want a great low calorie snack that will fill you with its fiber? Try homemade microwave popcorn. A brown paper lunch bag filled with ¼ C kernels and folded can be put in the microwave for a quick snack.
  • Get fancy and combine foods for a snack. A bit of nut butter spread on an apple slice is delicious.

Quick Fixes To Boost Your Energy Without Sugar

Quick Fixes To Boost Your Energy Without Sugar

One of the reasons many people fail to shed pounds is their addiction to sugar. It comes in many forms, but one of the more obvious ones are those candy bars and snacks to give a mid-morning or mid-afternoon physical and mental boost. You can get the same results other ways and can boost your energy without sugar, but it may take some time.

You’ll crave sugar at first, not just as an energy booster.

Sugar is extremely addictive! In fact, it triggers a reaction in the brain just like heroin does. Dopamine is the cause. It’s the feel good hormone and there are dopamine receptors everywhere in the brain. When you do drugs like heroin, it triggers a waterfall of dopamine and makes you feel good. So does sugar. Although, sugar doesn’t give nearly the boost as heroin. It also raises blood sugar levels that give you a burst of energy, but what goes up must come down and it does that with a vengeance. The sugar low causes even more cravings for sugar.

Eat some bananas for a quick fix.

Bananas do have sugar, but they also have other nutrients to boost your energy level. A banana contains carbohydrates, vitamin B6 and potassium that can give you the energy boost you need. In fact, skip the energy drink before a grueling athletic endurance event and eat a banana. It’s just as effective. While processed sugar can bring on cravings, natural sugar isn’t nearly as bad. Consider a few grapes, apple slices or berries. They provide fiber to fill you up, but also sugar that is released slower, due to the fiber, so you don’t have the spike and drop in blood sugar.

Grab a cold glass of water.

Believe it or not, sometimes a glass of water will wake you up better than a mug of coffee or a candy bar. That’s because it hydrates your system and gets it running at peak performance. You need adequate water to function well, since most of your body weight is water and it’s essential for all the functions of life. If you’re even mildly dehydrated it can slow your body functions, leaving you feeling tired. The next time you’re tired, try a cold glass or bottle of water, even if you’re not thirsty. You’ll be amazed at the results.

  • A cup of coffee also can provide a boost to your energy level and make you feel more awake. It’s normally what most people think of when they need a picker upper. Green tea also can have the same effect.
  • Get moving. I’ve always recommended some type of moving around after 55 minutes of sitting. Whether it’s going up and down stairs, doing jumping jacks next to your desk or simply walking, excise and moving is a quicker picker-upper.
  • A small amount of dark chocolate can improve functioning in the brain and boost blood flow. It also has caffeine that boosts your energy level.
  • Grab a cup of unsweetened yogurt and throw in some berries for more flavor. The protein slows the absorption of the simple sugars in the yogurt, while it also provides extra nutrition to provide good health.

Fight Inflammation Naturally

Fight Inflammation Naturally

There are all types of inflammation in the body. You need inflammation to promote healing and protect the body from infection or serious injury. However, chronic low levels of inflammation can cause serious damage to the body. Even mild inflammation from exercise can be a problem that keeps you up at night, but you can fight inflammation naturally and avoid taking ibuprofen and other NSAIDs that can trigger more serious problems like ulcers and renal disease. However, some inflammation occurs inside your body, like in your arteries, but the effects don’t show immediately.

When a good thing goes bad.

There are many reasons some inflammation is good, but you can get too much of a good thing and inflammation can cause health problems, too. Chronic inflammation caused by an autoimmune disorder, bacteria, virus, poor diet or stress can affect your body in a number of ways. Chronic inflammation can cause digestive problems, including IBS and Crohn’s. It can damage joints, cause Rheumatoid Arthritis, heart disease, skin disorders, higher risk of cancer, COPD, gum disease, bone damage and even affect your mental health.

Put some spice in your life.

There are some spices that you can add to food that will help fight inflammation, while also adding extra nutrition to the dish without extra calories. Turmeric is one that’s touted for its anti-inflammatory benefits and has been sited as a potential aid to Alzheimer’s patients—which may come from the inflammatory response of the body. Ginger, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, cloves, sage and rosemary are also good at reducing inflammation for a variety of reasons. When it comes to herbs and spices, in most cases, the fresher the better.

Eat your way to less inflammation.

Some foods reduce chronic inflammation, while others exacerbate it. Fresh fruits and vegetables are normally on the beneficial list with leafy green veggies and tomatoes leading the pack on the veggie side and blueberries, cherries, strawberries and oranges ahead of the race on the fruit side. Olive oil, almonds, walnuts and fatty fish like salmon reducing inflammation. Basically, healthy foods fight inflammation.

  • Foods that make inflammation worse include fried foods, refined carbs like pastry and white bread, soft drinks—even with artificial sweeteners, red meat and processed meat, margarine, trans fats and sugar.
  • The bromelain in pineapples has been known to be a digestive aid, but it also can help with inflammation in other areas. Recent studies show it’s helpful for arthritis and injuries.
  • If you’re eating a healthy diet, you’re consuming fewer foods that cause inflammation and boosting your anti-inflammatory food intake.
  • A quick aid for muscle pain can be made from cayenne pepper and coconut oil. I’ve made a batch by grinding the insides of hot peppers and mixing it with one aspirin and coconut oil. It’s definitely messy but can be useful as a rub on painful muscles in a pinch.

Set Smart Goals And Achieve Them

Set Smart Goals And Achieve Them

Boise, ID is such a beautiful area but it doesn’t offer moderate weather year around allowing us to do more. But there are always there’s a lot of parks and outdoor activities that require fitness and often show off your body fitness, or lack of fitness. It’s easy to get caught up in a race to look better, but in order to get the best results, you need to set smart goals and achieve them. Like any other goal, fitness goals need to be realistic. If you had a goal to save money, because your checking and savings account showed a combined ten dollar balance, you wouldn’t set a goal to accumulate a million dollars in two weeks! It’s unrealistic. Neither should you set unrealistic weight loss or fitness goals.

Set fitness goals you really want, but start small.

If you’ve tried to set fitness goals before and failed, start small. Find one thing you’d like to change, like losing twenty-five pounds and create a plan to do it. Break it up to smaller goals that you can achieve quicker, so the faster results will spur you on to continue. The new goal might be to lose a pound or two a week for two weeks. Make the time frame shorter if you really have problems sticking with any healthy eating or exercise program. Then start!

Create a plan of action.

Your plan of action should be simple. Removing processed foods from your diet and eating whole foods could be a start. Increasing your exercise daily is another step to achieving your goal. Don’t try to do everything at once. Just plan on going to the gym three times a week for a more organized workout and increasing your daily activity in small ways, like walking to the store if its close or walking to lunch when at work.

Set a time frame and a way to measure your goal.

While it should be simple, it shouldn’t be vague or open-ended. Your goal should be to lose a specific number of inches if a smaller clothing size is in order or lose a specific number of pounds. There should be a time limit put on that, so you aren’t putting it off for a “some day.” A goal to lose weight should be something like, by a specific date, I’ll lose twenty pounds. I’ll do this by losing a two pounds a week for the next ten weeks. Every Monday I’ll weigh in at the gym to check my progress.

  • Make sure the goal you set is something you really want, not something you “think” you should desire because of social pressure or other people’s suggestions.
  • Put your goals on paper and look at them daily. Some people put them on the mirror with a sticky note in the bathroom to help remind them as they start their day.
  • Make your goals a priority. Too often people put other’s needs first. Your fitness goal should be a top priority because if you’re not fit and healthy, you can’t be a help to anyone else.
  • Schedule in your workout, which is part of the prioritization of your goals. One of the many reasons working out with a personal trainer is so effective is that it’s an appointment to exercise.

How To Build Muscle Naturally

How To Build Muscle Naturally

I work with people from Boise, ID who want to build muscle naturally, not with the aid of special supplements or dangerous drugs. Getting big muscles relies on using the right type of exercises, eating healthy and ensuring there’s adequate protein in your diet, which you can get from normal eating. It starts by getting stronger and using compound exercises rather than isolating specific muscle groups. The more you lift, the stronger you become and strength equals more muscle mass. Add more weight to your routine rather than adding reps.

Compound exercises are the route to go.

When you do compound exercises, you’ll work several different muscle groups at the same time. Compound exercises include squats, bench, overhead presses, deadlifts and barbell rows. The more weight you lift, the bigger your muscles grow. Go for workouts that use barbells, because they allow you to lift more weight than other forms of strength building in the gym. Don’t bother with machines, you’re better off with free weights. Always start light and make sure you have the proper form to get the best results and avoid injury.

Do strength building more than just once a week.

If you want big muscles, once a week strength building isn’t enough. You need to do it at least three times a week. Don’t forget about muscle recovery either. They need to rest a day to repair the damage, which makes them grow bigger. In fact, if you workout hard daily, you’ll actually sabotage your efforts and could end up sick. Boost your recovery efforts with rest and healthy eating.

Eat right for big muscle growth.

If you don’t have all the building materials available, you can’t build a house, no matter how much you pound a nail. The same is true for building muscle tissue. You need to eat more if you’re working hard and increase your protein intake for post workout meals. It helps repair damaged tissue and build new tissue. You need a gram of protein for every pound you weigh on the average, if you’re working intensely to build muscle tissue.

  • Adjust your expectations to reality. You won’t see the Atlas-style muscles in just a few months. It takes longer.
  • As with any type of workout, whether for weight loss or muscle building, consistency counts. Stay consistent with your workouts and healthy eating and you should get the results you want, but it will take a while.
  • Form is everything when you’re working out, especially if you’re going heavier. To avoid injury and get the maximum from your exercise program, make sure you’re form is right. A trainer can help.
  • Don’t forget other types of workouts. You can use strength training as part of your circuit training to build endurance, but you must include flexibility training or you’ll end up with injuries.