Stroke Prevention: 0 Trans Fat Food

In a recent article from New York Times we learned that a mere 2 percent increase in calories from trans fats can raise the risk of coronary heart disease by as much as 29 percent. Substituting a healthy fat like extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil for those containing trans fats could prevent 30,000 to 100,000 premature deaths a year, the American Medical Association concluded in 2013.

no trans fat

 There are several ways you can minimize trans fats in your diet. The first and simplest is: read labels! and if it doesn’t have one, like fruits and veggies, surely is best for you
Another way is using canola or olive oil in place of oils with trans fats, and decreasing the amount of processed foods in your diet.

May is (also) Vision Health Month

Even though we are at the very end of the month I thought it would be worth to be aware of May being National Vision Health Month.

vision health month

When we talk about Vision Health we are not talking about eyes only. We are referring to the health of our body’s vision system; the eyes are one part of this system. For vision, other factors are also involved. For example, the brain processes light received by the eye into images we can understand. However, problems with vision often arise from eye related health conditions which can sometimes be avoided.

Protect your vision:

Schedule regular eye examinations:

By the age of 3 every child should at least have had one eye exam. Later one, the recommendation is to do it yearly. In early ages it is important to detect any problem/s related to vision as it can interfere in their early development and school work. As we age there are other issues that may come up and they all have ways to be corrected if we know we have them and we can prevent them

Protect Against UVA & UVB Rays:

Sun damage is linked to the two most common vision health conditions in Canada: age related macular degeneration and cataracts. People can protect their eyes from harmful UVA & UVB rays by wearing sunglasses when appropriate.

Healthy Lifestyle:

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can also promote vision health. Healthy lifestyle practices include quitting smoking, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy diet.

Weekend ahead, you running? meditating? or both!?

running meditation

 

For all those out there that love to run this feels like the perfect time to do it. Perfect temperature and sunny. Running fairly long distances can play tricks on your mind. After a few miles the mind/body fight starts: “cannot keep going”, “legs hurt”, “there is a big hill coming up, better stop” and countless of other negative thoughts may come up.

There is a different strategy worth trying: Running Meditation. You can read a full article on this here.

Meditation is not sitting still, it is all about being aware. You can bring that awareness to your running. Whether you decide to listen to the stomp of your feet on the ground, your heavy breathing rhythm it is all about being aware. At the beginning it can be hard to maintain this awareness for long period of time, I would suggest start for 2-3 mins at a time, until it becomes a habit, an awareness that starts immediately after a few steps, after a negative thought

Happy exercising!

 

Rainy Days Are an Opportunity

Evidence shows that rainy and grey days have a huge impact on people mood. Depression consults escalate and, mostly women, report to eat more “junk” food and move less.

There is a basic truth we have to remember today:

YOUR MOOD IS YOUR CHOICE.

I struggled with this idea for a long time until I could find no resources, no evidence, no paper, no psychologist, no friend that would tell me it wasn’t true.

Yes, YOU decide HOW you feel

 

And for most of us, it is not easy. It takes time and practice to learn how to make that decision. We have many learnt patterns of feeling and thinking however it is possible to change them to what we want to be now.

It may even work as a mantra, that phrase that you repeat to yourself when stuck in a question during an exam, that say you repeat before entering work every day, that thought that allows you to move one step further in your morning run.

Start off your day with your own “mantra”. Start every raining grey day deciding it is going to be a good one, a happy one. It is an exercise, takes time and practice. You can start today!

A Hint of Summer and Fresh Fruit Salad

If you are like me I am sure you enjoyed these last two days of warm weather. This hint of Summer can also be a boost or motive to make good choices when coming into the house, after a long day at work or School, or after running errands in hot weather with a hot car, or after walking the dog.

A quick fix fresh fruit salad can be a great snack, and you can even prepare a little more and have it ready in the fridge for 1-2 days ahead.

Oranges, blueberries, strawberries, bananas are in season now and at good prices. It doesn’t take long to wash a bunch of them and set them all together in a container in the fridge

 

If you or your loved ones are craving for a sweet, you can chose a scoop of Vanilla Frozen Yoghurt and add fruit salad on top. For a touch of sweetness you can add 1/2 tbsp honey or maple syrup. This way you are creating a good snack for 100-150 cals depending on your choices and getting a complete afternoon snack.

 

 

End of the Week: Evaluation Time

Do you remember Monday? that was the day that you opened up a calendar and set aside one hr a day to plan how to reach a goal. YOUR goal, for this week.

Week is ending and it is time to evaluate, look back and see what happened. It is not time to judge, not time to criticize, neither to complain. Just at the present time and see if you are where you planned to be on Monday.

reflectIf you are there, good for you! Congratulate yourself and take a moment to think what helped keep you motivated and maybe start thinking of your next goal for next week. What would you do different? what area do you need help with?

If you are not there, but close, take a moment to evaluate what things went wrong, what came on your way, which ones you could control and which ones went out of hand. Are you able to complete or reach your goal next week? sure! let’s plan towards that for the upcoming Monday.

If you haven’t reach your goal, or lost focus, or completely forgot about it during the week, take a moment to think what came up that stopped you from focusing, from taking the time, what distracted you. Re think about your goal and evaluate if you want to set up the same focus for next week. Think what could have helped, what you could have done differently.

In any case, being mindful and acknowledging what happened to us, how we feel or felt is the best way to re energize and re plan for an upcoming successful week!

 

 

Monday Motivation

Monday Motivation

Most of us don’t like Mondays. For most people means returning to schedules, routines, busyness, driving, appointments while leaving behind the relaxing and un-scheduled “end of last week”. 

Because it is all about changing mindsets I thought this morning that besides dealing with all the above I would choose a focus for this week. Most importantly, a personal focus. A personal focus implies that you are going to be a little selfish for a while and decide what YOUR focus will be. Is that “detox/cleanse” you have been trying to do? is it to start an exercise routine? Is getting things around the house done? Making that/those phone call/s?

Having a focus or goal is proven to make people happier when they work towards it and when it is achieved. It helps lift spirits and keep motivation levels high.

You can do it by yourself or find a buddy to “work” with you. Friends are very likely to need a goal for the week or the motivation to get their own goals rolling.

Once you know what your goal or focus is grab a piece of paper, your phone calendar or any calendar online and allot one hr a day to plan your path to achieve that goal. One hour seems too much? well, 45 mins will have to do it. On each time slot add one word that describes what you are going to do that day, at that specific time to keep you moving towards that goal. A goal without a plan is a dream only. and This Week Monday, you plan to achieve your goal! That is the difference this week.

So get yourself thinking, it shouldn’t take long, it doesn’t have to be big, because truth is, you have many more weeks to come and many more Goals to achieve!

 

Avocado; YAY! or NAY!?

Originally from South Mexico, avocado is one of those fruits (yes, fruit!)  that is either loved or hated. Whether you like it or not it is a very healthy source of fats and nutrients.

avocado in half

 

Avocados have “good” or healthy fats, most people know that however there are a few facts not as well known as that one.

Avocados have two times more potassium than a single banana, and interestingly, is the fruit with higher protein content. On the list of benefits they contain  25 milligrams per ounce of a natural plant sterol called beta-sitosterol. Regular consumption of beta-sitosterol and other plant sterols has been seen to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Despite its creamy texture, an avocado is actually high in fiber, with approximately 6-7 grams per half fruit. Also it contains high amounts of folate which adecuate intake has also shown to protect against colon, stomach, pancreatic and cervical cancers, and is known to help develop healthy babies. Avocado also can be seen as avocado oil, very popular these days

As for the down side the amount of fat is quite high, even though most are good fats, we should limit our intake to 3-4 slices of avocado per day if we eat it frequently. Also, is a pricey fruit and ripens quite fast. Here are some ideas on how to keep your halves fresh for a day or two.

Use avocado to enhance a leafy vegetable salad or simply use as a spread in your sandwich to replace mayo and you will day to day get its benefits!

 

Start off a great healthier week (whatever that means for YOU)

So weekend is over (almost) and here you are re setting your health goals for the upcoming week. And is nothing wrong with that only thing is that is what you have done for the last three weeks….and the feeling of frustration and disappointment for not having been able to go through your intention is not something that you want to get used to.

We talked and discussed a few times about procrastinating, finding excuses, but this is a whole different matter. This is when you set up the intention, you deeply believe you can do it and then you are not following thru.

There are many ways to approach this, keep doing the same is one or changing and finally trying something new is another one.

Find a friend or colleague that you can be accountable to and go over some of your intentions (or all of them, whatever you feel more comfortable doing). Organize your agenda or write down your schedule for next day, even better next week. Write down first what your goal is: for example; if you are planning to get more exercise or get some done mark it down in your weekly schedule. Then fill up the rest of the week with other “musts do”.

 

Planner

Check in with your friend every day or every couple of days and see what happens. Write it down, what you achieve and most importantly how you feel about it. See what happens.

“One day at a time is all I do. One day at a time is good for you” John Lennon.

Want to Get healthier? Feel Better? Start Walking….Today

If you are struggling with getting more active, increasing your steps / day or just want to add more exercise to your routine Walking is an affordable and fun way to do it. Needs commitment? yes! Needs effort? yes! Nobody says it is easy, however, it can be done, it is at your doorsteps and it is free!

If the weather helps walking outside is one of the most rewarding activities. It increases your endorphin’ levels leaving you with a healthy happy feeling. Also, at the right pace, helps burn calories and is a great exercise for your heart. If the weather is not nice or rains there is always the malls to go to and you can add the reward of a latte at the end.

Benefits:

A regular (3 times a week) brisk walk helps you:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes
  • Strengthen your bones and muscles
  • Improve your mood
  • Improve your balance and coordination
 The faster, farther and more frequently you walk, the greater the benefits.

Posture:

It is important to walk with the correct posture to avoid hip pain or tension in different muscles. Here is a graphic way to see what and where we need to pay attention to:

Walking tech

Today?

Well, you need some preparation, easy though. Check you have the appropriate gear, specially comfortable running shoes.
Plan or think your route and set a realistic goal. If you have not walked or exercise for a while, a 2-3 minutes slow walk followed by a 10 minutes brisk walk could be good enough. However, if you have already some recent training you could repeat that sequence twice. After one week usually we feel comfortable with our routine so it is time to increase, a 50% increase minimum is a good idea, to double the amount if you can is great!

Make it Fun

Engage friends or neighbours in your walk. Everybody is looking for ways to become healthier and feel better. Don’t be shy and ask or send a text message or a short email. You can be surprised with the answers. You can also get new ideas of routes or places where to go.
Most people have smart phones these days. They come with a pedometer or a form of counting your steps. Make it more fun counting your daily steps and sharing with your friends. Ideally you need to aim to 10,000 steps per day. And the more, the better!
In the end the most important is to make that decision of going out and adding some steps to your day!