Twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:30 am, PBS airs “Happy Yoga,” a twenty-two minute exercise program featuring seated gentle movements and stretches lead by yogi Sarah Starr. The videos are shot in serene spots such as a field of sunflowers, or at a beach with waves licking the rocks in the background.
The exercises vary, but typically include shoulder rolls, seated cat-cow (arching and releasing the back), and gentle tapping with kitty paws (using your knuckles). You can make these exercises more challenging by standing, which I typically do. The movements are slow and repetitive, which makes it a relaxing and meditative time for you to unwind and de-stress.
I record these and watch them when I need to relax and move my tight muscles without having to change into exercise clothes; I highly recommend it.
Here’s two of her videos you can watch right now:
Photo: Me doing a butterfly stretch on a rock
In many circumstances, you don’t need prescription medication to manage or treat your condition; yet your doctor will tell you that you must take this medication even though there are safe alternatives that can reverse it. I asked my endocrinologist why that is.
I asked my endocrinologist: Why don’t doctors tell their patients the truth, that to lower their blood sugar, lower their cholesterol, and to reduce hypertension, they need to do cardiovascular exercise, lift weights 2-4 times a week, lose weight, reduce their portions, eat more vegetables, and stop eating fatty meats, fried foods, pasta, bread, butter, and sugar? He told me that doctors got tired of patients ignoring their healthy advice. Patients were asking for pills, instead of changing their diets because they didn’t want to change their habits, even though they were bad habits, and contributed to the sickened state they put themselves in.
So the next time your doctor tells you that you have to take a prescription, ask what the side effects are, how long you have to take the medication, and if there are any alternatives other than western medicine? Keep in mind that doctors don’t know all the side effects so read that long printout that should come with the medication. If it doesn’t come with the packaging, ask the pharmacist to print it out for you.
Some doctors don’t exercise and don’t eat healthy, so don’t expect every doctor to give you tips on how to reverse your condition without medication. Some doctors are really busy and don’t have the time to break down exactly what you need to do for your condition. Do your own research. Schedule a meeting with two different nutritionists (you’ll get a more information with two different people). Don’t just take a walk. Go to the gym and hire a trainer so you don’t get hurt and don’t waste your time. You need to make exercise and eating properly a priority; it’s for your health. Feeling awful is your body telling you that you need to make changes.
While there are conditions that cannot be reversed with a healthy lifestyle, being active and eating nutritious foods and keeping your bodyfat percentage in the fit zone, will make you feel better, possibly prevent future medical issues, and may even help in having to take less medication.
We know that certain foods won’t make you lose weight, but, certain foods, even healthy foods that have been promoted as being great for fat loss, can cause you to gain weight. Below is a list of foods that I thought were healthy, that were not just preventing me from losing excess body fat, but were causing weight gain:
- Bars. I’m not talking about candy bars. I’m referring to those “healthy” nut and fruit bars, and protein bars. These snacks or meal replacements, can range from 140-390 calories. Most of these bars contain sugar, or some type of sweetener like rice syrup, which spikes blood sugar and makes us crave sugary foods even more, causing us to eat more. Many bars also contain “natural flavors” which is a nice way of saying: chemicals that are categorized as obesogens (causing weight gain), and may disrupt your DNA.
- Nuts. People who eat nuts have been shown to weigh less, but stopping at seven almonds is just impossible for me. I was easily eating 200-300 calories in nuts; even though that’s not a lot of calories, if I burn 1600 calories a day and I’m eating 1900 calories a day, I’m going to pack on extra pounds.
- Crackers. I thought crackers were a healthy snack, but typical crackers are made with the same ingredients as cookies: sugar, salt and flour, and make us crave sweet and salty foods even more.
- Pretzels. I also thought pretzels were a healthy mid-day snack, but they too are made with the same ingredients as cookies: sugar, salt and flour. Yes, most pretzels contain sugar!
While I do eat bars once in a while, I try not to since I always end up over my calorie budget each time I do. I still eat nuts, but I limit them to the weekends (my little splurge). I’ve eliminated wheat crackers and all pretzels, and noticed fewer cravings. By moving my meal times closer to when I crave food, I’ve been able to limit snacks and reduce my daily calorie intake.
An oncologist by the name of Dr. Fata, told many of his patients that they had cancer even though they were cancer-free. Many of these patients incurred permanent injuries from unnecessary chemotherapy treatments, such as lost teeth, organ damage and some died. Sometimes he told his patients he cured them because of how it felt, even though they were never sick in the first place.
In a U.S. court of law, he admitted guilt and was convicted, and said the reason he said he did it was greed (he received payments for the chemotherapy drugs) and power. He was convicted of these crimes in court and it was discovered that over 500 of his patients received chemotherapy that didn’t have cancer.
Even though doctors take the oath to do no harm, there are some that care only about making money, and do not care about the well-being of their patients. Any time that you are given a diagnosis and are prescribed treatment or medication, make sure to get a second opinion; your life could depend on it.
Source: Rosenberg, Chuck, host. “Barbara McQuade: Greed and Power.” The Oath with Chuck Rosenberg. 11, Jun. 2019. Podcast
This video will help, not just football players, but any athlete, to weight train based on goals, to achieve maximum success in his or her sport.
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What you do prior to, and after your workout is just as important as the exercises itself, so why do people refuel with junk? People choose to exercise for a variety of reasons: to look good, lose excess fat, maintain or get fit, reduce pain, correct posture, and/or to be able to do the things they love, such as golf, or being able to play with their grandkids, so I don’t know why people think it’s okay to pig out right after a workout session.
One woman rewards her walk with a couple of chocolate bars, a man feasts on drive-through fast-food after his workout session with his trainer in the park, and, this one is the most common, join friends for lunch at a favorite restaurant with a high-fat, high-carb meal.
Your body is primed for food after exercise so you want to replenish with water, salt, carbohydrates from fruit or vegetables, a small amount of healthy fat (like avocado), and lean protein. Your body needs nutrients, not just calories.
Exercising won’t offset frequent bad eating habits. You cannot eat anything you want no matter how much, or how hard you exercise. You can have your lunch out with friends, and a decadent dessert once in a while; food shouldn’t be what makes you happy; it’s the friendships, experiences, and an able, healthy body that enables us to live life to the fullest.
Exercise is not punishment; stop thinking about it those terms. Exercise is the time for you to focus on yourself; the reward is THE WORKOUT!
Photo: You can get healthy options when you go out to eat, depending on where you go and what you order. Unfortunately, the portions at restaurants are much too large. Even the sushi plate with teriyaki chicken and the one-cup of rice above is too large of a serving for most people. Skip the rice, soup, and the fried foods when eating out.
Whenever people ask me about losing weight and about carbs, I’ve found that people are mixing a lot of information up, and getting it wrong. I’ll try to simplify it.
Carbs play an important role in health and digestion, certain carbs are good and some are just plain bad for you. Zero or extremely low-carb diets should only be taken on for a few weeks (like for a fitness show or photos), or for those with a medical condition (like epilepsy, uncontrollable diabetes, or SIBO patients) while under a doctor’s supervision since extremely low carbohydrate diets lead to malnutrition, dehydration, and digestive issues.
A low-carb diet is vague and has no exact definition, so it can mean different things to different people. What I suggest is that people follow a healthy lower-carbohydrate diet, by that, I mean, don’t eat the way a typical American eats with a plateful of pasta with meatballs; a breakfast bagel with cream cheese, lox and orange juice; or a grilled cheese sandwich. Those meals have too much unhealthy, processed carbs and not enough protein. If the carbohydrate doesn’t grow in the field, on a plant, or on a tree, it’s processed and not good for your body. Instead, go for fruit, not juice (which isn’t fresh, pasteurized [heated], with pulp [fiber] removed); and eat vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, peas, corn, and zucchini (great for making make noodles), a variety of beans, and some nuts (nuts are mostly fat, but contain carbs too). Healthy, whole-food carbohydrates are full of nutrients, fiber and protect us from disease. Eat your vegetables!
The amount of carbs you should eat per meal really depends on how many times a day you eat, if you’re overweight, underweight, if you’re male or female, how tall you are, how active you are, what medical conditions you have, and how old you are. According to the National Academy of Medicine, you don’t want to eat fewer than 135 grams of carbs on a daily basis, which is about four 1/2 cups plus ¼ cup of carbs (totaling 2 1/4 cups per day). So, if you eat four times a day, you’ll want to pair your lean protein with ½ cup of carbs, and one snack with ¼ cup of carbs (like a half of banana, an orange, or two figs).
I generally eat 135-150 grams of carbs each day, which I consider to be a lower-carbohydrate diet, and a great starting point for most females. For an active man that is 5’7 or taller, 165-200 grams of whole food carbs, should meet your nutritional needs.
When you change your diet from too few carbs, or too many processed carbs to an appropriate amount of whole-food, nutrient dense carbs, you’ll have a lot more energy, fewer digestive issues, preserve muscle, lose unnecessary fat, and feel and look much better.
Photo: Sweet potatoes are a high carbohydrate food, but are very healthy; just make sure to pair it with a lean protein, and don’t eat more than 1/2-3/4 cup per meal.
I love tacos! I could eat tacos every day! Vegan vegetable tacos, shrimp tacos, chicken fajitas tacos, steak tacos, shredded pork tacos…yummy! Here’s how I stay slim and still eat tacos every week:
- Use corn tortillas, not flour tortillas. They are smaller, have fewer calories, and great for those than cannot eat gluten or wheat.
- Grill or broil dry tortillas. Don’t fry or put oil on the tortillas, that adds extra fat and calories, and doesn’t really make the meal taste that much better.
- Skip the cheese. The salt and extra fat is unnecessary if the other ingredients are fresh.
- Go light on the guacamole. Avocados are a healthy fat, but they are a high-calorie fruit, so use just a dollop of guacamole on each taco.
- Limit yourself to 2 or 3 tacos. Portion control is essential for weight loss, and don’t stuff those tacos so much that the contents don’t stay in the taco shell.
- Choose lean proteins. The fattier the meat, the more calories you’re eating, so choose chicken breast over chicken thighs, carne asada steak over shredded pork or duck, ground turkey breast cooked in stock over ground turkey cooked in its own fat and/or oil. Or, just go for a veggie taco with beans, sautéed onions, zucchini and bell peppers.
- Go light on the sour cream. While sour cream has about 23 calories per tablespoon, a few dollops can add up to an extra 100 calories you don’t need. Drizzle on the sour cream or, use an unsweetened vegan coconut yogurt, which can be 1/4 th the calories of sour cream.
My dairy-free tacos, prepared above with sliced red bell peppers, cabbage and green onions; chopped fresh cilantro, and plenty of red and green hot sauce, is what I serve to my guests, get rave reviews, and they don’t even know the tacos are guilt-free or low calorie.