The Miracle Drink We Are Ignoring!

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Around 80% of Americans don’t drink enough water and don’t realize the damage they are causing to their bodies!
Tips on how to meet your daily water requirements(approximately 64 ounces):
•Drink 16 ounces of water upon waking up before eating or drinking ANYTHING else!
•Drink 16 ounces of water with each meal- breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 
•EASY AS THAT- you can do it, make it a habit!


Top 4 reasons weight training is for EVERYONE!

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1. Increased muscle & bone density!
Weight training is one of the most effective ways to build muscles mass and increase bone density. These effects become very important as one gets older since we are prone to a natural decline by the time we reach the age of 40.

2. Healthy heart!
A recent study from Iowa State University made a strong case for spending less than an hour on weightlifting each week. Though it does not seem like much, the routine could reduce the risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke by 40 to 70 percent, researchers stated.

3. Burn calories!
Technically, a cardio session does burn more calories than a weightlifting session. But the latter helps build muscle which means you get to burn calories even while at rest. Following a high-intensity lifting session, this is known as the afterburner effect. Did you know that for every pound of muscle you gain, you burn an extra 50 calories per day?!

4. Mental well-being!
While the mental health benefits of aerobic exercise are well-known, the literature shows lifting weights can also lift your spirits. According to a meta-analysis published in 2017, weightlifting is linked to a significant reduction in anxiety.

Read full article here.

Is Fruit Good or Bad for Your Health?

These days it is common for people to be confused about the effects of sugar in fruit! There is a lot of science-based evidence that show eating sugar in excessive amounts is harmful. This includes table sugar (sucrose) and high-fructose corn syrup, both of which are about half glucose, half fructose. One reason that excessive added sugar intake is harmful is the negative metabolic effects of fructose when consumed in large amounts. Many people now believe that because added sugars are bad, the same must apply to fruits, which also contain fructose. However, this is a misconception. Fructose is only harmful in large amounts, and it’s difficult to get excessive amounts of fructose from fruit.

Eating whole fruit, it is almost impossible to consume enough fructose to cause harm. Fruits are loaded with fiber, water and have significant chewing resistance. For this reason, most fruits (like apples) take a while to eat and digest, meaning that the fructose hits the liver slowly. Plus, fruit is incredibly filling. Most people will feel satisfied after eating one large apple, which contains 23 grams of sugar, 13 of which are fructose. Compare that to a 16 ounce bottle of Coke, which contains 52 grams of sugar, 30 of which are fructose and no nutritional value. A single apple would make you feel quite full and less inclined to eat more food. Conversely, a bottle of soda has remarkably poor satiety and people don’t compensate for the sugar by eating less food. When fructose hits your liver fast and in large amounts as in the case when you drink soda, it can have adverse health effects over time. However, when it hits your lives slowly and in small amounts, as in the case when you eat an apple, your body is well adapted to easily metabolize the fructose. While eating large amounts of sugar is harmful to most people, the same does not apply to fruit.

Read full article here.

Self-Care Improves Your Fitness Routine

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Physical activity is undoubtedly one of the most important pillars in one’s health routine, but not if it becomes an obsession. Along with experiencing general burnout, individuals who overdo it are at risk for acquiring an eating disorder.

Part of the problem is that Americans feel guilty about relaxing and implementing self-care as a stigma that the busier you are, the more accepted you’ll be in society. But not incorporating downtime into your life has serious implications such as hormonal changes that lead to depression and weight gain and heart issues due to perpetual stress and inactivity. Not to mention, it can be difficult — if not impossible — to maintain a fitness routine for the long-term if you’re burning the candle at both ends.

It’s time to stop feeling remorseful about taking time for yourself, as living a balanced lifestyle can help you excel in everything you do. Here’s how to get started.

Take Up A Relaxing Hobby

Not only do hobbies give you a sense of pride and joy, ignite creativity, and open your mind to new possibilities, but also many of them actually help to calm the mind. For example, whether you’re listening to the radio or playing an instrument, studies have shown that music reduces anxiety, improves cognitive health and promotes feelings of power. The repetitive tasks associated with gardening — along with being outside in the sunshine and fresh air — calm the mind and boost one’s mood. Painting is a creative stress-reliever that helps expel anger and negativity. Though more common, reading and writing are two great outlets for reducing stress and exploring thoughts and feelings.

Get Quality Sleep

Approximately 70 percent of Americans aren’t getting enough sleep, a scary statistic consider rest is linked to cognitive and physical performance, weight management, and an increase in health conditions such as osteoporosis and cancer. Not to mention, sleep is a key element to any fitness routine, though many individuals tend to disregard this fact.

While it can be difficult to turn off your mind at the end of the day, turning your bedroom into a relaxing sanctuary can make it easier to drift off into dreamland. Start by clearing all the clutter and keeping items on your nightstand and dresser, etc., to a minimum. Invest in quality pillows and always make sure you’ve got clean sheets and blankets. Blackout shades and a noise machine (think crashing waves) can help deter outside sounds and light, both artificial and natural.

Find Time To Meditate

Even if only for a few minutes each day, checking in with yourself by meditating can help you stay centered and present. In order to make this practice effective, however, you need a quiet and distraction-free place within your home that can function as a meditation space. If it has a window that looks out onto your backyard or nature, all the better. If not, invest in window treatments that can block out a distracting view.

Lighting is a matter of preference, as some people prefer a lot of natural light while others lean towards a darker room lit with candles. Choose whichever option makes you feel the most relaxed and focused.

Don’t Rush Your Meals

If you’re frequently eating at your desk or car and dinnertime is never without the television, it’s time to be more mindful about mealtime. The concept actually has origins to Buddhism and is a form of meditation. The general rules involve eating slowly, putting your fork down between meals, and not having a meal with any distractions. Use nice dishes to make the experience feel special — and not just on holidays! Be mindful of your food choices, too, even if it takes a few extra minutes to prepare something that will fuel your body in a healthy way.

Another crucial part of self-care is learning how to set boundaries. Without them, it’s more difficult to find balance in your life. While it takes a little practice, once you learn how to tolerate the reaction of others when you say “no,” the easier it will be.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Author: Sheila Olson
fitsheila.com
info@fitsheila.com

Alfredo Spinach Artichoke Lasagna

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Ingredients:
For the Alfredo Sauce:
1 tsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 c. zucchini
1/2 c. water
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. plant-based milk
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. dry thyme
1/4 tsp. dry basil or 1 Tbsp. fresh basil leaves
3 tbsp. nutritional yeast
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. olive oil
A generous dash of black pepper
1 tbsp. flour of choice

For the Lasagna:
Pasta sauce or marinara sauce
1 c. spinach
5-6 artichoke hearts, finely chopped (if using canned, drain and rinse)
Plant-based Ricotta Cheese
Lasagna noodles
Veggies of choice (ex: mushrooms, bell peppers, asparagus, kale, tomatoes, etc.)
salt & pepper
Italian herb blend (or a mixture of basil, oregano and parsley)

Directions:
Make the Alfredo Sauce:
In a large pan, add oil and heat pan to medium heat. Add chopped garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add zucchini, water and salt and cover, cook for 10 minutes or until zucchini is tender. Cool slightly then add everything including water to a blender or food processor and blend with plant-based milk, all the spices, oil and flour. Blend to a smooth puree. Taste and adjust salt, herbs and add tang if needed.
Make the Lasagna:
Preheat oven to 400*F. Layer 3/4 - 1 c. pasta sauce in the baking pan, then layer the noodles. Add more sauce, if desired. Then layer fresh spinach and ricotta, then 3/4 - 1 c. alfredo sauce. Add another layer of noodles, then pasta sauce, then add veggies of choice. Then layer noodles, alfredo sauce, and distribute chopped artichoke hearts on top of sauce. Sprinkle plant-based ricotta and/or nutritional yeast. Add layer of noodles, add 1/3 c. water all around edges, then a heaping 1 - 1.5 cups of pasta sauce on the top. Drizzle some alfredo sauce and add additional ricotta, if desired. Sprinkle salt & pepper and italian herb blend on top. Cover with foil, punch a few small holes and bake at 400*F f for 45-50 minutes. Cool slighly, slice and enjoy!!

Veggie Spring Rolls

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Ingredients:

Rice Paper
Sushi Rice
Bell Peppers 
Avocados 
Red Cabbage 
Carrots

Directions:

Cook sushi rice according to package. With one rice paper at a time, submerge in a shallow bowl of water (a round cake pan works well) for 5 seconds. Remove rice paper from water and place on your work surface. Add rice first then each of the veggies on top.

Fold over one side of the rice paper then fold over top and bottom. Using a rolling motion, continue to seal rice paper on opposite side.

Use liquid amino, soy sauce, or teriyaki sauce for dipping, and enjoy!

Store spring rolls in the fridge, uncut, for up to 5 days.

If It's Good for Your Heart, It's Good for Your Recovery

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You might not have thought running shoes would be useful as a treatment for addiction, but scientists are now learning that what is good for your heart is good for your recovery. Exercise can have a healing effect on the brain and help improve a range of physical and mental health conditions. However, you need to take it easy in the beginning and develop other healthy habits to support your exercise program. Here is what you need to do.

How Exercise Affects the Brain

Long-term substance abuse can cause damage to the brain, which can range from minor damage of brain cells to destroying them completely. This happens mainly in regions of the brain associated with memory, emotion, and decision making, which is why people in recovery are more likely to experience impulsivity and mental health disorders. 

Researchers are now discovering that exercise can help undo this damage. Exercise increases the level of a protein in the brain called BDNF -- this protein causes the brain to build new neurons and to repair old ones. Exercise also improves the symptoms of some mental health conditions, especially stress and depression, by increasing levels of endorphins and certain neurotransmitters in the brain.

What Types of Exercise to Do

According to the research conducted on exercise and addiction so far, the best form of exercise you can do is aerobic exercise. This includes any form of exercise that gets you sweating and breathing heavily -- jogging, swimming, cycling, rowing, and circuit training are just a few examples. According to a 2017 study published in The Lancet, 150 minutes of moderate activity each week is highly beneficial for your health, so this is a good minimum to aim for. However, it’s important to build up slowly. People in recovery have often led unhealthy, inactive lives for some time, and may have weaker hearts due to past substance use. If this sounds like you, start out with 5-minute walks, and build up slowly from there.

Thinking Long Term

Increasing your activity level changes your nutritional needs slightly, because the body needs protein and other nutrients to help repair exercise’s effects on the body. If you’re not sure what and how much you should eat, check out this guide from Precision Nutrition. As your fitness improves and you start exercising at a higher intensity, you’ll also have to think about pre- and post-workout nutrition -- eating a meal with carbs and protein about 1-2 hours before and 1-2 hours after exercise is all you’ll need. Remember to stay hydrated, and take electrolyte supplements after training -- especially if you trained for a long time or in a hot environment.

Body and Mind

As you now know, the body and mind are linked, and if you train one, you train the other. That’s why it’s a good idea to supplement your training program with exercises that will improve your mental health. Meditation is a great option here -- according to a review of 47 studies published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, meditation is effective in reducing the symptoms of anxiety, depression, pain, and stress. You can find a great guide on how to meditate for beginners at the A Life of Productivity blog here. Other techniques you can try to improve your mental health include cognitive behavioral therapy exercises and progressive relaxation techniques.

When you’re in recovery, you need to use every tool at your disposal to help maintain your abstinence and rebuild your life. Exercise is a powerful tool that you can use in conjunction with your other treatments and support sessions. If you start out slowly and build up the time and intensity of your program gradually, you’ll be able to see long-term benefits from exercise. When will you start?

Photo: Pixabay

Author: Susan Treadway

How to Track Your Food Using MyFitnessPal | For Beginners

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Logging Your Food

Below is a link to a video that goes into detail on how to log your food. Logging your food is good to do on a monthly basis to make sure your macros and calories are on track and your not over-eating or under-eating and staying within your healthy ranges for macro-nutrients. 

Follow link- https://youtu.be/BrcYb94-UI8

Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

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Ingredients:
4 large bell peppers
3/4 cup dry quinoa
15 oz. can black beans
1 cup corn
1/2 red onion
2/3 cup salsa
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. chili powder

Directions:
Cook quinoa according to package directions. 
Meanwhile, halve bell peppers and remove stems, seeds and ribs.
Rinse and drain black beans, and slice onion.
In a large mixing bowl, add cooked quinoa and all other ingredients except bell peppers. Stir to combine, and adjust taste if necessary (salt, more seasonings, nutritional yeast).
Preheat oven to 350.
In a lightly sprayed 9x13" baking dish, place pepper halves, and generously stuff them with the quinoa filling. Lightly press down to compact and fill all the crevices.
Cover with tin foil and bake for 35-40 minutes. Remove foil, and bake 10 minutes more.
Serve with any desired toppings.
 

Plant Based Double Layer Loaded Nachos

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1 Bag of corn tortilla chips

Nacho Cheese:
2 cups diced potatoes
1 cup diced carrots
1/4 cup diced onion
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2-1 cup of water from the pot
1/3 cup plant based milk
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
Salt to taste
*Boil potatoes, carrots, and onions until soft then add them along with the rest of the cheese ingredients to a blender until smooth.

Salsa:
1 can diced tomatoes
1 minced garlic clove
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 tsp chili flakes
1/8 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp lemon juice
*Mix all ingredients in a bowl

Tofu Crumble:
250g (or half a block) of firm tofu
1/2 packet of taco seasoning
*Marinate and bake at 450 degrees until crisp

Guacomole:
1 avocado
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp of sea salt
*Mix in a bowl until smooth *Assemble nachos and top with rinsed and cooked black beans and lime juice!