Why The Foam Roller is Such a Hot Seller …

September 27, 2014 by Michaela Comments Off

Foam rollers have gained tremendous popularity in Canada and the United States in recent years and with good reason. It is hands down one of the best and most cost effective pieces of fitness equipment to use both prior to and after exercising.

Runners, cyclists and gym rats and practitioners of yoga all use foam rollers before and after their workout to:

  1. a) Stretch muscles prior to exercise to help alleviate muscle injury
  2. b) Obtain maximum performance with reduced risk of injury during their workout
  3. c) Stretch muscles again that have tightened during the workout and
  4. d) Help to massage muscles during the next two days to help alleviate DOMS

With just one simple, inexpensive piece of exercise equipment, you can prevent injury, workout better and reduce after workout soreness.

“How is this done?” you ask.

Nothing could be easier.

First, purchase a foam roller. The white 6″ X 36″ foam rollers are considered the best for people starting out. The reason being, is that the white rollers are the softest and are best for beginners and people not used to foam rolling. “Why is soft best?” If you try a black (the hardest) foam roller to start, I can almost guarantee that you will never touch a foam roller again. “Why?” Because it hurts!

This is not necessarily a feel good kind of massage. You will be putting a lot of your body weight on the roller on a very small area of your body. And when your muscles are tight, that can be a painful experience. It can be the equivalent to ‘The Hulk’ taking a rolling pin to your body. Not something that I want!

So purchase a white roller and then familiarize yourself with some foam roller videos on YouTube.

Michaela Sirbu has some excellent ones at michaela sirbu foam roller and there are many others.

Start off easy with the stretches. Work gently but firmly and roll the roller over the muscle following the instructions on your favorite video. When you arrive at a spot where there is pain, stop! This is the area that needs to be worked on! Gently concentrate on that spot, leaving the roller in that area for a full 30 seconds. This causes myofascial release. A loosening of the muscle tissue. It also helps to increase blood flow, thereby, accelerating the healing process. A win/win situation!

Remember, the entire body can be worked with the foam roller. If you took my advice and purchased the 36″ long roller, you will be making a one time investment that can be used for all of your back muscles as well as all of the leg and arm muscles.

Along with these benefits, comes the joy of relaxation. Remember how you feel after someone gives you a massage? Foam rolling obtains the exact same results at a fraction of the cost. You relieve stress and tension in your body and sleep better because of that.

If there is only one piece of exercise equipment you buy this year, make it a foam roller.

Then be sure to make it part of your workout routine and you will soon discover why foam rollers are one of the hottest selling pieces of workout equipment out there.

 

Healthy Breakfast Foods: How Much Protein to Include in a Main Meal or a Snack?

August 26, 2013 by Michaela Comments Off

In my next blog, I will provide a list of Protein choices and guidelines on how much to include in a main meal or a snack.

It’s simpler to determine your required/consumed amount of Protein know when your protein comes from a piece of fish, meat, or eggs. It becomes more complicated when your proteins – for a main meal or a snack – are derived from more than one source.  In this case, you add the individual grams of protein from all sources – to a total of about 15g for females and 20g for males (more if you are a bigger person or very active) and about 5g per snack.

Since many foods, including Carbs, can contain Protein (eg. Quinoa and Goji Berries), you can use Inet sites like nutritiondata.self.com/? to determine the amount (grams) of protein in your serving.

When you include packaged items in your meals read the label specifications and add the total number of grams marked on the product nutritional label.  Start at the top of the label and note the total amount analysed for nutrition, listed as “per number of cups/ounces/grams”.  Continue down the list to Protein and read the quantity printed beside it, usually numbers of grams.

Keeping track of the quantities will give you a good idea of whether or not you are including enough Protein in your diet.  The best way to know is by observing your energy level, mental acuity and clarity, your muscle strength/tone, how long it takes after a meal before you are hungry again (more than 5 hrs is an indication that you did eat enough Protein and Good Fat) and your general level of health.

Check out my next blog for a list of Protein Rich Foods that you can print and take along on your next grocery shopping trip.

 

 

 

 

Healthy Breakfast Foods: Why Protein Is Essential

August 12, 2013 by Michaela Comments Off

PROTEIN (P) is another essential nutrient in every meal, including snacks.  During digestion, our bodies break down protein into amino acids which form muscle, make enzymes, repair and make new cells and maintain proper immune function.

In terms of weight control, an important function of Protein is that it stimulates the production of glucagon.  Glucagon is the primary hormone that maintains the blood glucose levels in the brain by causing the release of stored glucose from the liver.  If the levels of glucose in the brain are high enough, you don’t feel hungry.  If not, you will crave carbohydrates to restore its supply, especially those that are easily broken down into simple sugar molecules, such as sweets.  If you eat enough protein, you won’t want to eat excessive Carbs for optimal glucose levels, because the protein will regulate their release from the liver.  This explains why eating Balanced Meals (Protein, Carbs, Good Fat) will eventually curb your cravings for foods that are generally high in sugar.  If you prefer salty, keep in mind that underneath the salt is a slice of potato which is actually a piece of starch, or sugar.

Read my next post to learn about Protein on product labels and how much Protein you should have at each meal.

 

Healthy Breakfast Foods: Delicious Breakfast on the Run

August 6, 2013 by Michaela Comments Off

INGREDIENTS:
2 cups firmly packed finely grated carrots
2 large eggs
Juice of 1 medium orange
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1/4 cup cold pressed olive oil
½ dark raw agave
1/2 cup crushed or chopped pineapple, drained (fresh is best)
1 cup almond flour  (natural almonds can be ground in a food processor or strong blender)
1 cups quinoa flour
1/2 cup spelt flour + 1 tablespoon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup each goji berries and currants (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

ONE:    Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare your backing pan by spreading oil on the bottom and up the sides, then sprinkling about 1 tablespoon of the spelt flour on top
TWO:   In a mixing bowl, stir together the carrots, orange juice, vanilla, olive oil, agave, & pineapple until well blended
THREE:   In another bowl, beat the eggs with a mixer on high speed until frothy; gently stir the flours, baking soda, and spices. Mix in the walnuts and goji berries plus currants, if using
FOUR:   Blend in the carrot mixture, stirring gently until just mixed
FIVE:   Pour the batter into a nonstick 8-inch-square baking pan and bake for 45-60 minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven, let cool.

After it’s cooled completely, cut into bars of desired size and freeze for mornings when you are too much in a hurry to prepare breakfast. It can also be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.  Enjoy!

 

 

Healthy Breakfast Foods: 3 Top Reasons to Include Protein

July 22, 2013 by Michaela Comments Off

Health and Fitness enthusiasts may already know these top 3 benefits of including Protein in all their meals:

1.  Increase Muscle Mass … every professional body builder is on a high protein diet
2.  Improve Muscle Tone … with strength training and conditioning
3.  Burn Fat, Loose Weight … protein stabilizes sugars in your body and boosts metabolism temporarily.

How can you add Protein to your Breakfasts? It can be done, even in a hurry.
Examples:

– Blend a quick smoothie with protein powder or hemp seeds (my favourite, because they are natural and easy to digest); keep boiled eggs in your fridge for up to 1 week and have an egg for extra protein with your smoothie
– Bake a large “fritata” (omellete) with eggs, cheese, hemp seeds, cooked turkey sausage or other meat; freeze individual servings; thaw in your fridge the night before
– If you like toast in the morning, take some time to get a high-protein recipe off the internet (can be made with quinoa flour, almond meal, eggs) and bake your own; slice and freeze
– Keep smoked salmon in your fridge to assemble a tasty sandwich in a hurry with some cream cheese, thinly sliced lemon, a sprikle of dill and as much salmon as you like
– If eating left-overs from last night’s dinner sounds appealing (who says breakfast food has to be different?), bake an extra chicken breast, turkey sausage, etc. ;pair it with a small piece of cheese, some tomatoe or fruit, if you prefer.  Berries Are Best! Enjoy.

 

Healthy Breakfast Foods: Cabohydrates List

May 6, 2013 by Michaela Comments Off

More on Carbs (Your “C” Component in a Balanced Meal)

Some of you may question why you’d bother learning about High-Sugar Carbs vs. Low-Sugar Carbs, and why you’d want a Low-Sugar Diet (Balanced Meals and Snacks that contain Low-Sugar Carbs) over eating any and all fruit and veggies which are said to be so good for us.

Following are some compelling reasons to watch what type of Carbs you tend to buy and feed your mind and body:
– control your weight
– prevent Type 2 Diabetes
– prevent heart disease (did you know that heart attacks are more likely to
happen after a High-Sugar meal than a High Fat meal?)
– help prevent cancer
– diminish risk of osteoporosis
– reduce cellular inflammation which progresses into arthritis
– improve your memory
– keep your immune system healthy

To help you differentiate between Carbs that are high in sugar and those which are high in fibre , I developed a handy Carbs chart, and a visual image of piling up the Carbs (and Protein and Good Fat)  on your plate.  The visual image and steps to assemble a Balanced Meal are described at LivingMost.com – EAT WELL section. The chart can be purchased as a download for $4.95.  To read the Basic Steps on How To Use the chart, click http://www.livingmost.com/The-Relief-of-Your-Meal-Plate-.pdf-document.html.  Simple listings of the same Cabs are provided near the end of this post.

The colour chart is designed to fold and fit into your car’s glove compartment and/or you can tape it on the inside of a kitchen cabinet to easily glance at when during meal preparation or when you feel you need a snack.

You will notice that many fruit, vegetables and legumes belong to the High-Sugar category.  On the chart, these are depicted “at the bottom of the mountain”, on dark grey background.  These are the Carbs you mainly want to avoid or eat in very small amounts.

You can increase the quantities of the Carbs “in the middle of the mountain” and pile the top ones up high (“mountain high”).  Make sure to “balance” the carbs with the right amounts of Protein (P) and Good Fat (F) – for you.  How do you know how much P and F you need?  Will discuss this in future posts.

Your best options, therefore, are the high-fibre/low-sugar carbohydrates.  When you prefer to have middle, reduce the amount you would have to almost half.  Further decrease the amount when you choose High-Sugar Carbs . When you opt for a mixture, compensate with more High-Fibre.  For example , with your Easter or Thanksgiving dinner, sample the mashed potatoes (1-2 TBSP), enjoy the same amount of the squash or pumpkin, and have more broccoli, cabbage or salad than you would normally have.

A High-Fibre, Low-Sugar Carbs Diet will also enhance your digestion and elimination processes and keep you full longer while maintaining your blood sugar stable, your energy level and productivity high.

Low-sugar Carbs
      Don’t be shy; pile them up high”

       Vegetables:  asparagus, artichokes, arugula, bell peppers, bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, chard, chives, cilantro, cucumbers, endive, eggplant, fennel, greens (collard, turnip, mustard, chard), kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, leeks, mushrooms, okra, onions, parsley, radicchio, radishes, rutabaga, scallions, seaweed, snow peas, spinach, sprouts,string beans, turnip, watercress, zucchini.
      All Condiments & Spices
    Fruit:  apricots, blackberries,  kiwi, lemons, limes, peaches, plums, strawberries, raspberries
Sweeteners:  Agave Nectar (dark)
Tea: black, green, herbal
Coffee Substitutes: roma, teccino, cafix, pero

                                                        Medium-Sugar Carbs
“I’ll have only half of that, please”

     Vegetables:  acorn & butternut squash, beets, black beans, carrots, edamame (frozen soy beans), parsnips, peas, sweet potato
Fruit:  apples, banana, cherries, cranberries, grapes, grapefruit, guava, melons, nectarines, papaya, pears, pineapple, watermelon
Fresh Tomatoes & Sauce
Seeds:
pumpkin, poppy, sesame, tahini (sesame paste), sunflower
Low starch, high protein:   “Ezekiel” pasta, bread, or tortilla, “Manna from Heaven” bread

                                                    High-Sugar Carbs
                                                 “A little goes a long way”

    Vegetables:  beans, corn, potatoes, pumpkin
Fruit:  cantaloupe, dried fruit, figs, kumquats, mandarins, mango, oranges, tangerines
Legumes: chick peas, lima & pinto beans, peanuts
Grains & Seeds that are used as Grains:  amaranth*, barley, steel-cut oats, buckwheat*, kamut, millet*, quinoa*, spelt, popcorn, pretzels, wild rice*   (* glutten-free)
Breads & Pastas:
  cornbread, croissant, melba toast, noodles, pasta, pita bread, rice, rice cakes, rolls (dinner), taco, tortilla, waffles
    Snacks:  chips, bars, bagels, breakfast cereals, breadsticks, cakes, cookies, crackers, granola, grits, muffins, nachos, popcorn
Condiments:  BBQ sauce, most commercially prepared salad dressings, ketchup
Beverages:  fruit juices (all), soda & pop, sport drinks, sweetened teas
Sweeteners: brown, white & turbinado sugar, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, honey, maple syrup/sugar, nutrasweet, saccharin, sucrose, sweet’n low

Good to Remember  …

When you think of sugar, think beyond the obvious, such as table sugar in your coffee, candy, soda, or desserts.  Most prepared foods contain some forms of sugar: sucrose, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, turbinado, maple sugar, or honey.  Because of this, some people may unknowingly be eating way too much sugar daily.  It is best to read the labels carefully and avoid products with added sugar.

Thank you for reading this post!  I welcome your comments by email through LivingMost.com.

Please check our Mother’s Day Sale Coupon and consider one of our excellent products for better health.

 

Healthy Breakfast Foods: Carbohydrates, by Sugar Content

April 29, 2013 by Michaela Comments Off

More on Carbohydrates (C) in this post and next week I will include the “Carbs list” I promised, which will hopefully make your selection easier on your next trip to the grocery store or farmers’ market.  Print and bring it along, like a trustworthy friend.

The next time you walk the grocery isles contemplating various bottles, cans and packages, take a moment to scan the product labels to learn about the nutritional content of the items you are interested in.  Check your Carbs list and decide what you want to feed your mind and body.

The Carbohydrate section of the product labels show amounts of Fibre and Sugars – (notice Per Serving amount).  As a rule of thumb, buy only the products which tip the scale toward the Fibre side, not the Sugar side. The less added sugar, the better.  Even natural sweeteners like organic cane sugar can be too much.  Chemical based sweeteners I prefer to avoid altogether.  If within the list of ingredients there are words I can’t pronounce :-) I don’t bother investing my money and risking my health (I found out that I’m allergic to most preservatives and additives).   Also, I tend to leave on the shelf products that list more than 5-7 ingredients.  I made up this rule for  myself and think it’s worth following because it seems the longer the list gets, the more a product becomes “non-food”.

Compare, for example, the Sugar and Fibre content on different cans of beans, chick peas, tomatoes, your favourite cereals and anything else you habitually buy.  It may take some extra shopping time to investigate products in this way, but I believe it’s worth it, as your efforts will be well rewarded.  I hope that you will feel pleased with what you end up eating, and how you will look and feel.

Glancing at my Carbs list, you may be surprised to notice just how many fruit, vegetables and legumes belong to the High-Sugar category!  Thus it’s not enough to follow the general advice and “eat veggies and fruit” to keep our sugar intake down to prevent weight gain and disease, we need to also balance the sugar in the Carbs we eat with Protein and Good Fat.

Check your Carb, Protein and Good Fat lists whenever you cook a meal or grab a snack, or when you assemble your food plate.  Use lower quantities of High Sugar Carbs and possibly more Protein and Good Fat for balance.

How will you know how much Carb (C), Protein (P) and Good Fat (F) to eat in one meal or snack?  Stay tuned, as I will discuss this in future posts.

A Note worth remembering … leave Diet Products behind!
You will notice that Diet products contain higher amounts of Sugar than Regular products, the very thing we want to avoid.

Did you know there are 2 ingredients that make food taste good?  One is Sugar, the other is Fat.  Diet products are made tasty by removing some Fat and adding Sugar.  It is preferred to keep the Fat over Sugar, especially if the fat is Good Fat.

Thank you for reading this post!  I welcome your comments by email through LivingMost.com.

Please check our Mother’s Day Sale Coupon and consider one of our excellent health products.

 

 

Healthy Breakfast Foods: Carbohydrates

April 21, 2013 by Michaela Comments Off

Before we get into combining the right amount of Protein (P), Carbohydrates (C) and Good Fat (F), we need to know more about them – including, what, on our plate, is a Carb (C), Protein (P), Good Fat (F)?

Carbohydrates

For those of you who skip breakfast in an attempt to lose weight, research shows that you’ll actually gain weight because you’re so ravenous by mid morning or lunch time that you tend to overeat, and worse yet, you eat what your system most quickly absorbs:  simple sugars, derived from high-sugar Carbs !  If you are in the habit of taking a morning cup of coffee or tea, and maybe eat a bowl of cereal, you will know what I’m talking about.  For the next hour or two you likely feel high on energy (sugar) only to crash by mid-morning when the sugar wears off.

Is there anything wrong with eating Carbs, you may be asking?  The answer is: no, there isn’t.  In fact, carbohydrates are necessary for proper function of the brain and the rest of the body.  The general tendency, however, is to eat too many Carbs (read: overload your body with sugar, which also leads to weight gain) and not enough Protein and Good Fat to balance out the Carb intake, thus to keep your blood sugar level from a roller coaster ride and  throw off your hormonal balance.

Excess Carbs (more sugar than the body needs) can have devastating effects on your system, from creating excessive weight gain which over time can lead to Type 2 Diabetes, to deregulating your hormonal balance and thus impeding the proper function of the billions of cells in your brain, muscles, organs and bones, which either thrive or barely survive based on the food that you eat.

In terms of energy or “fuel”, a diet comprised mostly of Carbs yields the type of heat and energy derived from a fire made of straw: tall, bright and quick.  Balanced Meals produce similar heat and energy obtained from a long burning log:  slow, patient and long-lasting.

To ensure that you consume the most nutritional Carbs, Fibre-rich instead of Sugar-laden, carefully scan the Carbohydrate section of the product labels that you purchase.  Look for the amounts of Fibre and Sugars that comprise the Carbohydrates.  As a rule of thumb, buy only the products which tip the scale toward the Fibre side, not the Sugar side.

To help you differentiate between Carbs that are high in sugar and those which are high in fibre on your next trip to the grocery store, I will post a   handy list of Carbs that you can refer to when you shop and cook.

Believe it or not, many fruit, vegetables and legumes belong to the High-Sugar category.

Thank you for reading my blog and for visiting LivingMost.com! 

 

Healthy Breakfast Foods: Balanced Nutrition

April 13, 2013 by Michaela Comments Off

You are most likely familiar with the adage: “You are what you eat.”  Perhaps you’ve already tested the validity of these wise words by noticing how you feel after a meal, what your energy level is, your mental clarity, power of concentration, your ability to maintain or achieve optimal weight, and your overall feeling of well-being.  Maybe you have determined that there are times when you feel hungry again only 1-2 hours after you’ve eaten, regardless of the quantities you have consumed.  On other occasions you may feel full and satisfied 5-6 hours later.

For those of you who skip breakfast in an attempt to lose weight, research shows that you’ll actually gain weight because you’re so ravenous by mid morning or lunch time that you tend to overeat, and worse yet, you eat what your system most quickly absorbs:  simple sugars, derived from high-sugar Carbs!  If you are in the habit of taking a morning cup of coffee or tea, and maybe eat a bowl of cereal, you will know what I’m talking about.  For the next hour or two you likely feel high on energy (sugar) only to crash by mid-morning when the sugar wears off.

The difference between an energizing meal that fuels you for hours vs. a high sugar meal that doesn’t, lies not in the amount of food you eat, but rather in what the meal consists of.

The key to preparing a nutritious, sustaining meal – breakfasts included –  is to optimize the quantities of the 3 food groups on your plate: the carbohydrates, good fat, and protein, thus to create a Balanced Meal.   It is incredibly easy to overload on Carbohydrates because most foods are Carbs, thus much more difficult to ensure that your specific requirements for Protein and Good Fat are met.

Before I researched carbohydrates, good fat, and protein more in-depth, I was unaware of how much of my daily intake of food was Carbohydrates. Even my daily cup of Chai tea made with some almond or soy milk and no sugar is a Carb!  The same is true of your morning java or tea, especially if it contains sugars or other sweeteners.

How to combine the right amount of protein (P), carbohydrates (C) and good fat (F) for our personal needs, at Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner?  The answer, plus a lot more, in my next postings.  Thank you for visiting our Blog and LivingMost.com!

 

 

 

A Call For Change

March 19, 2013 by chris Comments Off

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2013 ushers in the Age of the Divine Feminine, a higher consciousness, bringing with it healing energy, “Mother” energy, and the result will be a “softer planet”. We are at the beginning of a New Way and the end of the Old System. This energetic shift will help humanity awaken to who we really are–spiritual beings on a brief earth-bound experience. This year marks the beginning of the “new human being”, as we evolve from Homo Sapien to “Homo Luminous”. Humanity is being called to change. Change will be gradual, but can be assisted by each of us doing our part. If all you see is war, inhumanity, pain, destruction, then this is your time, Lightworker – shine your light! Take Compassionate Action – starting with Yourself.

Connect with your heart–your Self-Love, i.e., the feminine side of your energy, the energy of love and compassion towards yourself. Your thoughts and emotions are energy and effect the health of your body. Change your thoughts, your emotions, your relationships with others and the entire natural world. Change your habits, your diet, time spent in nature, your attitude, your judgments. Resolve and release all the negativity that you can. Hold yourself to a higher, more compassionate, kinder, “softer” standard–starting with your relationship with yourself. You are a tri-part being – mind, body and spirit. The energy of all 3 parts must function in one harmonious vibration of beautiful, loving energy if you are to feel happy and be healthy. (My “Revitalize Your Life: A Mind-Body-Spirit Makeover” book can assist you with practical ideas if you need help.) It’s all about being self-full, not self-ish. For the more higher energy you have, the more you have to give to others.

Science is being called to change. Already, our old knowledge is being challenged by New science. We now know that our DNA is influenced by the energetic environment that it is exposed to, especially the energy of our thoughts and feelings. We also know the electro-magnetic energy of the human heart is vastly stronger than the brain, and influences not only the body but the energy field of life around us. There is an interaction and connectedness between all of life. New science is revealing more to us all the time.

Religion is being called to change. Our entire view of the Life that we are and the Life forms all around us is called to change. War will be something we used to do. Our hearts’ know there is a better way and this is what evolving a higher consciousness is all about. Whether you awaken to these changes or not, they are happening. Gradually, Earth will become a balanced planet. Nothing stands still. Mother Earth is evolving. Humanity is evolving. Be a conscious part of this evolution. Do what you can everyday to make choices from the wisdom of your mind, balanced with the wisdom of your heart (i.e. soul).