“Building your body is a great idea; slouching isn’t. You don’t need to look like a marine but a straight spine radiates confidence and actually makes you feel better.” Mark McManus
I am bent over and racked with pain. My days are filled with grief. (Ps. 38:6; NLT)
What did you do when you read the title of today’s post? No doubt many of you sat up straighter in your chair or held your head up higher. Since I’ve always been tall, I had the tendency earlier in life to “slouch” in an attempt to decrease my tallness, especially in the teen years. Slouching, like many things can become a habit. Not only is it unattractive; it can also be detrimental to one’s health. I continue to work on improving my posture so a recent article caught my attention.
Health.com had a post that gave some ways to have great posture as we age. The article began with “Good posture will do more to keep you looking youthful as the years go by than a facelift or Botox. And the benefits of maintaining your bone health are much more than skin deep.” That’s quite powerful!
I’ve highlighted some of the best tips. You’ll be familiar with most but perhaps like me you’ve not heard of all of them.
- An Easy Exercise
Each morning and evening, lie down on the floor and make slow “snow angels” with your arms for two or three minutes. For an extra challenge, roll up a towel and put it on the floor underneath your spine. Do these stretches slowly and stop if you feel anything worse than mild discomfort or pain.
- Sit Tall
When you work at a desk, “sitting up with good, tall posture and your shoulders dropped is a good habit to get into,” says Dr. Rebecca Seguin, an exercise physiologist and nutritionist in Seattle. She also says to be certain that your workstation is set up to promote proper posture.
- Lift Weights
Vertebral compression fractures that subtract from our height and can lead to the “dowager’s hump” in the upper back, are due to the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis. Both men and women can prevent these changes with weight-bearing exercises like walking, stair climbing and weight lifting. People who walk regularly through their whole lives tend to have better bone density than sedentary people.
- Strengthen Your Core
Various exercises such as Pilates and working on a fitness ball help to build up the strength of your core — the muscles in your abdomen and pelvic area. These muscles form the foundation of good posture, and a strong core can have many other benefits, from improving your athletic performance to preventing urinary incontinence.
- Support Your Spine
After menopause, women may experience weaker muscles around the spine than aging men do. Exercises targeting the back extensors, neck flexors, pelvic muscles and side muscles are crucial. Trainers at gyms can help. Endurance in the spine and trunk muscle groups is important, too, according to this author. “That’s what allows us to stand up for long periods of time without our back hurting us,” he says.
So, if you see me slouching, feel free to call me on it!
Father, thank You for strong, healthy bones and muscles. May we do all that we can to stay strong and well.
Link of the Day
10 Easy Ways To Improve Your Posture
Photo by follefille
“The holidays are a time of calorie-laden food, rich and fattening desserts, and simply too much alcohol. By the end of the holidays, you’re tired, you’re munching on leftovers, and your exhausted body is hanging on to every calorie you consume.” Lisa Belle
Sodom’s sins were pride, laziness, and gluttony, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door. (Ez. 16:49; NLT)
Sinus infection, stuffy head, runny nose, chills, congestion, cough, congestion, sore throat, congestion…I’ve lost count of the number of folks I’ve come in contact with in the past several days with those complaints. Close friends as well as acquaintances have been sick. Is there a common denominator in most of the situations? I believe so.
The holidays are behind us and people are declaring that they’re going to “get healthy and lose weight!” The gym was busy this morning with new faces and sluggish bodies working up a sweat. Are you wanting to off-load some of the over-indulgence from the holidays and wondering how best to do that? Here are a few practical steps for “Holiday Detox.”
- Push Hard on the Water
One of the best ways to flush toxins from the body is by drinking half of your body weight in ounces of purified water per day. If you weigh in at around 190 pounds, then your body needs 3 quarts (that’s 4, 24 ounce glasses) of water per day to adequately begin to detoxify. If you weigh around 130 pounds, your body needs 2 quarts of water per day.
- Soak in the Tub
Pour 4 cups of Epsom Salt and 2 cups of baking soda into the bathtub and fill it up with very warm water. A few drops of lavender essential oil can also be added. Soak in the tub for about 20 minutes. This helps to decrease inflammation and reduce muscle aches. It also helps the body to release toxins. You’ll feel relaxed and ready for bed once you do this.
- Fire Up the Juicer
If you have a juicer in the house and its primary function is a towel rack, then dust it off and get it going. Fresh vegetable juices are extremely beneficial in aiding the body in detoxification. Juice green vegetables such as spinach, romaine lettuce, and kale. Add cucumber, celery, parsley, a few carrots and a small beet for a nourishing and refreshing cellular clean-out.
- Down Your Supplements
This is no time to slack off on taking your vitamins. You need them now more than ever. At the bare minimum, make sure you’re taking a high-quality, food-matrix, multi-vitamin, a high quality, molecularly distilled omega 3, a plant-based anti-oxidant, a comprehensive probiotic, a high quality vitamin D, and extra vitamin C in a mixed ascorbate form. Don’t buy them from a drug store, discount store, or grocery store. Contact me at Sharon@TheCoachingPair.com for specific brands and recommendations.
- Cut Out the Whites, Sugars, and Grains
When I asked a couple of “sick” friends if they’ve been eating holiday sweets, cookies, consuming lots of sugar, and grains, the answer was always affirmative. Sugar and grains (any product made from flour) wreaks havoc on the immune system. When overindulgence is employed the immune system is compromised. A compromised immune system equals “sick.” Avoid all grains, flour products and sugar. Use stevia as a sweetener.
The best foods to consume are freshly made vegetable juices, lots of fresh, raw salads made with organic spring mix and organic spinach and other fresh vegetables such as cucumbers, carrots, peppers, and onions, and small amounts of healthy protein such as organic eggs, poultry, venison, buffalo, and beef. Other vegetables such as green beans, broccoli and sweet potatoes are encouraged as well. Raw nuts such as almonds, pecans, and walnuts and seeds such as sunflower, hemp, and flax are also healthful and recommended. A piece or two of fresh, raw fruit such as an organic apple, orange, or grapefruit can also be eaten each day.
Don’t look at what you can’t eat but look at all of the wonderful healthful foods that you can enjoy. Employ these simple disciplines and enjoy the benefits of ushering your body back to health.
Father, we thank You that You have given us the ability to make right choices for our health and our lives.
“Like religion, politics, and family planning, cereal is not a topic to be brought up in public. It’s too controversial.” Erma Bombeck
Fill your bags with the best products of the land. Take them to the man as gifts–balm, honey, spices, myrrh, pistachio nuts, and almonds. (Gen. 43:11; NLT)
Many people nowadays are choosing to go gluten and even grain-free. That means you don’t have cold or HOT cereal for breakfast. On these frequent, cold mornings, hot cereal sounds so yummy and warms the soul. It was on one of those rather frigid mornings (and my determination to have something hot other than eggs) that I came up with this recipe. I’ve tweaked it a bit and you can too but we’re enjoying it.
Hot Almond Cereal
- ½ cup raw almonds
- 5 to 7 pitted dates (depending on size)
- 1 ½ cup (purified) hot water
- 4 organic eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons arrowroot
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1 tablespoon organic butter
Put dates and almonds in blender container. Cover with water. Allow to soak for 10 to 15 minutes to soften nuts and dates. Blend mixture together slightly to break up nuts and dates.
Add eggs (they are optional but they make the cereal higher in protein and much richer and more filling), vanilla, arrowroot, cinnamon and salt. Blend together until thick and nuts and dates are chopped into small pieces like the size of grits.
Pour into saucepan and cook over medium to low heat, stirring continually for about 7 to 10 minutes until cereal cooks and becomes thick. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Serve as is or with coconut milk and added stevia. However, the dates really do make it sweet.
Father, we are so grateful the creativity that You have given to our readers. Bless them this day with health and prosperity!
Link of the Day
What Is Grain Free?
Photo by Sharon
“This type of pesticide is used to soak crop seeds, allowing the toxic agent to permeate the whole plant. It`s capable of killing all insects.” Naturalnews.com
And he found that a swarm of bees had made some honey in the carcass. (Judges 14:8b; NLT)
I’m sure that most, if not all, of our readers are aware of the precarious situation with our honeybee population. Recent articles have shed new light on what could be at the root of this “not so sweet” problem.
Alice Wessendorf of Healthiertalk.com writes, “Honeybees are a vital part of our ecosystem. They’re responsible for a large part of the pollination of our crops. In fact, nearly 100 food crops in North America alone depend on the bees for their pollination. Without a healthy honeybee population, our farming economy and, indeed, our very food supply is in grave danger.
“Over the years, there’s been a lot of speculation about the causes of CCD (colony collapse disorder) ranging from a virus that interferes with the bee’s abilities to navigate to cell phones causing bees to literally become lost on their way back home to the hive. Most researchers agree that it’s a complex problem and that most likely there’s no single cause.”
However a recently leaked memo sheds interesting light on a rather shady story that involves the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the giant agrichemical company Bayer.
“According to a recent story on Grist.org, the memo reveals that, in 2003, despite the serious warnings from its own scientists about the possible threat to the bee population, the EPA reversed a decision to not allow Bayer to move forward with selling its pesticide known as clothianidin, a decision that Bayer is no doubt incredibly grateful for, since it racked up about $262 million dollars in clothianidin sales in 2009 alone.
“Under the ‘conditional registration,’ Bayer was allowed to provide suppliers with seeds that are pretreated with the pesticide, which is admittedly, toxic to common crop pests but unfortunately, it turns out, is very likely to be to honeybees as well.”
Ms Wessendorf goes on to say that, “the study Bayer submitted to the EPA to prove that its product is not toxic to honeybees and to have the ‘conditional’ registration dropped is so full of holes that you could drive a truck right through it. Yet, quietly, in April of this year, the EPA still granted full registration to clothianidin to be used as seed treatment for corn and canola.”
She ends the article by telling us that “the leaked EPA memo, dated Nov. 2, 2010, and written by two of EPA’s own scientists, clearly states a concern about the risks that clothianidin poses to honeybees, directly refuting the study that the EPA accepted as evidence to give a green light to full registration for the pesticide.
“Other countries, including Germany, France, Italy, and Slovenia, have already recognized the threat that clothianidin poses to honeybees and our entire ecosystem and have banned this dangerous pesticide. The EPA needs to stop ignoring its OWN scientists and do the same.”
Father, we thank You for the environment that you have blessed us with. May we each do our part in preserving and taking care of what you have so graciously given to us.
Link of the Day
Deception causes honey bees to disappear and threatens crops
Photo by wolfpix
“Some of these foods are marketed to you as “health foods” but are actually silently making you gain extra stomach fat!” Mike Geary
He will give you lush pastureland for your cattle to graze in, and you yourselves will have plenty to eat. (Deut. 11:15; NLT)
The gist of this week’s posts comes from the now famous Mike Geary. I recently read his article, “5 Foods that Kill Fat (and 2 to STOP eating).” I’ll begin today’s post with the 2 to STOP eating.
The first food he warns about is “whole grains.” These include whole grain breads, pasta, muffins, and more. Most people know that refined grains such as white flour products are bad, however many people also believe that whole grain foods are good for us and can help to lose fat. He says this could be a big mistake holding you back from a lean body and flat stomach.
On a personal note, Jerry and I spent MANY years eating whole grains. As vegetarians for a number of years, whole grains were a mainstay in our diet. At various times throughout the years we would avoid grains all together for short periods of time but would eventually always add them back into our diet. Since doing our AIEP plan this past summer, we’ve avoided eating grains consistently with a rare to occasional exception.
One thing (among many) that we’ve noticed is that we both have a flatter stomach than we can remember having in a long time. It’s nice to know that my clothes are going to fit when I put them on and not have to wonder if they’ll be too tight around the waist or middle.
Mike’s second “STOP eating” food is SOY. Quoting Mike, “Another so-called “health food” that you have been deceived about is soy…. Some of the biggest offenders in the soy industry are soymilk, tofu, and soy protein products. Remember that soy is a BIG multi-billion dollar industry and their goal is to use clever marketing to fool you into thinking that these highly processed soy products are actually healthy for you, so you buy more of them thinking you’re doing the body good.”
Ouch…he hits it hard! He goes on at great length detailing the dangers of eating processed soy products. I’ve written several posts myself on why not to eat soy products. However, just like the whole grains, we were also “heavy users.” I was known as the “Tofu Queen.” I could use tofu in salads, lasagna, and cheesecake and make it taste good! Mike says, “Want more belly fat….just go ahead and drink more soymilk and eat more tofu!”
We’ll look at the 5 Foods that Kill Fat in the next post.
Father, thank You for the many people who do share truth about healthy eating.
Link of the Day
Are Soybean-Based Foods Good For You?
Photo by Photography_Gal
“It’s such a shame that so many clueless fitness pros out there have such little nutritional knowledge that they keep preaching that you should only eat egg whites and not egg yolks. Well, they couldn’t be more wrong!!” Mike Geary
And how tasteless is the uncooked white of an egg! (Job 6:6; NLT)
Earlier this week I wrote about two foods that Mike Geary warns about eating. The other part of his article tells about the five foods that kill belly fat. Perhaps they are of little surprise to you but it may serve as a reminder to some. He actually calls them “5 Surprising Foods That KILL Body Fat!” Today, I’ll reveal two of the three.
Number 1 is whole eggs. I was gratified when I read his above quote about eating whole eggs. I am continually perplexed when I read nutrition articles and recipes that call for using 1 whole egg and 2 or 3 whites or when people tell me they ate an egg white omelet, thinking they’re doing something healthy. That is totally baffling to me. Eat the WHOLE egg.
Eggs are one of the highest quality sources of protein, with the healthiest part being the yolk. Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (such as lutein) are found in the yolk. On average, Jerry and I use a dozen eggs each week…from local, healthy, free roaming chickens.
Number 2 on Geary’s list is “Grass-fed beef or bison (NOT your typical grocery store beef!) — I know most people think that red meat is unhealthy for you, but that’s because they don’t understand how the health of the animal affects how healthy the meat is for your consumption. Keep this in mind — ‘an unhealthy animal provides unhealthy meat, but a healthy animal provides healthy meat.’”
And I might close the loop by adding that healthy meat makes healthy humans. Red meat has received such a bad rap…and most of the red meat available today deserves it. But, let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Just to reiterate, Jerry and I ate no red meat for many years and I confess that it wasn’t the best for either of us. We now enjoy grass-fed beef from happy cows in “Happy Valley”, PA.
Stay tuned for the revealing of the other three “belly fat killing” foods later this week!
Father, we are so grateful for the wonderful foods that You have provided for us that bring health and nourishment to our bodies.
Link of the Day
The TRUTH About Egg Yolks
Photo by MinivanNinja
“Also, since avocados are an extremely satiating food, eating them helps to reduce your appetite in the hours after your meal. Say goodbye to junk food cravings and bring on that lean body!” Mike Geary
Then the LORD said to me, “Look, Jeremiah! What do you see? “And I replied, “I see a branch from an almond tree.” (Jer.1:11; NLT)
Today we’ll look at the remaining three foods that help to “kill belly fat.”
Number 3 is avocados. “Even though these are typically thought of as a ‘fatty food,’ it’s all healthy fats! Not only is this fruit (yep, avocados are technically a fruit) super-high in healthy monounsaturated fat, but also chock full of vitamins, minerals, micro-nutrients, and antioxidants. They’re also a great source of fiber!”
Avocados are one of the few foods that I don’t always buy “organically grown.” They have a thick skin and are typically low in pesticide residues. We eat them several times a week…mainly in salads. I also make a “yummy” raw chocolate mousse using avocados.
Number 4 is nuts: walnuts, almonds, pecans, macadamia, etc. “Yes, this is yet another ‘fatty food’ that can actually help you burn fat! Although nuts are generally between 75-90% fat in terms of a ratio of fat calories to total calories, this is another type of food that is all healthy fats, along with high levels of nutrition such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Nuts are also a good source of fiber and protein, which of course, you know helps to control blood sugar and can aid fat loss.”
Nuts are a mainstay here at the Graham house…maybe it should be called the Nut House! We typically eat almonds, walnuts, and pecans with cashews and hazelnuts on an occasional basis. See my DG for how prepare nuts for proper digestion.
Finally, number 5 is berries. Berries include blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and even the “exotic” Goji berry. “Berries are a powerhouse of nutrition…packed with vitamins and minerals, and also some of the best sources of antioxidants of any food in existence. Berries also pack a healthy dose of fiber, which slows your carbohydrate absorption and digestion rate, and controls your blood sugar levels to help prevent insulin spikes (which can stimulate fat gain).”
We do try and eat foods that are in season, so we slow down on our berry eating in the winter months. However, I do use frozen, organic berries in smoothies.
So, how are you doing with eating the foods that kill belly fat? What one thing could you do starting today to make improvements?
Father, how wonderfully creative You are in giving us brilliantly colored, nutrient rich, and mouth-watering foods to enjoy!
Link of the Day
The Truth About Dietary Fats and Saturated Fats
Photo by samantha celera
“There is evidence that the effect of a single MSG meal can last years. And more children, especially adolescents are consuming massive amounts of these excitotoxin-laced foods. Dr. Russell Blaylock”
But instead, they give me poison for food… (Ps.69:21a; NLT)
Even though most of us have heard that MSG isn’t good for us, many people continue to ingest this deadly substance countless times each and every day. MSG or monosodium glutamate is a flavor enhancer that’s known widely to be used in Chinese food. However, it’s also added to thousands of foods people regularly eat, especially if eating processed foods or eating out in restaurants.
MSG is one of the worst food additives on the market and it’s used in canned soups, crackers, meats, salad dressings, frozen dinners, and even in baby food and infant formula! Several years ago, I went searching for a canned soup at the local grocery store that didn’t contain MSG. At that time, I could find NONE!
So, just why is MSG so bad and what is it doing to us? One of the best overviews of the dangers of MSG comes from Dr. Russell Blaylock’s book, Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills. Dr. Blaylock explains that “MSG is an excitotoxin, which means it overexcites your cells to the point of damage or death, causing brain damage to varying degrees — and potentially even triggering or worsening learning disabilities, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and more.” (Think of a brain cell quivering frantically and relentlessly, unable to send correct messages, rather than a natural, slow, methodical rhythm with purpose and design.)
Dr. Blaylock has written extensively on how MSG is destroying the brains of all who ingest this deadly substance. Since food manufacturers have “woken up” to the fact that consumers don’t want to knowingly consume MSG, they’ve tried to outsmart the “ignorant” public by changing the name of the substance.
There is common agreement that if you see these names on a food label, you’ll be ingesting MSG: autolyzed yeast, calcium caseinate, gelatin, glutamic acid, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, monopotassium glutamate, sodium caseinate, textured protein, yeast extract, and yeast food. Other food additives that frequently contain MSG are malt, bouillon, broth, stock, and natural flavoring.
The main way to avoid eating this poison is to buy and prepare fresh foods yourself. As with healthy eating in general, buy foods that don’t come in a box or package. Shop the outside aisles of the grocery store. You won’t find MSG in fresh broccoli, raw carrots, or an organic apple. If you’re buying poultry from a local source, chances are high that you’re not getting any added MSG. Be a wise consumer and continue to stand against this toxin that is poisoning millions every day.
Father, we thank You for Your protection on our readers. Bless them with wisdom and clarity on how to avoid the deadly poison of MSG.
Links of the Day
MSG – Slowly Poisoning America
Dangers of MSG – A short video presentation
Photo by .angels.
“I can’t die. It would ruin my image.” Jack LaLanne
…the very picture of good health (Job 21:24; NLT)
I can still remember being down on the kitchen floor moaning and groaning to the exercises. Mom and I were watching Jack LaLanne and following his guidance for doing sit-ups, crunches, and leg lifts. Who doesn’t remember Jack LaLanne? Who followed any of his programs throughout the years? Many thought he was a silly old man but he lived a vibrant, full life well into his nineties.
Enjoy some excerpts about his life from a Reuter’s article published by Yahoo Health:
Jack LaLanne, a one-time sugar-holic who became a television fitness guru preaching exercise and healthy diet to a generation of American housewives, died on Sunday at age 96, his daughter said.
LaLanne, who became a U.S. television fixture in his close-fitting jumpsuit starting in 1959 and came to be regarded as the father of the modern fitness movement, succumbed to pneumonia following a brief illness at his home in Morro Bay, along the California’s central coast.
He was surrounded by his family and passed very peacefully and in no distress … and with the football game on Sunday, so everything was normal,” Yvonne LaLanne, 66, told Reuters.
She said her father had remained active until a few months ago, including the taping of a recent public TV special.
Well into his 90s, LaLanne exercised for two hours a day. A typical workout would be 90 minutes of weightlifting and 30 minutes of swimming, changing his routine every 30 days.
He preached the gospel of exercise, raw vegetables and clean living long after his contemporaries had traded in their bicycles for nursing home beds.
Did you catch that….a 96 year old man exercised TWO hours a day! What an amazing story. What can you personally learn from looking at this man’s life? What changes can you make to your lifestyle to live a healthier life?
BTW, Seth Godin wrote a fantastic blog post distilling some great lessons from LaLanne’s life (and death). Don’t miss today’s Link of the Day!
Father we thank you for the example of health that this man was to many. Comfort his friends and family during their time of loss.
Link of the Day
Eight Lessons from the life and work of Jack LaLanne
Photo from Boomer To You
“Even with proof positive that people exposed to fields fertilized with human excrement (biosolids) are becoming ill, and in some cases, even dying, the practice of fertilizing fields with biosolids not only continues, it’s on the increase.” Canadafreepress.com
Then I said, “O Sovereign LORD, must I be defiled by using human dung? (Ez. 4:14a; NLT)
I learned a new term recently from a friend. My friend, (Sally) suffers with severe chemical sensitivities along with her daughter (Sarah). [Not their real names.] Their bodies react violently to chemicals, pesticides, various foods, and other common, everyday substances.
They’re currently living in the Lancaster area of Pennsylvania. What do you think of when you hear “Lancaster, PA?” My thoughts immediately went to beautiful, lush farms; large, open fields; and bountiful, succulent produce.
As we continued our phone conversation, Sally mentioned that due to the “Biosolids” being used, she and her daughter would feel quite ill after being outside for any time at all. What are biosolids I asked? Even though my friend provided an answer, I was having difficulty wrapping my brain around what she was saying. From her answer along with doing further online research, the following is my distilled definition of the term.
Biosolids is the politically correct term for human sewage dumped on our fields as fertilizer. Another term for biosolids is sludge. We Americans create a lot of dung among us. Our sewage plants produce over 10 million tons of sludge (that’s human waste) per year, which creates a huge waste disposal problem. One article said, “Spreading this sludge on farm fields happens to be the cheapest disposal method available.”
Human waste contains any number of pharmaceutical cocktails such as antidepressants, seizure meds, and cholesterol lowering drugs. Other substances found in the sludge are steroids, flame-retardants, heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and arsenic, and hormones, and human pathogens. These substances seep into the soil. Plants grown in the soil absorb the toxins through their root system. Follow the path…if the toxins are in the root system, they’ll be in the produce grown in the soil.
The Canadafreepress.com article, quoted above, wrote about the death of an 11 year old boy from the spreading of biosolids. Interestingly enough, the situation occurred in a town close to where I was raised.
An 11-year-old boy from Osceola Mills, Pa., died of staphylococcal septicemia. The boy had complained of a sore throat, headaches and boils on one leg and one arm several days after riding his motorbike through sewer sludge applied to a nearby field. The boy did not respond to antibiotics and died six days after the bacteria first traveled into his bloodstream.
In other cases, residents of nearby fields spread with the sludge reported having to destroy a number of cats, dogs, and farm animals after they developed boils, following the application of sludge on nearby tracts of land.
After reading this, it became clearer to me why my friend and her daughter suffer so from being in the same area as these toxins. As the article by Dr. Joe Mercola points out (today’s Link of the Day), currently the more organically grown food we can consume, the more protection we’ll have against food grown using the sewage sludge.
Father, we thank You for Your protection for our readers. Thank You for keeping them safe and healthy.
Link of the Day
Toxic Sewage Sludge in Your Food
Photo by George Vnoucek