Clean Eating

Letting Excuses Rule

Letting Excuses Rule

“I work too much.”

“I’m exhausted.”

“I swear…I have no time.”

People have really mastered the art of making excuses for themselves. It’s more common than you think to trick your mind and body into premeditated defeat by letting excuses rule over your mind.

Maybe it’s the comfort of being in a routine (or lack thereof ) or the fear of change.
There can be excuses of all sorts, and when your excuses set the pace and take control of your life, you are setting yourself up to fail.

You alone have the power to decide and create what you want out of life. You make time for what you prioritize and make excuses for what you don’t.

Find your motivation
What is important to you? Why are you pursuing a healthier lifestyle? Considering you are reading this blog post, health and fitness is a part of your life, or you have goals to work toward a healthier version of YOU. Everyone has their reasons of what motivates them. It could be to manage stress, to get toned or to feel better all around. Either way, you need to focus on what motivates you and make this a priority. Light the fire, and don’t let your excuses blow it out!

Pencil In Your Priorities
Would you ever think about just not showing up to a meeting at work? You are expected to be there and have made it a priority. When you change your thinking to make health just as important as a work meeting, you will find the time to fit it into your life. Make a commitment and make sure you have it penciled in. By taking a look at what you have planned for the week, both for work and your personal life, you can make sure you don’t skip a beat. Stay proactive. If you know you will be in meetings late followed by a work dinner, make sure you get your workout in before you head into work for the day.

Little Lifestyle Changes Go a Long Way
If you are finding yourself rambling excuses all the time, maybe its time to reflect on your daily habits in order for YOU to begin to rule over your excuses, instead of the other way around. I hear this one all the time: “I worked all day and came home and was too exhausted to workout.” Well, it sounds like you need to make a lifestyle change. It really is THAT simple. Making small lifestyle changes can end up having a large impact on your life. Maybe it’s waking up one hour earlier in order to fit in a morning workout or turning off all electronics by 8:30 so you can start to unwind and try to be in bed earlier. Maybe instead of hitting the snooze button ten times you can get up on the first alarm. Don’t let your work, daily activites or exhaustion get in the way of a good workout. Look at the reasons of why you are failing now, and tweak your habits to make sure you set yourself up for success!

Just DO It!
Don’t think about it— just do it! Make it a goal to work on these small changes for 21 days straight. Get up on that first snooze alarm. Wake up an hour earlier. Reflect on your daily habits and what you can do in order to see the changes and results you want. Commit to 21 days and see how it makes you feel, both physically and emotionally.

Tips:
1. Write down your motivation for a healthier lifestyle
2. Set goal(s) for yourself
3. Look at your week ahead for any roadblocks
4. Write down your workouts and pencil them in like you would a business meeting. Set yourself up with a visual schedule
5. Take a look at your lifestyle habits and make little tweaks to your daily routines in order to break bad habits or create good ones
6. Stay consistent. It’s easy to fall off the bandwagon but even harder to get back on. Don’t miss more than two workout days in a row
7. Commit for 21 days with your “No Excuses” plan

Magnesium Deficiency and Epsom Salt Baths

Magnesium Deficiency and Epsom Salt Baths

Magnesium is the second most abundant element in human cells and the fourth most important positively charged ion in the body.

Magnesium plays a critical role in over 300 enzymes, reduces inflammation, improves blood flow, regulates temperature, detoxes the liver and helps to improve muscle and nerve function.

Unfortunately, many people are magnesium deficient without even knowing, and the American lifestyle lends itself to magnesium depletion so rapidly that magnesium therapy should be an ongoing process for many of us.

Some symptoms of magnesium deficiency are high blood pressure, anxiety, fatigue, sleep disturbances, insomnia, muscle cramps, irregular heartbeat, back pain, headaches, migraines, depression and hypertension.

Why are we deficient?

Due to diet, agricultural practices and stress, our magnesium levels have dropped by half in the last century.

Industrial farming has depleted magnesium from our soil with the use of pesticides that are sprayed on produce that we eat daily, and the American diet of refined and processed foods are stripped of their vitamin, mineral and fiber content. For consumers who love their sugar intake, think about this for a second. For every single molecule of sugar you consume, 50 times the amount of magnesium is depleted from your body.

Stress is a large cause of our levels dropping as well. Stress hormone production requires high levels of magnesium and stressful experiences lead to depletion of magnesium stores.

For those with a daily workout routine, you sweat out important nutrients during exercise. This is why sports drinks market themselves as an “electrolyte drink” containing magnesium, potassium and sodium. Many athletes suffer from muscle cramping, which is from losing these great nutrients during a workout. And guess what? Magnesium isn’t just a mineral, it’s an electrolyte. So you can get back your nutrients after a hard workout with a good bath soak.

Epsom Salt Baths

Epsom salt is a naturally occurring pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate. By using Epsom salt baths you can detox your body and experience amazing health benefits.

Our skin is a highly porous membrane and readily absorbs both magnesium and sulfate through the skin into the body’s blood stream. By using Epsom salts in your bathwater, it creates a process called reverse osmosis that pulls salt and harmful toxins out of your body, allowing the magnesium and sulfates to enter.

According to the Epsom Salt Industry Council, researchers list health benefits from sufficient magnesium and sulfate levels.

  • Improved heart and circulatory health, reducing irregular heartbeats, preventing hardening of the arteries, reducing blood clots and lowering blood pressure.
  • Improved ability for the body to use insulin, reducing the incidence or severity of diabetes.
  • Flushed toxins and heavy metals from the cells, easing muscle pain and helping the body to eliminate harmful substances.
  • Improved nerve function by electrolyte regulation. Also, calcium is the main conductor for electrical current in the body, and magnesium is necessary to maintain proper calcium levels in the blood.
  • Relieved stress. Excess adrenaline and stress are believed to drain magnesium, a natural stress reliever, from the body. Magnesium is necessary for the body to bind adequate amounts of serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical within the brain that creates a feeling of well being and relaxation.
  • Reduced inflammation to relieve pain and muscle cramps.
  • Improved oxygen use.
  • Improved absorption of nutrients.
  • Improved formation of joint proteins, brain tissue and mucin proteins.
  • Prevention or easing of migraine headaches.

Ready for a bath already?

I know what I’m doing this weekend! Spring is a time for detox and cleaning out, so start with your own internal system. Your body will thank you!

Add two cups of Epsom Salt and soak for 20 minutes, up to 2-3 times a week. Epsom salts are inexpensive and can be purchased at Wal Mart, Lowes and Home Depot among many places. Also, try to add magnesium rich foods into your diet such as roasted pumpkin seeds, spinach, almonds, brown rice and sunflower seeds.

Reading Labels: Rethinking Your Meat

Reading Labels: Rethinking Your Meat

What’s the deal with all these different labels anyway and do you really understand what are buying? From packaging depicting “all natural,” “grass fed” or “organic,” the labels can be misleading and confusing.

With concerns on animal welfare, pesticides , hormones and antibiotics, you SHOULD be reading the labels, educating yourself, and thinking twice about what type of fish, poultry or meat you buy.

Flashback a year ago and my trip to the supermarket would be to head straight to the meat aisle and pick out the nicest looking and cheapest piece of meat, for no rhyme or reason. I grew up eating “normal” (what I thought was normal) conventional, cheap meat and just didn’t question it. I was never educated, or even thought to look into the quality of meat that is provided in our supermarkets.

Hold up… You mean to tell me that hormones and steroids are pumped into the foods we eat?

The average person eats between 150-200 pounds of meat each year, and added hormones and antibiotics have the ability to weaken the human body as well as kill it through unnatural cell growth. The age-old saying “We are what we eat holds true.” If we are consuming protein sources with added hormones and antibiotics, these are now in OUR bodies. Here are a couple of great articles from the USA Today and Pomegrante Market  that are worth checking regarding added growth hormones to protein sources.

We as consumers should be aware of what exactly is going into our bodies and how it affects us and be READING the labels of what we buy.

Let’s take a look at some common meat label titles and look into them a little bit.

100% Organic- The National Organic Program of the United State Department of Agriculture has standards that focus on four main areas: housing, feed, health management, and processing/packing. These animals must have access to the outdoors, must be fed organic feed, cannot be treated with antibiotics and must be processed in a certified organic processor.

Organic- Foods containing 95% organic ingredients.

Made with Organic Ingredients- Foods containing less that 70% organic ingredients and will not display the USDA seal.

Grass Fed- There are three leading “grass-fed” labels, certified by the Food Alliance, the American Grassfed Association or the USDA, requiring that animals eat a diet exclusively of grass/forage. The standards apply to ruminant animals only- beef, bison, goat, lamb and sheep.

  • USDA– USDA’s grass-fed marketing standard requires only that animals “must have continuous access to pasture during the growing season.” It does not necessarily mean that the animals spent their entire lives in pastures or on rangeland. The USDA also does not address antibiotics or hormones.
  • Food Alliance– This sustainable agriculture certification program supports “healthy and humane animal treatment with no added growth promotants or subtherapeutic antibiotics; soil and water conservation; integrated pest, disease, and weed management; pesticide risk reduction; wildlife habitat and biodiversity conservation; and safe and fair working conditions.”
  • American Grassfed Association– This grassfed certification standards are a diet fed only of grass and forage from weaning until harvest, animals are raised on pasture without confinement to feedlots and never administered hormones or antibiotics.

Natural- This is probably the most misleading label of them all. The USDA defines natural meat as being minimally processed with no added preservatives or coloring. Natural labels do not touch upon animal welfare or the diet it is fed. Animals can still be given antibiotics or growth hormones and still be labeled as “natural.”

As if it wasn’t confusing enough, it’s also good to note that grass- fed is almost always organic, but organic is not necessarily grass-fed. Organic meat means the cows were fed organic grain, which they shouldn’t be eating to begin with anyway, as corn and grain upset a cow’s stomach, creating a natural acidity in their gut. It makes the cow sick allowing parasites and disease to flourish. Antibiotics now come in to play, which is administered to the cows to keep them from getting sick.

Personally, I generally always look for grass fed, hormone free and antibiotic meat when making my purchases. Did you know Whole Foods only carries hormone and antibiotic free meats? I now make all my shopping stops there. Sure, it may be more expensive than you regular “conventional” meats, but to me, knowing what is going into my body is worth it.