Summer Legs

It's always about this time of year when the nagging realization hits... it's going to be bathing suit weather in a few weeks... Ugh. I immediately look for my fake tanning lotion and am a firm believer that tan fat = pretty fat.

But I also work out at home and prepare myself for the inevitable... daily trips to the pool with my kids and the display of my body insecurities.

This is my leg workout that I do 5 days a week. When I first started I couldn't do a full set and that's okay! Start out doing as many of each workout that feels comfortable and write down what you do each day. Make a goal to increase the amount each week until you can complete the full, two sets.

Blood Thinners and Vitamin K Foods

One of the functions of vitamin K is clotting. In normal circumstances* we do not monitor our intake of foods high in vitamin K because our bodies can adequately utilize it. Our consumption/intake becomes very important for individuals placed on blood thinners (Coumadin/Warfarin).  
If placed on a blood thinner, it is important to eat a normal, balanced diet maintaining a consistent amount of vitamin K rich foods. All foods are acceptable but it it important to avoid drastic changes in dietary habits. It is important to be consistent with vitamin K intake rather than avoiding foods rich in vitamin K.  

For example, if you really enjoy collard greens and it is a staple of your diet do not abruptly stop just because they are rich in vitamin K. You will need to notify your health care provider and give them an estimate of how much and how often you eat them. This will allow for your medication to be adjusted to meet your daily vitamin K intake. Listed below are foods that are considered high in vitamin K. 

*free of illness that is related to blood clothing disorders

Did You Know...

The potato and tomato are so closely related, it is possible to graft a tomato top onto a potato root and grow both from the same plant.

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Aspartame: Friend or Foe?

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that is used as a sweetening agent in over 6,000 food and beverage products. It is calorie-free and commercialized widely in the "dieting" industry ("sugar-free" "calorie-free" & "diet" claims). It was approved by the FDA in 1981 and has had to reaffirm its safety 26 times since then. It is the most scrutinized artificial sweetener and the most widely consumed worldwide. Aspartame is also known as: Nutrasweet, Equal, SweetOne & Spoonful.

Aspartame is made of two amino acids, phenylalanine & aspartic acid. Once ingested, these amino acids breakdown into methanol (aka wood alcohol) before becoming formic acid & formaldehyde.
There are NUMEROUS research articles that focus on the health effects of aspartame. Some claim that it is safe while others claim it is the most poisonous food additive out there. If you are really interested in the nitty gritty then you need to search out these articles and then make your own personal, health decision.

The FDA has set the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) for aspartame at 50 mg/kg of body weight/day. The ADI for aspartame is the equivalent of a 70 kg (154 lb.) person consuming about 20 cans of aspartame-sweetened beverage or about 100 sachets of tabletop sweetener with aspartame per day...

WAIT! You are thinking that there is no way one person could possibly consume that much aspartame in a day... look at this short list of foods containing Aspartame:

Food/Beverage products that contain Aspartame: 
Breath Mints, Carbonated Soft Drinks, Cereals, Chewing Gum, Flavored Syrups for Coffee, Flavored Water Products, Frozen Ice, Frozen Ice Cream Novelties, Fruit Spreads, Gelatin, Sugar Free, Hard Candies, Ice cream Toppings, Ice Creams, No Sugar or Sugar Free, Iced Tea, Powder, Iced Tea, Ready to Drink, Instant Cocoa Mix, Jams & Jellies, Juice Blends, Juice Drinks, Maple Syrups, Meal Replacements, Mousse, No Sugar Added Pies, Non-Carbonated Diet Soft drinks, Nutritional Bars, Powdered Soft Drinks, Protein Nutritional Drinks, Pudding, Soft Candy Chews, Sugar Free Chocolate Syrup, Sugar Free Cookies, Sugar Free Ketchup, Table Top Sweeteners, Vegetable Drinks, Yogurt, Drinkable, Yogurt, Fat Free, Yogurt, Sugar Free, MULTIVITAMINS  

Now, ponder on that for a minute and then ask yourself "How much aspartame am I eating daily?" Even your multivitamins are not safe! There are over 6000+ possible ways aspartame could be sneaking its way into your diet without you knowing.

So, is Aspartame a good choice? Absolutely not. Who wants a neurotoxin to quench their thirst?! ...Apparently A LOT OF PEOPLE. 

A Little More Chemistry
Are you having trouble loosing weight? Do you buy "sugar-free" & "Carb-free" snacks? Those extra pounds that keep hanging around just might be your fault after all...

Artificial sweeteners (aspartame) are known to increase our craving for sugar and inhibit our ability to regulate hunger. So, we are trying to avoid extra calories and excess sugar by consuming an artificial sugar that in-turn makes use crave sugar and lose the ability to feel full! Great, now we are worse off than just eating the sugar. 
Artificial sweeteners are known to rapidly stimulate the release of insulin and leptin; two hormones that are intricately involved with satiety and fat storage. Insulin and leptin are also the primary hormones that regulate your metabolism.

Possible Adverse Reactions & Side Effects of Aspartame
  • abdominal pain
  • anxiety or panic attacks
  • bloating
  • edema
  • chronic cough
  • chronic fatigue
  • depression
  • diarrhea
  • excessive thirst
  • increased hunger
  • hair loss or thinning of hair
  • insomnia
  • irritability
  • dizziness or vertigo
May Worsen the Following Diseases
  • Lupus
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Epilepsy
  • Arthritis
  • Alzheimer's Disease 
*There are numerous claims as to what ailments aspartame causes, 100+ symptoms/side effects. The symptoms & diseases listed are those that are more commonly reported.
How Do I Eliminate Aspartame From My Diet 

1. Get informed. Start reading food labels and making changes in your food & drink choices  THERE ARE OTHER THINGS TO DRINK BESIDES DIET COKE!!
2. Remove all sugar-free products from your diet  
3. Detox (you are going to have a headache and major cravings... fight through it!)
4. Start eating fresher foods

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Did You Know...

Chili peppers are hot because they contain a substance called alkaloid capsaicin. The higher the capsaicin content the hotter the pepper. 
  • Capsaicin is also used in naturopathic medicine. It is believed that that this alkaloid helps to reduce cholesterol and slow clot formation.  It is also marketed as a topical cream for arthritic pain.
  • It is also the primary ingredient in pepper spray.

Did You Know...

Image Source: National Geographic
The largest item found on any menu is roasted camel which is still served at some Bedouin weddings and was offered by royalty in Morocco several hundred years ago. The camel is cleaned and then stuffed with one whole lamb, 20 chickens, 60 eggs, and 110 gallons of water, among other ingredients.

A few more facts, courtesy Today I Found Out:
  • Camel meat has been eaten for centuries. A whole roasted camel was recorded by ancient Greek writers as a dish in ancient Persia at banquets. Camel milk is rich in vitamins, minerals, and proteins with less fat and cholesterol than cow milk. Also, camel’s blood is sometimes consumed as a source of iron, vitamin D, salts and minerals.
  • One of the most popular stuffed recipes in North America is Turducken – a boneless turkey stuffed with a boneless duck that’s stuffed with a boneless chicken; the gaps in between are filled with cornbread, oyster and sausage. The dish is an American invention by the southern chef Paul Prudhommes.
  • Among the most bizarre dishes in the world is a balut which is a 15-16 day fertilized duck or chicken egg with an embryo inside that is boiled and eaten in the shell. This item is also known as ‘the treat with feet’ and commonly sold as a street food in the Philippines.
  • If you’ve ever thought “real” Chinese food was disturbing, perhaps it is because, classically, Chinese chefs had the mantra:  ‘Anything that walks, swims, crawls, or flies with its back to heaven, is edible’

Did You Know...

One of my food weaknesses... these bags never stand a chance...
The English chocolate company Cadbury made the first chocolate bar in the world in 1842. Since this time, they have grown into a global candy market and produce over 100+ products ranging from confectionery to beverages & biscuits.

Diabetes Report Card: Hgb A1C

What is A1C?

Hgb A1C or glycosylated hemoglobin, is a two to three month average of your blood glucose (sugar) level. It measures the amount of glucose that attaches to the red blood cells (RBC). Because RBC's live about three months, the A1C test shows your average blood glucose level during that time.

What should my A1C level be?

What's your number?

2,000 Calories

Just watched this video thanks to Holly Larson and had to re-post!

Flatulence & Food

Fart, toot, poot, gas or passing wind... however you choose to identify, everyone does it. Some people choose to do it privately and others choose to be open. Whatever the case, we ALL do it whether we want to or not... WE PASS GAS.

There are some fruits and vegetables that may be the cause of undesirable gas.

Eating these vegetables raw increases the likelihood of gas forming but cooking them breaks down some of the soluble fiber that is responsible for causing stomach discomfort and gas.

Soluble fiber is great and has a long list of health benefits. But the sudden introduction of this fiber into your diet may cause excessive gas to form.

You might find yourself in this situation if you decide to drastically clean-up your diet and introduce high fiber foods. If this is the case then you want to back away from some of the listed foods, increase your water intake and then slowly start adding them into your diet. Your gut needs time to adjust to the new workout you are giving it through increased fiber intake. 

Think of it in terms of beginning an exercise program. You have to start somewhere and small. Maybe you walk for the first few weeks and build up stamina. Next, you begin with a slow jog for a few more weeks and so on until you are able to run for an extended length of time. BAM! In time you are getting into shape. 

Your GI is an out of shape gut and needs time to train and prepare for the "fiber workout" it needs (and deserves). Slowly introduce high fiber foods AND water. Give your body time to adjust to the new water, poop and "workout" demands.

How Do You Drink All That Water?

One of the biggest struggles I have with my health is water... I have a really hard time drinking enough. I am prone to kidney stones and water is the key to preventing what I like to refer to as pain-worse-than-giving-birth-a-dozen-times! kidney stones = worst pain ever 

My version of a water bottle. FYI: I don't really drink the glitter.
So, as my general rule of thumb, I only drink water. I am sensitive to caffeinated beverages and they dehydrate me quick. Dehydration is very common, especially in kids. Sugary beverages seem to be the go-to choice when thirst strikes. The problem with drinking a sugary drink when your thirty is two-fold. 1. your thirst will only increase & 2. Now, you need even more water! Your body needs more fluid to help flush out all the excess sugar. 

Quick Water Facts 
  • Water is essential to the human body
  • One of the most important nutrients in the body
  • 55 to 65% of your total body weight is water    
Water & Body Function
  • Controls body temperature
  • Carries nutrients and oxygen to the cells
  • Removes waste (urination)
  • Cushions joints
  • Aids in the protection of organs and joints  
Side Effects of Inadequate Water Intake
  • Headache
  • Weakness
  • Muscle aching
  • Dry mouth
  • Dark urine
  • Dry or cracking skin   
Water Recommendations
General fluid recommendations for adults:
Men should aim for 13 cups (104 ounces) daily
Women should aim for 9 cups (72 ounces) daily
Individual need may vary if you are exposed to extreme temperatures.

For a more personalized water recommendation use this formula:
                      body weight / 2 = daily water needs in ounces
I will use myself as an example: 120 / 2  = 61 ounces or ~8 cups of water each day.
For children use the following:
child's weight x 1.5 ounces = daily fluid/water needs 

Tips for increasing water intake
  • Take a water break instead of a coffee break
  • Drink a glass of water before and after meals
  • Drink water BEFORE you feel thirsty
  • Drink water before, after and during any activity 
A good indicator that you are drinking enough water is when your urine is very clear and close to colorless.  
Now go and find your own catchy water bottle and start drinking! 

Different diseases may require more or less fluid daily (i.e. kidney, liver, colon, diabetes). For this reason, there are specialized fluid guidelines.

Source Material: Water The Beverage of Life, American Dietetic Association.