Going Green

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To maintain a steady flow of antioxidants and to help off-load oxidative stress, plants rich in ‘greenness’ and chlorophyll are a good way to go. Brighten up a breakfast smoothie by choosing a protein powder that includes ‘greens’ (I enjoy ‘Vega’ and Vega One’ products), or simply add a scoop of greens like Greens + to your favourite protein powder. Alternatively, build a totally green smoothie from scratch (Vega shares some great recipes). For lunch and dinner, include healthy greens by serving a hefty mixed greens salad with raw green seeds (pumpkin), add rapini or spinach, cilantro, arugula to a stir-fry, or invent a healthy green pesto served over a veggie pasta. Don’t overcook greens with hot meals,  (steam or stir fry lightly). Go ‘raw’ whenever possible for optimum benefits. Seaweed wafers or nori can add zip to your greens intake (choose a low salt variety seaweed cracker) and don’t overdo it. Less is more. Granny Smith apples are an excellent green fruit choice. Supplement your greens intake with high quality antioxidants as an extra bonus to healthy living. Go green and always love what you eat!

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It Takes Time…

 

hey, whatever happened to that old time virtue called ‘patience’?  It seems to be a rare, outdated commodity.  I was thinking ‘patience’ as I’ve been working on building a new fitness/healthier living regimen recently. Things seemed to be going way too slow. We happen to live in an era where life often feels ‘driven’ by a ‘need’ to get what we want now. Problem is that can add to stress levels and quickly sabotage success or progress. For example, you may not have been active for some time, and end up ‘overdoing’ at the gym, leading to injury.  Wellness note to ‘self’: worthwhile achievement — takes time.  Do yourself a favour and dump the treadmill mentality.  Ease up by being kinder to yourself. If you’re getting into a new regimen, start slow. Three days a week at the gym, and alternating with fresh air walks and cardio and resistance training is great. Up your schedule to 5 days a week as your fitness improves and it feels right. Invest in massage therapy or deep breathing routines with a Pilates or yoga class. Please don’t make fitness or wellness a competition — be in this for you, and always work healthy and happy at your own pace. Find your rhythm. Work out in a way that really works for you. (Example: I like having 15 minutes massage before cardio/stretching, and 15 minutes after. My body thanks me for it) Enjoy life and each day...one minute at a time…

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Get your zzzzz’s

Yes yes yes—- eating healthy food, regular meals and snacks, hydrating, regular exercise and fresh air, and happy outings are all great for your overall wellness, but please don’t forget that oh so important added bonus we were designed to enjoy — REST.  Our bodies need it. Busy lifestyles are the norm today for most people, however, we all require more than occasional  ‘down’ time to help us rejuvenate and be the best we can be. Rest may come in the form of relaxing exercise or enjoying creative space, but in addition to relaxing ‘outlets’, most of us also require more sleep than less, (even if we may think we operate better otherwise). While our bodies rest, our cells can heal and rejuvenate. A good solid night’s sleep can go a long way towards helping you enjoy life more and get a whole lot more out of your ‘busy’ times. Ensure you have a comfortable, breathable mattress and pillows, keep your bedroom dark enough at night to ensure undisturbed sleep, and if you need to, use white noise like a fan or soothing nature music (I love ocean waves crashing on the shore…) to help you fall asleep.  Your best deepest sleep usually comes if you hit the pillows about two hours before midnight.  Love your zzzz’s and get a good night’s sleep!

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Strrrrre—-tch!

Ahh—the joy of a simple stretch. A long ago episode of the Flintstones still makes me laugh. Fred was taking ballet lessons and an emphatic dance instructor bellowed out as he danced around on his toes, “Stretch, Mr. Flintsone! — sttrrrrretch!! Sometimes we need a ‘stretch’ reminder. Stretching is essential for overall body wellness and fluidity. It is beneficial for anyone with osteoarthritis. Before stretching, a short cardio warm up of 5-10 minutes is a good way to start out. It’s important to stretch both before and after workouts, for injury-free fitness. Whatever your activity, or if you do a lot of stairs daily as I do, make an effort not to neglect stretching. We can all take a tip from our feline friends. Cats love to stretch and ‘hold’ that stretch. Stretching and holding a stretch for up to 30 seconds helps avoid strain, overuse and unnecessary wear and tear. Tip: If you work at a desk all day, get up! Stand up. Take a stretch break. Drink plenty of water to keep muscles hydrated. Regular massage therapy, pilates and yoga are more great ways to give your muscles a friendly treat. Do yourself a favour everyday — strrrrre—tch.

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Love Your Body – Do Your Homework

Who doesn’t want to live a happier, healthier life? We all do. A big key to healthier living is  balance or ‘moderation’. Basic rule: don’t overdo it. This applies to choosing daily balanced meals, exercise, sleep, and health nutritionals and supplement use. In terms of healthy eating, don’t think ‘diet’. Instead, plan to enjoy food and to eat from all of the food groups, (4-5 servings daily of fresh (organic if possible) veggies, fruits, add moderate protein, whole grain carbs, and three tablespoons of healthy fats (olive oil is my favorite). At the gym, overdoing it is a precursor to injury and unnecessary oxidative stress. Take it easy. Enjoy your workouts. In terms of nutritional supplements, I encourage one rule: Do your homework. Not only are supplements not all ‘created equal’, even the very best high quality vitamins or nutritionals can sometimes be too much of a good thing, and may prove harmful if you overdo it. Check with your doctor or a naturopath before starting a vitamin regimen. There’s a reason for this. Our bodies are chemical and biological. Anything we eat or ingest may have potential negative side effects or interactions with medications, food, other supplements, or our physical makeup. I recommend visiting a qualified naturopath or physician before going on a supplement regimen (see Mayo Clinic for additional info). Live well, breathe deep, sleep well, eat well, stay active. You matter. Take good care of YOU…

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Skincare…why it matters…

There are countless positive reasons to invest smartly in caring for your skin on a daily basis.  #1, as your body’s largest ‘organ’, our skin is impacted not only by the food we eat and aided by drinking and hydrating with at least 8 glasses of water daily, it’s continually affected by the environment around us, including products  we put ‘on’ our bodies. We all know about the importance of protecting our skin from over-exposure to sunlight. My grandmother had lovely skin into her 90s and swore that wearing a hat in the heat of the day made a difference. She was years ahead of her time. In addition to protecting our skin from too much sunlight, we need to eat well, hydrate, exercise and always use a minimum SPF 30 sunscreen daily. In addition, a daily skincare regimen using products that protect your skin without the use of potentially harmful ingredients is a worthwhile investment. Your skin will thank you! Discover the science of skincare at Usana’s ‘Ask the Scientists.com’, check out the beauty/wellness benefits of Sensé, and stay tuned to my blog and upstreamdream.usana.com for Usana’s whole new level in skincare ‘intelligence – Celavive‘ (coming soon!)

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Cut the BHT…eat smarter

live wellYou know what I mean. If you can’t spell it, don’t eat it. I doubt you’ve ever asked yourself, “…did I eat my butyl today…? i.e. Butylhydroxytoluene. (BHT) is just one of several common food additives often found in breakfast cereals. Smart and healthy food choices means avoiding chemical additives, even if we’re told they’re ok in small amounts’. Problem. Our bodies aren’t designed to deal with additives. Some of these affect and disrupt natural hormones. BHT is just one of a long line of additive culprits you don’t want in your life or diet. Learn how BHT can cause you to pack on unwanted pounds, (in an article from Livestrong.com). In Canada, the Yummy Mummy Club had helpful info on BHT, BHA, etc., and the impacts they have on our health.

Eating smart means not skipping meals and eating a balanced breakfast. Healthy grains, fat, fruit, veggies, moderate protein. You can start right by toasting a slice of organic sprouted grain bread with a non-dairy healthy fat ‘butter’, (I use Melt for healthy fat and Silver Hills – a superb line of sprouted grain breads). Add a poached free run egg or scrambled egg whites and herbs, a few cucumber slices, and a (pesticide-free!) orange. Another great energizer —old-fashioned steel cut oats. Cook it ahead, store in 1/2 c. baggies, freeze, and have it ready to go. Heat it up and add slivered almonds, coconut, fresh berries or fruit, a dash of Ceylon cinnamon, and plain yogurt, or dairy-free milk.

For people on the go, a protein smoothie is ideal. Start your day with a smoothie protein base that gives you at least 18g of protein per serving.  Add frozen or fresh fruit, 1.5 c. water, ice, non-dairy milk, some greens, blend it up and keep inventing new recipes. For a delicious plant-based smoothie, try VegaOne (awesome flavour and blendability (is that a word?), or go for Usana’s ‘MySmartFoods‘ macronutrient line. Give your body a break from anything that smacks of ‘preservatives’, and keep sharing all that good energy!

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