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Stress is a commonly-used term to describe some of life’s “ups and downs”. Less commonly known is how large of an impact stress has on our bodies and minds. Stress can be defined as ANYTHING (e.g. toxins, trauma, emotions) that disrupts or challenges the balance in one’s body. Prolonged stress can affect the heart, blood vessels, and the immune system and can increase symptoms associated with certain disorders, including but not limited to:
- Asthma
- Constipation
- Lupus
- Multiple Sclerosis (M.S.)
- Eczema
- Depression
- Migraine Headaches

Even if you don't suffer from any of the disorders listed, stress can still have a negative impact and may cause symptoms such as:
- Muscle tension
- Anxiety
- Angry Outbursts
- Fatigue
- Irritability 

In order to combat these symptoms, it’s important to identify common sources of stress in your life. Stressors can vary from person to person and will likely change over time. 
Common external stressors include:
- Marital Separation
- Work or School
- Personal Injury/Illness
- Financial Status
- Change in Sleeping Habits
Common internal stressors include:
- Negative self-talk
- Pessimism 
- Lack of Assertiveness
- Fears
- Excess Worry

Understanding the influence that emotion has on thoughts and actions is crucial to combating the effects of stress. A few simple and no-frill methods of stress reduction include:
~ MEDITATION: spend at least 10 minutes a day on quiet reflection
~ EXERCISE: schedule a routine of daily movement (dancing, walking, lifting weights, etc.)
~ MASSAGE: studies show that as little as 10-15 minutes of relaxation massage can reduce the effects of stress
~ NUTRITION: eat a balanced diet, low in fat, sugar, and caffeine, to reduce unnecessary stress reactions in the body.
~ THOUGHT: become aware of how emotions influence your actions, then improve upon it. 

When riding this roller coaster of life, remember that you can control your responses to most challenges. Stress is a SERIOUS entity and should be considered and treated as seriously as any other condition of the human body. Commit to improvement today for a better ride tomorrow! Be Better. Be You. Be FIT!

 

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Sleep Better = Feel Better

 

Reported incidences of sleep disorders have increased over the last 10 years. In fact, studies have shown that only 35% of adults in the United States consistently get the recommended 7- 8 hours of sleep per night. Sleep problems consist of difficulty getting to and/or staying asleep and can cause impairment during the day. The quantity and quality of sleep have a powerful impact on memory, health conditions and a person’s general well-being. Insufficient sleep has been linked to:

  • Colds/Flu

  • Obesity

  • Diabetes

  • Heart Disease

  • Decreased Brain Function

 

Here are a few things you should (and shouldn’t) do to help improve how long and how well you sleep:

  • Jot down details of your days and nights to try to pinpoint some sources of your sleeplessness. There may be patterns that you’re unaware of.

  • Keep your sleeping area cool, dark and quiet. Noise, light and warm temperatures can make you tense and affect your ability to relax.

  • Exercise regularly. While working out increases energy during the day, it can also reduce the time it takes to fall asleep.

  • Turn off the TV and put down the phone an hour before bed. Electronic devices stimulate the brain and can, therefore, prevent you from falling and staying asleep.

 

Sleep better and Be Fit!





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Cinnamon Sweet Potato Recipe

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INGREDIENTS (Serves 5)

-- 3 sweet potatoes (approx. 5 long)

-- 1/4 cup maple agave syrup

-- 1 teaspoon cinnamon

-- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

DIRECTIONS

1. Wrap sweet potatoes in foil and bake at 350 degrees for an hour.

2. Cut potatoes into 2" pieces and mix in agave and vanilla extract. Liberally sprinkle cinnamon on top

 

 

 

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Quinoa w/Tomato, Spinach and Garlic

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INGREDIENTS (Serves 4)

-- 1 whole garlic head
-- 1 tablespoon olive oil
-- 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
-- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
-- ½ cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
-- 1 tablespoon dry white wine
-- 1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
-- ½ cup baby spinach leaves
-- ⅓ cup chopped tomato (1 small)
-- 1 tablespoon shaved fresh Parmesan cheese
-- ¼ teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Remove skin from garlic head. Cut garlic head in half, breaking apart the cloves. Wrap half of head in foil and bake for 1 hour, cool 10 minutes. Separate cloves, squeeze to extract garlic pulp. Discard skins.

3. Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat and add shallots and red pepper (1 minute). Add rinsed quinoa to pan (2 minutes) and stir constantly. 

4.  Add wine and cook until liquid is absorbed, stirring constantly. Add broth; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; stir in garlic pulp, spinach, tomato, cheese, and salt. Serve immediately.

 

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Cauliflower Mashed "Potato" Recipe

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INGREDIENTS (Serves 4)

-- 1 medium head cauliflower

-- 1 tablespoon cream cheese, softened

-- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan

-- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

-- 1/8 teaspoon chicken base or bullion

-- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

-- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

-- 1/2 teaspoon chopped or dry chives, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

1. Set a stockpot of water to boil over high heat.

2. Clean and cut cauliflower into small pieces. Cook in boiling water (6 minutes or until well done). Drain well and do not let cool. Carefully pat cooked cauliflower between several layers of paper towels to dry.

3. In a food processor, puree the hot cauliflower with cream cheese, Parmesan, garlic, chicken base and pepper until smooth.

4. Garnish with chives and serve.

 

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