Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Be the leader

Setting a healthy example involves mothers and fathers who can encourage children to leave the couch

What’s happening to our kids that makes them quit wanting to play?

Getting children to be more physically active seems as if it should be so simple. Do you play with your children? When is the last time you threw the Frisbee  played catch, had a snowball fight, played tag, raced around the block, had a pillow fight, wrestled, arm wrestled, challenged each other with a yoga pose, or weight lifting. Even your teens will enjoy these activities. You could enroll them in classes and programs during school or afterward that are filled with games, sports and other activities. 
As parents we need to be role models, make it a lifestyle, teach it not just preach it. Be the mentor, be the instigator, keep it lifelong.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

How Healthy is Your Holiday Meal?

With the holidays being upon us in no time this is  a good time to remind heart patients of being acutely aware of the sodium content in foods. The holiday meal contributes to many heart patients having increased symptoms of  high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, fluid retention, shortness of breath. The holiday meals  can be the culprit. Traditional foods like the turkey are often injected with  approximately 8% solution sodium to enhance moistness and flavor. If you read the ingredients you will often note: turkey broth, salt, sodium phosphates, sugar & flavoring. Then many a cook will soak the already salt injected turkey in a brine solution or salt it well, prior to cooking. The turkey alone gets many into trouble, then you add pre-packaged stuffing, broth, or use canned mushroom soups in casseroles. Did I mention the relish tray with pickled foods?                                                           

A little extra salt in or on your holiday foods makes a difference.

1 teaspoon salt = 2131 mg sodium                                          1/2 teaspoon salt = 1066 mg sodium
1/4 teaspoon salt = 533 mg sodium                                        1/8 teaspoon salt = 266 mg sodium
75 mg—the average sodium content of 3 ounces fresh, unsalted beef, turkey, chicken, pork
240 mg sodium in 3 ounces self-basting frozen turkey, cooked (that’s without the gravy!)
580 mg sodium in 3 ounces frozen fully cooked baked turkey
820 mg sodium in 3 ounces honey baked ham
Bread is a major sodium contributor if you eat more than a couple of pieces a day unless you buy special low sodium bread. A slice (1 ounce) of loaf bread has 150 to 200 mg sodium—not including salted butter or other spreads or toppings. Consider using a bread maker to make a low sodium recipe.
Skip the gravy! But if you must go for low or reduced sodium gravy instead of regular salted gravy which has more than 300 mg sodium for 1/4 cup.                                                                                                                                                              

Measurements and labels of sodium

  •  1/4 teaspoon salt= 600 mg sodium
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt= 1,200 mg sodium
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt=1,800 mg sodium
  • 1 teaspoon salt= 2,300 mg sodium
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda =1,000 mg sodium
  • Sodium-free: Less than 5 milligrams of sodium per serving
  • Very low-sodium: 35 milligrams or less per serving
  • Low-sodium: Less than 140 milligrams per serving
  • Reduced sodium: Sodium level reduced by 25%
  • Unsalted, no salt added, or without added salt: Made without the salt that's normally used, but still contains the sodium that's a natural part of the food itself.

Names for salt

  • sodium alginate
  • sodium ascorbate
  • sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
  • sodium benzoate
  • sodium caseinate
  • sodium chloride
  • sodium citrate
  • sodium hydroxide
  • sodium saccharin
  • sodium stearoyl lactylate
  • sodium sulfite
  • disodium phosphate
  • monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • trisodium phosphate
  • Na
Some drugs contain high amounts of sodium.
Need an antacid after that holiday meal?  Watch out there is excess sodium there too. Carefully read the labels on all over-the-counter drugs. Look at the ingredient list and warning statement to see if the product has sodium. A statement of sodium content must be on labels of antacids that have 5 mg or more per dosage unit (tablet, teaspoon, etc.). Some companies are now producing low-sodium over-the-counter products. If in doubt, ask your healthcare practitioner or pharmacist if the drug is OK for you.

How Sodium causes fluid retention

The job of the kidneys is to filter the excess sodium into the urine so that the body can get rid of it. Many with heart disease and diabetes kidneys cannot handle all the extra work. The kidneys become less efficient at filtering the blood stream. This causes excess sodium to enter the bloodstream. Sodium attracts water to it and effect known as being osmotic. Water follows the sodium  and is drawn into the bloodstream. Excessive salt keeps the circulatory volume higher than it should be, creating and increased pressure in the blood stream and pressing on the blood vessel walls. The stress of the pressure on the walls creates thickening and narrowing of the vessel, leaving less space for the fluid in the blood vessels and raising resistance.  The body then requires higher pressure to move blood to the organs. The heart has to pump against this high pressure system.
I equate it to trying to blow up one of those kids balloons that is turned into animal shapes. They are really tough to blow air into, your cheeks get really sore - this is the resistance of air, similar to the resistance pressure of blood in the arteries. If you stretch the balloon (relax the arteries) then there is less resistance in blowing up the balloon (filling the artery with blood). Twenty percent  of the blood pumped from the heart goes  first to the kidneys.  High blood pressure within the kidneys cause  damage to the heart and to the vascular system in the kidneys. Salt makes you thirsty so limit salty foods, especially if on a fluid restriction.

I once had a patient who lost 45 lbs simply from adhering to low sodium diet. He had a very weak heart with only 10% ejection fraction meaning very limited pumping ability. So a weak heart and sodium in the diet made him retain fluid more than most. He began to measure and count sodium with every meal for a few months and was shocked by how much sodium he consumed even though he thought he ate pretty healthy. By reading labels, doing the math every day and making changes such as eating out less, ordering special, reviewing his medication he lost the fluid and added years to his life, not to mention the improved quality of life with less shortness of breath and fatigue by easing the workload of the heart.                                                   
According to the American Heart Association, eating more than the recommended 1500 milligrams a day puts you at direct risk of high blood pressure. Yet in America we consume an average of 3400 milligrams a day; more than twice what we should. While people with hypertension, heart and kidney disease are always advised by doctors to eat less salt, the AHA wants all of us to do this, whether or not our blood pressure is currently in the normal range. So if you are cooking or know the cook for pass this info on! 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Can we be children again?

When can we be children again and giggle and laugh at silly things?
When can we be children again and play hide and seek in the dark?
When can we be children again and play on the slide and the tire swings?
When can we be children again and skip a huge rope in the park?
When can we be children again and hop in and out of a puddle?
When can we be children again to run and laugh when we play?
When can we be children again and just want a friend to cuddle?
When can we be children again and race all our friends in a relay?
So when can we do these things without being stared at or pointed to?
Whenever we want is my answer, there’s no need to analyse or think it through
To bring out that fun and enthusiasm like a child that is hidden in our heart
We can be the child if we choose once again and that’s the amazing part
If you hear good music that fills you with joy then do a little dance – doesn’t matter where you are.
Laugh out loud if you want to. Swing and slide down that slide without a care. Skip rope and jump in puddles. Giggle and play hide and seek. Do what brings you joy and not what you think you have to do, for there’s no fun in that.
And if people stare and point and think you’re a little crazy, well maybe it’s just because the child that is hidden in them can’t return

Reposted from November 7, 2012

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Fitness for Aging

Fitness as we age

It is important to work on physical fitness life long.

Physical fitness benefits include reduction of heart disease, reduction in Alzheimer’s and most importantly independence.  A recent study showed Finnish men who lost more than 15% of their cardiorespiratory fitness over a 10-year period faced a near doubling of their risk of acute MI over the subsequent decade and more than twice the risk of dying of any cause, a new study shows. But as we age fitness programs change. It isn’t realistic to ask the very elderly to jog, participate in spinning classes, hit the elliptical or rowing machine like those who are younger. The issues with mobility and frailty prevent such activities for most. So what does one do for fitness as they age?
Walking, stationary biking, water aerobics, swimming laps with a kick board, recumbent bike or  recumbent steppers are some of my favorite means of obtaining aerobic exercise. Also programs such as Sit and Be Fit.   Any is exercise is better than no exercise. If exercise is done in a group or a class you also get the additional benefits of socialization. As we age socialization is vital. The more socially isolated a person becomes the worse the predictors for health. I found over the years many adhered to light continuous aerobic exercise because of the socialization of the classes more than the physical benefits of the exercise. New interns would come aboard and roll their eyes when they noted the workloads of many of the elderly, then I would point out the ages of many of my clients being in upper 80′s to mid 90′s and regularly attending classes 2-3 times per week, aerobically exercising, resistance training, stretching and socializing.
Resistance training is very important as we age as well as I am frequently promoting the following:

Your Strength is your Independence

This is what allows you to live in your own home, to care for yourself, to get up off the floor if you fall, to carry in the groceries.  It is your ability to cope with emergencies, to interact with the grandkids by walking up the bleachers, or across the soccer field, to lift up the two-year old, to get to their musicals across a long parking lot, to walk the hills at the nature center etc.

Here are a few simple strengthening exercise that most can perform. Wall squat

Wall Squats

With feet 8-12 inches apart and approximately 6 inches from the wall, slide down the wall a few inches. Hold this position as long as able. Push back up to standing. Repeat as many times as possible. Don’t go down to far, and if you fear not being able to stand all the way back up, keep a chair next to you for assistance. Breath out as you push back  up.

calf raises

Toe Raises

This exercise is surprisingly hard for many of the elderly to perform. Go up on tip toes and back down as many times as possible. To make harder try on a stair step or try doing on only one leg.

Wall push ups

Just like the old-fashioned push up but do against a wall. Breath out as you are pushing yourself back from the wall. Exhale on Exertion! I say this because many hold their breath which is hard on the heart and blood pressure.

Lateral leg exercises

These are really important for maintaining a good gait when we walk as we get older. Lying on side – do in bed – as easier than getting up from the floor. Lift leg out and back down. Do as many as possible.

Be a mentor, assist to make it happen
As most blog readers tend to be younger, pass this advice on to your elders, work out with them, purchase and arrange for transportation to fitness classes, make a big deal out of wanting them to stay fit and healthy to participate in life with you. We all need encouragement at times. Don’t assume being old means sitting in the recliner all day. Keep those in your live vital through physical activity. And have a great day!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Ideas for increasing vegetables in you family

Increasing your families vegetable consumption can be challenging.

I have had to work to keep my family eating  veggies. It doesn't just happen. Buying vegetables doesn't necessarily mean the family will eat them. I have always pushed vegetables for my family, but when they are in charge of meal preparation, veggies aren't usually part of the preparation. They will naturally head towards carbohydrates, breads, immediate gratification foods. The following are a few ideas of how I work them in to my families diet.

1. If hubby is cooking and you are around remind him to use the fresh produce. If that doesn't work, get it out and assist in cleaning and preparing it. His cooking has a tendency to be light on veggies. Hubby's famous chili tends to consist of onions as the only veggie besides tomato sauce.  I assisted him in adding: tomotillo's, celeriac, green peppers,  hot peppers, tomatoes.

2. In lunches pack the freshest veggies you can find. Carrots, cherry and green peppers work well, a small dish of hummus too. Always add lettuce to sandwiches, or parsley, cilantro, etc. Cucumbers and feta cheese with a little dill packs well for lunches.

3. Kale Chips! Keep them available, add them to lunches, store in containers and bring out a couple of times a week. I have enjoyed  making with spice/herb infused oils, Tuscan blend is our favorite,and/or a locally blended seasoning salt.  Use very little oil. Dehydrated at 100 degrees for two hours is best. They can be made in the oven however my family thinks prefers dehydrated. I think the tend to cook and become a little more bitter if go to long in oven. It is a timing thing.

4. Buy local produce every week. Budget yourself the time and money to purchase fresh produce. Visit your farm markets or join CSA. A CSA is community sustained agriculture programs in which you purchase shares for. Yes can be expensive, so split it with a friend or extended family. This was our first year in a CSA. I loved it and can't wait for it to start up again next year.

The CSA produce was more than my family would eat, and that was after splitting it. To get through the produce was challenging. Every week  there was another share coming and to manage the produce was work! I dehydrated some for the winter, especially dill. I think I have a lifetime supply. We learned to use a great variety of vegetables. That was fun, kind of like on the show Chopped. You are given this box and you have to come up with a tasty recipe. Can anyone give me a suggestion for two foot long daikon radish?

 The menu planning centered on what was in need of using first and building the meal or dish around it. My son's comment "I can't wait for this CSA to be over." Too bad for him that means farmers market, as I am budgeting the same expense on veggies year round. Make your own spaghetti sauce, salsa, slopppy joe sauce, anything that comes from a can or bottle, challenge yourself to make your own. You can find any recipe on the computer now a days, just type in and wallah...all kinds of ideas.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

America's Nutrition Evolution

Fuel you spirit and body

░ Pause For A Few Seconds: Breathe ░

Turn off everything else, just for a couple of minutes if you can. An ideal time is after exercise, spend those few moments center your self. It takes practice and isn't all that easy. Your mind quickly is thinking through the next task or issue. Don't listen to the brain, listen to the breath.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Has your family tried Kale chips?

Health Benefits from Kale

101 Ways to Encourage

 Way to Go
 You're Special
Well Done
I knew you could do it
I'm proud of you
Super star
Nice Work
Looking Good
You're on 'top of it
Your're catching on
Now You've got it
How smart
Good Job
That's incredible
Hot dog
Remarkable job
You're beautiful
You're a winner
You make me happy
Hip hip hooray
You're important
You're on target
You're on your way
How nice
You're spectacular
You're darling
Super job
Beautiful work
Good for you
Nothing can stop you
You're fantastic
Great Discovery
You are responsible
You are exciting
You are fun
You're a real trooper
You're perfect
You're growing up
You're important
You tried very hard
You figured it out
What a good listener
You're a treasure
You mean a lot to me
You're a great friend
That's correct
A big hug
What an imagination
You learned it right
You're incredible
Now you're flying
I like you
I really respect you
You're sensational
A+ Job
Hooray for you
You're unique
You care
Creative job
You belong
You brighten my day
Super work
That's the best
You just made my day
Say I love you
Beautiful sharing
You mean the world to me
Outstanding performance
You've got a friend
You're a joy
You make me laugh
You're A-OK my friend
I trust you
You're wonderful
A big kiss for you
Exceptional performance
You've discovered the secret
I can count on you
You're right on the money
You're the BEST

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Urgent need for Physical Activity

The chief cause of obesity is physical inactivity, which is rapidly spreading from North America to the rest of the world. About 31% of the world’s adults, or about 1.5 billion people, are almost completely sedentary, meaning that they do not meet the minimum recommendation of 150 minutes of walking or other moderate activity per week, or about 20 minutes a day.

Teenagers are faring even worse. More than 80 percent of young people ages 13 to 15 worldwide are not getting the hour a day of vigorous exercise recommended for their age group.

Unsurprisingly, North America leads the world in not exercising, with 43.3 percent of Americans not reaching the low recommended threshold. But the world is catching up or, rather, joining us in sitting down. More than 34 percent of Europeans are inactive, 30 percent of Russians, ditto in the Middle East, and about 27 percent of Africans are sedentary.

Those of us that want to exercise regularly must realize that we are working against cultural forces. Stay focused on the best way to live for yourself.

Did you think about your breakfast today?

40 Facts about Fitness | Health and Fitness |

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How balanced is your life?

 No one expects you to be perfect other than yourself. As often heard we are our own worse critic. However when you reflect on your family think about the wellness wheel. If you were to assess your family how much do you give to each of these domains. For many their wheel isn't round as they devote more time and energy to certain areas such as work, then tend to neglect things like the physical and emotional health. How balanced is your wheel?

Does your family devote time to physical exercise? Do you address the emotional components? A great time to do this is at a family meal. Discuss the struggles, the challenges incurred during the day.

 "Wellness is first and foremost a choice to assume responsibility for the quality of your life. It begins with a conscious decision to shape a healthy lifestyle. Wellness is a mindset, a predisposition to adopt a series of key principles in varied life areas that lead to high levels of well-being and life satisfaction.
A consequence of this focus is that a wellness mindset will protect you against temptations to blame someone else, make excuses, shirk accountability, or collapse in the face of adversity.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Have you eaten a rainbow today?

Pinned Image

Pushing Yourself and Family

The principle is called Overload

To improve fitness one has to push beyond the normal activity in order to improve Vigorous activity even in small amounts improves overall health. Now for  sedentary people some doing anything will be of benefit, becomes something is better than nothing. For others who are active to improve physical fitness you have to push to the edge of the comfort zone. Important the no pain no gain rule does not apply! 

 Here are a few tips from the CDC on how to measure intensity. 

How do I know if my child's aerobic activity is moderate- or vigorous-intensity?

Here are two ways to think about moderate- and vigorous-intensity:
  1. As a rule of thumb, on a scale of 0 to 10, where sitting is a 0 and the highest level of activity is a 10, moderate-intensity activity is a 5 or 6. When your son does moderate-intensity activity, his heart will beat faster than normal and he will breathe harder than normal. Vigorous-intensity activity is a level 7 or 8. When your son does vigorous-intensity activity, his heart will beat much faster than normal and he will breathe much harder than normal.
  2. Another way to judge intensity is to think about the activity your child is doing and compare it to the average child. What amount of intensity would the average child use? For example, when your daughter walks to school with friends each morning, she's probably doing moderate-intensity aerobic activity. But while she is at school, when she runs, or chases others by playing tag during recess, she's probably doing vigorous-intensity activity. 

Measuring Physical Activity Intensity

Here are some ways to understand and measure the intensity of aerobic activity: relative intensity and absolute intensity.

Relative Intensity

The level of effort required by a person to do an activity. When using relative intensity, people pay attention to how physical activity affects their heart rate and breathing.

The talk test is a simple way to measure relative intensity. As a rule of thumb, if you're doing moderate-intensity activity you can talk, but not sing, during the activity. If you're doing vigorous-intensity activity, you will not be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.

Absolute Intensity

The amount of energy used by the body per minute of activity. The table below lists examples of activities classified as moderate-intensity or vigorous-intensity based upon the amount of energy used by the body while doing the activity.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Transparency 
I found this today while on web. It is interesting. I certainly hope that we can add more local fresh fruits and vegetables into our lunches. I also question why a starch with the example of pizza, one wouldn't need another serving of a starch, especially if the vegetable was a starchy vegetable. Why can't we offer choices between milk and/or water? Of course not bottled water use a paper cup and pitcher or cooler and have it self serve.
This infographic by GOOD shows the difference between a prison lunch and a school lunch. Both are roughly the same cost (just over $2.60) and contain about the same amount of calories (around 1400). But surprisingly, prisoners get more items to eat and healthier options, with 1/2 cup of vegetables and one serving of fruit or dessert, compared to the school children’s 1/2 cup of vegetables or fruit.

via PSFK:

Friday, September 21, 2012

Commit to be fit as a family!

Creative Sweet Treats: Healthy Snack Ideas

Kids come home from school and they are starving, they are looking for food. My middle schooler eat's his lunch at 10:45. They want something fast. If you suggest fruit, it gets boring, and doesn't appeal after they have been watching their friend eat prepackaged unhealthy snacks delivered in the classroom or packed in lunches. So mix it up on occasion try making one of these. You are still getting healthy food, plus that little extra so the family feels they are getting something special.

frozen banana bites Frozen Banana Bites
chocolate kiwi popsicles Chocolate Kiwi Popsicle
Blueberries covered in honey greek yogurt and frozen. Great healthy snack to have around when craving sweets. Blueberries covered in honey greek yogurt and frozen. Great healthy snack to have around when craving sweets.
yogurt bites!Yogurt Bites

I have found Pintrest to be very helpful and encourage the family to pick the snacks they would like to have for the week. It was my compromise after hearing for months "Why can't I have Lunchables?"

Here's the link these pics came from, they are all easy, quick to prepare ahead of time, and go over well with the family.