Archive for May, 2011

Up in Smoke

I must admit, coming home from a night out with friends and not needing to take a shower because my hair and skin smell like smoke is so nice.  Just before I moved to Boston six years ago, a law was passed that prohibits smoking in public restaurants and bars.  I often wonder if I would go out as much if that were not the case.

There are more cities and states jumping on board with this philosophy.  Some are even taking it further.  NYC has banned smoking in public parks, pools, beaches and other outdoor areas.   A study by the city in 2009 showed that 57% of non-smoking adults in NYC had elevated levels of nicotine byproduct in their system, which was caused by recent exposure to secondhand smoke.

According to the American Cancer Society:

  • an estimated 46,000 deaths from heart disease in non-smokers live with smokers
  • 3,400 lung cancer deaths are non-smoking adults
  • more than 750,000 children have middle ear infections caused by living with someone who smokes
Secondhand smoke is a problem at home, at work, in the car and in public places.  It is important that policies like banning smoking in public are put into action.  With at least 69 of the toxic chemicals in secondhand tobacco causing cancer, there are no safe levels of secondhand smoke.  In addition to lung cancer, secondhand smoke has also been linked to breast cancer, nasal sinus cavity cancer and leukemia lymphoma in adults and brain tumors in children.

Is this what you want your friends and family exposed to?

– be well

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What’s your Number?

Do you ever wake up some days and feel younger/older than you really are?   There is a difference between your chronological age and your body age.  My body age is 22 vs. my chronological age of 32.

For those of you familiar with The Biggest Loser, you have seen the doctor tell contestants “What’s your Number.”  This is determined through a series of physical assessments and health questionnaires.

At work, we have just wrapped up another eight week Body Age Contest.  Similar to the TBL, we use a group of tests to figure out our member’s body age.  The tests we used were:

  • Height/Weight
  • Blood Pressure
  • Sub VO2 Max
  • Bicep Strength
  • Sit and Reach
  • Body Composition

There are many more assessments available, we just chose one from each basic category of health.  Once all of your demographic info is inputed and with the results of each of these tests, the computer program use an algorithm and will tell us what the body age is verse the chronological age.

Some may wonder why do this.  This is a great opportunity to take charge of your health.  From my experience,  when this test tells you that your body age is older than your chronological age, it puts into reality what your health says about you.  As a society we take accountability when the numbers are in front of us.  I may tell someone they are 28% body fat, but when it’s written down on paper in front of them, it becomes that much more real.

I know that not everyone has access such a program, but there are simple tests online that can give you a general idea of your body age.  Check out the link below for an example:

www.realage.com

If you have any questions on how or where to have a body age assessment done, please let me know and I will research your area to see if any school or health facility nearby has access.

be well-

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Colors of the Rainbow

Mom always told us to eat our fruits and veggies.  We were lucky enough to have many colors of produce in our household, whether it came from our garden, farmer’s market or grocery store.

Having a variety of colors on your plate not only tastes good, but it also offers so many nutritional benefits.  Below is a list of fruit and veggies with high nutritional value in each color category.

Red Fruits and Veggies- helps reduce several types of cancer and help keep a healthy heart

  • red apples
  • beets
  • red cabbage
  • cherries
  • cranberries
  • red peppers
  • raspberries
  • tomatoes
  • strawberries
  • watermelon
Orange/Yellow Fruits and Veggies- helps for eye health, reduces risk of cancer and heart disease, maintain healthy mucous membranes
  • sweet potatoes
  • apricots
  • lemons
  • peaches
  • pineapple
  • pumpkin
  • summer/winter squash
  • mangoes
  • carrots
  • pears
  • cantaloupe
  • oranges
Green Fruits and Veggies- high in Vitamin B, iron source, reduces risk of cataracts
  • kiwi
  • lettuce
  • spinach
  • zucchini
  • avocados
  • green beans
  • broccoli
  • green apples
  • brussels sprouts
  • asparagus
Blue/Purple Fruits and Veggies- helps reduce risk of stroke, heart disease and cancer
  • blackberries
  • blueberries
  • eggplant
  • plums
  • figs
  • purple grapes
White Fruits and Veggies- helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure
  • bananas
  • garlic
  • jicama
  • onions
  • mushrooms
  • cauliflower
  • turnips
Many of us tend to eat the same thing over and over again.  By brining fruits together in a salad or veggies in a stir fry is a great way to bring many different colors together.  The more color your plate has, the more beneficial you are treating your body.  I ask, which colors are usually found on your plate?
be well-

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“I’m just Resting my Eyes”

If it were only that simple, right?  This dog has no qualms about rolling over to her side and getting in a quick power nap.

Many of us sit in front of a computer, are holding a phone next to the ear, or read papers for hours without any sort of break.  It is no wonder that our concentration, energy level and attention span decreases as the day goes on.

Recent studies have shown that taking a power nap, just a quick 20 minutes can reverse all this, according to a study at the National Institute of Mental Health.  Other benefits of napping midday include:

  • increased productivity
  • decreased stress
  • improved memory
  • sense of feeling refreshed
  • more creativity
  • overall better health
I know that many employers frown upon the thought of their employees taking in a few zzz’s.  But with work days becoming longer and our sleeping hours decreasing, “resting the eyes” for a few moments may be in everyone’s best interest.
Check out the following link and let me know your thoughts on this topic.
be well-

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Stirred Emotions

Just a few months shy of the ten-year anniversary of 9/11, many emotions got stirred up once again.  The whole world now knows that Osama bin Laden is no longer here.  With that came celebration from some, grief for others, and a lot of mixed emotions for many.

This morning a friend of mine and I went to volunteer at one of our weekly classes.  We usually begin with a discussion, somewhat like a check-in to see where everyone is; physically, emotionally, and mentally.  Today was no different.  The topic turned to Sunday night’s events.  These kids were only 6-10 years old when 9/11 happened.  And to try to answer some of their questions was difficult.  For most of their lives they have been told of this “evil man” and what he did to our country and to the world.  In some of their minds, there was reason to celebrate.  Why shouldn’t we celebrate when evil is taken out.

I have to admit, I am one with mixed emotions.  It was only two months prior to the attack that I had made the move from the midwest to Washington DC.  Like almost everywhere else, it was a beautiful sky blue, sunny day.  Just two miles from the Pentagon is where I worked.  We knew our city was next after the towers went down.  Some of those emotions I experienced that day were stirred up Monday morning when I first read the news.  Fear and anxiety.  And then I also had a feeling of gratitude and excitement.

It was later that day I referred back to the yoga sutras and reflected some of my favorites that help reflect not only those emotions I had Monday, but how I try to live everyday.

  • 1.33- By cultivating attitudes of friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous and disregard toward the wicked, the mind-stuff retains its undisturbed calmness.
  • 2.35- In the presence of one firmly established in non-violence, all hostilities cease.

The death of bin Laden will not bring back those thousands of people who lost their lives.  We should all be able to express our emotions as we wish.  I encourage you to respect what others may be feeling, as we all hold a different experience.

be well-

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