Posts Tagged ‘Canada’s No. 1 fitness blog

How happy are YOU?

- October 4th, 2011
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Sam Graci says there are three components to happiness: pleasure, engagement and meaning. (Photo by Cary Castagna)

(Note: The following guest post is courtesy greens+ guru Sam Graci.)

The Path to Phenomenal Health

How to Feel Good for Life

By Sam Graci

According to today’s research, there are three components to our happiness: pleasure, engagement and meaning. Of the three, engagement (the depth of involvement with one’s family, friends, work, romance, faith and more) and meaning (how we use our personal strengths to grow and become more aware and mindful), are of greater significance to our happiness than pleasure alone.

Regardless of what component you value most, what’s most important is that you acknowledge your power in achieving happiness. Only you can determine how you feel based on the choices you make every day.

With this in mind, ask yourself: How happy are you in your life? According to Dr. Edward Diener, happiness doesn’t necessarily come with financial freedom, youth, education, job satisfaction or external beauty.

To help measure your own current state of happiness, take Diener’s Satisfaction with Life Scale:

MEASURE YOUR HAPPINESS

Diener’s Satisfaction with Life Scale.

Read the following five statements. Then use a 1 to 7 scale to rate your level of agreement.

1. In most ways my life is close to my ideal.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

2. The conditions of my life are excellent.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

3. I am satisfied with my life.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

4. So far I have received the important things I want in life.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

5. If I could live my life over, I would change almost nothing.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

TOTAL SCORE______

Scoring:

• 31 to 35: you are extremely satisfied with your life

• 26 to 30: very satisfied

• 21 to 25: slightly satisfied

• 20: neutral

• 15 to 19: slightly dissatisfied

• 10 to 14: dissatisfied

• 5 to 9: extremely dissatisfied

After you have tabulated your score, you may wish to consider any or all of the following steps for increasing your current level of energy, happiness and vitality.

TWELVE “FEELING GOOD IS GOOD FOR YOU” BOOSTERS

1 Let life’s joys linger

Pay close attention to all your daily wonders and pleasures. Take “mental photographs” of happy moments to review in less happy times. Sit quietly, go for walk in a park, play with your children, adopt a pet, visit relatives, volunteer for a cause you believe in.

2 Learn to forgive

Let go of any resentment or anger. For example, try writing a letter of forgiveness to a person who has wronged or hurt you. Forgiveness allows you to move on, while resentment negatively impacts mood, attitude, energy level, physical and emotional well-being.

3 Daily meditation and prayer

Daily meditation and prayer can help raise your “youth hormone” otherwise known as dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), which is responsible for reducing stress while boosting the “feel good” neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin in your brain.

4 Take time for family, friends and community

Strong, loving, personal relationships are among the most important factors in our lives. Be a good and faithful family member, friend and world citizen.

5 Count your blessings

Keep a “gratitude journal” in which you write down three to five things for which you are currently grateful for — from the mundane to the magnificent. Do this every evening for immediate and long-term results.

6 Practice acts of kindness

Whether it’s caring for an elderly person or letting someone go ahead of you in a line-up, acts of kindness are not only generous to others but can bring personal joy and satisfaction. It’s contagious too! So be kind to others whenever you can.

7 Take care of your physical well-being

Consume a healthy diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables, supplements (including vitamins, minerals, Omega-3 essential fatty acids, and Green Food supplements), lean sources of protein, and fibre too. Other tips to consider: try to exercise regularly — even if it’s a daily walk, get plenty of sleep, read, meditate, drink lots of pure water, limit caffeine consumption and stretch daily.

8 Cope with stress and life’s challenges

Did you know that optimism and faith have been clinically proven to help people cope with hardship and other life-challenging events? Try slow, deep breathing, acupuncture exercise, Tai Chi, hatha yoga, relaxation therapy, massage, saunas and quiet time to further help reduce stress too.

9 Seek out a wise elder

Express your appreciation to someone you respect for their generosity and wisdom such as a parent, a friend, a companion, counselor or teacher. Let them know you appreciate their positive influence with your expression of thanks!

10 Be persistent. Be committed. Be tranquil.

Life is characterized by impermanence and constant change. If you can pay close attention to daily changes in your life and self-manage them, you will have lifelong joy, peace, equanimity and spiritual maturity.

11 Invest time to breathe, smile and laugh

Breathing deeply and slowly, smiling and laughing out loud can all help enhance your mood instantly and release stress hormones. Practice them daily. Not only will you feel better, but life’s challenges won’t seem so difficult.

12 Recycle and care for the environment

Awareness of the environment can make you feel responsible, capable and connected to Mother Nature. When possible, try using natural body care products and biodegradable home cleaners. Reduce, reuse and recycle wherever possible. Every effort counts!

Regardless of the steps you choose to follow, remember that your state of happiness can be enhanced and improved based on your efforts. A little goes a long way, as does a positive attitude. Don’t delay. See and feel the difference a happier life can make today!

Sam Graci
Since first introducing Canadians to greens+ in 1993, Sam Graci has remained one of North America’s leading experts on nutrition, specifically focusing on the importance of eating healthy, fresh foods for achieving optimal health. Sam is a true believer that eating well and living well go hand-in-hand. And through Sam’s expertise and inspiring educational approach, he is on a mission to inspire all of us to lead a more energetic, vibrant life.

Without question, the award-winning and research-proven success of greens+, based on over seven years of intense research, helped make Sam a natural leader in the development of a whole new and dynamic category of products known as ‘green superfoods’. Continuing on this path, Sam recently took his expertise two steps further with the development of two new green formulas: greens+ extra energy and greens+ daily detox. Working together with Genuine Health (the company that makes greens+, proteins+ and other leading health supplements), they enhanced greens+ for even more specific health needs.

Always a source of healthy inspiration, Sam is uniquely recognized for his endless energy and vitality. He is regularly featured as a guest speaker at a number of consumer shows, in addition to his popular appearances on a variety of television and radio programs. Sam continues to write many informative articles on nutrition and health for magazines and newspapers, and has authored three books: The Power of Superfoods (1998), The Food Connection (2001), The Path to Phenomenal Health: An Inspirational Journey to Vitality and Wellness (September 2005).

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Do protein shakes work?

- October 4th, 2011

(Note: The following post is courtesy Bruce Krahn of www.ebodi.com.)

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Bruce Krahn

Hi Bruce here from www.ebodi.com.

Do you really need a post-workout protein drink?

Ever since Bill Phillips’ book Body for Life became an international bestseller people who exercise (and even a few who don’t) have been downing protein drinks after their exercise session in an attempt to maximize the muscle building effects of their workouts.

But is this really necessary? Do people who consume post workout protein “shakes” build more muscle than those who skip the shake?

According to a study recently published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition the answer is a resounding yes.

In the study, researchers looked at recreational athletes and were interested in discovering how amino acids influence protein synthesis.

According to ASN spokesperson Shelley McGuire, PhD: “These studies, and others like them, help us understand and apply something we all inherently know: the human body works in a complex, yet completely logical way! It makes good sense that consuming a food containing high-quality protein (like milk) during and/or immediately following exercise would help muscles get stronger. Muscle strength doesn’t just happen on its own — our muscles need to be both encouraged (as happens via exercise) and nourished (as happens when we eat well). Now we have even more scientific proof for this common-sense concept.”

In the study, researchers from McMaster University investigated whether post-exercise muscle protein synthesis is different when a large, single dose of whey protein (25 g) is consumed immediately after activity compared with when smaller doses (2.5 g) are consumed 10 times over an extended period.

The result? Well it turns out good old Bill was right. Consuming the large amount of whey protein immediately after exercise increased muscle protein synthesis more than when periodic smaller doses of protein were consumed.

In addition, when researchers looked at specific amino acids, those individuals who were given double the amount of the amino acid leucine (1.87g vs 3.5 g) experienced 33% greater muscle protein synthesis compared to those who consumed the lower-leucine drink.

The researchers concluded that muscle metabolism after exercise can be manipulated via dietary means and that the amino acid leucine may play an especially important role in stimulating muscle growth in the post-activity recovery period.  In terms of the most beneficial timing of protein intake, immediate post-exercise consumption appears to be best. This is something that I am very adamant about when it comes to my training clients in so much that I insist they drink their protein before leaving the premises!

Bottoms up.

Bruce

Work with me online over at www.ebodi.com.

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More fat in kids raises blood pressure risk: study

- October 4th, 2011

fat-kid

This just in: Overweight or obese children have almost three times the risk of high blood pressure compared to children at normal weight.

Here’s the press release:

DALLAS (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — If your children are
overweight or obese, their risk of having high blood pressure is almost
three times higher than children at normal weight, according to new
research in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.

A study of 1,111 healthy Indiana school children over a period of 4.5
years revealed that when the children’s body mass index (BMI) reached
or passed the 85th percentile — the beginning of the overweight
category — the adiposity effect on blood pressure was more than four
times that of normal weight children. Adiposity is fat under the skin
and surrounding major organs.

The absolute value of BMI is not used to classify weight status in
children, because change in BMI is normal and expected as children grow
and develop. Instead, BMI percentiles are used which adjust for age and
gender.

Researchers found when children reached categories of overweight or
obese, the influence of adiposity on blood pressure increased.

10775“Higher blood pressure in childhood sets the stage for high blood
pressure in adulthood,” said Wanzhu Tu, Ph.D., study lead author and
professor of biostatistics at Indiana University School of Medicine in
Indianapolis, Indiana. “Targeted interventions are needed for these
children. Even small decreases in BMI could yield major health
benefits.”

Among study participants, 14% of the blood pressure measurements
from overweight/obese children were in prehypertensive or hypertensive
levels, compared to 5% in normal weight children. Blood levels
of leptin, a hormone in fat tissues, and heart rate had a similar
pattern as blood pressure. So leptin may have played a mediating role
in obesity-induced blood pressure elevation, researchers said.

The study reinforces the importance of separately considering
overweight and obese children from those of normal weight; otherwise,
the adiposity effect is overestimated in normal weight children and
underestimated in overweight children.

“The adiposity effects on blood
pressure in children are not as simple as we thought,” Tu said.

On average, children in the study underwent 8.2 assessments each, for a
total of 9,102 semi-annual blood pressure and height/weight assessments
to determine BMI. The average enrollment age was 10.2 years, with
children stratified into 10 years and under, 11-14 and 15 and older.
Children with BMI percentile values over 85% were considered
overweight and those with BMI values over 95% were considered
obese.

“Important questions that remain unanswered are what makes the blood
pressure go up when you have an increase in the BMI percentile and what
mechanisms are involved in the process,” Tu said. “This study wasn’t
set up to answer those questions.”

Further study may determine how the increase in adiposity affects blood
pressure and whether other factors such as leptin, insulin or
inflammatory cytokines may play a role.

Healthcare providers and parents should pay attention to children’s
weight, Tu said.

“If they see a dramatic weight gain in a child who
already is overweight, they need to intervene with behavioral measures,
such as dietary changes and increased physical activity, to improve
overall health and minimize cardiovascular risk.”

Co-authors are George J. Eckert, M.S.; Linda A. DiMeglio, M.D.;
Zhangsheng Yu, Ph.D.; Jeesun Jung, Ph.D.; and J. Howard Pratt, M.D.
Author disclosures and sources of funding are on the manuscript.

Statements and conclusions of study authors published in American Heart
Association scientific journals are solely those of the study authors
and do not necessarily reflect the association’s policy or position.
The association makes no representation or guarantee as to their
accuracy or reliability.

The association receives funding primarily
from individuals; foundations and corporations also make
donations and fund specific association programs and events. The
association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from
influencing the science content.

Revenues from pharmaceutical and
device corporations are available at www.heart.org/corporatefunding.

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