Archive for February, 2013

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Braised Chicken & Onion

February 28, 2013

Healthy Inspirations Coffs Coast

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Serves 12

Ingredients

  • 1 kg small brown onions
  • Salt
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 200g pancetta (Italian bacon), cut into ½ cm pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 kg chicken pieces (breasts, thighs, and/or legs; breasts halved crosswise)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¾ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves

Preparation

  1. Cook onions in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 – 8 minutes or until tender. Drain and let cool. Trim root ends; peel.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add pancetta to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 – 10 minutes or until fat is rendered and pancetta is brown. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to a large bowl.
  3. Add onions to the pancetta pot and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 – 10 minutes until beginning to brown. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, for about 3 minutes until fragrant. Transfer onions and garlic to bowl with pancetta.
  4. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add chicken to pot skin side down and cook, turning, until browned on all sides, for approximately 10 – 15 minutes per batch; transfer to bowl with onions.
  5. Carefully drain fat from pot and return pot to medium-high heat. Add both vinegars to pot and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pot. Add broth, bay leaves, and reserved chicken, pancetta, onions, and garlic to pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, for about 35 – 40 minutes until chicken is cooked through.
  6. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken and onions to a large platter. Skim fat from cooking liquid and discard. Remove bay leaves, and season sauce with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce over chicken and onions.

Coffs Coast Health Club is an agent for Healthy Inspirations – Coffs Harbour

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Would you know if you were having a heart attack? Symptoms explained

February 26, 2013

Would you know if you were having a heart attack?

A heart attack occurs when one of the arteries that supplies blood to the heart is blocked. The underlying cause is coronary heart disease (CHD). Risk factors for CHD include smoking, a high total blood cholesterol level, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and increasing age. A heart attack is a medical emergency. Call triple zero (000) for an ambulance if you have warning signs of heart attack.

To perform its duties, the heart muscle needs a generous supply of oxygen and nutrients, which it receives from blood pumped through the two coronary arteries and their branches.

A heart attack occurs when a blood clot blocks one of the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle. The underlying cause of heart attack is coronary heart disease (CHD). CHD is when fatty deposits (called plaque or atheroma) slowly build up on the inner wall of the coronary arteries and cause the arteries to become narrow.

If a blood clot forms in the narrowed artery and completely blocks the blood supply to a part of your heart, it can cause a heart attack. The severity of the heart attack depends on how much heart muscle is permanently damaged.

Heart attack is a medical emergency

Call triple zero (000) for an ambulance if you or someone you are with experiences the warning signs of heart attack.

Warning signs of heart attack

Warning signs vary from person to person and they may not always be sudden or severe. Although chest pain or discomfort is the most common symptom of a heart attack, some people will not experience chest pain at all, while others will experience only mild chest pain or discomfort.

When having a heart attack you may experience pain, pressure, heaviness or tightness in one or more parts of your upper body, in combination with other symptoms. People have described this as ‘like an elephant sitting on my chest’, ‘a belt being tightened around my chest’, ‘bad indigestion’ or ‘feeling not quite right’.

The most common warning signs of a heart attack are pain, pressure, heaviness or tightnessin your:

  • Chest
  • Shoulder(s)
  • Neck
  • Arm(s)
  • Jaw
  • Back.

You may also:

  • Feel nauseous
  • Feel dizzy or light-headed
  • Have a cold sweat
  • Feel short of breath.

You may have just one of these symptoms or you may have a combination of them. Symptoms can come on suddenly or develop over minutes and get progressively worse. Symptoms usually last for at least 10 minutes.

If you have warning signs of heart attack that are severe, get worse quickly or last more than 10 minutes, call triple zero (000) immediately and ask for an ambulance.

Why call triple zero (000)?

Calling triple zero (000) gets you:

  • An ambulance fast
  • Treatment as soon as you phone
  • Advice on what to do while waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

Ambulance paramedics are trained to use special lifesaving equipment and to start early treatments for heart attack inside the ambulance. Early treatment can reduce the damage to your heart.

The ambulance is the safest and fastest way to get you to hospital. It gets you medical attention straight away.

It is always better to go to hospital and be told it’s not a heart attack than to stay at home until it is too late.

Diagnosis of a heart attack

Tests to diagnose a heart attack include:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) – a reading of the heart’s electrical impulses. Sometimes this test is done while you are exercising on a bike or treadmill, which is called an exercise or a stress ECG
  • A blood test – to measure levels of substances released into the blood when the heart muscle is damaged
  • Angiogram (or cardiac catheterisation) – a special x-ray of your coronary arteries.

Treatment of a heart attack

Treatment for heart attack may include:

  • Medicines to dissolve a blood clot – for example, one that is blocking a coronary artery
  • Angioplasty and stent implantation – a procedure to open up a blocked coronary artery using a balloon at the point of narrowing. Once the artery is open, a special expandable metal tube (stent) is left in place to keep it open
  • Bypass surgery – an operation in which blood flow is redirected around a narrowed area in one or more of your coronary arteries. It is also called coronary artery bypass graft surgery (often shortened to CABG)
  • Long-term use of medicines – to lower the risk of further heart problems. Be advised by your doctor, but medicines may include a small regular dose of aspirin, a statin (a type of cholesterol-lowering medicine), a beta-blocker and an ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitor
  • Implantable cardiac defibrillators (ICD) – a small device that is sometimes implanted near the heart to manage abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) that may occur after a heart attack.

Risk factors for coronary heart disease

You can reduce your risk of developing coronary heart disease and having a heart attack by removing or reducing risk factors for it. Risk factors are things that increase your chance of developing a particular disease.

The risk factors for coronary heart disease include:

  • Smoking
  • High total blood cholesterol level
  • Physical inactivity
  • Unhealthy eating
  • Being overweight
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Depression, social isolation and lack of social support.

Other factors that can increase the risk of developing coronary heart disease include:

  • Getting older
  • Having a family history of early death from coronary heart disease, such as a first degree relative younger than 60 years old
  • Being postmenopausal.

Changing your lifestyle can reduce your risk of heart attack

Addressing the lifestyle factors that contribute to coronary heart disease can help reduce your risk of heart attack. Things you can do include:

  • Take medicines as prescribed
  • Be smoke-free and avoid exposure to second-hand cigarette smoke
  • Enjoy healthy eating
  • Be physically active
  • Manage your blood pressure
  • Manage your cholesterol and blood lipid levels
  • Achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.

Where to get help

Things to remember

  • Warning signs differ from person to person.
  • No two heart attacks are the same.
  • Knowing the warning signs of heart attack and acting quickly can reduce the damage to your heart muscle and increase your chance of survival.
  • A heart attack is an emergency. If you experience the warning signs of heart attack, get help fast. Call triple zero (000) for an ambulance.

http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Heart_attack_explained

How STRESS can affect WEIGHT GAIN…

February 24, 2013

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Sometimes when are eating right and getting enough exercise, we wonder why we are still struggling to maintain a healthy weight. Stress can play a key role in this issue. When we are stressed or worried, it can feel like the Australian Open is playing out in our heads. Our thoughts go back and forth from one end of the court to the other. The problem is: do we end up getting the point? And could this be affecting our health?

The PHYSICAL side of how stress can affect weight gain
When we are stressed or worried, our body is preparing for action: our heart rate increases, adrenalin pumps through our system, our blood goes to our limbs (away from our vital organs) and our muscles tense up, ready to fight or take flight. This is because the human body has changed very little in the way it reacts to stress from when we were hunter gathers millions of years ago.  Back then, if we were stressed or worried about something it would normally be to fight for our survival, like fight a big animal or run for shelter away from a storm. The intense thoughts would be followed by action.

Our bodies react to stress virtually the same way as they did back in hunter gather times. For example, back then, if we had just eaten food and then all of a sudden needed to take fight or flight for our survival, two reactions could occur:

1.       Our body would attempt to digest the food in our stomach as quickly as possible so we could use this energy right away.
2.       The food would not get digested properly because the blood needed for our stomachs to perform digestion goes away from our organs and into our muscles and limbs, ready to fight.

The same reactions to stress are still occurring in our bodies today. If we are thinking about something stressful, our body thinks there is a threat and gears up ready to fight or take flight. The unfortunate result of both reactions listed above is that we don’t absorb the nutrients properly from our food.

This can be why we feel hungry even though we have eaten enough food. Our bodies are craving nutrients, as well as something to soothe the stress! Along with this there are symptoms of indigestion such as gas, bloating, diarrhea and constipation.

When we are stressed, we tend to over eat, absorb less nutrients, feel tired, have weaker immune systems, and store more fat. If we are stressed our body thinks there is a lot of danger around, so it will store fat because it thinks we are going into a famine (what with all these scary animals and floods we seem to be fighting off and running away from).

Unfortunately we cannot do much to change the way our bodies have been anciently programmed to respond to stress. But there are ways of reducing the stress that can be creating these negative reactions. This modern way of life is not always suited to the way our bodies are built and stress levels are very high, so it’s important to schedule activities that are relaxing. It is also very important to relax while we eat, so that could mean turning the stressful news off on the TV while we have dinner.

The EMOTIONAL side of how stress can affect weight gain
Relaxing activities are great to manage stress levels, but sometimes we have extremely stressful issues that are not so easily soothed and a form of therapy is needed.  Sometimes we have negative patterns like over eating or worrying too much and we want to stop, we keep trying, but we cannot seem to win. This is when we need some assistance.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a 5,000 year old system and it can be a great help in clearing stress. This system is based around scientifically proven energetic pathways in the body called meridians. These meridians relate to systems in the body, organs and different sets of emotions. The energy running through them can be blocked and create negative effects on our physical bodies and on the way we feel emotionally.

The Stomach meridian for example, flows from the eyes, to the mouth, to the brain, to the stomach, and then down to the feet; following the process ingesting food (we look at it, get a good appetite, chew it, taste it, experience the taste and then send it down to the stomach for digestion).  If there is a block in the energy flow of this meridian, our digestive system may be disrupted.

Stressful experiences and emotions can block the flow of energy in meridians. The emotions that relate to the Stomach meridian are about receiving nourishment and enjoyment from our experiences, and from our connection to people. This meridian is also about sympathy, which can take the form of obsessive worry. If the energy in this meridian is blocked, we may be overly worried about someone or we may feel like our relationships with people are not enough to nourish us emotionally.  We may need to give to ourselves more instead of worrying about others so much. People experiencing a block of energy in this meridian can feel as if they can’t get the love they need from people, so they try and get that love from their food.  This blockage in energy flow can be cleared, so the person does not find it so hard to control their eating and is able to enjoy their experiences with people more.

Some therapies that can clear stress in meridians:

·         Acupuncture
·         Acupressure
·         Kinesiology
·         Shiatsu
·         Chinese Massage
·         Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
·         Chi Nei Tsang

Eastern and western medicine and information are beginning to combine these days so we can achieve a greater sense of health and wellbeing. It’s very common to feel overwhelmed: we are simply not built to handle the high levels of stress we are living day to day. We need to equip ourselves to better handle stress and also know when it’s time to relax.  Studies show that stress has a lot to do with our health and the way we feel, so along with good food, exercise and rest, it’s important to consider how we’re doing emotionally. Then we may have a better chance at optimum health AND at winning that tennis game in our head!

Information sourced by Anita Crosbie; Dip Health Science (Kinesiology)
Real Body World Wide

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Fish with Macadamia Salsa

February 20, 2013

 

Fish with macadamia salsa

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 500 g white fish fillets
  • ¼ cup macadamia nuts, halved
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 avocado, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 3 Tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

Method

  1. Preheat large fry pan or BBQ to medium heat.
  2. Season fish lightly with sea salt (if desired) and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Cook fish for about 3-4 minutes (turning once), or until it flakes easily with a fork.
  4. To make salsa, toss macadamias, tomatoes, avocado, coriander, and parsley together in a medium mixing bowl. Add olive oil to coat.
  5. Top the fish with the salsa and serve with salad or vegies.

Things Extraordinary People Say Every Day

February 19, 2013

talking

They’re small things, but each has the power to dramatically change someone’s day. Including yours.

Want to make a huge difference in someone’s life? Here are things you should say every day to your employees, colleagues, family members, friends, and everyone you care about:

“Here’s what I’m thinking.”

You’re in charge, but that doesn’t mean you’re smarter, savvier, or more insightful than everyone else. Back up your statements and decisions. Give reasons. Justify with logic, not with position or authority.

Though taking the time to explain your decisions opens those decisions up to discussion or criticism, it also opens up your decisions to improvement.

Authority can make you “right,” but collaboration makes everyone right–and makes everyone pull together.

“I was wrong.”

I once came up with what I thought was an awesome plan to improve overall productivity by moving a crew to a different shift on an open production line. The inconvenience to the crew was considerable, but the payoff seemed worth it. On paper, it was perfect.

In practice, it wasn’t.

So, a few weeks later, I met with the crew and said, “I know you didn’t think this would work, and you were right. I was wrong. Let’s move you back to your original shift.”

I felt terrible. I felt stupid. I was sure I’d lost any respect they had for me.

It turns out I was wrong about that, too. Later one employee said, “I didn’t really know you, but the fact you were willing to admit you were wrong told me everything I needed to know.”

When you’re wrong, say you’re wrong. You won’t lose respect–you’ll gain it.

“That was awesome.”

No one gets enough praise. No one. Pick someone–pick anyone–who does or did something well and say, “Wow, that was great how you…”

And feel free to go back in time. Saying “Earlier, I was thinking about how you handled that employee issue last month…” can make just as positive an impact today as it would have then. (It could even make a bigger impact, because it shows you still remember what happened last month, and you still think about it.)

Praise is a gift that costs the giver nothing but is priceless to the recipient. Start praising. The people around you will love you for it–and you’ll like yourself a little better, too.

“You’re welcome.”

Think about a time you gave a gift and the recipient seemed uncomfortable or awkward. Their reaction took away a little of the fun for you, right?

The same thing can happen when you are thanked or complimented or praised. Don’t spoil the moment or the fun for the other person. The spotlight may make you feel uneasy or insecure, but all you have to do is make eye contact and say, “Thank you.” Or make eye contact and say, “You’re welcome. I was glad to do it.”

Don’t let thanks, congratulations, or praise be all about you. Make it about the other person, too.

“Can you help me?”

When you need help, regardless of the type of help you need or the person you need it from, just say, sincerely and humbly, “Can you help me?”

I promise you’ll get help. And in the process you’ll show vulnerability, respect, and a willingness to listen–which, by the way, are all qualities of a great leader.

And are all qualities of a great friend.

“I’m sorry.”

We all make mistakes, so we all have things we need to apologize for: words, actions, omissions, failing to step up, step in, show support…

Say you’re sorry.

But never follow an apology with a disclaimer like “But I was really mad, because…” or “But I did think you were…” or any statement that in any way places even the smallest amount of blame back on the other person.

Say you’re sorry, say why you’re sorry, and take all the blame. No less. No more.

Then you both get to make the freshest of fresh starts.

“Can you show me?”

Advice is temporary; knowledge is forever. Knowing what to do helps, but knowing how or why to do it means everything.

When you ask to be taught or shown, several things happen: You implicitly show you respect the person giving the advice; you show you trust his or her experience, skill, and insight; and you get to better assess the value of the advice.

Don’t just ask for input. Ask to be taught or trained or shown.

Then you both win.

“Let me give you a hand.”

Many people see asking for help as a sign of weakness. So, many people hesitate to ask for help.

But everyone needs help.

Don’t just say, “Is there anything I can help you with?” Most people will give you a version of the reflexive “No, I’m just looking” reply to sales clerks and say, “No, I’m all right.”

Be specific. Find something you can help with. Say “I’ve got a few minutes. Can I help you finish that?” Offer in a way that feels collaborative, not patronizing or gratuitous. Model the behavior you want your employees to display.

Then actually roll up your sleeves and help.

“I love you.”

No, not at work, but everywhere you mean it–and every time you feel it.

Nothing.

Sometimes the best thing to say is nothing. If you’re upset, frustrated, or angry, stay quiet. You may think venting will make you feel better, but it never does.

That’s especially true where your employees are concerned. Results come and go, but feelings are forever. Criticize an employee in a group setting and it will seem like he eventually got over it, but inside, he never will.

Before you speak, spend more time considering how employees will think and feel than you do evaluating whether the decision makes objective sense. You can easily recover from a mistake made because of faulty data or inaccurate projections.

You’ll never recover from the damage you inflict on an employee’s self-esteem.

Be quiet until you know exactly what to say–and exactly what affect your words will have.

Jeff Haden learned much of what he knows about business and technology as he worked his way up in the manufacturing industry.
Information sourced from http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/10-things-extraordinary-people-say-every-day.html?nav=pop

Boost Your Exercise Motivation

February 17, 2013

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Hate to work out? These simple strategies will get you up and going for good.

Debbe Geiger could summarize her feelings about exercise in two words. “It stinks,” she’d say.

But then her thinking changed when — after much urging from friends who wanted her to play with them — she joined a volleyball team. Now, she’s at the gym with a convert’s fervor on game nights because she doesn’t want to let her teammates down.

“There have been lots of reasons I could have missed, and I haven’t,” says Geiger of Cary, N.C.

Her experience illustrates what exercise experts have known for years: To stick with an exercise routine, you need a reason to carry on when that little voice inside says, “Sit on the couch. Have a doughnut.”

And just knowing that exercise is good for you doesn’t seem to be enough to get you moving.

Carla Sottovia, assistant director of fitness at the Cooper Fitness Institute in Dallas, says, “You may have had a bad experience in school, or maybe you’re afraid you’ll hurt yourself. Maybe you’re even afraid to sweat.”

Intimidation is a factor also, experts say. When you’re out of shape, it takes courage to don workout duds and head for the gym.

If any of this sounds familiar, don’t give up hope. Here are fitness inspiration tips from fitness experts and exercise converts that are guaranteed to help you learn how to love moving.

Be Realistic

First-time exercisers often set unrealistic goals that are too ambitious for beginners. Gerald Endress, fitness director of the Duke Diet and Fitness Center in Durham, N.C. says, “They want to go for maximal goals, but they tend to get overwhelmed.”

So don’t start off trying to work out an hour every day. Instead, set more reasonable, achievable goals, like exercising 20 to 30 minutes two or three times a week.

Keep Track of Your Progress

Remember to chart your progress, whether it’s with a high-tech online tracker or an old-school fitness journal. Seeing incremental improvements, whether it’s improved time, increased reps, or greater frequency of workouts, can boost your exercise motivation.

Don’t Expect Perfection

Another pitfall is all-or-nothing thinking, a perfectionist way of looking at life that leads to giving up when you miss a day or two or your workout doesn’t go well. Endress says if you accept that there will be some sidesteps on your fitness journey, you’ll be better prepared mentally to deal with setbacks.

Expect that you’ll get sick from time to time, and be psychologically prepared to miss a few days of exercise when that happens. Don’t let it be an excuse for giving up. “From then on, many people say, ‘I can’t exercise,'” Endress says. “But there’s always a way to exercise.”

To keep injuries from sidelining you, do your best to prevent them by warming up, cooling down, stretching properly, and not doing too much too soon.

Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

We’ve all seen those toned, fatless specimens who strut through the gym in their Barbie-sized shorts and sports bras.

Don’t compare yourself to them, Endress says. Forget about them. Forgive them. But do not let them deter you from your goal.

Get Support

Enlist the help of your spouse, girlfriends, boyfriends, buddies — anyone who will encourage you to stay on track.

“The person should be in support, but not say, ‘Why can’t you? It’s so easy,'” says Sottovia. If helpful reassurance turns into criticism, gently remind your pal that you don’t need nagging.

If you need additional help, hire a trainer, she advises.

Find the Fun In It

Sottovia and Endress both say it’s essential to find an activity you like. With an explosion in the number and types of fitness classes at most gyms, it has become easier to find something to appeal to you, from aerobics to Zumba.

If you’re not the gym type, walk around your neighborhood or try activities around the house, such as walking up and down stairs or dancing with the stars in your living room. If you’re motivated by being social, follow Geiger’s lead and join a team.

Break It Up

You can make it easier on yourself by splitting your exercise session into two or three sessions, says Endress. Research supports the idea that this can be as beneficial as one long workout, he says.

So, for example, if you don’t feel like exercising for an hour on any given day, do three sessions of 20 minutes each.

Make It Convenient

Do whatever you can to remove obstacles to exercise, and make it as convenient as possible, says Sottovia.

If you are time-pressed, for example, don’t spend 30 minutes driving to a gym. Try exercising at home to fitness DVDs instead. If you’re too tired to work out at the end of the day, set your alarm a little earlier and exercise in the morning.

Forget the Past

Don’t let previous bad experiences with exercise hinder you, Sottovia says.

So maybe you weren’t the most athletic kid in high school and were the last chosen for class games. That was years ago. Your goal now is not to win a letter jacket or make the cheerleading squad — you want to exercise to stay healthy and enjoy your life.

Reward Yourself

Treat yourself for making the effort to exercise — not with food, but with something that you enjoy, like a movie or flowers, says Endress

Try to think of indulgences that will reinforce a mind-body connection so you can savor the rewards of your hard work. Plan a short trip, or just an hour in a botanical garden. Go to a ball game. And remind yourself with each precious moment that you are enjoying this time because of all the great things you have been doing for yourself.

 This article was sourced from: http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/exercise-motivation

The BEST Gift Ever

February 14, 2013
Want to knock your sweetie’s socks (and more) off this year? If you do, I know just the gift you can give.

It is absolutely the best present a person can receive. Move over flowers and chocolate—there’s one Valentine that really takes the cake.

Can you guess what it is?
Simple.
Appreciation.
Yes. Appreciation.
Appreciate your man.
Appreciate your woman.
It sounds so obvious; it sounds so easy. But it isn’t always so. Unfortunately this gift of all gifts gets overlooked way too often. And it’s a shame that this happens because appreciation makes everything so good!
In this article I’m going to tell you how this very simple thing called appreciation can guarantee that you’ll have a Valentine’s Day to remember.
There is nothing that feels better than being appreciated. Nothing. Being looked in the eye and genuinely told that you are seen, and cared for, and loved. That’s the ultimate. (Big statements, I know.)
It’s just the simple truth: appreciation feels really, really good. Not just for one, but for BOTH people. (That’s right: the appreciator does not get overlooked here.) This is because appreciation is essentially a way to express and exchange your love.
We often don’t realize that it feels just as good to express our love to another as it does to have it expressed to us. We become really preoccupied with getting love that sometimes we forget to give it. And here’s a little secret, the fastest and easiest way to get love is by giving it way.
When you feel love in your heart (the way you feel when you’re appreciating), you feel love! That’s it. End of story. It’s not about getting something back in return because you are automatically receiving. What is in your heart you feel too.
And this is the essence of appreciation. When I love you I feel love. And as we all know, nothing feels better then love.
Unfortunately appreciation often gets trumped when it comes to the holidays. Especially this holiday. Why? Because we have expectations. We get hypnotized by the way we want it to look and feel and be; we get caught up in the gifts and dinner, that we forget what we are actually celebrating.
And just in case you forgot, what we are celebrating on Valentine’s Day is each other. How you do that is through appreciation.
I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t buy your partner something on this day. If you want to, by all means, go ahead. But I have to be honest and tell you that without appreciation, your gift will only go so far.
How do I know?
Because material things do not bring us a deep sense of happiness and love. They just don’t. Do we like them? Of course. Do we want them? Yes. But what we really want (way more than things) is love.
Things don’t love us. People do.
Give your Valentine the best gift ever this year and see the good in him or her. Love them! Focus on their beauty. Focus on what’s right.
Appreciate him. Appreciate her.
Just the way they are.
It’s not that difficult to do. Just remember, this person is in this life with YOU. Sharing this experience with you. Sharing this moment with you.
That is a big deal—it’s definitely something to be appreciated.
For those of you feeling a little shy about appreciation, just let your heart lead the way. Appreciation does not have to be fancy; it can be really simple as long as it’s honest and genuine. The golden rule about appreciation is this: if you speak from your heart, it will speak to her/his heart.
Hearts speak to each other.
Can it be vulnerable to share your appreciation with another person? You better believe it can be (that’s part of why it’s so special). But please, do not let that stop you!
Too often we back away from telling people what our hearts are saying because we’re scared. Unfortunately by shying away from sharing your love, you’re only blocking yourself from feeling love too. Love is supposed to be shared—that’s how it grows. Appreciation is a magnificent way to express and grow your love.
Celebrate Valentine’s Day this year by telling your special someone how lucky you feel to have them by your side. Look them in the eye. Honor them.
This is your partner—the person you are sharing your life with. Give them the best gift ever by telling them how grateful you are that this is so.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

First published in MIndBodyGreen, Daily Digest Tuesday 12th February by Shelly Bullard

Shelly Bullard is a student and teacher of Love. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (CA#51081) turned Love Coach. She teaches people How to Get the Love They Want by helping them: (1) understand why they feel like they aren’t getting enough in relationships, (2) learn how to clear the internal blocks to love (aka fear), and (3) learn how to cultivate and an abundant flow of love in their lives everyday. She is currently finishing her book on the subject and creating an online course. Shelly coaches people on the phone and via Skype. Please contact her below for more information.

Recognising and correcting poor posture

February 12, 2013

It may not sound like a very ‘sexy’ topic, conjuring up memories of being reprimanded for slouching and slumping, but good posture is about much more than appearances. Justin Price explains how to manage poor posture.

Posture refers to the position the body assumes during various activities such as sitting, standing, or lying down. Evaluating a client’s static posture is one of the most important assessments a health and fitness professional can perform, as it provides important clues about how a person is likely to move. For example, someone who presents with an excessively-arched lower back when standing may overuse their lower back muscles to perform movements that require spine extension, such as reaching overhead to catch a ball. Static posture assessments can also reveal the environmental stressors a person experiences during daily activities (e.g. rounded shoulders from sitting too much) and where their body could potentially break down during exercise/sports (e.g. overly-pronated feet could lead to a foot/ankle injury or knee/hip injury).

Since many traditional exercises and leisure activities require people to be on their feet, it makes sense to focus on standing posture, looking at what ideal standing posture looks like, how to perform a quick self-assessment of your own or your client’s posture, and some exercises that can be used to help improve musculoskeletal alignment.

Optimal postural alignment

Figure 1:
Optimal standing posture

Good standing posture enables the body to effectively deal with the ever-present forces of gravity and ground reaction forces. This minimises potential for injury to both joints and soft tissue structures. When a person is in an optimal standing position, the following anatomical landmarks should all be in vertical alignment when viewed from the side: the tragus of the ear, the acromion of the shoulder, the centre of the hip, Gerdy’s tubercle (located just below the knee) and the tarsal joint of the ankle (located just below the ankle bone) (see Figure 1).

Quick postural self-assessment

To assess your own posture, stand against a wall in bare feet with your feet pointing straight ahead and your heels, buttocks, shoulders and head touching the wall. Pay attention to where the weight is in your feet. If you are standing in good alignment, your bodyweight should be positioned towards the outside of your heels. However, if you feel pressure in the front of your feet and toes, this indicates that your bodyweight is falling forward. Consequently, you will have to push down with your toes to keep balanced. This compensation may cause your knees to bend and/or your calf muscles to tighten and affect the alignment of your feet, ankles and knees.

Next, slide your hand behind your back while standing against the wall to evaluate the space between your lower back and the wall. If you are only able to slide your fingers into the space, you have an acceptable degree of arch in your lower back. However, if there is enough space for you to slide your whole hand or forearm between your back and the wall, then your lower back arches too much (i.e., excessive lumbar lordosis). If your lower back typically arches too much then your pelvis will also shift out of alignment by tipping down at the front (i.e. an anterior pelvic tilt). As a result, many of the muscles that attach to the pelvis and lumbar spine will be adversely affected (i.e. hip flexors, abdominals, hamstrings, adductors, abductors, glutes, spinal erectors).  This can lead to movement dysfunction as well as hip, groin, leg and lower back pain.

Lastly, try to decrease the arch in your lower back by tucking your pelvis under (i.e. posterior tilt).  Make a note when you do this of whether your shoulders round forward away from the wall. If they do, this indicates that the muscles of your shoulders and upper back (i.e. thoracic erectors, rhomboids, trapezius) may be weak (which is why it is difficult to keep your shoulders back to the wall when you remove the excessive arch in your lower back). This weakness in the upper back and shoulders can lead to shoulder, back, and neck pain and place more stress on the structures of the lumbar spine (as they will have to compensate for the lack of strength in the upper back).

Assessing posture in this simple way can help you and your clients understand how the body compensates for one area of dysfunction by overusing other areas to maintain an upright position against gravity and ground reaction forces. Addressing these imbalances with various corrective exercises can reduce these compensation patterns, thereby decreasing pain and improving function.

Exercises

The following corrective exercises can help improve standing posture.

Two tennis balls on upper back

Two tennis balls on upper back
This self-massage technique promotes extension in the thoracic spine by rejuvenating and regenerating the muscles of the upper back. It also helps prepare the muscles of this area to be able to progress to strengthening exercises later in the program (see ‘straight arm raise’ below).

Lie on the floor on your back with your knees bent. Place a tennis ball on either side of your spine, in line with the bottom of your shoulder blades. Use a large pillow to support your head so you don’t feel too much pressure from the tennis balls. Bring your arms across your chest and hug yourself. Find a sore spot and maintain pressure on it until it releases (10 to 15 seconds). Then move the balls to another sore spot by scooting your butt and body down so the balls roll up your spine. Bring the pillow with you each time you scoot. Spend about two to three minutes each day on the entire area.

Calf stretch Hip flexor stretch (with activation of gluteus maximus)

Calf stretch
Tight calf muscles can lead to poor posture because they can create alignment problems in the feet, ankles and legs. Performing a standing calf stretch can help realign some of the posterior calf muscles (e.g. gastrocnemius) and help shift your body weight back into your heels when standing.

Stand in a split lunge stance (make sure foot is aligned straight front to back) and push the heel of the back foot into the ground. Pull the toes of the back foot up toward the shin to increase the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds each side.

Hip flexor stretch (with activation of gluteus maximus)
The hip flexor muscles run from the lumbar spine across the pelvis and attach to the top of the leg. Stretching these muscles enables the hips to extend (i.e. move forward) under the spine so the lower back does not have to overcompensate by arching excessively to hold the torso upright.

Straight arm raise

Kneel with one leg in front of the other. Posteriorly tilt the pelvis (i.e. tuck under) until you feel the glutes of the back leg contract. Keep the torso erect without arching the lower back excessively. Hold for 30 seconds each side.

Straight arm raise
Strengthening the muscles of the upper back can teach the body to recruit the muscles of the thoracic spine to assist with lifting the torso upright. This can prevent the lower back from getting tired and overworked.

Lie on the ground with your knees bent. Raise your arms overhead until they reach the ground.  Pull your arms down toward the floor without arching your lower back, shrugging your shoulders, or bending your arms. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat three times.

References
  • Kendall, F.P. et al. 2005. Muscles Testing and Function with Posture and Pain (5th ed.). Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
  • McGill, Stuart. 2002. Low Back Disorders: Evidence Based Prevention and Rehabilitation. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
  • Myers, T. 2001. Anatomy Trains. Myofascial Meridians for Manual and Movement Therapists. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.
  • Price, J. 2010. The Fundamentals of Structural Assessment: Module 1. The BioMechanics Method.  www.thebiomechanicsmethod.com.
  • Rolf, I. P. 1989. Rolfing: Reestablishing the Natural Alignment and Structural Integration of the Human Body for Vitality and Well-Being (revised edition). Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press

Justin Price, MA
Justin is the creator of The BioMechanics Method® which provides corrective exercise education for health and fitness professionals. He is also an expert on corrective exercise for The American Council on Exercise, PTontheNet, PTA Global, TRX, BOSU and the National Strength and Conditioning Association. For more information visit www.thebiomechanicsmethod.com

Self-Satisfaction Is Key

February 10, 2013
self-esteem

Diets don’t work—healthy lifelong habits are what will get you weight loss, weight maintenance, and good health. Celebrate by dropping the diet and picking up a few healthy habits instead.

Dieting is harmful to your self-esteem. You diet because you view yourself as overweight. Then the punishment, deprivation, restricting calories, and avoiding happy hour starts. But if you are always hungry or feel deprived and view yourself as “fat,” then packing on the pounds is easy.

So what exactly is a “healthy” weight? Uncontrollable elements that affect weight are height, bone density, body type (endomorph, mesomorph, ectomorph), and body composition  (the innate ratio of body muscle to fat). Muscle & Strength explains the different body types (shown below) and variations in exercise routine for body type.

If you are a mesomorph and have more muscles than an ectomorph, you may weigh more but are not overweight. And while most female models are ectomorphs, many women aren’t—yet they set weight goals based on a cover girl’s body frame. This is unrealistic. A realistic weight goal is one that is unique for each individual and attainable. If you are working out at the gym and you look and feel good, is it really important to lose those last few pounds? After all, weight, like age, is just a number.

Setting a weight goal and sticking to a set number of calories does not take first priority. For example, if you are part of the “clean your plate club” and are having difficulty losing weight, instead of concentrating on counting calories, use a smaller plate. You will eat the same food you always enjoy, finish the food on your plate, and lose weight. A simple change makes weight loss easy.

Positive body image and establishing a healthy relationship with food is what counts and can help you reach weight goals. Stanford University School of Medicine found that 63 percent of participants in a study who had a positive body image were more successful at losing and maintaining weight for a year compared to a 26 percent success rate for those who were discontent with their bodies.

Why not hide your scale, do not peek at a height and weight chart, and avoid body mass index (BMI) calculations. Love yourself, love your body. Change your thinking and focus on these goals:

  • Accept your weight and embrace who you are.
  • Set realistic health guidelines for yourself.
  • Focus on positive lifestyle changes.
  • Appreciate yourself. Create positive relationships with family, friends, and food.
  • Change your thoughts: Erase negative thoughts and begin positive self-talk: “I am beautiful.”
  • Enjoy your eating experience by eating a variety of foods. Do not diet or obsess on food, weight, or calories. Eat when hungry, stop when full.
  • Move your body. Enjoy a hobby or turn up the tunes and dance.
  • Relax. Take time out for yourself.

By Valerie Berkowitz, R.D.  This article was first published on Monday, 1/21/2013 at 12:49:42 PM, http://www.shape.com/blogs/weight-loss-coach/national-healthy-weight-week-self-satisfaction-key

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – 5 Spice Pork Ribs

February 6, 2013

Healthy Inspirations5 spice

5-spice pork ribs  

Serves 6 – 8

Ingredients

  • 1.5 – 2 kg pork or beef ribs
  • salt & ground black pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Chinese five-spice powder
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp gluten-free soy sauce

Method

  1. Lay the ribs on a cutting board and sprinkle generously with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Rub a good amount of five-spice powder onto the ribs until they are evenly brown with powder.
  2. Measure the rice vinegar and the soy sauce into the bottom of a slow cooker. Add the ribs, cover, and cook on high for about 6 hours or on low for 8-10 hours.
  3. Chill the liquid left in the bottom of the slow cooker so the fat separates. Bring the remaining liquid to a boil, simmer for a few minutes, then use as a dipping sauce for the meat.