Archive for November, 2013

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Turkey with Coriander Cream Sauce

November 28, 2013


Turkey with coriander cream sauce

Serves 4


  • 600g turkey breast steaks
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp fresh oregano leaves
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ bunch coriander leaves
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder to taste
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup cream


  1. Place turkey steaks between layers of baking paper and pound with a meat mallet or rolling pin to about 1 cm thickness. Cut each piece in half and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Combine oregano and olive oil and brush over the turkey to evenly coat.
  3. Heat a heavy fry pan on medium heat and cook the turkey in batches for about 2 minutes each side, until lightly browned and cooked through. Remove to a plate.
  4. In the same pan, combine the spring onions, garlic, chilli, coriander, sour cream and cream and bring to the boil, stirring continually. Add the turkey to the sauce mixture along with any fluid from the plate, and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Serve over steamed greens.

The Nonsense Surrounding “Thigh Gap”!

November 24, 2013


“Thinspiration” is taking the world by storm. Women obsessing about the way they look and comparing themselves to an unrealistic ideal is nothing new. But, with social media, the conversation has reached epic proportions, with images at every turn to magnify your imperfections.

A quick Google search for “thigh gap” will get you caught up in this phenomenon. How, in a world where such a thing as thigh gap exists, can we bring up our children to love rather than hate  their bodies?

What’s Thigh Gap, You Ask?

It’s the space between your upper-mid thigh (right below your lady parts) when your feet are together. And, you guessed it, apparently the bigger the gap the more “desirable” you are. Or at least that is what the modeling world has used for years to separate the haves from the have-nots.

Negative thinspiration such as thigh gap makes me want to hide my child from the world, throw away the TV and computer, and not allow one magazine to enter the house for fear of her losing her innocence. She loves running around the house naked and tells me how beautiful she is! When, then, does that change occur?

It’s a Genetic Phenomenon

On The Doctors, Dr. Travis Stork proved that thigh gaps are a genetic phenomenon based on bone structure. So a million reps on the inner thigh machine, combined with a seven-day cleanse followed by swearing off carbs, gluten, fat and sugar will not help you get thigh gap! You’ll just end up exhausted, annoyed, deflated and probably grouchy… what’s the point? We know it’s science. But women still want it!

A high paid, sought after “plus-sized model” (that term is relative considering she’s a size 12) has become the target of the thigh gap conversation after a photo of her wearing a corset appeared on Facebook. She wrote a thoughtful post for the Daily Beast against all the negative Nellies who chimed in on her picture.

I pose this question to you: Should it even matter what we look like on the outside, as long as we are healthy?

Enjoy Eating at What Cost?

As someone who cheered competitively and was considered the “big” girl at 104 pounds, I entered adulthood with a seriously warped body image and really unhealthy relationship with food and exercise. I discovered I liked eating after cheerleading, but then began exercising obsessively to combat the calories I was consuming.

The exercise obsession turned into a career. I became a group fitness instructor and was now armed with a microphone allowing me to spew the misconception that exercise was about looking good and fitting in your skinny jeans. I realize now how wrong that was.

The Message Must Change

Exercise is about feeling good. Eating is good for you. Taking time to relax and rejuvenate is a must. When it’s all said and done, there’s no prize for the person who worked out the hardest or ate the least.

As long as women feel it’s okay to judge others for what they look like, how hard they work out, what they consume, or where their priorities lie when it comes to working out, we have a big problem.

Do I still struggle to see the person I am on the inside when I catch a sideways glance in a mirror under bad lighting?

Do I still worry about what people will think when they pop in my latest exercise DVD or see me up close and personal during a fitness conference on stage in my spandex?

Yes, I do. Should I? Hell no. I am a work in progress.

Bottom line. My self worth should not and will not be determined by the amount of friction, or lack there of, between my thighs.

My thighs take me places: on long bike rides, up mountains, around corners, through Target, to the playground and back, up stairs, and through life. I thank my thighs and hope that every day of my life they grow stronger to keep up with all I want to do.

Perhaps we should replace those negative thinspiration images with this inspirational poster from Nike. It hangs on my wall, maybe you should put it on yours?

Article Written By Shannon Fable, first appearing

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Chicken Marsala

November 21, 2013

Healthy Inspirations Coffs Harbour index

Chicken Marsala  Serves 4


  • 4 chicken breasts, flattened to about 1 cm thick
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 slices bacon, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 250g button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 ½ cups Marsala or red wine or chicken stock
  • 1 ½ Tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley


  1. Preheat oven to 90° C and warm a large plate for the chicken.
  2. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Heat some olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes each side, or until golden brown and cooked through. Place the chicken on the warmed plate in the oven.
  3. Reduce the heat under the skillet to medium-low and cook the bacon until crisp but not burned. Set bacon aside.
  4. Add the mushrooms to the skillet and cook for about 8 minutes over medium-high heat, until any liquid from the mushrooms has completely evaporated.
  5. Return the bacon to the skillet, along with the garlic and tomato paste and cook for one minute.
  6. Add the Marsala or red wine or stock, bring to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes or until the liquid has reduced to about 1 ¼ cups.
  7. Take the skillet off the heat, add the lemon juice and whisk in the butter, one Tbsp at a time. Add the parsley and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Pour the Marsala sauce over the chicken and serve with steamed greens.

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A Story of Inspiration … how this couple lost 86 kilos

November 18, 2013

A story of inspiration and change, which appeared in The Huffington Post, about a couple who together lost 86 kilos.
Do you have a story you would like to share?  If so, email us on:

Name: Amanda and Keith Flick
Age: Amanda: 31, Keith: 33
Height: Amanda: 5’2″, Keith: 5’8″
Before Weight: Amanda: 223 pounds, Keith: 265 pounds

How I Gained It: We both have struggled with our weight most of our lives. We never cooked, ate out almost every night. Alcohol and junk were big parts of our diets.

Amanda’s Breaking Point: I wanted to be an athlete. I was tired of sleeping in all day and feeling worthless because I was never active. I woke up one Sunday at 1 p.m. and realized that I had wasted so much of my day. Also, complications with my autoimmune disease called CREST syndrome had started to worsen. I knew it was up to me to improve my quality of life.

How She Lost It: Running was the first step. I made a New Year’s resolution to run a 5K. I started dieting and working out with a Jillian Michaels DVD and the elliptical machine. That following June, I ran my first 5K. After a knee injury, I took time off from running and gained 15 of the 50 pounds back. I called a personal trainer for an intervention! From there, my weight loss really took off, and I completed my first full marathon in Chicago on October 13, and now I am actually a personal trainer at the gym!

Our newest adventure is CrossFit. I go online and attempt the workout of the day. I’ve found a passion and new hobby that keeps me happy and healthy! I’m living a life better than I had ever imagined. Instead of staying up late and sleeping all day, I’m at the gym by 5 a.m. I’ve traded beer, cigarettes and junk food for water, running shoes and clean eating! I never thought about being a personal trainer, but was encouraged by my trainer and gym friends to go for it. I absolutely love it and realized I have a passion for it.

Keith’s Breaking Point: After about a year of watching Amanda lose weight and get healthy, I knew I had to do something because she was looking better and better, and I had to step it up! I ordered a shirt and couldn’t wear it because it was too small. I was smoking cigarettes and still eating fast food. I felt tired and unhealthy all the time. When I did something as little as bending over to tie my shoes, I couldn’t breathe!

How He Lost It: I started eating better immediately and did the elliptical until that became too easy. At that point, I downloaded the Couch to 5K plan and started running. Then around the 200-pound mark, I decided to work out at the gym too. When Amanda started her personal training, I was her guinea pig. I now run three days a week and she trains me twice a week!

I feel generally good all the time now. I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and sleep apnea. All of those problems are gone now. I used to have blood sugar issues that never bother me anymore. And now when I bend over to tie my shoes — I can breathe! Because of Amanda’s autoimmune disease, she has to eat a very strict diet, and I’ve found enjoyment in the challenge of seeking out new and healthy meals for the both of us. A healthier lifestyle has even helped me want to better others areas of my life: I now have the drive and energy to go back to school to finish my degree. I cook all of our meals and help Amanda with all the chores around the house.

After Weight: Amanda: 123 pounds, Keith: 175 pounds

“Flight or Fright” Response

November 17, 2013


To produce the fight-or-flight response, the hypothalamus activates two systems: the sympathetic nervous system and the adrenal-cortical system. The sympathetic nervous system uses nerve pathways to initiate reactions in the body, and the adrenal-cortical system uses the bloodstream. The combined effects of these two systems are the fight-or-flight response.

When the hypothalamus tells the sympathetic nervous system to kick into gear, the overall effect is that the body speeds up, tenses up and becomes generally very alert. If there’s a burglar at the door, you’re going to have to take action — and fast. The sympathetic nervous system sends out impulses to glands and smooth muscles and tells the adrenal medulla to release epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (noradrenaline) into the bloodstream. These “stress hormones” cause several changes in the body, including an increase in heart rate and blood pressure.

At the same time, the hypothalamus releases corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) into the pituitary gland, activating the adrenal-cortical system. The pituitary gland (a major endocrine gland) secretes the hormone ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone). ACTH moves through the bloodstream and ultimately arrives at the adrenal cortex, where it activates the release of approximately 30 different hormones that get the body prepared to deal with a threat.

The sudden flood of epinephrine, norepinephrine and dozens of other hormones causes changes in the body that include:

  • heart rate and blood pressure increase
  • pupils dilate to take in as much light as possible
  • veins in skin constrict to send more blood to major muscle groups (responsible for the “chill” sometimes associated with fear — less blood in the skin to keep it warm)
  • blood-glucose level increases
  • muscles tense up, energized by adrenaline and glucose (responsible for goose bumps — when tiny muscles attached to each hair on surface of skin tense up, the hairs are forced upright, pulling skin with them)
  • smooth muscle relaxes in order to allow more oxygen into the lungs
  • nonessential systems (like digestion and immune system) shut down to allow more energy for emergency functions
  • trouble focusing on small tasks (brain is directed to focus only on big picture in order to determine where threat is coming from)

­All of these physical responses are intended to help you survive a dangerous situation by preparing you to either run for your life or fight for your life (thus the term “fight or flight”). Fear — and the fight-or-flight response in particular — is an instinct that every animal possesses.

Consider this stressful situation: At a meeting for which you have thoroughly prepared, the chair criticizes you and accuses you of failing to attend to tasks that were, in reality, someone else’s responsibility. As all eyes turn on you, you feel your face getting hot, your jaw tightening, and your fist clenching. You would not shout or hit anyone—doing so would only make things worse. But you feel like shouting or striking out.

Now consider another stressful situation: You walk into class a few moments late, only to find everyone putting books and notes away—apparently preparing for a test you did not realize had been scheduled for today. Your heart seems to stop, your mouth is dry, your knees feel weak and you momentarily consider hurrying back out the door. Your life is not really in danger, and running away will not solve your problem—so why should you feel a physical urge to escape?

These two scenarios illustrate the two poles of the fight-or-flight response, a sequence of internal processes that prepares the aroused organism for struggle or escape. It is triggered when we interpret a situation as threatening. The resulting response depends on how the organism has learned to deal with threat, as well as on an innate fight-or-flight “program” built into the brain.

The learned fight response

Evidence that the fight response can be learned is seen, for example, in studies showing that reactions to a perceived insult are strongly dependent on culture. In the United States the learned fight response has been nurtured in the “culture of honor” that developed in the South—which some experts believe may account for the southern states’ much higher murder rate in comparison to the northern states.  Learning can also affect our internal responses to stress. For example, in a study of patients with high blood pressure (which can be a stress response), those who took placebos along with their medication for high blood pressure maintained a healthy blood pressure after the medication was removed, as long as they continued taking the placebo.
This suggests that their expectation that the placebos would control their blood pressure was enough to reduce the emergency response of the blood vessels.

While the fight or flight response clearly can be learned, it also involves an innate reaction that operates largely outside consciousness. This was first recognized in the 1920s by physiologist Walter Canon, whose research showed that a threat stimulates a sequence of activities in an organism’s nerves and glands. We now know that the hypothalamus controls this response by initiating a cascade of events in the autonomic nervous system (ANS), in the endocrine system and in the immune system.

As you will recall, the autonomic nervous system regulates the activities of our internal organs. When we perceive a situation as threatening, this judgment causes the hypothalamus to send an emergency message to the ANS, which sets in motion several bodily reactions to stress. This response is helpful when you need to escape a hungry bear or confront a hostile rival.

It served our ancestors well, but it has a cost. Staying physiologically on guard against a threat eventually wears down the body’s natural defenses. In this way, suffering from frequent stress —or frequently interpreting experiences as stressful —can create a serious health risk: an essentially healthy stress response can become distress.

Article Sourced from:  Adapted from Psychology, Third Edition, by Philip G. Zimbardo,
Ann L. Weber and Robert Lee Johnson &

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Stewed Okra with Tomatoes & Coriander

November 14, 2013
Healthy Inspirations Coffs Harbour

Stewed Okra with Tomatoes & Coriander
Side Dish  Serves 4-6


  • 400 g can chopped tomatoes with onion and garlic
  • Cinnamon, generous pinch
  • Cumin, generous pinch
  • Cloves, generous pinch
  • 6 Tbsp fresh coriander leaves
  • 800 g okra


  1. Heat the tomatoes, cinnamon, cumin and cloves with half the coriander in a pan, then season to taste with salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Add the okra and cook, stirring constantly, for 1-2 mins. Reduce heat to low, then simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 mins, until the okra is tender.
  2. Taste for spice and seasoning and adjust if necessary. Stir in the remaining coriander. Serve hot, warm or cold.
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Feeling Stressed? Create a Stress-Free Zone ** 10 “stress-busting” Techniques **

November 12, 2013

What’s making you stressed?

If you’re stressed, whether by your job or by something more personal, the first step to feeling better is to identify the cause.

less stress

The most unhelpful thing you can do is turn to something unhealthy to help you cope, such as smoking or drinking.

“In life, there’s always a solution to a problem,” says Professor Cary Cooper, an occupational health expert at the University of Lancaster. “Not taking control of the situation and doing nothing will only make your problems worse.”

He says the keys to good stress management are building emotional strength, being in control of your situation, having a good social network and adopting a positive outlook.

What you can do

These are Professor Cooper’s top 10 stress-busting techniques:

Be active

If you have a stress-related problem, physical activity can get you in the right state of mind to be able to identify the causes of your stress and find a solution. “To deal with stress effectively, you need to feel robust and you need to feel strong mentally. Exercise does that,” says Cooper.

Exercise won’t make your stress disappear, but it will reduce some of the emotional intensity that you’re feeling, clearing your thoughts and enabling you to deal with your problems more calmly.

Take control

There’s a solution to any problem. “If you remain passive, thinking, ‘I can’t do anything about my problem’, your stress will get worse,” says Professor Cooper. “That feeling of loss of control is one of the main causes of stress and lack of wellbeing.”

The act of taking control is in itself empowering, and it’s a crucial part of finding a solution that satisfies you and not someone else. Read tips about how to manage your time.

Connect with people

A problem shared is a problem halved. A good support network of colleagues, friends and family can ease your work troubles and help you see things in a different way.

“If you don’t connect with people, you won’t have support to turn to when you need help,” says Professor Cooper. The activities we do with friends help us relax and we often have a good laugh with them, which is an excellent stress reliever.

“Talking things through with a friend will also help you find solutions to your problems,” says Professor Cooper.

Have some ‘me time’

The UK workforce works the longest hours in Europe. The extra hours in the workplace mean that people aren’t spending enough time doing things that they really enjoy. “We all need to take some time for socialising, relaxation or exercise,” says Professor Cooper.

He recommends setting aside a couple of nights a week for some quality “me time” away from work. “By earmarking those two days, it means you won’t be tempted to work overtime on those days,” he says.

Challenge yourself

Setting yourself goals and challenges, whether at work or outside, such as learning a new language or a new sport, helps to build confidence. That in turn will help you deal with stress.

“By constantly challenging yourself you’re being proactive and taking charge of your life,” says Professor Cooper. “By continuing to learn, you become more emotionally resilient as a person. It arms you with knowledge and makes you want to do things rather than be passive, such as watching TV all the time.”

Avoid unhealthy habits

Don’t rely on alcohol, smoking and caffeine as your ways of coping. “Men more than women are likely to do this. We call this avoidance behaviour,” says Professor Cooper. “Women are better at seeking support from their social circle.”

Over the long term, these crutches won’t solve your problems. They’ll just create new ones. “It’s like putting your head in the sand,” says Professor Cooper. “It might provide temporary relief but it won’t make the problems disappear. You need to tackle the cause of your stress.”

Do volunteer work

Cooper says evidence shows that people who help others, through activities such as volunteering or community work, become more resilient. “Helping people who are often in situations worse than yours will help you put your problems into perspective,” says Professor Cooper. “The more you give, the more resilient and happy you feel.”

On a more basic level, do someone a favour every day. It can be something as small as helping someone to cross the road or going on a coffee run for colleagues. Favours cost nothing to do, and you’ll feel better.

Work smarter, not harder

Good time management means quality work rather than quantity. Our long-hours culture is a well-known cause of workplace illness. “You have to get a work-life balance that suits you,” says Professor Cooper.

Working smarter means prioritising your work, concentrating on the tasks that will make a real difference to your work. “Leave the least important tasks to last,” says Cooper. “Accept that your in-tray will always be full. Don’t expect it to be empty at the end of the day.”

Be positive

Look for the positives in life, and things for which you’re grateful. Write down three things at the end of every day which went well or for which you’re grateful.

“People don’t always appreciate what they have,” says Professor Cooper. “Try to be glass half full instead of glass half empty,” he says.

This requires a shift in perspective for those who are more naturally pessimistic.

“It can be done,” he says. “By making a conscious effort you can train yourself to be more positive about life. Problems are often a question of perspective. If you change your perspective, you may see your situation from a more positive point of view.”

Accept the things you can’t change

Changing a difficult situation isn’t always possible. If this proves to be the case, recognise and accept things as they are and concentrate on everything that you do have control over.

“If your company is going under and is making redundancies, there’s nothing you can do about it,” says Professor Cooper. “There’s no point fighting it. In such a situation, you need to focus on the things that you can control, such as looking for a new job.”

Information sourced from:

Regular Exercise Makes You Shine

November 10, 2013

Happy Beautiful WomanWorking out isn’t all about dropping pounds or prepping for your next triathlon. Regular exercise also gives you a healthy, glowing look and an unmistakable va-va-voom that you just can’t get any other way.

Anyone who makes a habit of going to the gym, unfurling a yoga mat or hiking in the woods is privy to a secret known only to the physically active: The rewards of exercise extend far beyond slimming down or adding muscle tone. Dozens of subtle changes visibly revamp the body and the psyche in ways scientists are only beginning to understand.

Maybe your skin looks brighter, your step is springier or you’re more confident at work. Such small victories may go unnoticed by unobservant exercisers, but those on the lookout for these benefits will find them every bit as valid as gains measured by scales and calipers.

Scientists chalk up such fitness boons to a range of powerful physiological and biochemical processes triggered by regular exercise. “Every cell in the human body benefits from physical activity,” says Tim Church, MD, PhD, the director of preventative medicine at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La. And, he says, you feel tangible rewards right away. “Within an hour of exercising, you feel less anxious; that night you sleep better; and for 72 hours afterward your body processes blood sugar more efficiently.”

Need more incentive to lace up your sneakers? Here’s a peek into a few of the ways exercise can make you look and feel fantastic.

1. Smoother, More Radiant Skin

Genma Holmes, 43, was horrified when she broke out in adult acne three years ago. “I was 40 and felt like a hot mess because my face was dotted with pimples,” says the working mom from Nashville, Tenn. Then, last year, she started walking two miles a day and working out on an elliptical trainer three times a week. Sure, she expected to shape up, but she was shocked when her acne cleared. “Looking in a full-length mirror and seeing a slimmer me is great, but looking in a compact mirror and not seeing blackheads is even better,” she says.

Holmes’s clearer skin comes as no surprise to Audrey Kunin, MD, a dermatologist in Kansas City, Mo., and author of The DERMAdoctor Skinstruction Manual (Simon & Schuster, 2005). Working up a good sweat is the equivalent of getting a mini-facial, she says. “When the pores dilate, sweat expels trapped dirt and oil. Just be sure to wash your face afterward so the gunk doesn’t get sucked back into the pores.”

Breaking a sweat isn’t the only way exercise benefits the skin — it also reduces bodywide inflammation, helps regulate skin-significant hormones and prevents free-radical damage. When you exercise, the tiny arteries in your skin open up, allowing more blood to reach the skin’s surface and deliver nutrients that repair damage from the sun and environmental pollutants. These nutrients also rev up the skin’s collagen production, thwarting wrinkles. “As we age, fibroblasts [the collagen-producing cells in the skin] get lazier and fewer in number,” Kunin says. “But the nutrients delivered to the skin during exercise help fibroblasts work more efficiently, so your skin looks younger.”

2. Greater Self-Confidence

Confident people radiate a certain physical appeal and charisma. A recent British study found that people who began a regular exercise program at their local gym felt better about their self-worth, their physical condition and their overall health compared with their peers who stayed home. The best part was that their self-worth crept up right away — even before they saw a significant change in their bodies.

“You don’t need to improve your fitness level to improve your self-perception of how fit you are,” says Adrian Taylor, PhD, an exercise researcher at the University of Exeter in England and the study’s lead investigator. And from there it’s only a short leap to enjoying healthier self-esteem, he adds. “Our self-worth is directly tied to our energy levels, our feelings of competence and our perceived attractiveness.” And nothing is more gorgeous than the self-assurance that comes from feeling good in your own skin.

3. Increased Stature

Annie Appleby, 45, a yoga instructor and founder of YogaForce LLC in San Francisco, took up yoga as a means to relieve stress. But it wasn’t until she had a checkup a few years later that she saw the full effects of her practice. When the doctor measured her height, they both noticed she’d grown an inch and a half. “I couldn’t believe it,” she says. “I’d always wanted to be taller; now I fit into my clothes better and feel more spacious in
my body.”

No one has studied precisely why exercise makes you taller, but activities that stretch and strengthen muscles at the same time, like yoga or Pilates, can correct bad posture and therefore add height, says Dan Bradley, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at the Texas Back Institute in Denton, Texas. Hunching makes some muscle groups contract and others lengthen, he explains, which subtracts height. “If you actively work to bring muscles back into balance, your back will lengthen, your posture will improve and you can grow taller.”

People with swayed backs benefit most from core strengthening exercises, such as planks, farmer’s walks and bird dogs. For hunched shoulders, working on strengthening the upper back using resistance with bands, machines or free weights can help restore lost height. And, of course, exercise that improves posture tends to also make you look thinner, fitter and more confident.

4. Less Stress and Anxiety

Anxiety, fearfulness and uncertainty all drain your vitality and dampen your mood, which in turn tends to show on your face and in the way you carry yourself. Roughly 40 million Americans over 18 suffer from anxiety disorders, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health — that’s nearly 20 percent of all adults — and for many of them, that anxiety strips both the smile from their face and the spring from their step. Exercise has been shown to alleviate most mild to moderate cases of anxiety, and can very quickly improve mood.

Jack Raglin, PhD, a sport psychologist at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind., is only half-joking when he says, “Exercise is like taking a tranquilizer, but better because you get the side effect of improved health and fitness.” Studies out of Raglin’s lab suggest that as little as 15 minutes of exercise bestows a calm that can last for hours. As for what kind of exercise elicits the biggest response, he recommends either heart-thumping aerobic exercise, like running, cycling or swimming, or a mixture of aerobic and anaerobic exercise, such as weight training.

In one study, Raglin and his team recruited 16 athletes, tested their anxiety levels, then put them through 30 minutes of resistance training and another 30 minutes of cycling. Afterward, they rechecked the students’ stress levels and found that they had plummeted within 10 minutes of wrapping up the workout and continued to decline for the next hour.

For Dorothy Foltz-Gray, 61, a writer in Knoxville, Tenn., going for a bike ride at the end of a hectic workday delivers even faster results. “I can leave my desk anxious from a day of work, grab my bike and in a few minutes have a smile on my face as I glide along a bike path,” she says. “Suddenly I’m 12 years old again, grinning at all the other bikers who grin back because they are feeling the same burst of freedom.”

5. Better Immunity and Detoxification

With spring cold season on the horizon, exercise’s immune-enhancing powers are nothing to sneeze at. Exercise shores up the immune system by goosing the body into churning out more white blood cells, including neutrophils and natural killer cells. More white blood cells mean fewer bacteria and viruses sneak past the gate. Net effect: You don’t get that worn-down sick look that comes from feeling under the weather, and small blemishes and wounds of all kinds heal faster.

Exercise also keeps the lymph system happy. The body has roughly 500 lymph nodes — little nodules of tissue that take out metabolic trash. But the nodes can’t haul garbage to the curb without the help of nearby muscles. When muscles contract during exercise, they put the squeeze on lymph nodes, helping them pump waste out of your system. Result: You look less puffy and polluted.

Increased circulation is the key to both white blood cell production and better lymph drainage, and the best way to achieve it is to regularly do things that make you breathe hard, says David Nieman, PhD, director of the human performance labs at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C. “Right now, your heart is pumping 4 to 5 liters of blood per minute, but, if you got up and went for a run, it would pump up to four times more.”

That increased blood flow is what revs up the immune system, he says. His research shows that just 45 minutes of walking each day can cut the number of days of work you miss because of illness by up to 50 percent.

Elle Swan, 39, a life coach in Las Vegas, Nev., radiates vitality and credits her regular exercise routine —which includes Bikram yoga, group-cycling classes and weightlifting — with the fact that she hasn’t missed a day of work in seven years. “I used to catch at least four colds a year, and they would often turn into ear and sinus infections,” she says. “But I started exercising regularly and now I never get sick.”

The takeaway message, says Nieman, is simple: “There is no supplement or medication that has proven to be as strong as regular exercise in improving the immune system’s ability to detect and destroy invaders.”

6. More Restful Sleep

Plagued by dark circles? You’re not alone. As many as 60 million Americans wrestle with insomnia, according to a recent Harvard Medical School report. A slew of studies show exercise can elicit longer, more restful sleep. Why? Well, an intense workout may leave you more hungry for shuteye recovery time, but there’s more to it than that. Shawn Talbott, PhD, nutritional biochemist and author of The Metabolic Method (Current Book, 2008), explains that exercise sharpens the body’s sensitivity to the stress hormone cortisol, which can enhance sleep. Sleeping better leaves you looking fresh and healthy.

Here’s how it works: When your boss yells at you, the body spews cortisol to help muscles either duke it out or run like the wind. But, instead, if you sit and seethe at your desk, the cortisol stays in the bloodstream, like a racecar circling the track in a speedway. If the stress is chronic, the presence of cortisol 24/7 blunts the body’s cellular receptors, muting the hormone’s arousal call. That lack of sensitivity causes the adrenal glands to make more, just to get the body’s attention. “It’s like your body turns the volume up full-blast to get the message across,” says Talbott.

As a result, the body’s natural cortisol rhythms (high in the morning, low in the evening) “flatten out,” he explains, which can leave you mentally wound up at night — and carrying excess baggage under your eyes the next day.

But exercise is essentially a release valve for cortisol, helping you sleep more soundly and greet the day looking more refreshed, Talbott explains. “It sends a message to the brain that you’re using the cortisol for its original purpose — movement — and that it’s safe to turn off the tap afterward.” Bottom line: Your body is able to use the downtime for the tissue-repair work that keeps you both looking and feeling great.

7. Less Visceral Fat

Yes, exercise can help you lose your love handles, but it’s the loss of excess fat deep inside the body that boosts your overall vitality and your looks.

The body contains two types of fat. The one you can pinch (subcutaneous) is relatively benign. But the less visible stuff, the visceral fat that pads the abdominal organs like so many packing peanuts, can be a killer. Excess visceral fat fuels low-grade inflammation in the body and is tied to a virtual who’s who of 21st-century ills, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, colon cancer, breast cancer and dementia. It can also upset the balance of important hormones (more on that to come) that affect your skin, hair and general appearance.

Regular exercise trains the body to burn visceral fat more efficiently. Exercise attacks fat on several fronts, explains Jason Karp, PhD, an exercise physiologist at Miramar College, distance-running roach at San Diego State University and owner of in San Diego. When you exercise regularly, your body makes more mitochondria, the cellular engines where aerobic metabolism takes place; it also produces more proteins to speed up the transportation of fatty acids into cells to be burned as energy; and it makes more enzymes that break down fat. “Enzymes regulate the speed at which chemical reactions take place. So the more enzymes you have, the faster visceral fat can be burned,” he adds. And the better your whole body looks as a result.

8. Stronger Sex Hormones

Getting fit not only makes you look sexy, it also makes you feel sexy by balancing the body’s sex hormone levels, which in turn can improve the appearance of hair, skin and muscle tone. Although the most studied hormones linked to exercise are endorphins, sex hormones, such as testosterone and human growth hormone (HGH — the same youth-serum substance celebrities pay thousands to be injected with), also get a boost.

When British scientists compared the hormone levels of 10 middle-aged men who ran more than 40 miles a week with 10 healthy, but sedentary, men, they found that, on average, the runners had 25 percent more testosterone and four times more HGH than the couch potatoes.

“What’s good for your heart is good for your sex life,” says C. W. Randolph, MD, cofounder of the Natural Hormone Institute of America and coauthor of In The Mood Again (Simon & Schuster, 2010). He points to studies showing that the sex lives of fit 60- and 70-year-olds often resemble the sex lives of people decades younger. And, remember, testosterone fuels sex drive in both men and women, so this isn’t one-sided advice.

You can tailor your workout to produce more testosterone, says Randolph. He says working large muscle groups — doing things like squats, lunges, dead lifts, bench presses and rows — ramps up testosterone more than single-joint, small-muscle-group movements like biceps curls or triceps extensions. For best results, he suggests doing three sets of five to 10 repetitions with weights that push muscles to their edge, and rest 30 seconds to two and a half minutes between sets. (For more on the sex appeal of good health, see “Health: The New Sex Symbol” in the December 2006 archives and “Faked Fitness” in the March 2010 archives.)

Exercise researchers agree that the benefits of improved fitness are a boon to virtually every system in our bodies. And any kind of regular activity will help you experience more of these benefits for yourself. “Most people think exercise is only about burning calories, but it’s so much more than that,” says Talbott. “Exercise is about a million small perks, like stress management, better sleep and an overall healthy body.” And they all add up to a more radiant, gorgeous you.

Catherine Guthrie is contributing editor of Experience Life.

Knockout Nourishment

Exercise alone isn’t going to make you look and feel gorgeous — you need to pair your workout with healthy food choices.

Eat foods rich in vitamin A. Hair, skin and nails depend heavily on vitamin A to stay strong and supple, says Pick. To up your intake, reach for more sweet potatoes, carrots, leafy greens
and broccoli.

Add omega-3s. Healthy fats help the skin retain moisture, says Pick. “When people don’t get enough good dietary fat, their skin gets dry and flaky, especially on the arms and abdomen.” Reliable sources include coldwater fish, walnuts and almonds.

Ease up on alcohol. Being mindful of how much you drink can help keep the liver, the body’s main detoxifying organ, in tiptop shape, therefore brightening eyes and evening out skin tone. A little red wine (say 4 ounces) with dinner is fine, says Pick, but don’t overdo it — and avoid hard liquor altogether.

Prioritize fiber. “The more veggies, fruits, beans and legumes you eat, the more efficiently your body will eliminate waste,” says Pick. The fiber in these foods helps reduce inflammation throughout the body. “And the antioxidants lower skin’s oxidative stress levels, staving off wrinkles and sun damage.”

Cut back on sugar. A high-sugar diet can feed bad bacteria in the gut and cause a low-grade inflammation that can lead to skin problems, such as breakouts and dermatitis, says Pick. Instead, try agave nectar, a (truly) natural sweetener that doesn’t spike blood sugar.

This article was sourced from

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – BBQ Beef

November 7, 2013

 HIShapingLandscapesteakServes 4  Ingredients

  • 480g fillet steak
  • 3 Tbsp tomato juice
  • 1 tsp salt ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp prepared mustard
  • 4 Tbsp wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 clove garlic crushed


  1. Put steak in a plastic bag. Mix remaining ingredients, pour over meat and marinate for 2 to 3 hours in the fridge.
  2. BBQ when ready and serve with green salad
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Get Naked … Nothing is more empowering!

November 5, 2013


Nothing is more empowering than being healthy, strong, and naked.

When was the last time you looked at your body in all its naked glory? I mean really looked at it. No squeaming at chubby thighs or grimacing at lanky arms. Just looking at, understanding, and accepting your body in all its perfectly imperfect brilliance?

I had the opportunity to model for an art nude yoga photo shoot last year which aimed to celebrate the beauty and diversity of every body. While it was the most empowering and liberating experience of my life, I have always been too afraid to share the magic of nakedness with anyone. Until now.

My relationship with my body has been a turbulent one. At 15 I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. At 19 I had a near-death experience, weighing 25kg (just over 55 pounds). Five years (and virtually double my bodyweight) later and I have transformed those struggles into strengths.

Physically, I am a healthy woman who can happily do Sun Salutations all day and has embraced Olympic Weightlifting to show the capabilities of the human body. Mentally, I can now use my own experience to help other people with body battles to go on to lead wholehearted lives through my research into the role of sport and exercise in post-traumatic growth (yes, you can grow from trauma rather than remain devastated by it!). And emotionally, I’m at peace with my body and with myself.

Healing, transformation, and growth take time. It’s taken me years of self-awareness, self-discipline, self-acceptance, and self-love to become strong, healthy, and courageous enough to bare all and let myself be deeply seen.

But it’s 100% worth it. To be naked and vulnerable means you are alive.

So, If you want to stop beating yourself up every time you look in the mirror, learn to love the body you have been blessed with, and give a huge middle finger to every fashion show, magazine, and reality TV show that says you need to look a certain way, daily naked time should be at the top of your to-do list. Why?

1. To own your story

Your body tells your story. When you get to know your body, you get to own your story. And when you own your story, you get to write the ending.

2. To embrace your completeness

You will never be more than when you are naked. The word “naked” comes from the Old English “nacod,” meaning “bare.” And the word “bare” comes from the Lithuanian word “basas,” meaning “complete in itself.” That encapsulates the power of being naked: it makes you see that you are complete, you are good enough, and you have the power within you to do and be all that you want.

3. To experience vulnerability

According to Brene Brown’s research (and the inspiration behind this post), being naked is the epitome of how vulnerability feels. Being naked is about being vulnerable. And being vulnerable is about having the courage to dare greatly, to let yourself be deeply seen, and to live your life from your heart.

4. To show the world that you are uniquely beautiful

Stripping bare and making peace with your body is one way of giving a huge middle finger to a world that says you need to look or act a certain way. By declothing you are giving a metaphorical punch in the face to a society that promotes a one dimensional standard of beauty. You are beautiful. Full stop.

5. To face your fears and liberate yourself

We spend so much money on clothes, but some of the best moments in life are enjoyed without them. It is in these moments we face our fears and can free ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.


This article was sourced from